5.13.2012

Monday 05.14.12


Hope all you Mothers had a wonderful and relaxing Mother's Day! 
And hopefully all the rest of you treated the mothers in your life well.
Clocks and Scales
I don't think this a topic that I can talk about enough. Clocks and scales are useful tools for measuring progress; however, neither one tells a complete story about an individual. And it is so easy to get caught up in comparing and analyzing the numbers between individuals. "Well So-and-So is my height, and he/she weighs less that me!" "DUDE. How in the world did So-and-So finish the WOD so. damn. FAST???!!!" See what happens there? Some how our own numbers can become "less-than"? In the process of comparing between individuals, our own value becomes negative, or we start caveating our successes. How do we keep perspective and focus on the value of our own progress? How do we put the blinders on and avoid comparing ourselves to others? It is a fine balance: recognizing the effectiveness of using clocks and scales to drive us forward toward our goals, and recognizing that the numbers these tools provide are valuable neither for comparison between people or for telling the whole story of our progress.

Here is my advice on both fronts for clocks and scales. First and foremost, throw out the scale. Seriously. You don't need a scale to tell you that you're getting smaller (or bigger). Your clothes and your belt will tell you that. Your lungs will tell you that when you find that you're not wheezing as much at the top of a flight of stairs you just climbed. And heck, your friends and neighbors will tell you you're getting smaller, too! Personally, I weigh more in pounds than I ever have in my life and my clothes are the smallest size I ever had in my adult life. I don't need a scale to tell me what I already know and feel. The only reason I know how much I weigh is because I went to the doctor's office, and they kinda don't let you into the exam room without weighing and measuring you. Oh, and your BMI number has to be the biggest effing hoax on the planet. I guarantee some of the fittest people on Earth (e.g., elite CrossFitters) have BMIs that would indicate that they are OBESE. Sorry, but solid muscle on an athlete's frame does not equal obesity. Throw out the scale. Its numbers are USELESS.

On to clocks: recognize the value of timing your workouts to measure progress. For example, let's say you do "Fran" for the first time with the 45 pound bar and the green pullup band, and you finish in a time of 10 or so minutes. Then let's say, after several months of working out you do "Fran" again; however, this time you do it with 65 pounds and NO pullup band, and you still finish in 10 or so minutes. Would you classify this as an improvement? I WOULD. You went up in weight, you did unassisted pullups, and you finished in the same time it would have taken you to do the workout with LESS weight and assistance. Effectively, you produced more power because you moved MORE load more efficiently over the course of the same time period. 

Taking this example further, let's say you compared yourself to Super Strong and Fast Guy/Girl. S/He does all her/his workouts at the prescribed weights and s/he rarely modifies movements. However, this same super dude/ette as plateaued. Her/his "Fran" time is staying the same over time. Maybe s/he is slacking off - kind of coasting through workouts and just going through the motions - or maybe s/he is super stressed outside of the gym and that's affecting her/his workouts. Perhaps even, s/he is sabotaging her/his work in the gym by boozing it up and eating like complete sh*t every day of the week. Regardless, would you classify this plateau as progress? Probably not. Progress would be seeing that time go down by a second or two or more each workout.

Ultimately, who the eff CARES how ANYONE is doing in comparison to anyone else??? Your sole goal when it comes to health and wellness (which includes your fitness level) is how well you ARE doing compared to how you WERE doing. Everyone starts somewhere, and everyone has some thing(s) they are trying to improve. The point is, those things are very personal and no one can know those challenges by looking at your finish time, your weight, or your face. Use the clock as it was meant to be used - a tool for tracking your personal progress. And throw out the scale. Seriously. Don't make me tell you again. I guarantee Paleo cavemen were not weighing themselves or measuring their skin folds with calipers. Focus on YOUR progress, and cheer on the progress of others. Take a moment today to look at where you started and where you are now. What is going well? What needs improvement? What have you achieved? Celebrate the success and start working those areas that leave something to be desired (by YOU). And I tell you what, finishing a WOD is a success each and every time. 

WOD
Warm Up
3 Rounds
5 wall ball hang squat cleans
5 HSPUs
--
Strength:
5 Rounds
3 Push/Split Jerk (increase weight each round)
--
"Elizabeth"
21-15-9
Cleans
Ring Dips
--
Cash Out
5 minute Sprint

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