Thanks to CrossFit Shadyside and Dave Lorenzo on the following article. Another good reminder that if you want to see something happen or to make a change…its on you.
Dave Lorenzo a.k.a D Lo is one of the head coaches at CrossFit Shadyside. I asked him to write a post a couple of months ago. He did some procrastinating like any college aged person would do, but then all of a sudden…BAM! He came through with not just a blog post but a whole article that I would consider CrossFit Journal worthy. Here are Dave’s thoughts on exercising, fitness, and the steps one should take if they want to be successful on the path to a healthy lifestyle.
So You Wanna Succeed, Huh?…Prove it
Today, our society has become pretty accustomed to everything being done for us. We stop at the take-out window for food, we have cars that park themselves and iPhones that tell us what to do and how to get there. We barely have to work for anything anymore, which is tragic because this attitude carries over to other areas of our lives.
Just take a look at everything you see in various forms of media on any given day. You are bombarded with the easiest, quickest way to get “skinny”, “fit”, or “ripped.” We are so accustomed to everything in life having a shortcut, that there must be an easy way for us to reach our physical goals, right? WRONG! When it comes to health and fitness, there is no easy way out. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. The only way to see results is to drop the gimmicks and put in the work to get you there. In the end, however, aren’t the goals that require the most work, also the most rewarding? I think so. Many people say that they “want” to achieve something. Really I think it’s more of a “like to” attitude. For example, I really want to lose 50 pounds, but only if I can take a pill and still be able to eat what I want to eat. Actually you would like to lose 50 pounds, only if you don’t have to make any sacrifices. In helping people achieve their goals as well as striving for my own, I’ve developed a list of steps to help get whatever it is you really WANT to get. I hope this post inspires you to tear down the road blocks in your way and go after that thing you always wanted.
Step 1. Direction
What is it that you want? Do you want to do your first pullup? 20 consecutive pull-ups? Loose that 50 pounds? Compete in CrossFit? Or is it to just be able to run in the back yard with your kids? You should take some time and soul search to find out what your true goal is.
Figure out what you want in your life. It doesn’t have to be just one thing either, it can be several! But remember each goal needs direct attention, so focus on one or two goals at most at a time. After you figure out what you really want, quantify it. This is VERY important. This is usually someone’s first mistake on their way to not achieving what they set out to do. You might make your goal “to be good at pullups” or to “be fitter.” What exactly is “good” at pullups? How many in a row? What kind? Or what is “fitter?” These goals need to be observable, measurable, and repeatable. Abandon the excuses and don’t allow yourself to have a cop out. No matter where you finish, you could justify these goals and say that I am better at pullups or I am fitter, so I must have succeeded, which will truly put a limit on what you can do. Instead they should be something like “do 10 consecutive kipping pullups” or “be able to do 1 strict pullup” or “set a new Fran PR of under 5 minutes” or “play 30 straight minutes of soccer with my kids.” Not to be repetitive, but remember make sure it’s observable, measurable, and repeatable.
Lastly, set a date! If you leave the time open ended, you’ll constantly push it off until another time. I would recommend, for any one goal, to have some short term goals like 1-3 months as well as a long term goal that is 1 year away. The time frame will force you to stay on track.
Step 2. Motivation
Motivation is key, especially when dealing with a long term goal. What is the real reason you want this goal? You need to make sure that the goal is meaningful to you and the reason you want it is very personal. Whatever motivates you to want this goal in the first place, make sure this attitude never dies. Ok Dave, easier said than done. I know, I know. It is very easy to get frustrated and want to quit on a journey for a new goal. If you ever feel like you’ve reached this point, step back and reflect on why you wanted it in the first place. All those emotions of how much it means to you will come flooding back.
One of the best motivational things I saw was from one of my former coaches. He trained numerous people day in and day out. When it came time to conduct his own training, he was spent. He just wanted to skip it and go home. Then he would take out his training log, where in the front he had a half page note he wrote to himself. I never read it to me, but I know that it was a very personal message that reminded him why he trained and gave him that extra spark to push him through his session.
I always wanted to do this, but never got to actually writing it out. Whenever hit this point, and yes I do, my approach is more of a mental reflection and relaxation. My motivation has always been to try and find the limits of my potential. I’m blessed with good health and the ability to train hard, which in turn allows me to do things I didn’t think I’d ever be able to do. I reflect on how I want to prove to myself and everyone around me that I’m capable of what I think I’m capable of. You will achieve any goal in which your motivation never dies.
Step 3. Dedication
So now you know the goal and found the motivation to achieve it. Setting up your plan of action is the only thing you have left. Set small victories for yourself. It’s overwhelming to stare at the pullup bar and go “I can’t even get one, how am I supposed to get my goal of 10?” Look at every step of the way as a small battle. 1stpullup=1st small victory, and so on. Approach each step of the goal as a bunch of small victories leading up to you achieving the goal and winning the war. Yogi Berra once said, “You better cut it into 4, I don’t know if I am hungry enough for 6” when referring to a whole pizza he was about to eat. Stay positive, and stay on track, and you’ll get there. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help from others. Ask a coach for advice about a plan of attack or talk to your wife/husband/friend for their thoughts. People are out there to help you if you ask for it.
Step 4. Believe
In my mind this step is the most important one of all. One of my favorite quotes is “Whether you think you can do it, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” Pretty ingenious right? It magnifies the fact that mindset is EVERYTHING! Doubting yourself is the worst possible thing you can do. If you have that little voice in your head saying “you can’t” then you will begin to believe it at the first sign of struggle. All doubt does is put a limit on what you’re capable of, if you let it. Well ok, how do I stop doubting myself then dude?! Well, it takes practice, and more practice. Mental practice. You literally have to train your mind to expel all negativity. One of my biggest gains from four years of doing CrossFit has been my new found mental toughness. I bet all of you have felt it too. From that first workout during the tune-up, to cranking out thrusters or burpees now, you can literally push through more pain and push harder then you could before. Greg Glassman, the founder of CrossFit, once said “the greatest adaptation to CrossFit happens between the ears.” I couldn’t say it any better than that. There were numerous times in my career of sports where the thing that I worried about the most, always happened. Don’t hit the ball in the water, don’t hit the ball in the water….bloop…right in the water. Don’t drop the ball, don’t drop the ball…dropped. You always need to focus on what you want to happen and not what you don’t want to happen. I’m hitting this ball on the green, or I’m catching this ball. And when that doubt fights to come in, you have to be strong and kick it out. All of that negativity isn’t reality, but you are imagining it in your head. Don’t give it a chance to come to life. Instead visualize what you want to happen, and chances are it will.
I have found that being mentally prepared for anything is the absolute most important part. I read a book called Mind Gym, and after I read that book, I set new PRs each week that month. Was I that much stronger, or that much fitter than last month? No, I was just mentally more ready to perform and BELIEVED in myself more. I brought what I wanted to happen and what I had envisioned to life. This is most important when going for a max effort lift. I’m always screaming at you guys to go past where you think you can, because I know from experience, it’s really much further than you think. Don’t stop believing! (Just kidding I can’t end on a Journey lyric). But seriously, envision success and believe, and you will have success.
Step 5. Enjoy
You did it! All the work paid off. The blood, sweat, and tears were worth it. Enjoy the moment. Don’t be so hasty to move onto the next goal and always focus on what you’re bad at. Take a minute and soak in the success. Tell someone that was there from the beginning and never stop striving to be better.
You have the steps, so now it is all on you. What are you going to achieve next? And remember, in CrossFit we crush ourselves today to be better physically and mentally tomorrow. You can even use these steps for goals in other areas of your life that aren’t physical. Just pick something and attack it. Can’t wait to hear your goals!!
And here is Dave doing Open workout 12.2. Nice snatch Dave.