It’s a Thursday morning in July. It’s supposed to be sunny and warm. It isn’t. It’s dull and uninspiring. You look out your window and think, I can’t be arsed going to work, or I can’t be bothered making breakfast, I’ll just grab a sausage roll from Boyd’s or a cappuccino from Grans. You know what, I’ll just hit snooze on the alarm and go to the gym tomorrow instead. Has this been you over the last few weeks? Like the weather, have you lost that flame that was burning brightly not so long ago?
Well you aren’t on your own. Particularly if you are new to CrossFit. When you start CrossFit (or anything new), after the initial few weeks of settling in and getting your head around the movements, you start seeing dramatic improvements in a lot of areas. Your movement quality gets better, your fitness levels increase, you get faster and stronger. You probably feel pretty good about yourself. Then there can be a dip. ‘I was able to do 10 double unders last Friday and I can’t do any today’ or ‘I did 4 pull-ups last Monday and now I can’t even do 2 this morning’.
This type of thing happens to every single one of us. From the beginner, right through to the elite. It just happens in different ways. You could have someone that does 25 pull-ups in a row in class. Everyone is probably looking on and thinking to themselves, ‘that’s impressive, I wish I could do that’, but what they don’t know is that the same person did 40 in a row the previous week and is unhappy with their 25. Get the idea? Fitness works in peaks and troughs.
It’s hard when working through a dip in form, particularly that first one you hit after you start! You wonder to yourself ‘what have I got myself into??’ And consider giving it all up. Sometimes you need to take a step back and firstly look at what you’ve achieved up to now and then look at where you are going and what you want to achieve. A common mistake that people make is that they seek perfection. In health and fitness I don’t believe there is such a thing. It’s unachievable. Has anyone ever seen a perfect air squat? I haven’t? And for that reason, we never seek perfection in CFA. Instead, just like Ben Bergeron, we seek excellence. Huge difference. Have you ever seen an excellent air squat? I have, regularly.
Excellent is good. But it can be improved upon. What we strive for is improvement across the board. We want to you be 1% better this week than last week. That can be 1% more consistent with your sleep. 1% better with your nutrition. 1% more accurate with your deadlift technique. These are all incredibly small margins, but just like the 80/20 rule, the small things make all the difference. We don’t care if your performance dips. We do care that you continue to make the same effort through the dip as you would the peak. This is when the effort pays off. The hard yards. Going outside in the rain. Hammering out and extra few calories on the bike when all you want to do is go home. Getting up 5 mins earlier to prepare your oats.
These small little things will shine through when the peak comes. And it will. And you’ll be happy that you stuck with the process. Don’t forget that your own level varies week by week. A bit like the weather. It’s raining here at the minute but the sun will shine again. And pretty soon.