Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Progress is Motivating

We just ended our first block (roughly 8-9 weeks) of programming at Vision CrossFit (2017-2018 school year) and the results are in! My students have even surpassed my own expectations for where I anticipated their fitness would be this early in the school year.  I have to say that I am just as proud of the improved mechanics that I am seeing on a daily basis as I am about their improved scores, times, etc.  I think it is important for coaches to point out these subtle improvements about the way the athlete is moving and be really careful not to focus entirely on what ends up on the whiteboard that day.  I had several students who had a very similar Karen time to the first time they posted, but this time they hit full depth on all their squats. They showed a greater grasp of the points of performance, and as result exhibited improved mechanics.  I am constantly trying to remember to praise mechanics, consistency, and intensity in that order.

I thought this post would be more meaningful if you could hear the student's exact words based on their responses to the following fitness journal prompt that I posted in class one day: "Pick one workout that we re-tested during the last 9 weeks (Baseline, Cindy, or Karen), and describe how you improved for that workout. Specifically, why you think you improved (overall fitness level, mindset, etc.), and how you felt when you saw your fitness level go up (sense of accomplishment, pride, etc.)." Here are some of their responses in their own words.  I have so many more of these positive responses, and it was hard to limit them (to keep this post as brief as possible) because they were all valuable to me as their coach.

"I feel so much more durable and have greater endurance than I did at the beginning of this course.  I did 4 more rounds of Cindy this time, but my form also improved greatly."
"I didn't get all 150 wall balls before the 15 minute time cap, but my squats were better than before.  I told myself that I could still beat my record and I did. I still need to work on putting my weight in my heels."

"I am so very proud of myself for not giving up and ignoring the burning sensation of the lactic acid building up in my muscles."

"One workout that struck me the most was baseline.  On the very first day that we did it, I could barely run or complete it.  I even threw up a little bit after the workout.  When we retested the workout, I improved by over 3 minutes and I was incredibly happy."

"I improved significantly on Karen, I improved my time by 7 minutes and 30 seconds on the dot.  I believe the improvement came from my mindset, the way I deal with discomfort, and practical experience like learning and using correct movement patterns."

"I could definitely tell that I have grown from the first  time. I was able to more efficiently move the wall ball and that there is mental pain and physical pain. I learned that you don't give into the pain, the pain gives in to you."

"I have started to love doing workouts like Loredo and Whitten, which I used to hate because they contained running.  My mindset has improved as well.  I am using positive self talk to push myself; as well as focusing on my main goal of going to the CrossFit games."

"The workout that we re-tested that stood out to me the most was Cindy because I was able to Rx the whole thing this time.  Not only did I do pull-ups instead of ring rows the whole time, but I also improved by 3 rounds too."

"At the beginning of the year I completed Karen in 9:27 with a 14lb med ball.  I used a 20lb med ball for the first 100 reps and a 14lb med ball for the last 50 reps and I still improved my time to 9:07 even with the extra weight for the majority of the workout."

"Baseline is the benchmark workout I chose to compare.  The first time I did baseline my time was 17:05.  The second time I did it I got a time of 9:45.  I believe that I was able to improve my score so much because I improved both mentally and physically."

"The first time I did Karen, I used a 20 lb med ball and my time was 14:10, I used the same weight and did it in 7:22 this time."

"When we first started the year, I was not able to do a single pull-up and now I can do quite a lot of pull-ups.  When we re-tested Cindy I did 13 rounds of pull-ups with no ring rows."

"At the beginning of the year, my goal was to just finish and get it done and over with because it hurt so bad.  Not even a few weeks into CrossFit my goal had changed from finishing, to pushing myself and testing my limits.  My mindset has changed completely.  Seeing myself get stronger and improve my work capacity is motivation in itself."

"The first time we tested Karen, I used a 14lb wall ball and finished in 11:25.  The second time we did this workout I did it in 6:03 with the same wall ball.  I was shocked by the improvement I made, but I know that I put the effort in to get a better time. Doing the workouts and seeing improvements gives me a sense of accomplishment, and I have learned that I can achieve a lot more than I think I can.  I have noticed in school that when I have to complete assignments that take a long time, I no longer want to give up because CrossFit has taught me that I can survive discomfort to reach my goals, it has taught me that once you get past the mental preconceptions of an objective, it will be easier to accomplish."