My last post was about reflecting on my first year of CrossFit, the progress I have made, and how much my mindset about training has changed. The next step was to look ahead and to set some goals to chase down during my second year of CrossFit.
I’m no longer sipping the CrossFit Kool-Aid – I’m practically mainlining the stuff at this point. I made a list of goals a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve already managed to cross two things off of the list since then – rope climbs and pistols. I started working one-on-one with a coach at RNCF a couple days per week, and it has been incredibly helpful. I had never attempted rope climbs before, but after some instruction, I was able to climb the rope not once, but four times. The next week, I was able to climb a 15 foot rope in just two pulls. I thought I wasn’t strong enough to do pistols (one legged squats), but after a couple minor technique corrections, I did 60 pistols in a 20 minute EMOM. Doing things I couldn’t do before – that’s one of the greatest things about CrossFit.
At the moment, I am reading Carol Dweck’s Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. The book is about developing a growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset. In the former, you believe that your traits and abilities are fixed and there is not very much you can do to change them. A growth mindset is one in which you see yourself as a constant work in progress, and that with work and effort over time, you can change your traits and abilities significantly. I have to admit that I tend to have a fixed mindset about most things. For instance, I kind of suck at running. In my mind, I’m just “not built for running.” Consequently, I only do the minimum amount of running required by CrossFit (which is a problem considering I am running the Chicago marathon in October). If I approached running from a growth mindset, my difficulty with running would be an impetus to run more and run harder in order to become a better runner. Perfectionists (for whom I am the poster child) tend to have fixed mindsets because one mistake equates to proof that you simply do not possess the innate ability to do something well. Therefore, failure is be avoided at all costs, and if you aren’t successful the first time you attempt something, there is no point in continuing to try because you simply lack the ability to do it and there is nothing you can do about it.
I am focusing on cultivating a growth mindset in all areas of my life. I often feel frustrated in CrossFit because it seems like everyone else is so much better than me at everything. With a fixed mindset, that really just makes me feel like I don’t belong and am an inherently inferior athlete to all of the other CrossFitters I work out with, which doesn’t make me feel very good. However, I am realizing more and more that so many people started off in the same place I did, or perhaps in an even less than ideal place, but over time with hard work, they have become the amazing athletes that I’m in awe of today.
I am also reading Learning to Breathe Fire: The Rise of CrossFit and the Future of Primal Fitness by J.C. Herz (yes, I am reading two books at once – anyone who knows me well should not be surprised by this). I was blown away by a story in it about Jason Khalipa. The first CrossFit workout he ever tried was “Fran,” which is 21-15-9 reps of 95 lb thrusters and pull-ups. Although Jason had a lot of muscle mass, he couldn’t even do one pull-up. In fact, he couldn’t even do a pull-up with a band (a common way to scale pull-ups in WOD’s). He did jumping pull-ups the first time he attempted “Fran” (where you stand on a box, grab the bar, and jump up into a pull-up). That totally blew my mind. If Jason had approached CrossFit with a fixed mindset, “Fran” would have been his first and last WOD. Instead, he won the 2008 CrossFit Games and will be making his 7th appearance at the CrossFit Games this year. So any time I am tempted to concede to a fixed mindset about my own CrossFit goals and abilities (or lack thereof), I am going to remember where Jason started and how far he has come through perseverance and hard work.
That said, here are the goals I came up with to accomplish in the coming year:
Rope climbs Pistols
- Complete the 2015 CrossFit Open Rx
- 5 strict pull-ups/10 unbroken kipping pull-ups (I can do 2-3 strict pull-ups and about 4 unbroken kipping pullups now)
- 5 strict handstand push-ups/10 unbroken kipping handstand push-ups (I can do a couple strict and about 7 unbroken kipping)
- 1RM Snatch: 95 (current PR is 70)
- 1RM Clean & Jerk: 135 (current PR is 110)
- 1RM Back Squat: 200 (current PR is 165)
- Learn ring dips and chest-to-bar pull-ups (both important to my next goal)
- Be able to do a muscle-up
- Complete “Linda” Rx (10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps of deadlift at 1.5X bodyweight, bench press at 1X bodyweight, and clean at 3/4X bodyweight)
- Handstand walk the length of the lifting strip at RNCF
- Be able to use the 53 lb kettlebell when prescribed in WOD’s (heaviest I have used is the 44 lb KB)
- Run a mile in under 8 minutes (I haven’t tested this officially, but I would guess my mile is around 9 minutes now)
The other pretty exciting thing is I decided to get CrossFit Level 1 certified. The L1 Certification is required for anyone who wants to coach CrossFit, but a lot of people do it for their own personal development, which is the primary reason I’m doing it. I’ve already registered for the weekend seminar over July 4th weekend in Chicago, so I’m really looking forward to getting a deep dive into CrossFit and undoubtedly meeting some awesome people. At some point in the future, I would consider coaching, but feel like I need to be a little further along in my own CrossFit journey before I start helping others with theirs.