Thursday, October 11, 2012

Quality Control (and some CrossFit-speak translated)

When I was a kid, I took piano lessons for about 10 years.  I got fairly good, but one big problem I had was a complete lack of patience.  I wanted to be able to play each new piece at performance level or close to it...without really putting in the time required.  I hated scales and practicing, so instead my daily piano "practice" involved me blazing through Beethoven, Chopin, and the like at breakneck speed with complete disregard for accuracy.  I may not have been the most dedicated musician, but boy did I play with feeling at tempo!!!

I find many of my old tendencies creeping up in my life at the box (CrossFit for "gym").  I have been CrossFitting for less than a year, but I still have REALLY high expectations of what I can acheive in a VERY short amount of time.

And then I get frustrated and disappointed with myself.

Unrealistic goal-setting = setting yourself up to fail or get hurt.  (Not just your feelings...I'm talking your shoulder, back, knee, etc.)

This week I had a light-bulb moment that I'm pretty sure was the Holy Spirit zapping some genius into me (although I didn't see smoke or lightning).  Here it is, in fancy, mantra-y form:

I will never be the fastest or the strongest.  But if I work hard, I can have better form than anyone else.

I only started RXing (CrossFit short hand for "doing the full workout the way the coach wrote it in terms of how much weight to use and what movements to do unassisted) a few months ago, and I still can't always RX.  I was struggling to find the balance of pushing myself, but within reason. 

Taking it one workout at a time (genius, right?), I approached this Tuesday's WOD (workout of the day) with two goals. 

AMRAP 15 = as many rounds as possible in 15 minutes.  No matter how slow or fast you may be, we are all stopping at the 15 minute cut off.  The "score" will be how many times you got through the movements in the 15 minutes.

Front squats #115/#75 = You can Google front squats, but basically you are squatting with a barbell in front of you (letting it rest on your shoulders).  Guys' RX weight for this workout was 115 pounds.  Girls' RX was 75 pounds.

Pushups = You can do them on your knees, but a full pushup is required for an RX score.

V-Ups = like a situp...except way harder.  You have to get your back and legs off the ground and touch your toes for the full movement.  If it's too much, you can touch your knees.

I knew from what I've done before that I could RX the workout.  My goal?  To link each set of movements.  By this I mean, for each round, doing all 10 front squats in a row without setting the bar down; do all 15 pushups without setting my knees down, etc. 

This one was hard.  We squatted to a butt target (you have to tap it with your butt before you stand back up to make sure you are getting low enough).  I had a medicine ball and made sure to hit it every time, focusing on pushing my knees out to the sides when standing up.

I linked all the pushups in the first three rounds, but in rounds four and five I set my knees down a few times.  I made myself jump right back in, though, and really focused on keeping my core tight so I didn't end up doing "the worm" instead of pushups.

I also no-repped myself for some of the V-Ups when I failed to touch my toes.  "No rep" means you don't count it (in this case, as one of the 20) and so you have to do it again.

I was 2 V-Ups short of finishing my fifth round.  I realized later that I should have used more momentum on my pushups instead of going soooo slow.  But then I reminded myself that speed was not my goal and to stop worrying about it.

My plan right now?  RX any workout I can, but focus on having perfect form for every single rep, EVEN THOUGH it means I'll be going slower than a lot of the other folks at the box. 

In the end, this is what will keep me safe, and ultimately, if I keep doing everything right, I will have stronger & faster as my payoff.

All without practicing my scales.

You tell me: Had any lightbulb moments lately?  Realize you were pushing yourself too hard, or maybe not hard enough?  Were you a better piano student than I was?


  1. This is such a great post! I am the same way - so hard on myself. I hate not being the best at something. I am still working my way up to RXing stuff... I've come a long way though! Thanks for sharing this - glad I'm not the only one LOL

    1. Thanks, Court! You are definitely not alone. Hopefully both of us can keep remembering how much progress we've made and be proud of ourselves!


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