What is true in life is more often than not just as true when it comes to fitness. Have you ever been on an interview for a new job where you were asked to identify your strengths and weaknesses? Or have you ever looked at a workout and thought, “I am going to crush this!” or “this is going to crush me, I might just skip it”? At one point or another we have all encountered all of the above scenarios, I know I have. But, why do certain traits or workouts have to continuously remain in our weakness column? The simple answer is that they don’t and we can create a plan to make sure they don’t.
Our first step in shifting a weakness to our strength column is we need to identify what those weaknesses are. I’ll use myself as an example; whenever I see heavy deadlifts in a workout like there were in the CrossFit Games Open workout 18.4, my heart shuddered and I immediately began visualizing how much this workout was going to hurt. Once I was done being dramatic, I reminded myself that I am not good at deadlifting and that is all the more reason to do it. Whether it is heavy deadlifts (like me) or maybe endurance pieces or high level gymnastics movements, we all have something that needs attention.
Now having identified an area that needs improving, what are we going to do about it? “I don’t have ring muscle ups, but coach programs them every 6 months so I will just practice them the next time they show up.” Chances are that this “plan” won’t workout too well. We know what needs to be addressed and we cannot expect it to happen on its own, we need to develop a plan. Our plan can vary in intensity and that is dependent on how we are able to answer a few basic questions;
- How close to our goal are we already? Are we nearly there or are we starting from scratch?
- How important is achieving this goal to us? Are we willing to make sacrifices to obtain the desired results or is it not a top priority?
- Who is going to hold us accountable? Do we keep it a secret so that if we struggle, no one will know?
These are basic questions we need to be able to answer before getting started. They will serve as our map and allow us to plot out the necessary steps that need to be taken and when to take them.
We know what we want, whether it’s to be better at lifting heavier weights, learning how to make the Assault Bike our friend or mastering the ring muscle up. We have a plan in place, now it is time to execute. Because what good is a plan if we never use it? Even the best plans with the best of intentions will encounter adversity. When those moments of turmoil occur, who is going to be there with us to help make sure we stay on track? It could be a fellow athlete, a relative or a coach, but it is imperative that whomever our support system is, they are equally committed to our success. Be sure to communicate exactly what it is we are trying to accomplish and what it will entail. Armed with a plan, an eagerness for success and a support system, we are increasing our probability of a successful venture.
Even after we have identified an area that we want to focus on, developed a plan and began executing it with a trusted companion, the hard work has only begun. There are sure to be times where we want to quit or times we don’t think our efforts are worth it, but just imagine how sweet our victory will be. It is rare that people are able to accomplish their goals by simply showing up. There is usually more hard work put in than people realize. Give yourself checkpoints along the way to help you stay motivated and aware that your efforts are worth it. Identify, plan, attack and succeed.