What would happen (and I’m sure I’m not the only one that’s experienced this) if you decided to start a diet next week but between now and then you did absolutely nothing to prepare for it? You didn’t go grocery shopping, you didn’t prep your meals, you didn’t have any recipes, you just hoped that magically by the time Monday rolled around, you’d wake up with this unwavering ability to will yourself to make all of the right choices, even though you did nothing to prepare for it.
Ever heard the saying “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”? You can’t just react to life and expect to achieve your goals. You have to have crystal clear intention in everything that you do or you will just simply react to whatever stimuli is presented to you.
Now, let’s transfer that same idea over to your training. I hear people say to me often that they never look at the workout before they go to class because they think that if they know what they’re in for, they won’t go. This tells me that this person has absolutely no plan for their training and no intention going into the workout. They just want to “show up” and react. Now, let me state that I’ve made this same choice before and I believe anyone with the guts to participate in a sport like CrossFit multiple times a week is made of stronger stuff than most, so I don’t want to come across as sounding overly critical because, believe me, anything that I’m typing out right now, I’ve learned and am still learning through my own experiences and lack of intention. Here’s the problem with this mentality: reacting to a workout where Olympic/power lifting, gymnastics and HIIT is involved will lead to injury.
Maybe not today or next week but overtime, you will sustain injury. Why? Because the 5 minutes of time that you have to construct a plan before the WoD begins is simply not enough to formulate a specific plan to give YOUR body what it needs.
Example: If you have a horrible front-rack position (me!) and the WoD calls for front squats and you have 5 minutes to prepare yourself for the workout, guess what? You’re probably going to end up doing front squats even though you know you shouldn’t. Do that enough times over the course of a few month and BAM! You’re making an appointment with “yours truly” because your shoulders are jacked up, and, though I love it when you guys give me business, I’d rather you have INTENTION going into your training. Take some time and work on your shoulder mobility and, in the meantime, do front squats with a pair of dumbbells instead of a bar so that you can keep your elbows up and get your weight back into your heels. Once your mobility has improved, then transition to front squats with a bar.
What are your goals? If your goal is be healthy and strong, is it necessary to try and max out your weight every time you’re working out? Nope. If your goal is to compete in higher level competitions, will two days of training a week cut it? Nope. If you want to be a more efficient lifter but put absolutely no time into one-on-one training or any practice at open gym, will you become as efficient as you’d like to be? Obviously not. Intention is everything. Intention also gives you a timeline to work with so that you don’t feel like you have to cram in as much intensity into every workout as possible, but you have times within your training to build strength, times to work on agility, times to peak and times to rebuild.
Listen, your body is good to you. It allows you to move and perform and gives you the ability to experience life and accomplish goals. Far too often do I hear people say “I feel broken” or “I guess this is what getting older feels like”. No. Your movement patterns are damaged and it’s probably due to a lack of intention. Can you get injured even when your focus and form are on-point? Rarely.
Remember these few nuggets of truth:
When it comes to muscle, “where it is, it ain’t” – the active pain you feel is never where the problem is. Get someone to watch you move (OHS are great for this) and tell you what’s “off”.
You need one-on-one time. Purchase a few sessions with a personal trainer and work on the movements that are holding you back from being where you want to be. Odds are, your technique needs work.
SLOW THE HECK DOWN. Control your movements. Don’t let the clock or your own competitive nature force you into making bad decisions. Technique FIRST. The speed will come on its own.
Work on your breathing patterns. I cannot stress this enough. If you can’t get a good, deep breath into your diaphragm when you need it – your core won’t engage as it should, which means your movement won’t be very powerful or efficient and you’ll be forced to “muscle it up” which will, over time, break down your shoulders and hips.
Have a plan.
“Show up” with intention. Do these things, and you’ll find yourself achieving goals that you never thought you could before.
About the Author: Theresa Hoynes, LMT, FMT
Owner/Operator of FLEXFIT Sports Maintenance and Therapy
Theresa graduated from the Academy of Somatic Healing Arts (A.S.H.A) in Atlanta in 2009 and began her work as a therapist in and around the Athens, Georgia area immediately following. She has been a full-time therapist since her graduation and has kept herself in clinical environments working alongside physical therapists and chiropractors in order to hone her expertise to the best of her ability in regards to soft tissue rehabilitation.
In October of 2014 Theresa and her family relocated to Forsyth County where she opened up her first solo practice and has seen it quickly grow over the past few years. Theresa is an entrepreneur at heart and loves creating valuable services for the people in and around her community. She is also a former bodybuilder and competitive Irish dancer, a classically trained opera singer and avid CrossFitter.
Click on the logo to the left to check out Theresa’s website.