Gary and I have been training together for over a month now and we sat down to talk about some of the good and bad he has experienced.
He has already noticed some physical changes and his wife has too. He has been able to get into some shirts that have not fitted him for nearly five years. His face and body has started to change shape and he has noticed he has become more vascular when working hard; that will be the fat melting away! But I was quick to point out that he should not be too concerned with the mirror and more with the numbers. All the while they are improving we are making progress – the rest will follow.
Gary has noticed that there is so much to learn in Crossfit. Every WOD I introduce a new skill or movement and try to include this in the WOD. He likes the challenges this brings and it helps to maintain interest. I recently taught him the self spotting technique for the muscle-up progression. With a few simple demos and coaching points Gary said “I can do this” – and then he did!
It’s not all positive, though. Gary has started to analyse the prescribed WODS and does the counting and adding up the numbers thing. It is something I do too, but only after the workout to get an idea of the work done. A simple ladder of 1 to 10 adds up to 55. That can be a lot of anything you are doing. He has found this can be intimidating and can often be tempted into “gaming” a WOD. This is where coaching can help. Someone to push you on until you develop a stronger mental capacity to cope with the intensity.
Speaking of intensity I find this is one of the most important skills a Crossfitter needs to learn. They have to understand what true intensity feels like and know this where all the positive changes will come from and occur. I find once an athlete has grasped this you will see improvements come thick and fast.
Often it is not a physical issue but a mental challenge. Training should never be easy – unlike what the infomercials tell you – but face-pulling, gruntingly hard. Once you have demonstrated to someone that they can do this – stay uncomfortable regularly – you have taken them over a major hurdle.
The last WOD I coached Gary through did not look much on paper: 100ft walking lunges followed by 21 press ups 21 sit ups dropping by 3’s till finishing on 6 reps each. But it is against the clock so no resting. Just gut it out ’till the end.
Look at the pictures you will see an oxygen hungry man with intensity written right across his face.
Keep it up Gary! You are a future Crossfit Games entrant.