The “C” Word

01 Sep

I had a little public rant the other day. I moaned about my perceived poor performance in the gym over the last year and got to analysing why this was.  I blamed things like a change in personal circumstances, hours I work, poor diet, lack of sleep and of course getting older.  Having made my feelings public I was buoyed by the “support” my close friends showed me. Things like cake, age and alcohol were mentioned, a lot.  So I made a decision to clean up the diet, train more regularly and get more sleep. Oh and eat less cake and drink less beer. Mmm.

Today I had an epiphany or more like I recovered from a memory lapse.  Some time ago I moved off my team into an office based job.  But I still trained as regular as possible and kept my logs up to date and often made good progress. I also stopped training off the main site and started to program my own training and used other sites as well.  Have a look at: and

Both very good sites.  They suited me as I was following the five on 2 off protocol, office hours, weekends off etc.  This morning I trained with my old team they were in the gym doing their warm ups setting up the main site WOD. There was banter and advice and comparing gym stories.  I was approached by a good friend Ryan he asked what I was intending to do and I explained the WOD.

  • Row 250m
  • 25 kettlebell sumo deadlift high pulls (M:53#/W:35#)
  • 20 burpees
  • 15 pull-ups
  • Row 500m
  • 15 pull-ups
  • 20 burpees
  • 25 kettlebell sumo deadlift high pulls
  • Row 250m

He decided he would do this instead.  Off he went I left him to it watching slyly as I practiced double unders.  On his last row I went over to show some support a pretence really to see his time.  He crawled off the rower and melted in to the usual post WOD puddle.  I got straight on the rower and went for it.  I tried to strategise and wondered where I could game it thinking about tactical resting.  But about half way through the row I realised I was experiencing a massive adrenaline rush. My stomach was in knots, heart racing, my legs felt like jelly. But when I finished rowing the SDLHP’s were nothing just straight through and the same with the burpees, only the pull ups started to tire me but then I was about half way through.  I felt good. I made a concious decision not to look at my watch but just keep going I knew his time but I wanted to stay focused.  I finished in 11.01 rowing at 1.43/500m on the last row.  It hurt, really hurt. A kind of hurt I had not felt for a very long time.  It was good, all good. Eventually I went for a walk to cool off and started thinking about what was so different today.  The “C” word, no not cake; COMPETITION.  This one ingredient makes such a huge difference to our training.  Whether its friends, colleagues or posting on the main site.  I believe it is essential.  But with caution and perspective, I am not going to be smashing Mikko Salo’s times.  So I will be returning to the main site and trying to train with my old team, or anyone else if they want.  I have come to realise that self programming is deceptive, you will subconciously train your strengths only.  WOD browsing too can work against you often meaning you never come back to that WOD to beat it.  So ask your self who am I competeing against?  And yes I did beat him.

7 thoughts on “The “C” Word

  1. definitely know what you mean Colin, who you do a WOD with makes a huge difference I think. Some competition always pushes you harder!

  2. hallelujah! This is music to my ears. I think competition is too often frowned upon. Of course it’s important to focus on your own performance, but there’s nothing like a bit of extra incentive which we can get from others in the group. From my perspective, nothing makes me happier then seeing others perform strongly. Equally, nothing hits my gut harder if I’m just not measuring up. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses of course, but I think it’s very healthy to have an element of competition in work-outs. At the Blackboard gym, for example, Warren kicks all of our @sses. I’m keen to close that gap!

  3. Yeah, I need the old comp… as animals we are always going to take the easier road so competition provides some rubric for us. And I believe we are social creatures so training in a group not only raises our game but we respond to it, and it is more enjoyable and we learn from each other.

    I of course only speak for myself, and there are the less extrovert out there who prefer the alternative.

    Ps My mate is just out of frame in the top photo! He lost…(not enough training)!

  4. Ooh, and now I’m off… you mentioned ”knots in your stomach” Colin, which at first made me worried as being relaxed in ‘performance’ is important, but you proabably had an optimum amount of pressure to make you perform, whilst not being inhibited in your ‘performance’. This is what Bethnal Green provides…a friendly, supportive but competitive atmosphere.

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