At Ganbatte we put a good deal of thought into designing workouts. They each are designed for a specific purpose. Some are meant to focus on building strength. Others are more geared toward metabolic conditioning. And others are designed, quite simply, to be a total mindfrug.
(Yes, mindfrug. Writing a family blog means words get... tweaked.)
Fridays are mindfrug days. Friday workouts suck! They are long, they are brutal, and they frequently leave most athletes unable to finish within the 30-minute time cap. They have described as "WODs from hell," "absolutely ridiculous," and my personal favorite, "a total poopshow."
(OK, the last athlete didn't actually use the word "poop." As I said -- family blog.)
"WODs from hell" or no, Friday classes are packed. Athletes look forward to them. They know they will leave the gym on Fridays hurting badly, and stroll on in anyway. The mindfrug may suck, but it is also appealing. Why?
Consciously or not, most of us recognize mental strength is as important if not more important than physical strength. It is also much more difficult to cultivate. Our bodies react to conditioning in relatively consistent ways; our minds are a little more unpredictable. A coach can tell you how to do a workout and make sure you do it correctly, but s/he can't crawl into your brain and make you think a certain way. We are each stuck trying to figure that piece out on our own. The only way to do it is to practice. And the only way to practice is to wade knee-deep into the poop show.
When we wade into the poop show we find ourselves staring at a barbell after what seems like a million power cleans with a million more to go, thinking "I don't know if I can do this." Or we find ourselves wincing through weighted lunges, completely consumed by how much our arms hurt. To keep going we have to dig deep -- past the fatigue and past the doubtful chatter to the space where we can accept the pain and discomfort, let it roll off us like water, and pick up that barbell or do another lunge. That process is different for each of us, but it is one of the most important processes we can commit to as athletes and as human beings.
I've heard people comment that Crossfit "types" are masochists, but there is a big difference between masochism and athleticism. Masochists enjoy pain and discomfort. They dwell on it. They're stuck. Athletes, on the other hand, learn to move past pain. They don't fixate on it. They accept it and shift their attention toward the reality that they can handle any physical, mental or emotional challenge that life throws their way.
That's why Friday workouts, for all their difficulty, share a very vital similarity with other days' workouts. Athletes may be tired from wading through the poopshow. They may need a moment to shake off the mindfrug. But nine times out of ten, they have a smile on their faces when they walk out the door.
See you this Friday =)