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September 11, 2018

What Are Your Standards?

What Are Your Standards?

   When deciding to write this article I read several others in need of inspiration on how to attack this topic while not being as long winded as I normally am – too bad, I’m still long winded! Anyways, I found this awesome quote that I am going to just leave here.

“How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself” – Epictetus

   Today, I am writing about the standards we hold ourselves to in a WOD and why having standards matter when it comes to the big picture. At the count of 3-2-1-GO, some athletes will often throw out their standards in order to beat a certain time or person. During a WOD like “Barbara” – high rep and full of movements that are easy to shortcut, it is all too tempting to lower our standards.  Hint: Your peers MAY notice, but your Coaches WILL definitely notice.

    It’s our jobs as Coaches to watch you move, and hold you to a standard, but we cannot enforce it.  I AM a HARDASS when it comes to standards (especially for myself), but I am not going to yell in your face repeatedly or threaten to take away your FitAid privileges – I am not your parent or babysitter. I will give a clear explanation of the standards at the Powwow before the WOD, let you know a few times during, and move on if you don’t seem to care. Your character is your decision, it is your WOD after all.

    Character and a WOD, really? I need character to do my Crossfit WOD? Uh yeah you do, and what we do in the gym reveals who we are. To be “successful” in class I think an athlete needs: Honesty, Integrity, Respect for self and others, and Grit. It’s a house of cards, you give up one of these and they all crumble.  If we can’t hold ourselves to those characteristics in a little workout for “fun” what does our character look outside the gym?

   This in no way applies for those members with the mobility or injury issues that cause them not to be able to achieve a full movement standard. We know you are doing the best you can and holding yourself to the highest standard you can. I also understand the newbies who are just trying to move and survive – it’s easy to lose track of reps sometimes when you’re trying to do it right and just here to get a good sweat.  

   With that said, if you have been here a while and a “bad counter” (aka: “rep shaver”), and you know it, you need to develop ways to ensure honesty. We have members that write the WHOLE WOD on their own personal board (Denelle<3) to make sure they don’t miss something. I split my reps into sets and count my sets. When I lose my spot in a WOD, because it happens once in a while, I would much rather do more reps than less, so I will do my best and do extra if needed.

   Also, when we give you Rx movement standards, I expect Rx execution. You don’t get to be RX if half the Pullups you count are chin-below-bar. If I give you Fitness standards, or Sizzle I expect the same execution. This is where Honesty and Integrity are characteristics that matter. You have to be Honest with the quality of your reps, and have the Integrity to stick by the standards of those movements.  

   Respect yourself and respect others. You are disrespecting all of the honest competitors and friends who are WODDing next to you every day. How is it ok to beat someone and be proud of it if you haven’t done what they have done? Mostly, you are disrespecting yourself by doing this. Respect your own abilities and respect your ability to not be first at the cost of your character.

   Here’s my last characteristic: Grit. Grit to me is being relentless in your pursuit of excellence, your willingness to push yourself and accept the tough stuff. The tough stuff being, accepting that you did a no rep, and not moving on until you have done it according to your HIGH standards. Grit is pushing it in a WOD and accepting your effort was the best you could do, even if it was slower than someone else. Grit is deciding to go RX because you want to do the full movements even if you are slow, or Grit is accepting you can’t go RX today and working as hard as you can in the next division. Going Rx does not show more Grit, it has nothing to do with what you can do. It’s how you do it.

   If we are not holding ourselves accountable in class, how are we training ourselves to respond in other situations? Here is a Crossfit applicable example: If you never do full Pullups in a class, how do you expect you will do when you actually compete and have someone that CAN no rep you for that chin not going above the bar? Police officers don’t half ass learning how to aim a firearm if they wish to live through a hostile encounter on the job. Or, if you’re the one half-assing your Pullups, are you just half-assing other things in your life too?

   So, I am going to challenge you to examine what standards are you holding yourself to in your Crossfit class and in your life. Do your standards reflect who you think you are?

Happy WODDing,

- Coach Jamie B.