Here’s some self honesty: I work in a friggin’ gym and I don’t workout every day. I got so into lifting for bobsledding that my Crossfit conditioning program slacked off. Now, I’m in between seasons for bobsled and I have to stay motivated. I want to lose about 17 lbs. in order to qualify for being a driver next season.
The only way I was able to stay around the 100kg max in Igls and St. Moritz was by eating nothing but salad, drinking beef broth and taking laxatives. NOT HEALTHY. So, I promised myself to do it right during the off season. Except that the season doesn’t start until September. I have 6 months to lose 17 lbs, which is plenty of time. Too much time. Without the pressure of a competition to drive me, how am I going to do it right? I have to find the motivation.
As a coach, I see athletes struggle, and I try to figure out why. Is the workout too hard? Do they not like doing it? Maybe it’s actually too easy, and you need to be pushed harder. I have to know how to read my athletes, to pick up on what’s going on with them. Sometimes simply acknowledging that they’re struggling jars them out of it and then it’s back to teaching them to suck it up.
There are times when I’m wrecked through the workout, sore as hell. But that’s not an excuse. I’m still going to do it. Sure, I get stuck. That’s when I take a step back and figure out where I am with a workout. I might be fine with a 300lb back squat one day and struggle with 250 another day. What happened? Did my diet change? Am I eating too little, too much? Am I injured, are things tight? I figure it out, adjust and keep moving forward because I’m motivated.
I’m motivated by accountability. I am making the time to do Crossfit classes with my athletes, because if I do that, I’m accountable to them. I want them to see that their coach is there, kicking ass through this workout, but that I struggle too and we’ll motivate each other. I want people to understand that it isn’t easy – it IS a struggle.
You hear Crossfit athletes working on things, but you rarely hear about the struggles. You’ll hear, ‘I hit this awesome PR today’, but they don’t talk about the 10 times they missed the lift. It has to be about more than the scale changing and seeing the physical benefits because you won’t always get those instant results.
What happens if I don’t see the scale change? I’m going to be eating leaves and drinking broth and shitting my brains out to stay at 100kg. That’s not really a good option.
It’s not that you can’t take time off – you DO need to give your muscles a chance to recover, but you can’t let standard soreness stop you.
For adaptive athletes, their motivation is inclusion. Too easy. Once they’re included in the classes we treat them just like other athletes, doing everything everyone else does, adapting only where necessary. Once they see the inclusion, they’re like holy shit! This is how it’s supposed to be.
Greg Glassman, the creator of Crossfit has a pretty simple mantra for how to be a better trainer: Care care care. Just care! Show your athletes that you care. Whether I’m holding a 4 month old baby so a mom can get in her workout, or taking the time to talk to someone, to help them through an obstacle, I’m not just going through the motions for a paycheck. It’s the same as an athlete. You have to care, it will keep you motivated when you struggle and you’re upset and you think people are judging you or you’re upset because you want to do better.