Truth Time: How to Progress while Working On It

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It’s time for some hard truths. Every so often we have to sit back and remind ourselves about a few things. In Crossfit, in fitness and in life in general. Sometimes they may be difficult to hear, but the old adage about “that which does not kill us” remains poignant and necessary. So read on, and really self reflect, you’re the only one who’s gonna do it for yourself (see #3).

#1) Squatting Below Parallel

The importance of squatting below parallel is so huge that the Crossfit world is practically based on this and this alone. Its unavoidable and all consuming. Your ability to squat low with a straight back and weight in your heels is perhaps your most necessary life skill. There are books and videos, blogs, articles and folk tales about good squatting. If you can’t squat below parallel, why not? If you don’t know, FIND OUT. If you DO know, are you working to remedy your deficiency? If not, WHY NOT?!

Its been said before and I’ll say it again, your first hard truth is “nobody cares what you back squat if you can’t squat to depth.” You’re wasting your time by putting weight on the bar.

You wouldn’t call it a goal in soccer if the ball didn’t ACTUALLY go in the net. You would say “nice try, but….” Ditto for squats.

#2) Doing Work versus Getting Work In

There is a difference between working on your weaknesses and getting a good workout. You can’t have both all the time. You just can’t. If you’re concerned about fixing your weaknesses (which you should be), there are days where you won’t lift heavy. You have to be ok with this if you expect to improve. Some days are about grabbing an empty barbell or pvc and hanging out in the lowest squat you are capable of. AND THAT’S IT. If you want a good workout, that’s what the metcon is for. Pick a modification (or ask your coach) that allows you to give it your all without worrying about technical details. Output over complicated moves. The second hard truth: “sometimes you need to separate your technical work from your workout”. If your squat snatch is garbage, don’t do it in a metcon. Maybe hang power snatch. Maybe dumbbell snatch. Maybe BOX JUMP.

#3) Nobody Gives a Shit

And this is the real hard truth. Nobody cares about your workout. Nobody cares what you lift, or how fast you go. Nobody cares if you get your chin over the bar in a pull-up or whether you’re doing box step ups or jumps. Nobody cares if your squat is shit. This is because it’s not theirs. Now, this is not to say that people don’t care about YOU. We’re all happy when our friends succeed and we all share a grimace when our friends fail. We are bonded by mutual suffering and that is the beauty of the community. There will always be someone ready with a fist bump, a smile and a helping hand. But this is primarily a personal sport and a personal hobby. So the only one who SHOULD give a shit about you is YOU. You can’t get your chin above the bar on a pull-up but you can do 20 reps to halfway with three bands? That’s you. Can’t squat below parallel but can overhead squat 95 pounds a quarter of the way down? That’s you too. You’re the only one who cares and the only one whose ego may be getting in the way of you getting better. It’s just you.

So. In light of all this, take a moment and reflect. Are you tying your success and failure to meaningless numbers and times? Or are you observing yourself critically every day and trying to be better? Not just trying to go heavier or faster, but be BETTER. There’s a marked difference there and realizing that will keep you improving for the rest of your life.

Or not. After all, it’s just you.

-Jesse Kirkeby
CrossFit Newmarket Central & CrossFit Aurora Central

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