Posts Tagged ‘FitFam’

At the beginning of 2018, I challenged myself to write one post per day on this blog. As of today, the 57th day of the year, I’m staying pretty consistent with my goal. While there still aren’t a “ton” of people who read on a regular basis, I still love adding to it each week. (For context, I had 113 views last week when I posted my strategy video for workout 18.1; far below my daily readership when this site was running at full speed a few years ago.) Believe it or not, I spend over 10 hours per week working on it! And while some of what I share isn’t anything to write home about, I will at least work on a post every single day. The thing I struggle with the most some days is deciding what to write about. Since this blog is mostly about fitness, that’s what the majority of my posts will cover. There are days, however, where I want to talk about something completely different. In order to keep my momentum, I’l like to enlist the help of my readers.

If you have ideas on topics you’d like me to cover, I’d absolutely love to hear them! Segments you like or don’t like? Let me know! With your input, my content can be more in line with what you’d like to see.

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There are also probably two dozen people that have come up to me and told me they keep forgetting to check my blog because I almost never post about it on social media. If you’re one of those people and are interested in following more closely, at the top right corner of the main page you can click a button to be notified when I post something new. Otherwise, I’ll try to be better about including notes on my Instagram page if I think something is particularly interesting. I started this page to foster a community of people who like helping each other, and there is still so much more value I feel we can add together.

Thank you for the love and feedback you give when you tell me what you like about my content. Thank you for giving it to me straight when you disagree with something I post (even if you don’t always say it in the comments section), and engaging in productive dialogue in the process. Thank you to those who have shared my posts or told their friends to check out the site. And thank you for continuing to follow along on my journey of trying to help people become a little bit more fit, and hopefully a little bit more entertained, just by stopping by my silly blog!

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Here’s last week’s recap and my goals for the upcoming week. Not a particularly successful week by “bullet point” standards, but it happens.

Last week:

  • Fitness
    • It wasn’t a particularly great week of training for me as I was “forced” to take an extra rest day because of an insane work schedule, but it’s alright. I moved when I could, and sometimes that needs to be good enough!
    • If I had to pick one thing, it’d be not missing a snatch up to 200lbs on Wednesday, but that’s really it.
    • The first workout of the 2018 CrossFit Games Open is in the books! I don’t think I could have done much better, and the energy around the internets will be crazy for the next four weeks. Good luck to everyone competing!
  • Sleep was alright, but certainly not great. I need to be more consistent.
  • My busy weekend of training clients didn’t allow me to get to the drywall in the garage. But due to a really successful Saturday of coaching, I added a class to train junior athletes to my weekly schedule, so that’s really positive!

This week:

  • I plan to record my strategy video for the second workout of the 2018 CrossFit Games Open. I got some really positive feedback from people on the one last week, and that always makes me happy!
  • I reflected on the goals that I set for February earlier today, and believe I hit NONE of them! It’s so crazy to realize how quickly time flies. Since this is the last week of the month, I plan to spend some time thinking about how to set more realistic short term goals for myself. Long term goals are important, but in the few days and weeks in front of my face, I think it’s possible to set mini milestones to help keep encouraging progress.

Alright, your turn. What’s going on with all of you?

The pic of the week comes from a concert we saw at the Fox Theater in Boulder, CO. The DJ’s name is Defunk, and if you’ve never heard him before, you should check out his Defunk Presents “The Funk Trunk Mixes” on Soundcloud. They’re great!

Fitness is awesome! Seriously. There are literally thousands of ways that we can improve our health and wellness, increase our ability to survive and thrive, and enhance our skills in order to perform particular tasks. It truly is all around us, and so many things impact our level of fitness at any given moment. It’s not just about lifting weights or going for a run. Nutrition, rest and recovery, and our mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being are also critical pieces of the pie that can make us not only happier, but more effective and powerful beings.

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While at any given moment, each one of us might be on a separate fitness path, I have found that asking my athletes one question can make a profound difference in their training: “Why are you here?” A lot of people don’t immediately know what to say, but spending some time reflecting on the answer can help in a lot of ways.

Some athletes want to get stronger, others are looking to gain flexibility, and some just want to be able to eat and drink whatever they want. To some, spending time in the gym allows them to improve their health markers, potentially reduce the amount of prescription medicines they need to take. If an athlete is just in the gym to have fun, that’s completely fine. Usually, however, I’ve found there’s more to it than that. Even if they don’t aspire to compete in a local CrossFit event, people usually at least have the goal to get that first pull-up or muscle-up, or they strive to hit that 100- or 200-pound clean and jerk! By identifying a few specific goals, a training plan can be adjusted to accomplish them much faster!

For me, personally, NOT having a specific goal is a cop-out. It relieves me from needing to commit additional time to get better at any one thing. If my goal was just to “look better naked” that would be fine. But honestly, it’s been too long since I’ve TRAINED with a purpose in mind. The more I’m asked if I’ll compete in CrossFit again, the more I struggle with deciding what I want do for my next challenge. Individual or team comp? Power lifting or Olympic Weightlifting meet? Masters swim meet? A running race like a 5k or 10k? Who knows?! The point is nothing has me fired up enough to throw down. I’m hoping I find something soon, though.

It’s completely normal and very common for motivation to change from year to year, month to month, or even minute to minute. I just want to challenge you to be more deliberate in your training, and not just go through the motions. Moving with purpose, as I said in a post last week, is critical, but moving with A PURPOSE can be a game changer. That said, what is your action item? It’s time to pick something to focus on for the next few days, weeks, months.

Figure out what fitness means to you, and why you’re choosing to spend time in the gym each week. Are you registered for the Open? Is that your focus? If yes, what is your plan to attack each week as effectively as possible? Are you training for an event this spring? What can you do today, this week, and next, to better prepare yourself to succeed? Want to get that six-pack for summer? How much additional core work will you do each week? Feel free to share your goal(s) with me in the comments. As many of you know, once you write something down, it typically helps us remain more accountable!

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This weekend we got out of town and came up to Breckenridge, Colorado for a few days! The sun is shining, people are smiling, and while it’s not even noon, we’ve already had breakfast, got in a workout at CrossFit Low Oxygen, and now we’re posted up at a local coffee shop to get a bit of work done! One thing that we always try to do on our trips is make time to workout. Why? Because Em is an active and fit human who takes care of her body, and I would just sit and day drink on patios around the world all day every day if she wasn’t there to help me reel it in. A healthy balance of the two makes us a pretty good team when we want to be!

I used to do a “Smashby Drops In” series on this blog, and while looking through my archives, I saw that it’s been nearly six years since my last post of this kind. What better time to bring it back, than right now, that “the blog is back” in full swing! I have been to one other gym in and around Breckenridge (and that gym is CrossFit Breckenridge), so today I decided to check out a new box. Since I have several friends who had been to Low Oxygen before, and one couple who considers this their “home gym away from home” when they’re up at their mountain house, choosing it was a no-brainer.

The options for Saturday workouts I saw were a Partner WOD at 9am, and then a regular class at 10am. Since Em and I never get to work out together, I thought it’d be nice to choose the Partner WOD. We got there a little early, since I tend to be a “late person” (as Em calls me), so we had a few minutes to just move around a little on our own before class. The gym is cool, has lots of toys, and was really clean! I also go to try out my BRAND NEW DSX FLYKNIT METCONS I bought at the Nike Outlet store last night!!

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What are thoooooose?!

Once 9:00 hit everyone came together to warm-up, coach let everyone know that we were drop-ins, and introduced us to the class. While some people don’t like being the center of attention, I am a firm believer in making guests feel welcome. Thanks for that!

 

The workout (above) had rowing in it, so after some general mobility work, we did partner Rowling. (Alternate every 100m, your partner does the meters you’re over or under!, and go to 1,000) Over the course of the next ten minutes or so, we were walked through a Power Clean warm-up, and were shown proper range of motion requirements for balls slams and knee tucks. Once people got all set up, the clock counted down and we were off.

 

Em and I alternated 250m distances on the rower while the other one planked, and I was holding in the mid-1:30’s as my pace. It’s less than a minute, so I thought I’d be good. For the Power Cleans, I chose 135lbs since coach wanted them to be unbroken. Slam balls we opted for a 30lber since we were sharing. She would have gone up if I let her! (“What? I grew up with 30’s, they’re not hard!”) About halfway through the middle part of the workout, it hit me. I haven’t worked out at 9,000+ feet in a LONG time, and the shortness of breath was rough! On the Cash Out, you switched rowers every time someone lowered their legs, and I was barely able to hold a knee tuck on the parallettes for 30 seconds. Poor Em probably thought, “Dude! Let me row!” Our final time was 19:24.

Over the course of the hour, we interacted with every other athlete in the class, and they were all super friendly. Thanks for making us feel like a part of the family this morning, CrossFit Low Oxygen!

 

Here’s last week’s recap and my goals for the upcoming week.

Last week:

  • Fitness- The more time passes this year, the more appreciative I am of the little things that go well in my training. My expectation used to be that I had to hit big numbers in strength, and push hard on workouts. Both things had to be there, every day. Now, I look back on training and am excited to see that a few things go well every week. That’s been more than enough to keep me going lately.
    • Metcons:
      • 5 Rounds: 20/15 Calorie Row/Bike and 10 Thrusters (115/80) – 9:53rx
      • For Time:
        – 40/30 Cal Bike or Row
        – 100′ Front Rack Walking Lunge (DB 50/35)(KB 53/35)
        – 25/20 Cal Bike or Row
        – 100′ DB Walking Lunge
        – 15/10 Cal Bike or Row – 7:39rx
      • For Time:
        – 2k Row (or 1 mile run)
        – 200 Double Unders (300 singles)
        – 10 Rounds of Cindy (C2B Cindy) – 22:21c (chest to bar)
    • Barbell work:
    • Calorie Total:
      • The challenge this month was to accumulate 2,018 calories on a rower or bike. My goal last week was to complete an additional 1,000 calories, and I did it. I’m currently sitting at 2,300 for February.
  • Progress still continues slowly on my first book of the year (Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual by Jacko Willink). I knew that it would be hard to prioritize sitting down and making time to read instead of doing some sort of work, but not this tough! I’m always so convinced that there are other things I need to be doing until the second I close my eyes to go to sleep, but at least I’m plugging away.

This week:

  • Write one “The 2018 Open is Coming” post
  • More progress on the book (Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual by Jacko Willink)
  • Complete one thousand more calories on the bike and/or rower before next Sunday. Feeling good about the extra cardio I’m doing, I just need to MAKE time to get it in! Another 1,000 would put me at 3,300 by next weekend.
  • Swimming Post is basically done, just working on fine-tuning details on the graphic/poster! Booked another 2 new swim clients this week for later in the month, too.

Alright, your turn. What’s going on with all of you?

Have a great week!

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First of all, I’m not sure if I’ve ever written the word don’ts before, but it looks weird!

Ok, back to the focus of the post: Accessory Work

If you are an athlete that steps foot into a CrossFit gym on a regular basis, odds are that there are three to four-hundred things you’d like to improve to become a better athlete. Identifying some, or all, of those things typically leads athletes down one of three paths.

Path Number One

“That’s way too many things to try and improve… therefore, I shall choose to improve none of them!”

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Path Number Two

“I want to get better at Handstand Push-Ups. My legs need to get stronger. If I can improve my engine, I’ll get more rounds in workouts. With more flexible ankles, my rowing will get better. I want to get a PR on Murph next year. But I’d also like to beat my Fran time. ROM WOD 8 days per week will help me. I think I want to go that Double-Under clinic next weekend.” ~ The consecutive thoughts of one person

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Yes, there is a laundry list of things we can all improve upon, but trying to attack too much at once is unrealistic and really not smart. Why, you ask? Because some people (yes, I’m talking to you) will spend 30 minutes after class every day working on Muscle-Ups. Thirty minutes. Hanging and swinging from rings or a bar. After they’re tired from a workout. Not only will that likely lead to tearing hands, but trying to be explosive and technically precise after 60 minutes of torture (excuse me, I mean intense physical exertion) isn’t usually the best plan.

Path Number Three

Be a planner. Pick a few things you’d like to start improving. Find a person, or people, who can help you create an intelligent training plan or progression. If applicable, have someone who can watch you practice, or if you video your attempts, those who can give you constructive feedback. Too often “we don’t know what we don’t know,” and having a more experienced person in your corner can help foster huge breakthroughs. After a few weeks, note your progress on those items in your training log (yay, progress!) and create a new list!

Now, I’ve got Good News and Bad News:

The Good News is that in our sport of CrossFit, you LITERALLY have an ENDLESS list of things you can choose to improve at any given moment.

The Bad News, is that you’ll never be good at ALL of it. So don’t even try.

But, really, that’s also still the Good News! I’m telling you that (for most people in nearly every circumstance) you can work on a single skill foreverrrr, and still be able to keep improving over time! That is so awesome. Most things that are worth keeping don’t happen overnight, either.

If there’s anything I can do to help you on your journey, let me know. Set realistic goals. Have a plan. And actually try your best to enjoy the journey. If all goes well, we’ll be on it for a long time!

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Before I coach a class, I usually ask a question of the day to the people in attendance. In the past, I thought that was kind of a cheesy thing to do (which maybe it is), but as I get to work with the same athletes more over time, it really helps to paint a more complete picture of who they are as people. For example, if someone is always working on the weekends, maybe they’re in a field like medicine or law enforcement. That’s a fun detail for me to know about them. If they’re proud of a particular PR they had, or are interested in improving a certain movement, I can congratulate them or offer to help them get better. If I ask if anyone has seen a good movie lately, there might be four of five great suggestions tossed out. Plus, in a world where a CrossFit gym can feel more like an assembly line at times (get in, warm up, work out, … NEXT!), it’s nice to take 3-4 minutes to interact on a more human level with each other!

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There are fun things that can be learned by asking silly questions before a class, but it also opens the door to something potentially more meaningful. Last week I asked the class to share something that they are grateful for with one another. Some answers were fairly simple, such as being “thankful for not needing to set an alarm on the weekend.” Others got a bit more personal with people being thankful for “the health of my family and close friends.” Everywhere we look, “experts,” psychologists, and gurus are telling us that showing gratitude is one of the most important things you can do in order to move towards living your best life. And while there are a lot of “advice fads” out there, when time passes and the same strategies keep proving to be effective, maybe they’re not a fad after all… maybe they just work. (Sound familiar? What up, CrossFit!)

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The answers I heard last week made me think that the gratitude question may become a staple in my Friday classes. Here’s part of the reason why. It’s so easy to get caught up in how busy life is these days. When someone asks how you are, the standard “Fine, and you?” is the path of least resistance for most of us! If for 20 seconds on one day, I can have people stop and think about A SINGLE THING that they’re grateful for… that moment has the potential to reshape the course of their day… maybe their week! If I’m having a pity party for myself and stop to think about how lucky I am to have a roof over my head and food on the table, maybe missing a stupid lift in a workout won’t seem so bad. If I remember that I was able to help someone do their first rope climb, maybe I’ll stop being such a baby about the fact that I forgot to pack a breakfast burrito with me that morning. Yes, I can be petty and dramatic over stupid things, but stopping to smell the roses every once in a while can be powerful. If you’re reading this blog, odds are your life is SO good compared to (literally) millions of people in the world. My hope, is that by offering a few seconds to reflect on something that we’re appreciative to have, we can all be just a little bit happier.
Today, I’m thankful that I got to see so many faces light up in the gym when people exceeded their own expectations! That’s definitely one of the best parts of my job! So, I appreciate all of you!

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A lot of people have said the first month of 2018 has dragged on forever. Others have already called for the arrival of 2019 so they can start over fresh. C’mon, friends! I know that things aren’t always sunshine and rainbows, but you’ve got to snap out of this negativity. Most of us go through life in waves of emotion…. today things are great, tomorrow they’re horrible, this week they’re amazing, next week the worst… that’s what being a human is all about! It’s our ability to bounce back from the bad with a smile on our faces, and be appreciative for the good moments, while realizing that they may not stick around forever.

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By providing a monthly recap, I’m striving to focus on a few of the things that happened over every four weeks or so throughout the year. In keeping a list of (mostly positive) things that I’ve experienced, on the days when I feel sorry for myself, I can always reflect back and say, “But look at what you’ve done so far this year! Check out where you’ve gone! Life is pretty good!” Helping other people find the good in things is really easy for me to do. That means this year I can work on practicing what I preach in this very specific way! YOU can also use this blog to serve as a place where you can share your own goals and successes, as well. I want this space to be INTERACTIVE, so if you put yourself out there, acknowledge the good, and share with your friends, we can all be accountabilibuddies together.

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Ok, here we go!

January 2018

Fitness- First and foremost, I didn’t get hurt! That’s huge. As we get older, the body doesn’t always bounce back like used to, and mine certainly does not! While I’m still training by myself 90+% of the time, I have made an effort to hop into a few classes here and there. So yay for working out with other humans on occasion!
In terms of actual numbers, I’d say my favorite lifts of the month were my deadlifts. With a lifetime 1RM of 450lbs, I hit sets of three reps on both Conventional and Sumo Deadlift over 400lbs. I hang-snatched 230lbs which was fun, and the heaviest I clean and jerked was 275lbs. Hitting a Front Squat at 300lbs and a 315lb Back Squat was nice. I also took my first ever Yoga class with Em, and it was just as stressful as I thought. By the end, I couldn’t even use my mat because it was too sweaty!

For February, I’d love to Clean and Jerk 285lbs and Snatch 235, bringing me a little closer to my lifetime bests. Hitting 315 for a single Front Squat and repping 315 for Back Squats without completely crashing at the bottom are on that list, too. Next, I’d love to hit 10 consecutive Ring Muscle-Ups. Finally, running a mile under 6:00 and rowing 500m in under 1:35. I’m starting with goals I hope to hit, then building from there as the year goes on. Finally, I’ll aim to take another fitness class I’ve never done before. Not sure where or when, but that’s my goal!

House- This was a big month for me as a “Home Owner” doing home owner things. First, Em bought a ton of new toys; a snow blower, leaf blower, AND a power washer! I installed an outlet in the garage all by myself, everyone! Finally, as of today, insulation has been installed in the garage, and we’re 1/3 of the way through dry-walling it.

For February, I’d like to finish putting up drywall in the garage, AND installing our Pegboard. That’s a lofty goal since it’s a short month and we’re out of town one weekend, but let’s see what we can do!

Other- I successfully made it through posting once per day for the entire month! That’s big for me, and I’m really proud of myself. We adopted another dog! Her name is Dakota, and she is an 11 year old pug mix. Homegirl made herself right at home, and she and Bacon get along great. I got to see one of my brothers and his entire band, the Big Mean Sound Machine, when they toured through Colorado for the first time. Also, we hosted ALL of them at our house. It was awesome! We got out of town once, too, when we spent New Years in Manhattan, Kansas.

For February, I’d like to prevent Em from adopting another dog! It would be really nice to say I’ve read two books in 2018 by the end of the month, too. It’s been a rough start, but I’ll keep working on it. There will also be a new Meal Prep video on the blog. Instead of copping out and featuring a meal I’ve made dozens of times, I’ll make something for the first time and document it for you!

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What our house would look like if Em had her choice, only they’d all have short legs!

Is there a single workout program that tops all others? I don’t think so. Most people work out to improve their overall health, to look and feel better, and to allow them to participate in other activities in their lives. So if one program isn’t the best, why are people so adamant at tearing down those who decide to take care a different path to be more active? Well, it’s because people are the worst sometimes, that’s why.

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I tell athletes all the time that depending on what your goals are, almost ANY form of moving one’s body is great for you! Walking the neighborhood? Love it! Lifting weights? Why not? Dancing with your friends? Also awesome. The difference in effectiveness only starts to really matter when the athlete’s goals become more specific.

If you want to run really fast or jump really high, you should probably get strong legs and work on explosive movements often. If you are trying to lose a lot of weight, it makes sense to spend time working on high intensity interval type training and improving your diet. Would you like to improve your core strength and mobility, Pilates and Yoga would be a great place to start. Want to look good at the beach? Start doing those curlz for the girlz (and/or boyz). If you want to be good at CrossFit…. good luck. Practice everything, all day, every day, and I’ll see you in 10 years. (But seriously, it’s a tough sport to try and excel at everything!)

If you goal is to simply be healthier, more “fit” (whatever that means to you), and have a body that is more capable of doing things out in the real world, try all of it! My goal this year is to try one new fitness class per month. Why haven’t I taken an Orange Theory class yet? Would I survive a Stand-Up Paddle Board Yoga class? I mean…. define survive.

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The point is, having the ability to move in weird and crazy ways is an absolute gift. So many people are injured or faced with disabilities and would love nothing more than to have the opportunity to embarrass themselves at a Zumba class even though they might not have rhythm. Sometimes when it comes to our own physical abilities, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” Don’t take that for granted. Get out of your comfort zone, challenge your body and your brain more often, and remember to ALWAYS encourage others who are on their own journey to take care of themselves.

Those who make fun of someone at the gym for being overweight are really bad people. In my mind, having the courage to take active steps to improve your life deserves endless and unrelenting praise and support from every single person you know. One sit-up may not help a person lose the 30lbs they aim to shed, but doing that first sit-up can be a tipping point for a lifetime of healthier habits that could easily lead to surpassing any weight loss goals!

So put on your sneakers, find a friend, and try something new in the next few weeks. It might be an absolutely hilarious disaster, so if nothing else it’ll be a fun story to tell to your friends. Let me know what you get out there and do. Maybe I’ll try it, too!

In over 20 years of coaching individuals, I’ve used several motto’s or catch phrases to try and deliver a consistent message to my athletes. One of the early ones, that I still think about to this day, is reminding my athletes to move with purpose. Don’t flop your way through air squats just to get them done. Instead, realize that each rep, no matter how boring it may seem at the time, has the opportunity to make you stronger. Focus on your breathing when holding a mountain climber, and be aware that by driving through the heel of your front foot, you’ll get a deeper stretch. When you’re running, keep your chest up, shoulders relaxed, and find a rhythm that will help you control your breathing. You get the point. Moving with purpose is important, and I always want the people I work with to remember that!

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Lately, my new favorite phrase to say is, “When in doubt, slow it down!” What does that mean? For one, in this crazy sport of ours, moving faster is usually associated with being better. Get through the workout in less time, complete more rounds in the same amount of time, go, go, go! Unfortunately, what that also means a lot of the time is that athletes will move faster at the expense of good form. Most people I work are going to the gym in order to be healthier. If the focus is rushing through movements in the interest of going faster, technique typically suffers, increasing the likelihood of someone getting hurt. If they get hurt, they’re not necessarily getting better, are they?

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My advice, specifically on movements that are more technical, is to move a little bit slower than you think you should. Controlling the “down” portion of the squat and exploding up not only gives the athlete more time under tension (more gainz?), but also more time think about moving safely. I’d rather go 15 seconds slower on a workout and be safer and clearly complete full range of motion. Keep in mind that I’m not an elite-level competitor, I’m merely a recreational exercise racer. That said, for those who are training to compete, if they trained with full range of motion every day, and got to a competition with a “lenient” judge, they could maybe shorten each rep and get away with it. And what a treat that would be for them! On the other hand, if that same person always sprinted reps, and never fully locked out a single push-up during training…. and then they showed up to a competition with a strict judge who no-repped everything they did, it would be a lot more difficult for them to adjust. It’s a very similar concept to training heavier than you’ll need to compete (using a heavier wall ball for example) then going down to standard weight on game day and being able to move faster.

Practice typically doesn’t make perfect. But let me tell you, the people I know who practice with intention, move with purpose, and focus on slower and deliberate movement all the time almost always perform better when it matters most! Don’t base the value of your performance and training on the scores you produce or the times you get on workouts. Instead, focus more on moving with virtuosity, and the condition of your body. Most of us are in this thing for the long haul. If you want your body to serve you for years to come, treat it that way. If you’re ever wondering whether or not you’re doing something quite right, just remember… When it doubt, slow it down!