#168 Information Deficit

What gets us from “I can’t” to “I can”.

From scaled to RX. From not even applying to securing your spot. From fail to pass.

Lots of hard work, getting creative, agonising over solutions…

Well, it’s often just somebody showing us how.

Knowing the best approach, having the tried and tested method is a massive advantage.

For me, step one is always finding the right teacher.

Whether the goal is a first muscle up, starting your own music festival, or changing the culture of an organisation, somebody has probably done it before.

More than likely, the blueprint already exists.

Then, having somebody coach you through the process will seriously speed up proceedings.

Therefore, “I can’t” is never a personal failure, but simply an information deficit, and changing “I can’t” to “I can’t yet” sounds much more accurate.

#168 Information Deficit

#167 Dead Horses

Apple keep updating their software, making little improvements here and there.

Every now and again, they recognise that tinkering with the current model will no longer do. They need to build a new operating system.

It’s the nature of progress. Adopt a system that works, improve it wherever possible, squeeze every last drop out it.

Then, it reaches the point where you recognise that the current model is ageing, and becoming limited by its very structure.

Bob Dylan, at some point, had to move on from his guitar and harmonica one-man-show.

Eleiko, at some point, stopped making waffle irons to focus fully on making barbells.

Constantly working to improve the current model is always a good strategy. Until it’s not.

At that point, you gotta stop beating the dead horse build something new.

Over the past year, i have made some big structural changes to the classes at the gym, to how i teach olympic weightlifting, even to my approach to programming. I’m about to go through another one.

Here are a few small lessons i have learned.

  1. Structural change can be painful. Bob Dylans fans nearly lynched him when he got his electric band. Be ready for the backlash.
  2. Make sure you are excited about the new system. Again, your gut is rarely wrong.
  3. A new structure means learning lots of new lessons, which is positive spin for “lots of fuck-ups”.
  4. Make it a move of last resort. The upheaval is only worth it if the system actually needs changing. Don’t jump too early.
  5. Don’t wait. As soon as you have recognised that the problem is structural, pull the trigger on change. If it needs to happen, make it happen now.
#167 Dead Horses

#166 RX Regret

Have you signed up for the Filthy 150 RX division and having some nervous regret?

There’s no need, and here’s why.

Firstly, you can’t look at it like you would an individual RX competition. Its just a different thing.

In an Individual RX competition, you are going to need everything to avoid humiliation. Walk on your hands, muscle ups, snatch at least 80, clean & jerk at least 110, sub-five Fran…the list goes on.

The point is, it’s all on you.

For teams, the rules change. The guidelines state,

“You will need at least one advanced athlete and three Intermediate athletes to compete”

So, what does intermediate mean? Well, usually it means something like..

“I can do box jumps, lift a barbell pretty well, and can do some toes to bar(sort-of), maybe some pull ups, and I’m fit as well-worked sheep dog.”

There is a reason most of the newest and busiest CrossFit competitions in Ireland are Intermediate or scaled. That’s simply where the majority of the population sits.

In reality, the volume of legitimate RX individual athletes in Ireland is pretty small. With over 1000 athletes at this years Filthy 150, those guys will represent about 10% of the field.

If you are somewhere between the 40%-90%, you will probably belong in RX.

The scaled is a safe bet. I get it. But is it going to challenge you?

If so, that’s brilliant. It will be tough and you can go have a great weekend.

A competition is meant to be tough. But it’s also meant to bring out something in you that you have not found before.

It’s meant to break new ground.

Will there be advanced movements you have not done yet? Probably. But more than likely at the end of a workout where you can swing for the fences. Can i guarantee you will find everything perfectly in your comfort zone? Definitely not.

What i can promise is that if you are legitimately an intermediate athlete, you should be aiming for RX and you will not regret it.

Imagine how proud you will be of yourself once you have gone through it. Imagine how much it will push on the greater and greater things next year.

Imagine being able to call yourself an RX competitive CrossFitter.

#166 RX Regret

#165 New Gears

Lost count of how many times I saw athletes finding another gear last weekend.

Most commonly, it was right after they looked over their shoulder and saw the competition eating up ground.

All of a sudden, out of nowhere, instant acceleration.

If only we could have that on-demand. A shark fin in the water, our very own T-rex.

I often think, “what would I be doing if a CrossFit gym opened up two doors down?”

Or, “how would I be coaching if Ben Bergeron was coaching around the corner?”

Seeing that T-rex in the rear view mirror definitely changes things.

Difficult decisions become instantly clearer.

If you are a CrossFitter looking to get better, that T-rex is available regularly.

Waterford Stadium Throwdown, Filthy 150, The Celtic Games, The Open.

All opportunities to step into the jungle and find out exactly how many gears you have, and maybe even acquire some new ones.

#165 New Gears

#164 Competing This Weekend?

Competing this weekend?

6 things to remember.

1 – Go to compete
Whatever the result, scrap for every place, every second, every rep. Compete hard with those around you, regardless of the outcome. Get in the mix, don’t give an inch.

2 – Remember, it’s all a game
This is not life or death. This does not define who you are. It’s simply another interesting strand to this life. Don’t take it lightly, but carry yourself lightly. No matter how good or bad you are, everyone is a bad judge’s call, a slip, a bad nights sleep away from winning or losing it all. The result matters, but don’t sweat it. It’s just a game.

3 – The nerves go away
The worst part is the night before, and morning of the competition. They will fuck with you. They will tell you that you’re not ready, that you don’t belong here. They will run little movies in your head of you finishing last and everyone snickering. They will make you focus on the damn pistol squats. They will make you look for a way out. But once that first workout starts, they will all go away and you will be so proud of yourself for going through with it. And rightly so. Just get to the start line.

4 – Judges make mistakes
They are human, they are making a judgement call every single second for 10 minutes straight, and they are doing it all weekend long. They have top level athletes glaring at them all weekend long too, not to mention the crowd screaming in their ear. It’s the toughest job of the weekend, and they are going to get some things wrong. They just will. Please don’t lose your shit. Its not fair on them, and it will only result in you losing your composure. It helps nobody. Be nice to them and they will be forgiving on those 50/50’s.

5 – Don’t be an asshole
You can be competitive without being a dick. Competitive is not spitting venom at your fellow competitors, or celebrating their downfall. They are all just like you, there doing their best. They also woke up nervous as hell, they also are worried about making a show of themselves. You are all trying to beat each other, but you are also all in it together.

6 – Have fun
It’s such a cliche, but like most cliches, there is a lot of truth in it. You have worked hard to put yourself in a position where you can actually go and be involved in a sporting event. Plus, it’s the sport that you love, and you are surrounded with your own people. What’s the point if you can’t enjoy it? You’re doing this for you, so keep smiling.

#164 Competing This Weekend?

#163 Micro-Progress & Blind Faith

There you are, upside down against the wall, ready to do your first ever handstand push up.

As you press into the floor with everything you’ve got, you feel your shoulders activate.

This is it!

Then…. nothing. Head doesn’t budge an inch.

Progress tends to happen on a micro level.

At least day-to-day, week-to-week.

Its easy to see it on the barbell.

Every week a lift can go up or down a couple of kilos. The point is you can see the change.

I am training and it’s having an effect.

Now, go back next week and try that handstand push up.

You give it everything again and head stays glued to the floor.

The result looks exactly the same.

Maybe you have recruited 5% more muscle fibres, maybe you are 5% closer to completing the rep.

Progress has happened, you just can’t detect it.

“Ah, i’m getting nowhere”

Motivation to keep trying quickly evaporates.

So does your progress.

So, now you are in the realm of blind faith.

“My coach says if I keep practicing, it will happen eventually.”

Doesn’t take long til you start questioning everything.

“Maybe I’m doing the wrong exercise. Maybe i’m just not designed to do this movement.”

The reality is, it just takes a time and persistence.

So, the question is, how long can you keep the faith?

#163 Micro-Progress & Blind Faith

#162 Competition Week

For the investor, money under the mattress is nothing but waste.

Every day it sits there, it’s missed opportunity.

Could be out working for you, getting a return.

For the saver, it’s the opposite.

Every day adding a few more quid, the fund growing stronger, edging ever closer to that next big purchase.

The investor wants to empty the mattress every week, while the saver wants to fill it.

Any normal training week, you should be thinking like an investor, spending every ounce of energy on the things that will give you the biggest return on investment.

On a competition week, you should think like the saver, storing away whatever you can until the weekend when you can go out and spend every penny of it on that shiny new…


#162 Competition Week