WOD:

Five rounds for time of:
75/55 pound Push press, 25 reps
50 Double-unders

 Justin and Sean looking pretty mindful!

Justin and Sean looking pretty mindful!

Training Mindfulness

I have been thinking a lot about mindfulness.  I have been taking time to check in with myself – mostly to make sure I am not on autopilot.  We have all been there – right?  You wake up.  Get dressed.  Hop in the car and there you are - at work.  But you have no memory of the commute. Who was really driving that morning? Being mindful means we are focusing our attention on the present moment, and acknowledging our thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations. 

Make Every Rep Count

A couple of months ago, a good year and half into Crossfit practice, a coach came across the gym to tell me I was doing some seriously shitty air squats.  No dice. No rep.  I was clearly on autopilot and as consequence my movements went to poo.  I was embarrassed. I knew I would not progress in the sport by training a movement with poor form and I was not getting what I should out of the WOD. 

Have you forgotten to pay attention while moving through a WOD? When you don’t pay attention to each rep, you cheat yourself a little.  Unless your autopilot is Rich Froning, you probably should consider staying in your mind and your body – even when the WOD sucks.  We get better at moving by spending more time training our bodies to move correctly.  Remember, practice doesn’t make perfect.  Perfect practice makes perfect.

A couple of months ago I was tackling the benchmark girl “Angie” – 100 Pull-ups, 100 Push-ups, 100 Sit-ups, 100 Squats.  Early on during the push-ups, I remember hearing another athlete ask, “What is the standard on the push-up?” and I returned from autopilot wondering if I had completed my push-ups to standard. The chest needs to “hit the deck” I heard.  And for a moment in time I was unsure where my chest started and ended. Have you ever heard a coach say “keep your thighs up,” “chest to the deck” or “make every rep count?” They are telling you that your push-up is not to standard.  Unsure if you’re completing the movement correctly? Check-in with a coach or take a video of yourself.  Some of us are better than others with proprioception.  Being coached on the Rx push-up taught me that they were much harder, they take more time and much more out of you.  I now try to focus on each push-up and make them count; and although it sucks, it has been helpful in building strength and capacity to endure suffering.  

Count Every Rep

Recently in the middle of the benchmark “Annie” I spaced my set of 30.  “Annie” is a descending ladder rep scheme of 50-40-30-20-10 of Double Unders and Sit-ups.  Pretty simple, right? Not only that, I had just practiced “Annie” the week before.  I knew exactly what I was getting in to.  Did I grab a white board? No.  Did I grab a bead counter?  Nope.  Chips?  No thanks.  I double jumped right into auto pilot, chasing two rabbits full throttle and to my surprise and confusion I finished before them.  What just happened?  Some reflections and discussion with my nearest work out buddies helped me conclude that I just spaced the 30s.  I felt like I robbed myself.  The worst kind of thievery.  Have you ever given an all-out WOD effort, only to forget your time?  On days like that it is hard to measure our successes, compare to our rabbits or previous records. A little mindfulness before the WOD can help you make sure you have a counting device, or help you remember to record your time upon completion. 

We get excited about increasing my gains and seeing my maxes move upward.  There is no joy in feeling the pain a WOD may deliver.  However, when you can turn your awareness up when shit gets hard; well, that is the challenging growth that will make you better at Crossfit.  It sucks, but the rewards are great.  And you will see benefit from being able to better handle, and in a more mindful and thoughtful way, the pressures of work and parenting, life and living.  The deal is you always have to focus on your work, each and every rep.  No reps should be easy.  Autopilot is sloppy, start operating you with your eyes wide open.

By Rebecka Weinsteiger