There is a moment in every CrossFitter’s life (usually minute 20 of what should’ve been an 8 min workout…) that we realize modification is the life force of any CF career not destined to burn out via a spiritual kick in the face. Fran does not need to last 20 min. In fact, one’s soul might not be able to take it. And so we adjust the weight. We modify like champions and become better, stronger humans because of it.
Love this impulse! BUT WAIT! What we we totally leave out of the weight/rep/ “respect the time domain!” equation is: US
We neglect to take into account where we are at on that particular day in front of that particular whiteboard.
So often what we’re basing our modifications on is our very best self. The - just slept 8 hours, meandered through a breakfast making any nutritionist blush with joy, and has just leapt into the bliss and excitement of new love - us. Um, yeah. That us would be a CF master. But that us is rarely who shows up. And that’s ok. That’s life. But we do ourselves a disservice by never paying attention to the us who actually exists. To modify to her. To take into account, him.
Instead, we ask how we can contort ourselves to make this WOD work. Coupled with the dogma of: modify like you mean it, is also: work as hard as you possibly can. Every WOD seems to exist in a 24 hour vacuum in which whatever WOD we did yesterday is forgotten and whatever general life shenanigans we encountered before we entered the doors of the box are irrelevant. We forget that we are human. That we have lives and jobs and other humans who both make our lives gorgeous, but also occasionally, not so gorgeous. It’s all of THAT we need to take into account when training and when deciding exactly how a WOD is should go down…
One of my most favorite whiteboard questions after explaining all of things I want from a WOD (aka: how many sets it should take to get through the deadlifts, etc…) is: what do YOU want from this WOD?! Yeah you.
That is a valid question
Do you feel freaking phenomenal? Awesome. Then go for it. Maybe you take a chance and experiment with more load than you’re used to or you try for five beautiful chest to bar pull-ups each set instead of your usual three.
Are you fueled by a hint of the occasional life rage and nothing will quell it besides picking up and dropping heavy, heavy
things. Cool. Make that happen!
Did you wake up at 4AM and then spent three delightful hours staring at the ceiling thinking equal parts about all the things you have to do and how not being asleep right now is going to make all of those things 800x trickier…Yeah, maybe pump the breaks a little bit. Lighten the load. Cut the reps. Just move.
Or have you had an impossibly crap day in which everything already feels heavy without the addition of a barbell…? This is the one we so often overlook and try to power through. Not being emotionally ready to go through the gauntlet that is a WOD is not only a thing, but it is also absolutely ok. Respect those days. Be a little more gentle with yourself. Move to make your life a little lighter, not heavier.
There are so many things to consider whenever we come face to face with that whiteboard but try not to forget yourself.
What do you want? Or more importantly, what do you need?
This is a guest post from Maddie Berky. Maddie was a NCAA Champion rower and now coaches rowing and CrossFit at CrossFit Verve in Denver, CO. She is also a writer and holistic nutritionist, specializing in all things food, sex, and worthiness. For more Maddie, check out MadWellness.com or ElevationRowing.com. You can also follow her on Instagram or Facebook -Mad Wellness or Elevation Rowing.