The most important part of your body to change. By coach Kyle
Hey everyone! I have a short blog for you today about how to refocus your mind’s eye to get what you want out of your training. One of the things I love to hear coach Alison saying to her classes all the time is “Why are you here today?” What are you trying to accomplish?” She will then generally give some encouraging words that help to shift focus away from the body’s physical appearance and on something else that is a better and healthier view of why we do what we do. So can we focus on something else, but still get the physical results we want? Absolutely!
Every single man or woman who has ever walked into a CrossFit box, Bootcamp, “globo gym”, Zumba class, yoga or pilates class etc. has walked in for a reason. The reasons and motivating factors will vary greatly. General weight loss, gaining strength, adding muscle mass, general health and wellbeing, gaining flexibility/mobility, getting “in shape” for a vacation or an event that you want to look your best for, and mental and emotional wellbeing are all typical and valid reasons to train. Frankly as far as I am concerned every and any reason that motivates an individual to move more is valid. So let’s talk about vanity as a goal.
Looking better is a very honest and probably the most common reason that people take up a fitness routine. Most people want to see the actual physical change that their hard work produces. They want some payoff. Everyone wants abs and butts! Better health is the long game and should certainly be the #1 reason that anyone decides to get and stay more fit. Having said that, completely denying our vanity is both dishonest and unrealistic, but here is the problem. How do we define “fitness” by physical appearance? We can’t and we shouldn’t try.
We live in a society that has slowly conditioned us to have a sense of what we generally consider “attractive.” This pressure leads to all types of body dysmorphia or at the very least feelings of inadequacy or dissatisfaction. Even when it is indirect this influence is a constant presence in our lives.
We are inundated through media/social media with snapshots of what we all think we are supposed to look like. We airbrush photos, we use filters on our pictures, we constantly set unrealistic standards that we are doomed to fall short of.
We are all shaped very differently. From the moment we are born into this world we have a genetic map that is going to determine how we look to some degree. A man that is born to be 5’6” with a barrel chest and short thick arms and legs is never going to look like a 6’2” GQ underwear model.
Who gives a crap? Do you want to waste any of your time and energy feeling bad about things you have no control over? I don’t!!! So let’s find a better path. Here is a suggestion for how to do that.
You have to start by being open to the idea that you can reprogram your thinking.
I already mentioned photo filters. Think about this as looking at the exact same photograph, but with a different filter. It is okay to have goals for your body. It is okay to want to change your physical appearance. What you should not do is make that the primary focus of why you train. As I stated earlier there is no way to measure fitness by physical appearance. If you can change the focus of your training to be performance based then you will have attainable goals and measurable results. The physical change will follow in time.
One of my favorite things about CrossFit is that it was created with the concept of being able to measure fitness. If we repeat movements or workouts that have a performance aspect to them (How fast? How heavy? How many reps? Scaled, Rx or Rx+ etc.) then we can very simply compare performances over time and see if there is an improvement. If there is then you are more fit. It’s pretty simple. It gives us a grounds for comparing ourselves today to where we were yesterday. It gives us small attainable goals to focus on that give us a sense of pride, accomplishment, and wellbeing. That’s huge!!!! Finishing a couple weeks worth of tough training and then stepping on a scale to see if you have made “progress” can frequently lead to disappointment. You almost certainly improved your strength, speed, power, agility, balance, cardiovascular health and endurance, and muscular endurance. These are all noteworthy accomplishments to revel in and feel good about. And instead a scale says “you failed.” So we get demotivated and quit.
So here is what I want you to do. Understand that if you focus on improving certain aspects of your performance in your training sessions and combine that with better nutritional choices that you can and will change the way your body looks over time.
If over a 3 month span you can improve your 1/3/and 5 rep max on a few compound lifts, run a faster mile, row a faster 1000m meters, get closer to an Rx benchmark Wod or make better time on it, learn to hold a handstand against a wall for 20 seconds, and simultaneously eat just enough of the right foods to improve and support your performance then you will 100% absolutely see positive physical changes in your body.
The best part is that you can do it without obsessing over how you look or more specifically how you think other people think you should look.
So what’s the point? The very first part of your body that needs to change is between your ears. Start by changing your mind and what you focus on. Embrace the actual workouts and try to improve how you perform in them and the rest will start falling like dominos. You’ll walk out of the gym with constant short term victories and be hungry for more. Once that fire is lit you will be unstoppable!
Coach Kyle Hopkins. Founder/ Co-owner CrossFit Rising Sun.