I think of motivation as an external stressor. Fire, cold, hunger or cultural pressure all have the ability to influence the individual but only when in range. This is fleeting. This is unsustainable.
Being “motivated” is a defensive position, it is in reaction to; rather, we need a “because of”.
We need something from within to breath life into our reasons for doing. A spirit (as in essence of). An inspiration.
Inspiration is offensive, it is aggressive purpose. The difference between the two will multiply your effort.
5min easy bike
3x5 banded Nordic leg extensions
3x5 bridge from bear
3-position crouch to bridge
3 rounds NFT:
10x GHD situp
Work to heavy set of 5 Bench Press
60sec AMRAP/ 60sec rest/ 20min
200m row + 10x HSPU
60min easy Bike Erg
What is gratitude if it’s never shown?
We often hit on the themes of honest self-reflection or ruthless self-assessment. These are often not positive—at least initially—and our discussions are often filled with realism to the point of pessimism (the curse of critical thinking). But there is a time to stop correcting the ills of human nature; a time to stop and be thankful. We are unbelievably lucky and grateful to the enormous support shown for our project.
Over the past few weeks we have felt the return of our labor, in the most sincere form and it is nothing short of overwhelming.
We often joke that paying us compliments or adorning us with positive feedback is not useful, but this is not exactly true. Over the past few weeks we have sifted through emails, comments, and messages that help remind us that what we are working on, talking about, and producing is having an impact on peoples lives, this is not something we take lightly, although it is something that is mostly acknowledged silently.
I for one have a hard time accepting gratitude, perhaps because it is a glaring reminder that I need to show more of it, and that I am not worthy of what I have been given.
No matter where this project goes or whatever it develops into, it will be a highlight of my life to have been a part of it and to have been able to interact with the people that I have. This is not possible without support, without others questioning our ideas, being critical, and helping us develop and refine into something that is universally accepted.
warm 20min walk
3x10 lunge + alternating kick
build to heavy push jerk
even- 3x ring muscle ups
odd- 5x push jerk @ 80kg
hammer strength lay pull down machine
4x drop set 5/8/12
5x5 DB deadlift at 2x75lbs
4x20 BB bi-curl
3x10 KB rack lunge + press
3x5 ball over shoulder @ 40, 50, 60kg
3x5 ball lunge @ 40, 50, 60kg
40x atlas ball lunge@ 60/40kg
30x ring dip
20x ball over shoulder @60/40kg
What did you mean “we are not our thoughts”?
I recently got this question regarding a comment I made on The Dissect Podcast. I mentioned it in passing while we were recording Ep. 54, alluding to a reoccurring theme, but diving into it felt like bad timing.
This question could fill a book (and has), but I will I’ll try my best to illuminate the importance of contextualizing our thoughts even though I’m not specifically qualified to do so.
So much of our Self is represented by the secret activity of our brain. Constantly internalizing opinions, expressions, and absurdities. This voice is “us” but it is also not us. It talks to us in our own voice and narrates things that we are doing, it is a passenger and yet it feels like it is driving.
It is a by-product of our brain’s attempt at being an efficiency machine; looking for patterns by providing explanations—or perhaps it was just lonely evolving all those millions of years so it developed in order to keep us company. Regardless, we value the power of our internal thoughts but we should also recognize the tendency of them to lead us astray.
We have the ability to think terrible things—about ourselves and others. However inconvenient it is in the present, jumping to conclusions is an evolutionary advantage. Snap decisions about the world we live in led to survival when we were most vulnerable. Now it seems our thought process in a world of plenty and comfort has the tendency to cause self destruction.
A tenth of a second slower on a simple effort is enough to influence the perception of our self, and unwind months of hard work. I’ve seen this actually happen in real time. An arbitrary standard of a sub-7 minute 2km row was undertaken by someone who worked tirelessly on it—someone who was of high physical standards but perhaps not the best somatotype for rowing. He came up short (in two ways), rowing exactly 7:00.0—NOT sub. The anguish was palpable and awkward. He had shaved nearly 36-seconds off his previous attempt but that would go unmentioned. It was futile—the look on his face was one of defeat. I can only imagine the harsh criticism and immolation that was bouncing around his skull, and for what reason? What possible use could internalizing that we are losers, scum-of-the-earth or not worthy of respect be? How does hating our Selves improve our chances at survival?
The “honesty” is simply misguided.
The paradox here is that the sort of person who is this critical—even if they give their best—is the same sort that tries their best and never views it as such. So this idea that harsh honesty can sometimes be a brutal derailment is not for the general population—the sort that believes eating a salad is a tribulation, or that 60min in a gym entitles them to 60min of toast will find no solace in these words. This is for the few, that on occasion see their reflection and no longer feel a strong inclination to live, who go to work, browse the internet for purpose, and then let their failure to find it be a direct reflection of how terrible they are at being a human. They have decent lives yet no reason to actually live, and not even enough motivation to end it. They are trapped by their thoughts, because their thoughts are very convincing.
Thoughts are questions—whether they are statements of fact or not. Thoughts are the equivalent of checking rooms in a large house—just because I open a door and peek in about the possibilities doesn’t mean I have to own the property (and all the maintenance that goes along with it). Failure is a spring board, not a personality trait, which stems from a cultural fuck up of teaching us from young ages that “being” something is more important than “doing” something.
“What do you want be?” This question of identity doesn’t help anyone experience anything other than what it’s like to wear a mask, a persona. It doesn’t inform me of what I am capable or what is possible. It’s an outfit, a costume—and sadly enough it is easy to be critical of fashion. Defamatory statements, especially internal ones are only able to have power through the illusion of agency, the “what you are” part of the brain: “I AM a shitty rower, climber, employee (for reading this at work), father, person or human being”.
At the risk of sounding like a soapbox preacher, I don’t have a fix for this. I am affected terribly by self doubt and disappointment, I criticize others harshly because compared to the voice in my head it sounds pleasant. This feeling is compounded by the fact that I read stories and hear of beautiful people doing wonderful things, yet when I get cut off in traffic, my internal dialogue is that I hope that person takes a head-on collision at full speed. Is this me? Am I really that malicious?
Maybe, but maybe not.
The accuracy of our thoughts are only represented by the quality of our actions. You can “try” to BE different, this will be to no avail. But if you show me what you DO, I can tell you who you are.
15 brisk walk
3x10 alternating kicks
5 rounds NFT dumbbell “DT”: 12x deadlift 9x hang clean 6x push press
5x1 rope climb
2min on 1 min off alternating
200m row + max burpee over rower
50x double under + max KBS
5-story stair run + max sit ups
TMB: 315 total reps
Why do anything?
Our life is dictated by the quality of questions we ask. The answers are only relevant to illuminate what we should ask next. Where am I? Where do I need to go? Who can teach me?
AM @ CrossFit Perpetua London
Warm: 20min run
Glute activation and dynamic lunge work
Build to heavy set of 8 sumo deadlift
5 sets @ “heavy”
50x sumo deadlift high pull
PM @ Local Motion Studios w/ Farid Herrera
1-hour of bridge, arch, and wrist progression.
PM.2 @ Barbers Gym in Hackney Downs
3 rounds NFT
10x Spider-Man lunge
10x knee to feet
10x ring pull
5x inch worm
4 rounds NFT
10x Nordic hamstring curl
10x goblet squat
10x over head lunge
10x hanging leg lift
5x front rack KB squat
5x back squat
5x overhead plate squat
50m suitcase carry
breath work and ice
How do injuries occur?
It’s a general question that’s rarely asked. Instead, the question is most often: “how can I recover from an injury”. Questions are good in any form but the fitness industry assumes (often incorrectly) certain aspects of injuries: bad form most commonly being the scapegoat.
Obviously, we are in favor of moving as well as one can, but there should be some recognition that this statement is like saying the “ocean is blue”, it most certainly appears to be but is simply a perception not a truth.
Bad form really does look injurious but as cringeworthy as it is it doesn’t actually cause the pain itself. Here is where this subject gets depressing, we don’t really know the cause of most injuries, even if we can deduce when and where the pain started ie; “I was tying my shoes yesterday and something twinged in my low back”. However common this statement is, it is next to impossible to say what caused it. Was the tying of laces really so traumatic that the muscles in the back spasmed and put you on the floor for a few days? Was it a lack of contraction or was it an over contraction? Was it a lack of recovery or too much “recovering”? Trying to figure out this puzzle is like trying to answer what causes a storm, we have an acceptable answer that we noddingly agree to but there is an infinite amount of detail that will always allude to finer detail until at some point a butterfly has a mug shot.
For some reason we feel the need to have a culprit, the more specific the better because we can specifically avoid the cause next time (which in reality seems to never be avoidable).
But we do have the ability to heal injuries (if you have never thought about how miraculous this biological feature is then you should do so now). This usually happens because of the amount of attention and intention we afford recovery. We protect the site affected and the pain and sensation has us searching for time in a “neutral space”. Enough time paying attention and the body can relax, heal, and return to homeostasis.
This thought is important because what allows us to heal should allow us to avoid. “Pay attention” seems like a sophists argument for recovery but it really is our best chance and also probably the most expensive. We may not be able to accurately attribute how injuries occur but with enough intention it’s possible to avoid.
Training (pay attention)
warm: 20min easy spin
dynamic track work and progressive single leg
5x5 off box squat (each leg)
+8 hopping Bulgarian split squats (each leg)
*10 burpee between each transition.
How often should we train in a team environment?
This is a tricky question without placating on “it depends” but I will try. One should train in a team environment as often as they can in order to increase the intensity to a level that they can be affected by it, but also recover from it.
The dangers in training with a highly competitive team too frequently are the exact dangers that offer so much benefit, namely: accountability. But push the intensity button too often, and “hard” becomes “feels hard”—but isn’t. My other worries are based on the high possibility of too much comfort around a team environment; too many sessions together allow relationships to also reveal the realities of personality quirks. There is a quite powerful “honeymoon” effect, where everyone is on his or her best behavior when social fitness hierarchy is being determined. I try to keep this idea in my head: “Will I quit around this person/s?” If the answer is yes then you are most likely too comfortable. It doesn’t mean you have to ditch that training partner but you should likely consider altering the current situation and feel what “hard” is again.
10min easy bike
10min lightening 5x burpee penalty into last man standing (Ross won)
2min third world sit
10x of each:
pistol kick out
cosack kick out
candlestick to pistol
burpee to 3rdworld
burpee to kick through
prone to cosack
In teams of 2 (only one working at a time)
100cal ski erg
50 DB snatch (100 total) 35/50
50x toes to bar
100cal C2 bike erg
50x box jump overs 24”
what is training priority?
The first thing to do, before any physiology is involved is to decide whether you want the session to have a positive or negative effect. Sometimes you wont have control over this outcome—especially if there is more than one person training. No big surprise to most reading this that we consider psychological outcome first and foremost. Beyond this, designing a session is fairly straight forward—although this is exactly where most attempt to solidify programming as an exact science—it is more likely that a “program” is designed on the whim of the author’s emotional state—riddled with more style and fad than it is with any concrete algorithm.
Next, when orchestrating a session we consider the energy system that we want to provoke. This is mostly controlled by time (there isn’t much endurance or ultra endurance being trained inside of a gym and strength or power systems are largely decided by exercise selection and load so we are basically only talking about workout design for Power-Endurance) We derive “how hard?” based on the variations within the general 1-hour sessions. We could talk zones, heart rates or other sciencey sounding stuff but that doesn’t really matter, there is no magic zone, and one type of intensity is not more important than another (when training GPP). I tend to look more at total time duration of combined efforts, the rest involved/required, and to take it back to the intro, whether I want the outcome to be positive or not. There are times to burn the house down but they are rare—if you are doing it right.
Controlling a positive or negative outcome is by far the most complex aspect. You have to consider the state of the player, their past, their ability, and intimate knowledge of how your exercise selection will affect them. Testing, racing or all out efforts (fear mongering) will almost always have negative outcomes if this isn’t tightly controlled.
The next variable is exercise selection, which is pretty straightforward. Ask this question and see for yourself: what exercises can the player do without altering the plan for the energy system being worked? For an example if I want a single hard 20-min effort to enforce adaption to high acidity or the ability to buffer lactate, then I have to ensure my player doesn’t get stuck on a strength problem or a skill issue that will make high acidity less probable, therefore making my session unpredictable. The easiest example is putting strict work in the middle of aerobic work, like strict pull ups or strict handstand push ups, most people get hung up on these in large sets. Or some are only able to perform technical movements when fresh, so the player’s ability to resist fatigue induced, skill-failure needs to be considered. One pet peeve of mine—that highlights this mistake—is when people require a strict push up in a burpee that they term: “proper form”, it isn’t. The purpose of a burpee is to stimulate aerobic capacity, the purpose is to move your body as efficiently as possible so that you may do as much work as possible. The purpose of a strict push up is strength endurance (in most cases) enforcing strict reps usually means moving less or taking breaks to recover localized muscular fatigue, which will defeat the objective.
It’s worth noting that designing training to be hard is easy, as strange as it sounds. What is difficult is to make training challenging, fun, and effective. Below is an example of putting a session together that takes into account different abilities but gets everyone to the same training stimulus.
10min easy bike
3x10m of each NFT:
3x5 3-position manta progression (straight armed leg lift)
3x5 wrist pushups
3x5 Russian push ups
3x5 archer push ups
Skill: double under practice (if player cannot link more than 20x double unders together, then exercise selection changes)
20x cal machine (pick machine appropriate for time domain ie: Assault bike is hardest to accumulate calories, bike erg easiest) Only alter amount if player is taking longer than 1:20 for first section)
15x burpee (many more than this and you will divide the group based on ability)
max reps on double unders or lateral bar hops for those that haven’t developed the skill. (the plan was to get an excessive amount of time jumping—the imposed risk of tripping helps the player manage technical execution under fatigue—but is simple enough to keep the intensity rather high)
Rest 1:1 (4min)
5 rounds (your score is the average number of jumps across all sets)
Erin-C2 bike erg/double under: 135rep avg.
Michael-Assault bike/ double under:167rep avg.
Brandon-Row/lateral bar hop: 79rep avg.
Josh-Assault bike/lateral bar hop: 103rep avg.
Kenton-C2 bike erg/lateral bar hop: 87rep avg.
We have varying levels of skill and fitness. The goal was to put everyone into the 90-95% area, where it is hard to pay attention but is required to do so (or you’ll trip). I wanted more than anything for all outcomes to be positive, so allowing people to ramp their effort appropriately let them accelerate and finish somewhere around their best. Picking the right machine so that the group moved cohesively was important for the perception of each player. It is not a pleasant workout, your feet will ache and side cramps are normal, but this positive outcome even under duress shapes our view of what we are capable and all but dismisses the notion that we are concerned with physiology
It starts with a question…
…and the answer is fairly irrelevant. Asking allows us to explore. How far can I go? Where will this road take me? What am I capable of? In asking, I create. I move from 0 to 1. At first I had nothing, but with prospect and curiosity I enable an electrical signal to roam my brain and become a combustible chemical reaction that allows my body to move in the direction of an idea. The purest form of ambition starts with a question—an idea—one that allows us to wonder and wander.
Some people save this exact date as the time to generate a new idea about themselves, to finally question and want better; their only mistake is in waiting. The date is arbitrary, as long as our resolution is to be more resolved. Let it be the 1st or the 31st, even the 6th month of the two thousandth and twentieth year, all that matters is that you let your questions about the world become answers in the form of actions.
We have lofty questions: What can I create? What can I build? What kind of people do we attract? To get to these we had to ask less pleasant questions: What can I burn down, what can I destroy? How can I not be a liability? How can I start over—how can I not be me?
These questions became ideas; out of them we generated actions. We cut, burned, and razed. Sometimes the fire got out of hand, other times we cut too deep and we had to stop, rest, and heal, because the secret to all of this talk of demolition is that we can only do it to ourselves. What you want so badly to change about the world around you is the exact thing you should change about your self.
We will continue to ask questions, to have better ideas, we will change. Will you?