Let’s start off with a shout out to the Can-Do 5am crew who went out and took on a triathlon Labour Day morning.  Congratulations to Lightning, Boomer, Road Warrior & Dr. T who all completed successfully.  These guys have been training like crazy for the event with cycling training, running and early morning open water swims in the dark!  And they are fitter for it.  Great job guys, you did us proud!
 
Barely a week into September and we already see a bunch of new Personal Bests sprouting up on the freshly cleaned Personal Best Board.  Yesterday I witnessed Electric score a big breakthrough on his double unders as he chased Silk through the WOD.  He might have beaten her too as he returned to the lifting platform 30 seconds ahead of her but, with only seconds on the clock, ever the consummate competitor, Silk overcame her fatigue to summon up some super human skill and power to bust out two consecutive snatches to tie his score.  My 1pm PT client was in awe knowing he couldn’t lift that load for a single rep, never mind a double.  “She is really strong,” was all he could say.  I had to agree. 

Do you remember that feeling when you first came to CrossFit and you looked around and all the slender girls were stronger than you?  I sure do!  Did you find it inspiring or intimidating?  Did it make you want to get after it and get stronger too or did you let it deter you from even getting started?  Do you remember when Pepper started?  It was obvious to all of us that she was going to be a star and one WOD at a time she is proving us right.  But when she started all she could see was how much stronger all the veterans were than her at that moment.  She couldn’t see how much weaker they’d been than her when they started.  I was the opposite of Pepper, from where I started, no one expected I would amount to much at all.  Except me of course.

Unlike many, I wasn’t deterred by what I couldn’t do and I wasn’t demoralized by the athletic feats of my classmates.  They started somewhere and if they can do it, so can I if I just put in the time and effort.  In my case it generally takes about three times as much time and effort to master a skill as the average person.  That foot pinch for example, that you figured out on day one?  I’m a confident climber now but it took me a year to get my first foot pinch on the rope.  Twelve long months of watching all my classmates clamber up the rope like monkeys while I dragged myself sloth-like up a rope on brute determination alone.

Rather than being deterred by what you cannot do, get focussed on what you can and build from there.  If you don’t let yourself get blocked by negative thoughts, over time the collection of things in your “Can Do” bucket will gradually grow, one hard-earned item at a time.  Double unders?  Check.  Muscle Ups?  Check.  Handstand Walk?  Check.  Pistols?  Well sort of.  They’re a work in progress.

Instead of telling yourself “I can’t do that”, tell yourself “I am working toward that skill.”  Or if you are too many steps away say “That is a skill for me to work on in the future.”  Hey, you can’t master everything at once.  It’s okay to keep three skills buckets:  Your ever growing “Can-Do” bucket, the “I’m Working On It” bucket and the “I’ll Get To It Later” bucket.  It is important to understand that the contents of the first bucket will grow in number gradually over time and the contents of the third bucket are infinite.  There will always be new skills you have not yet begun to master like hang gliding, riding a unicycle, juggling and back flips.  Life is short, you may not have time to get to it all so don’t sweat it.  Fill the middle bucket, your “I’m Working On It” bucket, with the skills that most excite you.  But make sure it is a small bucket because you can’t work on everything at once!

Notice there is no “Can’t” bucket.  All skills fall into 3 categories: Can-Do, Working On It and I’ll Get To It Later.  The trick then is to keep your focus squarely on buckets 1 and 2 and celebrate every time you transfer a skill from bucket #2 into bucket #1!  When bucket 2 starts getting empty, then you can start rummaging in bucket #3 to find some new skill that delights and excites you.  If it doesn’t delight and excite you, leave it in bucket 3, life is too short to waste time and energy on things that do not delight and excite you!

And so there you are diligently applying yourself to mastering the few skills you’ve prioritized in your “I’m Working On It” bucket when disaster strikes.  A calamity that is going to impede your progress and derail your efforts.  It comes in the form of an injury, a surgery, gym closure due to COVID restrictions or some such disaster and your first thoughts are “Shoot, now I can’t…”

Oops.  Caught you!  You were about to start focussing on what you can’t do instead of what you can, weren’t you?  It’s a trap!  An unproductive trap.  So how do you focus on Can when things aren’t going your way?  Let’s take two quick case studies from recent memory.

March 2020 COVID Restrictions: All the Gyms Are Closed
Yup.  Some folks used this as an excuse to shut down all their fitness efforts too.  They got focussed on what they couldn’t do.  Not Venom.  Venom got himself a pair of 50lb dumbbells and Zoomed along on all the WODs with those great big heavy weights and returned to the gym a monster!  He didn’t have a barbell or a medicine ball or any fine things, just those dumbbells and he used them all the time because that’s what he could do.  During that same time the 5am started riding together a lot, staying fit and having fun outside because they weren’t going to let gym restrictions interfere with their community.  If anything, it brought them closer together and culminated this week with that fantastic triathlon accomplishment.  Talk about squeezing lemons into lemonade!  During the closure I did not do any WODs in the gym and I did not use any piece of gym equipment in my workouts.  But I never missed a workout.  I videoed each one for you as evidence.  I didn’t do this because I couldn’t access the gym or get gym equipment but because I wanted to help you see that you can.  Whatever CrossFit programmed I wanted to demonstrate how to do the workout without resources.  Instead of being focussed on what we didn’t have I wanted to demonstrate what we do have.  And it was enough.

May 2021: Hip Injury
Training was going well until it wasn’t.  Eventually something will come along to derail you.  In my case it was a possible labral tear in my right hip on Mother’s Day.  It wasn’t even in training.  It was at a picnic.  Hip injuries can be particularly debilitating in CrossFit because almost all functional movement patterns are driven by the hips.  Suddenly I was facing a very serious obstacle to my training.  My first response was to go home and write a long list of all the skills I could still work on with a hip injury.  It was a surprisingly long list.  And it contained several very exciting skills that have been long neglected in my “I’ll Get To It Later” bucket only because I didn’t have room for them in my “I’m Working On It” bucket.  With circumstances suddenly changed I was actually quite excited to finally get the opportunity to work on these undeveloped skills.  So much so, that I was almost disappointed to find that my hip injury, though problematic, did not really impede my training as much as I had expected it to. 

When your plans go awry do you get trapped in “Can’t” or focus on “Can?”  With the new vaccine passports coming into effect next week some of our members will be unable to access the gym.  It is a frustrating circumstance to be sure.  They will be feeling excluded from the community that they love and will lose access to some of the training resources available at the gym.  No doubt their minds will want to focus on the “Can’t” that is looming so large in their lives at this moment.  But that big “Can’t” blocks the view of “Can” and when you peek around it a whole world of possibilities opens up.  There are outdoor WODs and Zoom WODs of course.  And the 5am proved to us that community can gather and grow outside the gym just as readily as it can within.  I understand how it is easy to be blinded by “Can’t” but you will find power and joy in your life in all circumstances when you learn instead to start to focus first on “Can”.

Friday
Partner up on this one and have some fun tag team style, one partner working at a time!  If you keep your sets short and transitions efficient you can get a lot of work done in 15 minutes.  There’s a potential 150 reps per round. Can you and your partner hold a pace of 10+ reps per minute for all 15 minutes?

Warm Up
1 min each
Cross Touch Dead Bugs
Windshield Wipers
Cross Touch Bird Dogs
Full Body Rock
Bar Hang
Cross Crawl Squats

Tech
5 mins every 30 sec T2B
5 mins every 30 sec Burpee
5 mins every 30 sec Wall Balls

Partner WOD
15 min AMRAP
25 T2B
50 Burpees
75 Wall Balls
(One partner working at a time)