Monday, December 8, 2008

Tracking Performance

Today Tim posted a spreadsheet with performance data for everyone at FCF, so I copied my data to my own spreadsheet to track my scores/times/weights. The link is under Data near the top of the sidebar. It will be useful for me to have it all in one place rather than dig through the archives. Should make for some fun data analysis too, at least once I get it more filled out. Seeing all those blanks just reminds me how much work I have ahead of me!

Tracking performance is an important part of CrossFit. It also really appeals to me as a very goal-oriented person. But I think there is an epidemic of stagnation in "fitness". You see the people at the globo gym doing the weight machines or the stairclimber or something, and you know they do the same thing every single time they go in there. They don't increase their weights, they don't increase their speed or intensity. Maybe when they first start out, it's kind of hard, then it gets easier, and that's where they stop. The workout is comfortable, it's easy, but they're still showing up at the gym, so it counts, right?

Not only does this not do any good, it gets incredibly boring! No wonder gyms make almost all of their money on people who pay for a year and come for a month. I wonder what people are thinking. I suspect that many people think that as long as they're showing up at the gym, they're doing the right thing. Whether or not they're pushing themselves doesn't even cross their minds. Our feel-good self-esteem culture values the superficial, and as long as it appears like you're working out, as long as you're "trying", that's good enough. I think it also goes against our instincts to push beyond our limits. It feels much safer to stick with a comfortable, moderate workout.

But I think if we dig deep down, most of us respond to that call to compete, even if it is just with our own previous time or weight. I think this is why CrossFit is increasing so quickly in popularity. If elderly people, pregnant women, little kids, and those nursing injuries and illness can do CrossFit and push themselves, then no one has an excuse for stagnant workouts. And it's so much more motivating than those identical, boring rounds in the Cybex circuit.

One thing I've been thinking about a lot is that I'd rather be the worst of the best than the best of the worst. I'm glad my FGB score went down because I did it right this time, I'm glad my Cindy score fell because my form got better. My goal for December is to push it on every single workout - higher weights, stricter form, no cheating. I'd rather go hard and fail, up my weights or improve my form and get a low score, than stay comfortable, because that's just a shallow satisfaction.

Hey, that rant just came out. I didn't even know I was going to write that.

By the way, I finished 2 tiny ornaments (a pair of mittens and a hat/scarf set) but got requests for more! So there will be more ornament knitting tonight, probably. It's incredibly fussy and makes me cross-eyed, but it sure does go quick. I promise pictures of all the tiny outerwear before I mail it off.

And just a reminder, if you're thinking of coming to the Brew and Stew, please drop me an email or leave me a comment. We have a great group coming already. Unfortunately I timed it poorly, as the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu guys have plans to watch their instructor in a televised UFC fight that night. That is so cool I can hardly complain. I think I will have to turn on the fight to see it. (Hopefully I have linked to the right guy - he's the only one I saw who's from Boulder and he's linked to on Tim's page.) You're of course welcome to come early (we'll start at 2), but Mike and I understand if that's overkill with the socializing! We will do it again next year, and we'll be more careful with choosing the date.


mtbjune said...

"I'd rather be the worst of the best than the best of the worst."

This is very, very true but a lot of times it's a hard pill to swallow when you're competitive and live in a place like Boulder where everyone else is too.

For me, I think this is a "learned" trait, something I can strive to actually believe rather than just say.

Nice post!

Todd said...

Great rant. You captured why I crossfit. I was humbled to see I have been an inspiration to several other crossfitters. However it is incredibly satisfying that by working to their full potential they have 'left me in the dust'. Amy, I am sure you will be leaving me in the dust sooner than you think. Being the 'zeta chick' @ FCF is infinitely more rewarding than being the ‘alpha chick’ in a step class.
We are looking forward to brew and stew this weekend.

Bluescaptain Joe said...

I need these crossfit people to help me out -- can you stop turning my sister into a total ass-kicker? She's starting to frighten me, and I've easily got 100 pounds on her.

haha, no just kidding -- I'm glad you're feeling so good about crossfit, Amy.