Athlete Journal: Pat McCarty, Entry 8 – 4/17/2013

Now that the Open is over and the dust has settled, it’s time to start setting goals for for the Games. My goal for next week is to string together 3 no-false grip muscle-ups.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Welcome to the athlete journal of CrossFit trainer and masters athlete Patrick McCarty. Patrick competed in the 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games in the 45-49 age bracket and has his sights set on the Games again this year. Follow Patrick’s journals here every Wednesday.

Athlete Journal Entry 8: 4/17/2013

Now that the Open is over and the dust has settled, it’s time to start setting my sights on training for the Games. I spent the week immediately following 13.5 deloading. A mental, emotional, and physical cool-off was much needed. Now, the work begins.

Part of my training will involve goal setting. I am a firm believer in “SMART” goals – SMART being an acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. When I competed in 2011, I was flying by the seat of my pants and had no real sense of where I needed to be physically or mentally. However, since my disastrous bid for the games in 2012, I have been setting specific goals and mapping out the means of attaining them. I will now begin that process for the 2013 CrossFit Games.

If you have never seen the template for SMART goals, it works something like this:

“I want to get better at muscle-ups.” Okay, that’s a goal, sure, but it is so nebulous that you have no idea where to begin and when that goal will be attained. Better compared to what? Be able to string three together or twenty? By tomorrow or by 2015?

Specific: I would start by making it specific. “I want to learn no-false grip muscle-ups.” Great, now we’re getting somewhere.

Measurable: Let’s provide a metric for our goal. “I want to string three no-false grip muscle-ups together.” Now we have a metric. Three is a good goal. One might be a fluke, but three means I have probably learned the technique.

Attainable: Three is attainable. If I were to say “I want to string tweny no-false grip muscle ups together,” it’s just unrealistic and thus unattainable.

The attainable prong is potentially the trickiest component of goal setting. You have to balance being realistic with being aggressive and aiming high. It is unrealistic, for example, for me as a fifty-year-old knowing my own physical limitations to say “I want to qualify for Regionals as an individual in the Central East.” It’s just not going to happen, no matter how much I train, no matter how badly I want it. I am never going to snatch #235 and I am never going to deadlift #550. The goal must be attainable.

Relevant: This one is easy: muscle-ups have come up in the Masters Games in the last two years, they likely will again, so no-false grip muscle ups will make it much easier for me to compete. It’s a very relevant goal. “I want to have smoking hot abs before the Games” may be specific, attainable, and time-bound, but it’s definitely not relevant to my ability to compete.

Time Bound: “I want to string three no-false-grip muscle-ups together” is specific, measurable, attainable, and relevant, but by when would I like to accomplish this? Let’s make this one week. “I want to string three no-false grip muscle-ups together by April 22nd.”

One more tweak: Let’s turn the wish into a prediction. Stating “I want to…” is leaving space for choosing to ease off on the gas pedal. “I will” is a much more bold and results-driven statement.

With that in mind, I am going to state a goal here and post my results next week. At the time of this writing, I can not do no-false grip muscle-ups. So here goes:

I will string three no-false grip muscle-ups together by April 22nd, 2013. A video link will accompany.

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