Schedule of CrossFit Athlete Journals:
Mondays – Ingrid Kantola
Wednesdays – Travis Holley
Sundays – Michael Winchester
Travis Holley – Athlete Journal 4/4/12
(Read Travis’s Bio here)
This being my first entry and all, let me give you all a quick run-down on what I hope to accomplish with my involvement in this amazing opportunity:
First off, one thing you need to know about me is that I have one mission in my life: add value to the lives of others. This is the driving force in everything I do. It is why I coach and educate athletes and people, in general. It’s why I am a far better team athlete than an individual competitor. In fact, my life’s mission is the very reason I jumped at the opportunity to write a weekly post for BreakingMuscle. So, without any disrespect to the other athletes/writers posting weekly (Ingrid and Michael are two of my best friends) I don’t want to bore you with every little detail of what is going on in my training life. I really don’t see the appeal there. I will use some of my experiences to drive the point home, but what I would rather attempt to do is share with you topics that will empower you, the reader, to take that next step in your fitness, regardless of where you are now. I hope that has you as pumped as it does me!
Now, with all of that being said, I found myself searching the depths of my mind to pull out some absolutely amazing and life-changing topic to write about – and the best I could do is the idea of SIMPLICITY. Yeah, I know. I probably lost everyone that was reading, but for those of you that are hanging in there with me, hold fast.
Simplicity is an extremely broad and open term that can apply to anything, so let’s dial this in a bit. Where I would like to take this is in the direction of simplifying your workouts. (Did I hear a unified, massive gasp?) Yes, I said SIMPLIFY your workouts. I know this is flying in the face of what the mainstream promotes, but just hear me out.
When and why did exercise and health become so damn complicated? I study a lot of other programs and what they have to offer, and if I didn’t know better, it would seem you need to have taken advanced calculus and have a solid grasp on physics in order to even understand what some of these coaches/rocket scientists are programming for their athletes! I am simply asking, “why?” I know for a fact there have been strong humans on this planet for a very, very long time. Long before things got so tangled up and twisted.
I mean, let’s look at the icon in strength sports, Arnold Schwarzenegger. This guy was bigger and stronger than anyone in the game at the time of his reign and his routine was straight forward and basic. (For those of you out there saying to yourself, “Yeah, but he was on steroids!” So was everyone else! There was something different about his training methods – that’s the unknown variable.) He basically varied his lifts so as to not over-train a certain muscle group, and because of this understanding of smarter training, he was able to train harder on each of his specific days. He pushed past his body’s threshold for that day and caused a powerful growth response. Then, whenever possible, he ate a ton of quality food – food that would fuel his body’s efforts to create lean mass and strength.
Obviously Arnold would not have made the best CrossFitter, but we can take lessons from the “greats” in every area and learn from what they did. That is exactly what I did. As a smaller guy, I always struggled to be able to keep up with the big boys during heavy WODs. So, I started to think in a simplistic manner. My training changed drastically. To put it simply, I moved the heaviest sh!t I could, as fast as possible, and always attacked new areas of my game – never focusing in on one lift or exercise, but rather taking a holistic approach. I focused more on power, speed, and explosiveness, and worried less about the damn clock. I found myself setting new personal records and holding my own against some of the strongest athletes in CrossFit.
So why is it coaches and athletes are choosing to ignore the basics and instead trying to reinvent the wheel using nuclear fusion and binary fission? It’s because it’s sexy! People always want to prove themselves – prove they have the next best thing to offer. And by making things complicated, it tends to impress those who don’t know any better.
What I want you (who are still with me) to do is take a moment and really think about what type of training produces the best results for you? As you think, keep in mind if you can’t understand what the hell is written as the program, will you really follow it? Think about the question, if the method of training you use isn’t fun for you are you going to stick with it long enough to see gains? These are all legitimate questions to ask yourself, especially in this time of over-the-top workouts.
When you really ask yourself what you enjoy and what you understand, you will find your “simple” workout unleashes all the suppressed potential you have as an athlete. BIG gains are soon to follow!