The Athlete's Altered State (Athlete Journal Entry 15)
“Exceptional athletes are people that get off on that altered state. They love to be in that position where everything works really well. And that’s why you have people who will beat themselves to death and train as hard as they can for months just to have those few seconds on the platform where everything works well. I think it’s an addiction to that altered state that weightlifting is really about."
- Bob Takano
I believe this “altered state” exists in any avenue of sport or athletics. In fact, I think it’s been the discovery of that altered state that’s made me fall in love with weightlifting, CrossFit, and figure.
Finding that altered state in weightlifting is something I’ve experienced minimally, but it’s the most incredible high in the world. For every 200 snatches I do, I probably have one that works well - so well that I almost want to pause in that moment where I drop beneath the barbell perfectly, where my hamstrings aren’t tight, my shoulders don’t hurt, my hips feel fast, the weight feels light, and nothing about the movement feels like a struggle. So many days with weightlifting something is sore, or tight. Or maybe you underslept, your mind is elsewhere, or 75% of your max feels like 100%. Or maybe you just can’t seem to find technical fluidity with the barbell. But it’s all worth it - all of it - for that few seconds when everything comes together perfectly.
I feel that altered state happens in CrossFit the moment my mind shuts down in competition and my body takes over. So many times in CrossFit I’m in tune with the pain - with the shortness of my breath, the difficulty of movement, the tightness in my limbs. But then, every once in a while, I discover those rare moments in a metcon that make me feel unstoppable, unbeatable. I’m aware of what I’m doing, and aware that I’m moving, but I’ve found the place right beneath my redline where my body just takes over and goes. It doesn’t matter that I’m tired, that my mouth is dry, that I can’t breathe, or that my legs are going numb. I’ve found some other level, beyond the pain, past the inability to breathe. And that feeling, the incredibly superhuman sensation, is what keeps me coming back for more.
I’ve found that altered state on stage in figure. So much of bodybuilding is spent in struggle. You spend days, weeks, months logging endless hours in the gym, suffering in a caloric deficit with the iron. You weigh, you measure, you portion. Your life becomes ounces of water, ounces of protein, grams of carbs. You skip social functions in favor of early sleep. So many days you wonder if what you’re doing is worthwhile.
And then, suddenly, you’re faced with this incredible physique in the mirror, a body you built through your own hard work and dedication. And you step on stage, and it all becomes worth it for that first call out. Every single shit moment that occurred in the last twelve weeks of your prep fades to black. It doesn’t matter if you’re so dieted and fatigued that you can barely stand it - hearing that your physique, the body you toiled over and struggled to shape, has been called out first, makes every painful moment of prep seem like an afterthought.
And sometimes, beautifully so, I find that altered state in my training. Sometimes I have training sessions that leave me so high I feel nearly other-world. It’s those types of training sessions, those moments on stage, on the platform, or in competition that make every single daily difficulty worth it.
“I can’t believe some of the things I’ve seen people do in sports - all sport. It seems all elite athletes, regardless of sport share similar qualities, they thrive in places of pain and pleasure that other people don’t. And it’s their ability to thrive there that allows them to perform feats at the highest levels of human performance.
- Billie Joe Armstrong
A.M Training Session
Jogged 800m to warm up
8-10 minutes mobility
6 Rounds of 3 minute intervals (go on the top of every minute)
- Minute 1: 200m row
- Minute 2: 10x Burpees
- Minute 3: 15 Med ball slams
3x10 Double unders (I’m working on these…)
3x10 Barbell ab rollout
P.M. Training Session
- Run 1600m/Row 1600m
- Run 800m/ Row 800m
- Run 400m/ Row 400m
- Run 200m/ Row 200m
25 minutes mobility- lats/quads/shoulders/hamstrings
- @65% 1x5
- @70% 1x1
- @75% 1x3
- @85% 2x2
- @80% 1x1
- @70% 1x1
Clean + Hang clean + 2 Front squat EMOM x6
- @60% 1x5
- @70% 1x4
- @90% 2x1
- @60% x3-5
Push press 5x3 EMOM
Weighted pistol 3x3 then 3x3 3 position pistol w/pause
AMRAP: As many burpees as you can in 10 minutes. At the top of each minute (including the first minute), perform five snatches @ 65lbs. Record burpees. This gassed me more than I thought it would. I wanted 100 burpees. I got 86.
- 10x Tall box jump (I did 30”)
- 20x Pull ups
- 50x Hip extension
- 50x GHD sit up
- 5x Ring chin ups
- 5x Face pull
- 5x Pendlay row
3x10 Janda sit up
3x10 Reverse hyper
15 minutes bike @ 80%
Today’s Thought: "Truthfully, this is how I approach each of my workouts: I want to be the best athlete I can possibly be. This is my mindset, my mentality. If I outperform others, that’s great, but it’s my focus to outperform myself.” - Channing Tatum
Allison Moyer is a nationally ranked NPC Figure Athlete, nationally and internationally published fitness model, an avid CrossFit athlete, BSN, C.P.T, C.S.N, C.N.W.C, and owner of Alli Fitness Systems and Predator Diet.