EDITOR’S NOTE: Welcome to the athlete journal of Allison Moyer. Allison 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 ofAlli Fitness Systems and Predator Diet. Read all about Allison’s unique approach to training and diet every other week.
“Joy is the sign that creative emotion is fulfilling its purpose. When there is no joy in the action, then you have lost your sense of purpose.”
– Charles Du Bos
I love this quotation because it speaks to the importance of joy in what you do. It is said that training is the creative outlet of the athlete. That training is, in essence, to an athlete what the creation of a painting is to an artist or a piece of literature is to a writer. So training, for an athlete, needs to produce a sense of happiness or fulfillment.
Does your training bring you joy?
I’ve tossed this question back and forth a lot in my own mind lately, ever since my dad asked me this several months back. Does my training bring me joy?
Regardless of whether you’re a powerlifter, endurance junkie, CrossFitter, or bodybuilder, any elite level athlete runs the risk of falling into the trap of training because we “have to” rather than because we want to. I’m sharing this because I’ve been that athlete and I’ve fallen into that trap, and because I had an epiphany yesterday that helped solidify the path I’m on.
Yesterday I did my first old school set/rep workout in months. Now, I do set/rep work in the form of squats, deadlifts, presses, and rows, and I’m all for implementing accessory work to bring up lagging body parts, correct imbalances, and help bolster weaknesses, but yesterday I did my first set/rep isometric and machine-inclusive workout in months. Don’t ask me why – it’s not relevant, really – but here’s what is:
I realized, with a full heart that I would rather hang myself then do one more mind-numbing lat pull down, bicep curl, or elliptical cardio session. Ever. I’ve had my fill in my life of “getting a pump” on the Smith machine or the leg extension, or trying to find some way to burn 500 calories in thirty minutes on an arc trainer.
It’s not that I’m bashing those methods – they just aren’t for me anymore. I spent the last year or so of my life (before I found CrossFit and Olympic lifting) being that athlete who hated her training. It was boring, mind-numbing, and dull. That style of training stopped speaking to my soul. It stopped inspiring me, to create, to be, to give my all and to do my best. If training is the creative outlet of the athlete, then creatively I was dead.
I know many athletes stuck in situations like this – going through the motions, training in one style or another because they feel they “have” to. This is a shame because for most of us training is not a job and we often don’t make a single penny doing it. In fact, most of us lose money as a result of our training addictions – straps, belts, implements, coaching, nutritionists, stage suits, entry fees, contest fees, gym memberships, and so on. For most of us, training is something we do voluntarily. We elect to spend our precious free time in the gym, beneath a barbell. So why on earth would you want to spend free time doing something you don’t enjoy?
Our lives are filled to the brim with shit we don’t want to do – work, appointments, and errands. Training is free time. It should elevate, stimulate, inspire, and speak to your soul. It should energize you, not drain you. It should be fun. It should not be on the list of things you have to do, but on the list of things you want to do.
Does your training bring you joy?
Ask yourself. Because if you have lost your love of your training then maybe it’s time you stepped away. Changed it up. Tried something new. People change. People grow and evolve, and it’s inevitable that what was once stimulating to you might not always be.
When I was running cross country in college I was stimulated by long distance running. And while traditional isometric workouts and machine-based cardio were once the basic structure of my training program, I’ve found, through CrossFit and Olympic weightlifting, that training for strength and performance is what really brings me joy. And yesterday I realized, harshly, that I cannot go back. And that’s okay. John Gruden said, “You can’t stay the same, no one ever does. You either get better or you get worse.”
Which brings me back to the original question my dad asked me:
“Does it bring you joy?” (He was referencing my newfound love of Olympic weightlifting and CrossFit)
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Well, does it make you happy? Do you like to do it?” he replied.
“I love it, Dad.”
“Then that’s all it needs to do,” he said. “If it makes your heart happy, then it’s making you better, and if it makes you better, then it’s worth the time spent.”
“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to act in accordance with our heart – not with what we think we should do,
or what others tell us we ought to do.”
– Marianne Williamson
A.M. Training Session
Muscle Up Progressions (10 minutes)
P.M. Training Session
20 minutes run intervals, 2 minutes on, 1 minute recovery
Power Snatch 1×3@50, 1×3@60, 1×3@65, 2×3@70
Snatch High Pull 4×3@80
EMOTM x12: Push Press 3-4x, KB Swings 8-10x
EMOTM x5: 5 Strict Pull-ups, 10-12 Kipping Pull-ups
MetCon: 3x Hang Power Snatch @ 65, 5x OH Squat at same weight, 250m row x5
Bench Press 4×4
EMOTM x5: 3-5 Strict Ring Dips, 5-8 HRPU
4 Rounds (rest whenever needed): Inverted Row 8-10x, DB Lateral Raise 6-8x
4 Rounds (no rest) 30sec elbow plank, 30sec hollow rocks, 10x candlesticks, 20x situps
15 minutes weighted vest incline treadmill walk, pace of 3.0-3.4, incline of 12.5, no hands
Today’s Thought: “Toughness is in the soul and spirit, not in muscles.” – Alex Carras