The end of a microcycle is amazing for this Warrior Girl. It is when the struggle pays off. I have practiced set lifts at set weights for weeks and the last week I prove that I have mastered them. And the pay-off? Starting over. Joel and I have had several great week 3’s and 4’s but have never had so much as an okay week 1. It is full of heavier weight, picking apart form, making each lift more difficult, learning new movements, exposing weaknesses, experiencing failures, anger, frustration, fear. Torture. It tortures me to start over even though the start is leaps ahead of the previous start. Torture for Joel as I become belligerent and shut down. Torture for anyone who mistakenly goes to the gym on those afternoons and winds up a witness to these scenes. Why is he “out to get me”? Why is this so personal?
But every untamed warrior that wants to master her craft must eventually become an apprentice, surrender control to a commander. For the first time since I began training with Joel, for this first week (there have been many), I chose to adopt a new attitude. I opened my heart and mind, listened, quieted the negative voices, avoided anxiety, set pride aside, surrendered and let my coach…coach.
The result? He coached. I learned. He coached. I adjusted. He coached. I laughed at my failures. He coached. I improved. I relaxed, surrendered to the change in my program, and I willingly let go of the greatness of last week in order to become a humble student.
Today is my favorite of the lift days. There is so much work to be done on my cleans, snatches, and jerks. I am early in the development of all of them. It is a challenge mentally because my weaknesses are all exposed (my hips and my balance) and it ends tackling my fear (cleans). With 15 minutes left we begin working behind the neck jerks, a lift I love. It conveys power. But this cycle we are changing the focus: lunge deeper, keep my shoulder movement to a minimum. This is all about balancing my body while in a deep lunge and holding weight above my head. The frustration that has been controlled all week rises but I only need to keep it together for 15 minutes and I can officially say we’ve finally had a great week one. I rack the bar. “I am getting frustrated. I can’t maintain balance. I’m all over the place” to which Joel replies “I’m glad you understand the balance issue, it means we are on the same page. Now look at it from my perspective”.
My balance needs work. To improve my balance I must be pushed to an unbalanced position. As my balance improves the safer I will be in the lift. As my balance improves the weight will increase. As my balance improves I improve.
I enthusiastically put the bar across my shoulders and begin to improve my balance.
And the cleans? This irrational fear has blocked me from successfully completing this specific weight for months. The failures have been half-hearted because the attempts have been half-hearted. But today, instead of ignoring my fear, I acknowledged it and calmly stepped to the bar. I went on to complete all 45 cleans, 40 of them in the squat position.
Why is he “out to get me”? He’s not. He is out to improve me. I am with the best trainer in order to become the best athlete. Is it personal? Absolutely. I have to admit and expose my weaknesses. I have to willingly hand over control. I have to trust he is putting together the best plan of attack in order to turn my weaknesses into assets, to advance and advance quickly. Keeping a good attitude while adapting, accepting help, taking direction, trusting someone…this is changing the core of who I am and that is personal.
The result of this change in attitude, the surrendering of control? My first great week one, a little dance by this Warrior Girl and a big hug.
Just wait for tomorrow: I am handstand walking on my own. I’ve never done them solo and it is an acknowledgement of my hard work, my improvement. It is a reward. And it is followed by a long crossfit… Stay tuned fellow warriors!