This entire year (2019) has mainly been a battle against my body. Tweaks here and there. Days off from training. Avoiding certain exercises. The things you don’t like about training.
There have been a few bright spots here and there. I’ve PR’ed (set a personal record) for my bench press. I PR’ed my thruster in a CrossFit competition.
And then today I PR’ed CrossFit girl workout Grace.
CROSSFIT BENCHMARK GRACE
CrossFit benchmark workout Grace is pretty straightforward: 30 clean and jerks at 95 lbs for women for time.
It’s been almost a year since I’ve done Grace, and I knew I’d PR it, mainly because I know I’m stronger.
WHEN YOU’RE IN A RUT, DO A CROSSFIT BENCHMARK WOD
It can be hard after you’ve been doing CrossFit a while to keep going, to keep progressing, to keep getting stronger and fitter. It can be REAL hard. There are days I don’t want to get out of bed and workout. Workouts I look at I don’t want to do. Days I wonder why I do this.
In those moments, you need a win. Today was my win. I’m unsure how long my win will propel me forward. But it doesn’t matter — at this point, I’ll take anything.
More frequently than not, I wake up in the morning and scrap my CrossFit programming in light of something completely different. This is for two reasons:
I am incredibly sore from the day before.
I cannot do the workout for mental purposes.
With two CrossFit competitions in the last two weeks, I’ve had both of these reasons come into play several times. I’ve had to adjust my schedule every day for the last two weeks, and take unplanned rest days because I just couldn’t do it anymore.
Today was another example. I had a CrossFit Hero workout planned, which are CrossFit workouts named after service men and women and are known for being tough. However, when I woke up, I just couldn’t run. I had done a HIIT workout yesterday and ran over 3 miles. Hence, while doing the workout, I changed it.
While I freely admit I don’t know how to stop doing what I do, I do know when to stop doing a movement when I can’t. Today was one of those days. I stopped running and rowed instead. I cut all my reps in half. I did a 30 minute recovery workout.
HOW TO PRESERVE THE MENTAL GAME
In the past few months, I’ve learned the mental game of CrossFit is much more important to master than the physicalness of it. Don’t get me wrong, you have to be able to physically do the moves; but that’s not the hard part of CrossFit. The hard part is committing in your mind to do the CrossFit workout.
TIPS ON MASTERING THE MENTAL GAME
I’ve learned you can’t go hard core every day. You have to rest your mind as much as you rest your body. Sometimes you just have to get up and perform some mindless rowing so the next day you can hit it hard.
You have to preserve your sanity. CrossFit burnout is real; it hits me every few months. You have to pull back in order to move forward.
Do what you need to do when you need to do it. The beauty of at-workouts is you can do what you want, not what someone else programs. It’s the ultimate in listening to your body.
Every year, a lot of CrossFitters participate in the CrossFit Open in hopes of being tops in their gym, their age group, or to top themselves from last year. We used to be able to compare ourselves in the Region, which gave us some valid numbers. However, this year, it’s you against everyone, which really doesn’t tell you a whole lot. Now, you’re going to have to evaluate yourself.
Takeaways from the CrossFit Open
Getting ring muscle ups takes a lot longer than I’d ever thought. I’ve been working ring muscle ups consistently for 10 months now and although I’m close, I’m not there yet.
My bar muscle ups have gone to pot. With all my focus on ring muscle ups, I’ve let my bar muscle ups slide. I need to fix my form too if I’m ever to get better at them.
My strengths have not changed. The two workouts I did the best in are the double unders and the thrusters. I love thrusters so CrossFit Open WOD 19.5 was my favorite. Double unders makes the difference in a lot of workouts.
There are some movements I just don’t care about. This was CrossFit Open workout 19.3 and the strict handstand push ups. There is too much to work on for CrossFit. Pick the one or two moves you want to improve, and do those first. You can’t be good at everything unless you’re a professional and that’s all you do.
The CrossFit Open has changed nothing for me. I’m still working the two moves I actually care about: ring muscle ups and handstand walks. These are fun for me. Strict handstand push ups are not. I know in my mind I’m stronger than last year. But the CrossFit Open proved nothing for me, nor will it change anything for me.
What about you? Did the CrossFit Open change your fitness?
If you CrossFit for any period of time, you’ll know how hard CrossFit is on your hands, from constantly being dried out with chalk to the bars tearing into you and the motion of pull ups on the rig. You are bound to rip at some point in your CrossFit workouts.
TIPS FOR HELPING YOUR HANDS HEAL FROM RIPS
Once you rip, immediately wash with water, apply a disinfectant, and bandage up. You’ll want to cut any loose skin away from the wounds to help with healing.
Wait a few hours and then remove bandages. There are two schools of thought here: either keep the wounds moist to facilitate healing or dry out the wound to let it heal. I always let mine dry out.
Be extremely careful for the next few days. Depending on the severity of the rips, try not to do too much with your hands.
Showering will be painful, but it’s good to rinse your wounds and keep them clean. You may want to skip shampooing for a few days.
Tape up when you decide to work out again. This will protect the wounds from infection but mainly from being damaged any further.
Avoid the rig, ring work, handstands, pull ups, rope climbs, or any other movement that will further cause damage until your hands are completely healed up. Barbells and dumbbells are usually okay as long as you’re taped up.
Let time do it’s thing. Your hands heal really quickly so in a week or so, you’ll be back at your regular CrossFit workouts.
Ripping is never fun, but it’s usually inevitable if you end up doing CrossFit workouts with high rep counts of pull ups or chest to bar or muscle ups. For me, I have been doing strict only. This eliminates the back and forth motion that causes rips. However, when it’s the CrossFit Open or any other kind of competition, I kip because I’m competing. That is why I ripped.
As I’m sitting around my house today letting my body heal my hands since I can’t do much physically after ripping on 19.5, I realized something: I earned it.
I was wearing Bergeron’s Master’s tank top with the hashtag #EarnIt on the back while doing CrossFit Open Workout 19.5 and realized something: I definitely earned it this go-around. I ripped early on and kept going. I kept ripping and kept going. I almost finished but got time-capped.
You don’t have to rip in order to earn it (in fact, I’d recommend NOT choosing this way), but when you CrossFit regularly, many times you feel as if you’re not earning it. In fact, all you feel is tired, sore, and mentally worn out — and you’re left wondering why am I even doing this.
The fact of the matter is if you CrossFit, you earn it with every single workout, every single day — even if you don’t feel it. You earn it when you show up at 5 am for an early morning workout or drag yourself after work when all you want to do is go and sit. You earn it when a CrossFit Hero Workout makes you so sore you can’t squat to do laundry, or when you go all-out on Fran to set a new PR. You earn it when you do strength work that is mind-numbingly boring (for me, this is deadlifts), or when you practice hollow holds over and over again because your kip sucks and it needs to get better.
What does Earn It mean? For me, it’s always me against myself. What can I do better? What can I do today I couldn’t do yesterday? And how do I feel when I beat my expectations and do things other wouldn’t?
I like the CrossFit Open, but let’s face it, five weeks of workouts meant to test your skills and where each workout is a competition (with yourself if no one else) is challenging. It disrupts training, alters your routine, and keeps you stressed out on Thursday night until you finish the workout.
CrossFit Open Workout 19.5 was as predicted:
Thrusters 65 lbs
Chest to bar pull ups
Because this was the Open, I kipped the chest to bar pull ups because it’s faster for me and because my strict chest to bar pull ups go relatively quickly. This was a mistake since I ended up tearing in 4 places, making the workout miserable for me. I had to stop and grab hand guards and it was overall dumb after that.
I haven’t torn in a year because I don’t normally kip anything for that very reason. Needless to say, I’m not exactly thrilled about the upcoming week, having to limit my workouts until my hands heal. Plus, I’m already dealing with a calf strain, so this week overall will suck.
I’m glad the CrossFit Open is over, so things can return to normal — as normal as a CrossFit life can get.
CrossFit Open Workout 19.4 is in the books. It is:
3 Rounds of:
10 snatches 65 lbs
12 bar-facing burpees
Rest 3 min
3 rounds of:
10 bar muscles ups
12 bar-facing burpees
I only got 4 bar muscle ups. I used to be much better than that. That’s because since last summer all I’ve been doing is practicing ring muscle ups, not bar. And my bar muscle-up form sucks. So until I fix that, it’ll always be crappy.
I was satisfied. Could have been better. But glad it’s over.