the spaz of fitness has arrived


In Training on September 23, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Jo is frustrated again. I know I worry too much, and I overthink and expect too much and whine entirely too often on this blog… yadda yadda yadda, now with that self-conscious concession aside, I’m going to whine again. This whole self-composed Westside-Conjugate based training template is driving me crazy. I honestly can’t tell how much progress I’m making or not making on it. In the past week, I PR’d my baseline by about ten seconds (400m run, 40 air squats, 30 sit-ups, 20 push-ups, and 10 pull-ups in 3 minutes 47 seconds), and PR’d my power clean by 5 pounds (95 total… still lighter than I’d like it to be, but it was 5lbs heavier than my last PR). I also managed to press my former one rep max for 3 reps on Tuesday. So, yes, I’ve seen some fairly satisfying growth at times on this program. On the other hand, I have absolutely morale-crushing days too. I spent two of my lower body max-effort days figuring out that my deadlift has dropped 15lbs from its former 225… and today, I returned to squats to find that I couldn’t manage 10lbs less than my former one rep max. This morning, I maxed out again and again at 130, failing every time I tried 132.5, which baffles me because I squatted 135 for 3 reps about four weeks ago. I’m definitely going crazy.

What’s been immensely humbling about CrossFit is that it’s something I can’t… out-study. I have a theory that I wound up in academia because school suits my obsessive propensities . My struggles with any subjects could be resolved with more time in the library or online, with practicing problem sets or writing and re-writing over and over again. Yes, there’s a point of diminishing returns (as I discovered during my many undergraduate all-nighters), but there are always returns. The thing about physical training is that… not only do you reach a point of diminishing returns, you can actually regress… rather quickly too. I don’t know if I’m overtraining or undertraining or just plain wrong-training at this point. I can read as many and 70’s Big and Charles Poliquin etc articles as I want, but it doesn’t raise my squat any. If I spend too much time at the gym trying squat variants and pistols and sprints, then I’m actually breaking down the muscle I’m trying to build. If I don’t do the right movements often enough, then I don’t built jack shit and what little strength I’ve managed gain withers away.

I see so many celebratory narratives about CrossFit helping people find their strength and enjoy their bodies and I’ve written quite a few myself– and there are many days when I feel like that. But today’s one of those opposite days… when I just feel like training requires me to fight every bit of my body’s natural inclinations– because I’m convinced my body delights in consuming its own muscle. I’m also so… frustratingly naturally uncoordinated. I’m so close to a muscle-up, I can taste it. I can pull the rings to my shoulders, and I can rise from the dead bottom of a dip, but I can’t throw my shoulders over, and I’m worried that I will just never learn the mind-body coordination to time that kip correctly. Even this morning with the squat– every single time, 130 felt light. I felt like I could rep 130. But the moment I went down with 132.5, my legs just could not rise…

I’m doing something wrong… Well, I’m probably doing lots of things wrong, but I feel entirely lost trying to write my own programming. There are so many theories and methodologies out there that it’s impossible to know what’s right, and the truth is, there’s so much variety because no single person reacts the same to the same stimuli as any other. It’s eating away at me that I have the will and determination to do this– that if I could find the perfect roadmap or a checklist, I would follow it to a T. No excuses… I would get my butt to the gym, I would blend and chug whatever protein-carb concoction I needed to, eat and sleep the times and quantities I should, but there’s no magic roadmap, no miracle solution, just a harrying series of trial and error that– in my case– winds up being mostly just errors.

  1. Hey Jo! long time no talk heh. How has your sleep, food, stress, and recovery in general been? I know when I don’t see progress it’s usually one or all three of those, but also stretching/foam rolling too. It seems like you just want to progress in the big lifts, so why not try GSLP until you stall out then switch to Westside? This way, you’ll hit the big lifts 1-2x/week and still get to do some accessory work to bring up lagging muscles. Just a thought.

    • Hey Joe, good to hear from you. My food/stress/recovery has been all right… except that these past two weeks, my stomach’s been acting up. I’ve been hoping it’s a small bug, but if it doesn’t improve this week, I’m going to have to see the doctor. I’ve still been making sure to eat the same amount I would otherwise if I were feeling well, but I concede that it could be making the difference in my lifts… but my weight’s still going up, so I feel like it shouldn’t be that big a factor. As for why not GSLP… well, I already stalled out on a linear progression program. Also, GSLP doesn’t integrate well with a box’s existing programming and I enjoy being a member of my gym, and would miss being able to participate in the classes. Also, we’re so busy these days, I’m not even sure it’d be feasible for me to do my own thing while others do the group WODs, and there are many days when I can’t make it in during non-class times. How’ve you been?

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