the spaz of fitness has arrived

Self-Sabotage: even the pros do it…

In Uncategorized on January 9, 2013 at 11:22 pm

I read a very good post recently by Joy Bruening, a CrossFit Masters athlete (which is totally what I dream of being after a fulfilling imaginary career as writer extraordinaire/beloved professor/CrossFit Coach). An accomplished, experienced, very capable athlete, Joy still gets in her own way sometimes– like us bumbling amateurs. She explains that she has her own insecurities– about her conditioning, etc– and sometimes in an effort to remedy her shortcomings, she screws up her training. A few days ago, instead of taking her rest day, Joy decided to deviate from her personally-designed program (as a professional athlete, I believe she has her own coach if not a team of them). She participated in “Chelsea” with the rest of her box. She decimated her legs and set back her training by about ten days (her estimation). On the larger scale of things, she’ll be fine. If this is one isolated incident, then it’s a lesson learned (or a reminder made) and she’ll regain her place in her training schedule. However, I feel like most of us (maybe just me?) do this too often. Before I started my big 70’s Big adventure, I jumped from strength program to strength program, probably giving them all up before any of them had a chance to work. Or, I just played with too many factors at once– diet, protein powders, workout regimen. It’s so easy to become impatient, especially when a lot of what we’re developing requires gradual change.

Joy’s post lingered with me because I’ve been rather frustrated this past week. Since my return from my vacation, I’ve had a few rather discouraging days at the gym. My numbers have definitely backslid. Both my strict press and bench have gotten weaker… I can do actually only half the number of dead-hang pull-ups I used to be able to do (well, 60%). My clean is down by at least five pounds… I’m terrified of testing my squat tomorrow. Weirder still, my body weight is up by four pounds– though that explains why I’m sucking at the bodyweight movements.

Part of it could be the holidays… though I did make it to LA fitness for all my strength days, the equipment was unfamiliar, and I’m sure I got lesser workouts than I otherwise would have. Of course, it must have something to do with diet since I always eat entirely differently when I go home. It’s also possibly related to creatine? I started creatine about three months before the holidays, so I decided to cycle off for a month just to be safe (though the trend now seems to indicate that creatine’s safe for continual use, I figured… better safe…) Anyway, I didn’t feel an extreme difference while on creatine, but my numbers were going up… and now they’re not so much. I’m considering starting the creatine this Sunday again, which would be a week early. But it only takes two weeks to clear your system, from what I understand. I haven’t entirely made up my mind yet, but I’ll be interested to see how that goes…

At the same time, I’ve also been adding more carbs to my diet and I actually haven’t done a metcon since Saturday. Could that be playing with too many things at once? I struggle to reel in my own impatience.

As for the rest of life. I’m feeling pretty positive about my courses this semester. The stakes seem rather high for one of them, but I’ll be grateful for the productivity I get out of it. The pre-1800 seems less demanding and more flexible than my last, which I appreciate. I feel rather fortunate that my own class– the one I’m teaching– is populated with engaged, thoughtful students (at least that’s how they are this early in the semester– ha!) though… even now that means I’ve spent over 75% of my work time finding new reading material and writing and revising my lectures. It’s still too early in the semester to tell how busy I’ll really be. I just want to settle into the rhythm of things.

Anyway, I hope 2013 is looking great for all of you! Drop me a note with how you’re doing if you get the chance.

  1. In a way it’s strangely relieving to know that other people struggle with self-sabotage. One of my biggest realizations over the past year is that I do this to myself a lot – with sports, with writing, with a lot of things. And it’s not that I don’t want to achieve these goals. It’s just that I get scared or insecure and it leads me to make choices that will inadvertently keep me from having to confront whatever it is that is causing the fear or insecurity.

    • I completely agree… though at least I’ve developed enough of a familiarity with myself as a writer to understand my nuances and my needs. Usually I can tell if I’m doing something destructive, or I can get a sense of what’s missing for the direction I’d like to take. When it comes to fitness, however, I feel entirely adrift. There’s so much (mis)information out there that sometimes the more I read, the more confused I become. The answer is probably experience and finding what works for my specific body, but I sometimes lack the patience… I’ll find one methodology and then discover research that steers me in the opposite direction, then even more articles that argue the other way… and then I’m just spinning my wheels and going nowhere.

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