Friday, February 3, 2012

Can't say Can't

Today I wanted to quit crossfit.  Really.  For about 3 seconds during the workout I could not for the life of me figure out why I was doing it.  Then I got the 4th rep and those thoughts disappeared.  Let me explain...

I was in the middle of our workout which was 7 rounds of 7 front squats and 14 get out of the pools.  I am terrible at front squats.  I hate them more than any other weight movement.  So that is one mental stumbling block.  Stumbling block #2 was that the Rx weight was 165...I did 135.  So I'm already feeling weak.  Then on top of that, it is 6am and I haven't had a chance to wake up yet.  So my mind was just not prepared for this.  Which leads to this little mental battle in my head sometime around the 3rd or 4th round.

Angel: "You can do this, it's not that bad"
Devil: "you are so weak, why even do crossfit, you're never gonna win anything..what's the point you can't do it"
Angel:" come on you've done 3, only 4 more"
Devil: " You're not even half way through this round, just quit, no point in going on, You can't finish in a good time.  This time is going to be embarrassing for you."
Angel: "4.  Ok only 3 more to go"
Devil: *silent*

This battle rages on during really tough workouts.  How do I deal with it?  I don't know.  Really, I just keep moving.  I don't ignore it but I don't let it destroy me either.  I want to get into the mind of Froning or trainer Mike when they are in a tough workout.  Do they have negative thoughts?  My bet would be on "no".  

I have a feeling that the word "can't" just not in their vocabulary during workouts.  It's such a destructive word.  "I can't do a 30" box jump"  or "I can't lift that weight 20 times" .  If you plant the seed of failure it's going to grow into a disaster.  Whether you're running a 5k or doing the filthy 50, you just can't say the word can't.  I heard Stephanie from Crossfit LBC saying she hated hearing the word from people going through elements and she wanted to institute a penalty for saying it in relation to a workout.  I LOVE this idea so I'm going to try and run with it.

How to deal with the word can't

1.  Every time you say it you should penalize yourself.  For instance, if you say "I can't do 20 push-ups"  then guess what, you're penalty is 10 burpees after the WOD.  Make it known that the gym is a place for can's and not can'ts.  Call me out on this one if you hear me saying "can't"  I'll do the penalty until I eliminate this way of thinking.

2. Try to think positively.  If you're in the middle of a race, keep telling yourself you can run to that next telephone pole, it will seem less daunting.  Say things that build you up, not take you down.  Say "I'm going to push myself at 135 pounds" instead of "I can't do prescribed at 165 pounds".  They mean the same thing, but you mentally will be better off.

3.  Try to stay in the moment.  Don't look too far ahead.  If you're at rep #1  there is no point in thinking about rep#10.  Get each rep in.  Then look back at what you did.


Had to do it in the company gym cause of social plans

800m Sprint (treadmill set at 10)
6 rounds of Tabata
35lb dumb-bell push press: 24-25-10-10-7-7=7
Sit-ups: 15-14-13-12-12-11 = 11
HRPU: 10-10-10-10-9-9 = 9

Worked up a great sweat so I'm just happy to get something in.


Strength: 2 front squats on the minute for 10 minutes at 75% weight.  (165 lbs)
7 rounds
7 front squats (135 lbs)
7 muscle ups (14 gotp)

Time: 19:49

Cash out:
20 Wall Climbers
Time: 4:40


  1. What is a "get out o the pool"? I tried to google it...

  2. I "can't" disagree.
    Interesting you posted this, as I was faced with this exact same issue today. I was doing back squats. My goal was to get 20reps with a weight I knew was closer to a 5-7 rep max for me. It was rough getting the first 5, I stood there for a bit, breathing (and sweating profusely), then did a couple more. Then I racked the weight to take a few quick more than 10, NOT letting go of the bar. Then I did as many more reps as possible, all the way up to 20 reps. I got all my reps in, 2-3 at a time. The whole time I was thinking "I can't stop." (Sometimes can't is OK). I knew I'd be disappointed if I stopped and would leave the gym feeling like I'd given up. I would have rather not had to rack the weight, so that's my goal for next time.

    When I was done, I felt like I really accomplished something, not to mention being ready to just lie down for a quick coma. I rested for 3-4 minutes before doing hang cleans, followed by...front squats (racked position, not crossed arms). The front squats were pretty interesting after I had already wasted my legs. I kept it light, and just busted out fast sets of 10. Heaviest set was 115, but after the back squat, it felt like a car.

    As I type this, my legs are still screaming at me, calling me names, and are generally dissatisfied with the state of affairs. I on the other hand, am merely amused at their discomfort because I know what's in store for them NEXT time...

    I love the mindset you spoke of. Good post and great job overcoming your obstacles.

  3. Hey Chris, A get out of the pool is just what we call a muscle up progression. It makes more sense on a bar. If you are at a bar that is not too high (lets say about chin height) you jump and then extend your arms (like you would if you were getting out of a pool). I have no idea why we call it this on the rings...we just do. ha

    Hey Jerl, I'm glad you have the same struggle. You're right, can't can be used to build, but most take it as destructive.