Getting Better and Getting Worse???

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As 2015 starts moving at warp speed many people will continue crossing off fitness goals they set out to achieve.  It’s important to understand that your time on the WOD is not the only important stat to circle in your log book.  You can get better while getting “worse”.  I put that in quotes for a reason and I’ll explain why.  I’ll give you a perfect example of what I’m talking about with my own personal fitness.  My fastest Diane time ever is 4:27 (HSPU have always been my goat) I recently did it again and got a 5:05.  Am I less fit?  Well it depends how you look at the big picture.  If we are talking about my measurable, repeatable, pure unadulterated power output then yes there is no question.  I did the same amount of work in less time.  I was pretty happy about that WOD.  I have never done the first round of 21 unbroken.  Never even come close!  I’ve also never done that work out and not felt completely smoked and weak at HSPU.  The last 9 are usually broken up and a really big fight for me.  I only had to break up any of the sets because I was out of breath.  I am lacking what I usually have in cardio respiratory endurance.  While my time is slightly slower I was able to achieve something I had never done before.  That is an overall gain in my fitness.  I’ve made gains in my movement efficiency and taken a hit to my endurance.  I’ll take that any day because endurance is relatively easy to improve.  My time will come back down next time I do Diane and I will eventually get sub 3 mins.  It will just take time and more work.

Let’s take a new athlete and break down their fitness.  If athlete “A” spent the first 6 months using every possible scaling option to complete HSPU WODs and then achieves just one HSPU on their own, that athlete is better.   The simple act of moving away from scaling is a gain in their fitness.  They are now capable of doing something they could not do before.  What is important to note here is the athlete is doing more work (this is not debatable, it’s a mathematical fact) by moving their body weight unassisted.  The power output (time it took to complete the WOD) will drop at first and that is a very reasonable and likely scenario.  The athlete is moving into a different level of adaptation.

*Simply put: Any time I add more of a given stimulus, it is likely that my power output will drop temporarily.

If we add more reps the athlete slows down.  If we add more weight the athlete slows down.  If the movement is more complex the athlete slows down.  This list is endless.  Athletes fail at the margins of their experience.  If you’ve never done something before, how can you reasonably expect to be good at it when you begin?  You can’t!  As we push the margins out wider and wider we become more and more capable.  That is how your fitness evolves.  As you get better you make the challenges more difficult, and in return you get slower, less efficient, or just plain worse…….and then adapt and you get better.

I’m not one to look at anything other than the challenges directly in front of me, but it is important to take a look in the rear view mirror occasionally and glance at the path you’ve blazed.  Don’t be so hard on yourself.  Chances are you will be impressed with the things you have accomplished.

Keep training hard and hit your weaknesses,

Fern