Reaching Our Goals

I’ve made it 10 weeks without a major training project. We all know that couldn’t last…

At the end of July, I finished up 3 months of constant experimentation on rigorously strict dietary regimens. All of those projects are documented here. I achieved great successes, not the least of which was affirming the knowledge in my core that I was capable of making hard choices, one at a time, until I reached my goals.

Reaching our goals is something we’re all about at CrossFit Fenway. We’ve invited all of you to write your goals on the wall at CrossFit Fenway. Stating a goal is important; it’s the first step to getting there. However, it is only the first step.

Stating an intention without formulating a plan is like wishing on rainbows and falling stars. It’s very nice, but it’s not going to generate results – regardless of the opinions of countless hippies and devotees of “The Secret”. (Please don’t spend your money on “The Secret”. You already know the secret. I’ll remind you next time you see me in class – just ask me.)

Similarly, it’s said that a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. That’s true: the simple act of making one choice at a time gets us to our goals. But choices are all around us, all the time. We have a thousand desires, an infinite possibilities. Making choices without an over-arching guiding principle does us no good, either.

Results are generated by aligning our choices with our intentions. Every choice, in every moment, must be aligned if we are to make optimal progress. Make enough choices that aren’t in the direction you’re pointed, and you will never get there. It’s like trying to walk that journey of a thousand miles by stumbling about in circles.

What’s my goal? Complete a body-weight Clean and Jerk in the next two months.

In order for a goal to be effective, it needs to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Specific? “Get in shape” is not specific. “Crack a sub-5-minute Baseline time” is specific. Measurable? Again, we do that well in CrossFit: it’s one of our central tenets. Attainable? We’ll see, but I’m saying “bodyweight C&J” instead of “bodyweight Squat Snatch” for a reason. Relevant? Certainly, increased C&J capacity is relevant to my larger overall themes of becoming a more effective athlete and human; explosive hip opening power is central to many other performance domains. Time-bound? I’ve got two months.

Many of our members have a goal right now to be in peak performance shape for the Beast of the East competition coming up soon. More of you have personal goals based around movements you’d like to perfect, benchmarks to achieve. How do you break down the “big goal” into smaller task goals? How are you aligning your choices with your intentions? Can you do more? Why wouldn’t you? What’s stopping you?

With those questions in my mind, I sat down to evaluate where I was in my training and diet. I’ve retained good habits gained from making hard choices 5 months ago: I don’t consume caffeine. Artificial sweeteners and soy only sneak in to my diet in trace amounts from sauces or flavorings. I’m very strictly still not consuming any grains or legumes. Dairy? I love it, and it didn’t hurt my progress when I included it in my Phase 3 Paleo Experiment. I’m keeping it. I’ve gotten lax about including too many nuts and fruits in my diet, not enough protein, and definitely way too much sugar… particularly in the form of ice cream.

I do love ice cream. Then again, I love cigarettes too – and those aren’t making a comeback anytime soon.

So, my bodyweight Clean and Jerk by January 1. I’ll take three major approaches to get there.

  1. Increase my strength.
  2. Improve my technique in the olympic lifts.
  3. Decrease my bodyweight.

Yes, I will do these things simultaneously. In order to work on all of these things, I’ll need to be in good enough physical condition to train hard across all these axes – and that means proper self-care and continuing my regular CrossFit training to maintain my general physical preparedness.

I covered all the things I’ve done to get in better shape over the last 6 months. What haven’t I tried to improve my performance? Fish oil, for one. Adequate hydration, for another. Getting serious about my sleep schedule for a third. Proper stretching and flexibility work (such as following the Mobility WOD). So with that in mind, here’s a few lifestyle changes I’m going to try for the next two months to help reach my goals:

  • Vitamins – morning and evening
  • Fish Oil supplementation – morning and evening
  • Log Water Consumption: 5 glasses per day minimum
  • –  Target: 64 ounces. 1/2 gallon, or 2 liters.
  • Log sleep time, down and up. Target 8+ hours

In addition, I’ll also make a few tweaks to my food intake:

  • Reduce nuts and fruits in diet to maximum 300 cals/day
  • Evening meal: no food after 7pm.

Finally, I’m updating my training each week to include a little more focused strength work and some oly technique to get me to my particular goal:

  • 2 days Olympic Lifting technique progressions
  • 3 days Heavy Squats and Deadlifts
  • At least 3 days of CrossFit Fenway WODs
  • Daily: Mobility WOD. Start at Day 1.

Oh crap. That’s a lot of training time, and y’all know that time is scarce for me, as a man with 3 jobs and more “extracurricular activities” than is strictly considered rational. Fortunately, it’s not a whole lot of gym time. Let’s break out that schedule to make it manageable:

Each morning upon rising: read mobility WOD while prepping breakfast. Do Mobility WOD at home.

Monday: Rest Day

– CrossFit WOD with Class (finest 15 minutes of my day, 1 hour total)
– Olympic technique progressions after class (15-30 minutes).

Wednesday: Heavy Squats or DLs (30-45 minutes)

– CrossFit WOD with Class (finest 15 minutes of my day, 1 hour total)

Friday: Heavy Squats or DLs (30-45 minutes)

Saturday: Olympic Technique Drills after Invasion

– CrossFit WOD with CrossFit Fenway Competition Team (What, you didn’t know? Our Beast of the East athletes get an extra training session each week to prepare for the event.)
– Heavy Squats or DLs (30-45 minutes)

Now, I travel. Lots. This schedule will have to get flexible to accommodate my travel, and that’s fine. A few missed steps won’t keep me from my goals, though it will slow me down some – and I haven’t left a whole lot of time for missteps. I’ll also probably end up doing a lot more than 3 days of CrossFit Fenway WODs each week, because I just have so much fun working out with you fine people!

Ultimately, I’ll be updating this blog every week with benchmark measurements, stories from the training, and observations about life and choices as I work towards this goal. Hopefully y’all will ride along again… and put together your own plans about how you’re going to reach your goals!

2 thoughts on “Reaching Our Goals”

  1. Sounds like a solid plan. May I humbly suggest on days when you combine strength or technique with a metcon, that you do the strength/skill portion first? In my experience metcon first will completely jack the other modalities, but the reverse is not true.

    I also have a goal I’m working on- gain 10lbs of muscular weight. To reach said goal I am eating (mostly) clean but at every possible opportunity. Yet, I’m STILL hungry at points during the day. I’m not modifying the strength training at all, but fully expect by the time I gain this weight (giving myself a month) I will have-
    – 1.2X BW press
    – 2.2X BW deadlift
    – 2X BW back squat
    – 1.5X BW clean and jerk
    – 1.1X BW snatch

    We shall see.

    1. Sounds similar to my “gain 10# in a month” project. I have confidence that you can do it. (I do recommend the 20RM squat program, though difficult.)

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