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There Is No Finish Line In Fitness

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I love learning and improving in areas that are lacking.  But, we can’t learn anything if we think we already know all that there is to know about something.

I’ve always considered myself a strong guy. I’ve been weight training since the mid 80’s. My dad had a cheap bench and concrete weights that I started out on when I was just a kid. He would do his work and I would try to mimic whatever he did. He would have lift offs with his friends to see who could bench and curl the most and that sparked a flame for training that lives with me to this day 30 years later.

I seriously started looking into isolated movements and bodybuilding when I turned 19.  I read every bodybuilding book that was out there and started doing amateur competitions.

I learned how to maximize my strength and change my body for the next 15 years. Eventually I got burned out and bored with the same old routines day after day, week after week. Chest and triceps Monday, back and biceps Tuesday, legs Wednesday, and so on. I got tired.  I plateaued. I stopped training and got out of shape.

Eventually it all caught up with me and I knew I needed to get back at it, but I couldn’t bear the thought of the same tired routine. That’s when I walked into a tiny CrossFit gym five years ago. I walked into that place not expecting much. I didn’t think there would be anyone there that had as much knowledge as I had after all my time bodybuilding.

There were two guys training by themselves. They stopped and greeted me and invited me back that night for a free intro class. I thought what the hell and figured I would head in and show them what was what. The workout was Fran… Those guys, along with the workout, kicked my ass. It took me fifteen minutes to finish and the rest is history.

I’ve learned so much since that day; like strength without mobility is practically worthless in the world of functional fitness. My thrusters were basically a forearm curl, front squat, and strict press. That’s not exactly ideal for a workout like Fran.  But old habits die hard. Back in my early CrossFit days coaches one after another would suggest technique tips and mobility work, but I would still continue to muscle everything, ya know, since I knew everything there was to know already about fitness.

It wasn’t until the 2017 open came around that I would hit a figurative CrossFit bottom. 17.3 was released and the WOD called for squat snatches. Having enough strength to Power Snatch 185 and not be able to consistently land 95 pounds in the squat was pretty humbling.

Being humbled was a gift. It opened my eyes to new information that could help me overcome my mental and physical limitations. Coach Mike and Coach Charlie suggested mobility work for the next six months. That didn’t sound very sexy but I was determined to never feel that way in a workout again.

I had to learn how to mobilize; What’s flossing? Who is Kelly Starrette? What does the tightness in my chest have to do with my shoulders? How will running a lacrosse ball through my hamstrings help my hip mobility? After 6 months of mobility work I finally started landing the weights I was failing consistently.  I started looking forward to the 2018 Open. I’ve started hoping that I’ll see that movement again in a few weeks that last year left me so frustrated.

A new idea cannot be grafted onto a closed mind. It’s ok to not know sometimes. That’s one of the best things about life; you’re never done learning. There is always room for growth and understanding and discovering new things. We are all a work in progress no matter what point we are at in our fitness journey. There is no finish line in fitness only the road ahead.

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