Maximizing Progress: A time to learn and a time to move

Adam demonstrates a Clean in front of the 6am class. 

Adam demonstrates a Clean in front of the 6am class. 

LESSON: If you only do what you already know how to do then you will quite improving at the rate you are or were once improving. Challenge is important. It does not have to be crazy, but even the smallest step outside of your comfort zone can bring quite a return on your effort! There's probably a lesson about life in there somewhere but let's stick to working out. 


When you stop in for one of our CrossFit classes or one of our Fitness Redux classes here at Black Wolf, you will see an incredibly amount of teaching taking place each week. 


Our coaches are teachers first and everything else second. That is what separates us, and CrossFit affiliates in general from other brands of fitness. 


Right now there are quite a few trendy places that would like me to pay $30 or $40 for a single 45 minute or 1 hour class. And when I am in there, it is clear that I am only paying for the use of their equipment, their fancy lighting, and their curated playlist of songs.


Unfortunately, what I am probably not going to receive is much coaching. The workouts are written to use the same movement patterns day in and day out with little attention paid to challenging the athlete outside of their comfort zone. Rarely will there be a 10 minute group chat with the coach about how to execute a new movement. Rarely still will there be any discussion about the mentality an athlete should have when approaching a workout. 


I talk mentality before the class takes on the rowing element of a workout. 

I talk mentality before the class takes on the rowing element of a workout. 

Education and learning are not sexy in the fitness industry. But the CrossFit affiliate is different in that the entire model is based upon always, always, always educating the athlete on how to do what they already now how to do better, as well as constantly introducing new movements and exercises. 


With that being said, there is always a balance to be struck between teaching and doing. Somedays are focused on learning opportunities. We will spend more time discussing the technique with the class and taking ample amount of time to practice repetitions of the movement. 


And then there are days where you seem to move start to finish with basic demonstration and explanation. 


If you never are put in a position to have to learn new things and every day is simply moving through space for the entire class, then you will inevitably reach the limits of your progress potential because you will only be doing what you are already comfortable doing. 


Growth comes from stress. We adapt to stressors and that is when we become stronger. Yes, when we think stress we think life stressors. But it is also true there. When life overwhelms us, we have an opportunity to grow. Every set back is a chance for a come back and other fun, witty sayings exemplify this. 


Physical growth and improvement is the same. We stress the muscular or cardio respiratory system and that forces our system to become stronger in order to better handle that stress (That is, if we stay at it. If we quit then we do not get better. We put ourselves under stress for nothing). 


And if we only utilize the movement patterns or exercises we know and love, then it becomes more and more difficult to continue to force the desired adaptation (improvement). 


For example, when I start running, I lean out and improve my breathing tremendously in a very short period of time. However, if I continue to only run, especially if I am only running one way (slow, long distance), then my rate of improvement begins to decrease. I feel like I have to run farther and farther to continue to get better. 


Instead, I should incorporate new things. Even within the preferred workout style (running), I could change it up. Focusing on shorter distances at higher speed would increase improvement for sure. 


But the real progress is found in varying the workouts quite a bit. Learn to squat through a full range of motion and you’ll see your running improve. 


Learn to pick up your body weight off of the floor and your stamina increases. 


Run short distances faster and your back squat improves. 


And you are able to maintain this higher rate of improvement for much much longer as a result of you challenging yourself in so many different ways. 



An athlete will be best served by a fitness program that does get them moving as quickly as possible, but that also makes sure to give the athlete an opportunity to try new things, learn new skills, and practice (in a not for time format) movement patterns they already have in their arsenal. 


We offer a free week of classes (7 consecutive days with no obligation to join) for you to drop in and see this for yourself. And whether you are actually in the market to join or not, we would love to have you come by! First of all, the more athletes my coaches and I see move, the better we get. And second of all, I want you to have the opportunity to learn something new that you could take with you to your next fitness endeavor.


If you have any thoughts or questions, leave them in the comments and I’ll respond. I love these discussions!