In the land of CrossFit, or mixed modal training, coaches face various obstacles and it is sometimes based on the age of the athlete:
- Little kids = attention span & lack of body control
- Young and middle-aged adults = competitiveness, competitiveness, competitiveness (LOL!), and compliance
- Older adults to seniors = attention span, lack of range of motion, lack of body control, lack of understanding of “the sport”…AND competitiveness
So with older adults, we face more varied challenges and have to be prepared for ANYTHING!
Below we’ve listed a few things that we see very often…some funny, some…OK, well, ALL OF THEM are funny (to us!), but some are serious. Enjoy this spirited entertainment at the expense of our athletes.
“Yes, we know this is hard”
Isn’t that the point? Exercise presents the body with a challenge (challenge implies hard) and if that challenge is met and accomplished, the body responds by adapting to it and getting better (stronger, faster, more fit). So when we ask you to do something, and you’re thinking “But this is so hard”…right…we know. It’s supposed to be. You should get a wink and a smile and a high-five!
Let’s define it. Many of you do it. And…we know who you are, and when you are doing it! In a nutshell, sandbagging means “purposefully underperforming”. The term comes from golf when a person will portray themselves as lesser to gain an advantage. In CrossFit, it’s the same. Take “Annie” for example. While we don’t enforce the version of the workout you may choose to do, Annie’s average time is around 6-10 minutes for someone really moving fast and well and doing the movements Rx. So if you choose to do toe ups, maybe miscount a few reps, and seated knee ups, and you finish in three minutes…trust us, you chose poorly. You didn’t get the same stimulus as other athletes and if the “version” of the workout you choose is always the easiest for you, well, see above “This is hard”. It’s supposed to be hard. If we are lifting, and you don’t feel well and don’t want to load that bar up – we get it. But if you consistently don’t try to better yourself with load, even by 2 1/2 pounds, you’re sandbagging and cheating yourself. Don’t do it! There’s a reason why you train with us and getting stronger and healthier is one of those reasons. Sarcopenia and frailty are not good things: fight back.
This is probably easier to understand than Sandbagging. Definition: the action or practice of selecting the best or most desirable. Some of our athletes know where/how we post the workouts for the week. Knowing them in advance can help you prepare for the week…or it can enable the “cherry pickers”. Those who hate to lift weights know that’s our Wednesday plan so they choose not to show up on Wednesdays. Or in the case of Annie last week, they hate cardio so they choose not to show up on Fridays. Just like those Sandbaggers…we know who you are! Don’t do it! Show up…do the work…reap the benefits.
You may be worried about it, but don’t be. What about “I’m doing too much”? Nope. Again, put that out of your head. Let us help you out here: in the realm of older adults, THE MAJORITY of society is underestimating you. You’re not doing too much…but more likely, too little. What if you squat on Monday AND Wednesday? OMG – you might be overtraining! NOT! In fact, you could dumbbell front squat on Monday, do air squats in your garden on Tuesday, barbell back squat on Wednesday, Overhead squat on Thursday in your garage with a broomstick, and do wall balls on Friday…and yes, that would be OK? Really! The load, volume, and style of movements you do on a weekly basis with us is not so much that ever worry about you doing too much. In fact, we worry you don’t do enough. We only see you three days a week for an hour (five days a week for an hour if you’re in the gymnastics class too)…and you can do so much more. Rest when you need to but move when you can. Take breaks when you need to…from moving. But move. Get a dog if you need to but move more. You’re not close to being “overtrained”.
The Rx is not above your reach
This can really drive Coach Ed into a crazy fury! While a few of you might not fully understand this, you really do. The Rx is the full standard of a movement that we expect. If you can’t do it, we can scale the movement to an achievable version of the “Rx” movement while you gain strength, mobility and experience to be able to fully “Rx it”. For example, the squat. The Rx is starting at full hip and knee extension (standing up straight with knees and hips straight), descending until the crease of your hip is below parallel, and then returning to full extension. If you can’t achieve that right now, no worries…we can scale the depth “up” for you as you get stronger and more mobile. And then we’ll start encouraging a lower squat…and lower…until you reach the Rx. You KNOW that’s what we expect….no really, deep down you know if even if you don’t want to admit it. And yes, you may be stiff, and those hips and knees may not have moved like that in years, but if you don’t start, they never will. And if you don’t expect more of yourself, then you can expect a decline. Your job is to continue to PROGRESS as long as you can as you age. The minute progress stops, we think you’re in trouble. So…again…the Rx version of the movement IS within your reach.
CrossFit is a LEARNING SPORT
It is not personal training where we load your barbells and tell you what to do every single repetition of every single movement during the entire hour. You are LEARNING to move well. You are learning to add the weights on the bar (e.g. the red bar is 35#). You are learning to remember “about” how long it takes you to do a benchmark (repeating) workout, and how much you last deadlifted. You really are. The question is are you embracing it? Or just being lazy when we say: “What did you do last time?” and you not only can’t remember but …sometimes we think you don’t want to. Guys!!!! Using your brain is part of our prescription. It’s thinking while you work. It is food for the brain and helps to improve the activity in your brain and keep your cognition sharp! Listen at the whiteboard, think about the movement, and pay attention to what you’re doing. You’ll find better progress that way.
We know how old you are – you don’t have to tell us!
Someone once said to Coach Ed: You know, I’m 78! We know! We know all of your ages…but that doesn’t change what we expect. The level of athlete you are when you begin with us matters, but as you progress, mature in your movements, and gain experience and strength, we expect more, regardless of your age. So we get it…you’re “over 55″…and some of you way over that, but please, remember, YOU’RE setting the bar. Many of our younger athletes see the older athletes as goals for the future. Embrace that. That fact that you ARE the age you are and you’re doing what you’re doing is motivating to many. Own it!
We have them! They just disappear from the bulletin board occasionally.
- Work hard, within your limits. Put forth effort. You will be rewarded.
- We will not focus on what you CAN’T do. Rather, we will, and we will help you, focus on what you CAN do. You will see progress this way. Focusing on the negative only breeds more negative thoughts.
- Do all the work posted. It’s common to feel like you’re “behind” and maybe you should just do what you can to “keep up”. But trust us, the workouts are designed for you to do the work posted in the order it’s posted.
- Put your equipment back where you got it when you’re done.
- If you sweat on, spit on, or over-chalk your equipment, wipe it down with the red rags. BUT DO NOT OVERSPRAY THE EQUIPMENT.
- Be on time. We start at the whiteboard at the top of the hour. We’ll never start early, but we may start a few minutes late. If you are late, the coaches SHOULD attend to the athletes who are on time and then help you get oriented to what you missed. Please don’t expect special attention if you are late.
- If you want to stretch out after class, please use the turf area so the class in play can have the floor.
- No bags on gym floor. Leave bags, keys, phones, etc. in the playground/turf area.
- Use chalk OVER bucket. Don’t break up pieces of a chalk block or take chalk out of the bucket. Go to the bucket and chalk your hands “down in” the bucket.
- Let your coaches coach. While support is great, giving technical advice and coaching, if you are not a coach, is not OK. Your coaches are experienced, they know the athletes and their health and limitations. There are waaaay too many “Youtube Coaches” out there. Please let us do our jobs.
- If you don’t know, ask! If there is something you’re unsure about, please ask. There are no silly questions. We would much rather you ask so we can address any issues and not risk injury.
- Do not walk through an active class. If you have to use the restroom, please be conscious of the class that’s in play on the gym floor.
- We know how old you are. You don’t have to tell us…we don’t treat you differently because of your age. We work within your abilities. (See rule #1)
- Laugh! Come on, we all look funny doing this stuff! Especially you!
- Have respect for each other and your coaches.