Training With Intention

Training With Intention

Written By Andy Shaw

Have you ever gone somewhere with absolutely no plan and then became frustrated when either an event went wrong, or a major detail was missed?  I had a drill instructor that once said that choosing not to plan is still a plan, just a useless one.  What does planning have to do with intention?  After all, Intention is the title of this post.  Intention is simply what one intends to do.  This would be a direct result from our time, goals and actions marrying the two.

               Now that intention is defined, what does this have to do with our training? Honestly, everything.  Lucky for us, in the world of CrossFit at least, the majority of the plan is taken care of in the form of programming. The best coach in the world can be instructing the class and if there is no intention as to why to attend, then the full benefit will be left in want.  The athletes are the other half of the equation and have to bring their dish to the table. 

               What does intention look like on behalf of the athlete? We have the plan of programming ready for us when we walk in. We show up and know it will be a warm-up, strength, workout, and mobility.  As athletes, we should be asking ourselves, “what do I want from the time I spend here?” from this question we establish what we intend to do with our time sown each weekNow that we know our intention, we establish our plan.  This intention, this plan, was communicated with the lead coach when you signed up, and periodically reviewed.  

               So, the intention was defined, the plan was set, the communication was clear from the head coach, and now we come to the implementation of the plan, this is our action.  This is what we are doing week to week to fulfill the goals plan and intention that has been established.  After all a plan without action is just words.

For example, many people generally have the goal of losing weight, we will now ask ourselves, “what do we intend to bring about (in the form of weight loss)?” With our goal in mind, we can see that the intent during class would be to embrace the intensity of the workouts.  Look at the workout as an opportunity to push oneself and really embrace the fact that the workout for 60 minutes at Avid is bumping the metabolism up through intense activity and variance, but further we need to embrace this intensity as often as possible.  Five days a week optimum, and week after week, month after month establishing a lifestyle of activity.  Weight gain happened over months and years, losing weight will not happen in 1 week.

               The poor intention would look like, “I want to lose weight” The workout is posted, and instead of going the athlete cherry-picks workouts for what is “easier” or more their wheelhouse because an AMRAP of rowing intervals with burpees sounds too miserable. “Ill take a week off, I’m just not feeling it.”  “I am just tired today, Ill go on Tuesday”, This is missing the heart of what fitness and CrossFit stand for.

               The heart of CrossFit is fitness.  Fitness comes from consistency and discipline, week after week of high intensity training, skill building and mobility stewarding.  From this comes sowing we reap the ability to move and perform in life for the long term. HEALTH is the goal, we achieve that through multiple modalities of cardio, Olympic lifting increased mobility and the list goes on.  This is achieved by working consistently on these modalities, movements, mobility and prioritizing health by doing it even when “I’m just not feeling it”.  We go to work, even when its hard, or tired, or had a long night.  Our health is more of a priority, our health is what is carrying us through the days and weeks of life, or sadly, what may be weighing us down. Prioritizing our health and investing in something as simple as 4 days a week at CrossFit will reap the benefits we need in the marathon of life.

If general fitness and long-term health are the goals, Some practical steps we can take to train with intention for the long term are:

  1. Be teachable: coaches are leading and instructing, cycles change have an open mind, and listen/heed to instruction.
  2. Embrace the “little things”, the little things of weekly challenges, mobility, nutrition, hydration, and foot health all add up to long-term health and gains.
  3. Embrace the discomfort, this doesn’t mean wallowing in agony for 20 min after an AMRAP, this means pushing yourself for HIGH INTENSITY and embracing the idea that it will be hard, but perfectly doable.
  4. Be Engaged: Theatre was originally used during WWII to escape the war and trials that the countries were going through, checking out for an hour or so.  Looking at coming to CrossFit as a sanctuary, an escape from the stress of life, a place to learn and fail free of judgment makes engagement in learning so inviting.
  5. Establish consistency and a plan: Make a deal with yourself, “Four days a week for the entire cycle, with a focus on my intensity and really pushing myself.

The culture of Avid welcomes questions, it welcomes yearning to learn, and the perfect place for athletes to steward fitness in the aspect of learning new movements, refining technique, embracing intensity, fighting for fitness, and “failing” a rep (which is just learning) and waging war against mother nature and father time trying to take our fitness and health from us as we exist on this glorious rock called earth.