Maximizing Your Potential


CrossFit Games athlete and former Navy SEAL, Josh Bridges was recently interviewed and what he said really resonated with me.

He was asked if being a Navy SEAL benefits him now while training and competing in CrossFit.

He responded by telling a story of when he was in BUD/S training. ‘BUD/S’ is the school Sailors go through to become Navy SEALs. He said that the only thing that was certain was that time would not stop. He stated that during the last five days of BUD/S (also known as hell-week) they would not be allowed to sleep for the entire five days (except two 2-hour naps) and the rest of the time was spend moving, working, running, swimming and basically just being miserable, wet, cold and sandy.
Bridges told the interviewer that the sailors who quit were the ones who lost focus of the present. The ones who thought: “Oh God, there are still four more days of this”  were the weak ones and the ones who wouldn’t last.

The sailors who succeeded and went on to become SEALs where the ones who kept the mentality of just getting done the work that was in front of them. The ones who kept telling themselves that when it is over it will be over, but most importantly… it will eventually be over.

He explained that when we workout, there is a part of our brains that start to feel sorry for ourselves. We start to realize how many more rounds we have or how much more time we still have left.  Josh stated that he wasn’t going to give up and he wasn’t going to stop no matter how much time was left so why feel sorry for yourself? It will only make it worse.

Why this stands out to me so much is because this affects us daily in WODs. Are you going to give up? Are you going to stop the workout and go sit down? No. No you are not. So quit feeling sorry for yourself. This is what we are doing right now. You are doing this workout to get fitter, to look better naked and to be healthier overall. This is the process. You decided to do this and you have to stay focused on your goals. So get after it. When you finish you will feel accomplished and satisfied that you did better than the person that wanted to sit there sulking.

I truly believe it now. This week I had a workout that seemed like it wouldn’t end. You know the kind of workout I’m talking about. I was at that point where I looked up at the clock and knew immediately that I SHOULD NOT have looked at the clock. I started feeling sorry for myself because of how much time I had to keep working for and remembered what Josh Bridges said. I immediately reminded myself that I chose to do this. I want to be fitter and I want to get better at these movements. I am NOT going to quit so stop feeling bad and get the work done. Put everything you have into it and you will feel great when it is over… and it will eventually be over. It actually made the workout go by faster and I felt much more satisfied with my performance.

This is how you maximize your potential. Every step you take should be toward your objective. Don’t take the easy route. If it was easy you wouldn’t want it. Be proud of your path and stick to it. Take the challenges head-on and put max out effort into your small term goals and you will succeed.

We want you to stay FOCUSED this year and do everything you can to succeed in the goals you set.

Be smart about how you set your goals and make the short-term goals achievable. That way you have a bunch of small goals you can check off frequently and before you know it you are already THAT much closer to achieving your long-term goals.

Time To Go To Work!

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty!

Now we’re at the “take action part”. You should be enlightened, motivated and focused after reading Part 1 and Part 2.  So what now?

If you competed in the Open, you surely have goals!
Your coaches have TONS!  

  1. Were there movements (probably gymnastics) you WERE NOT ABLE TO DO? That’s a goal. Forget what we did? Below is a list of the movements that have appeared in the last 7 years of CF Open Competitions and the frequency that they have appeared. It’s a great work list and one that helps you prioritize based on how often you might see these!
  2. Were there movements you got firsts on? C2B Pull ups? HSPUs?  Becoming proficient in them is a goal.
  3. Were the RX loads too heavy for you? If so, strength on those lifts is a goal.
  4. Did you not get as far as you wanted in one or more of the WODs? ( your “engine” couldn’t keep up)? Time to embrace the short, hard fast suckfest that is “good scaling”. Good goal!


If you did not compete in the Open, here’s a good place to start:

  1. Ask several of your coaches what THEY would list as your goals. Those who coach you are good judges of where your efforts should be if you are uncertain. Those blue shirts know you pretty well =-)
  2. Grab a Skill Level 1 Sheet (see below) and begin using it! We have used these since 2010 to help our athletes focus on creating “balanced fitness” across strength, speed, skill and metabolic conditioning. There are four Skill Levels (adopted from CF Seattle), each progressively more difficult but all ensuring we progress as balanced athletes between weightlifting, gymnastics and metabolic conditioning.
  3. Sign up for a competition…no better way to find your weaknesses than being put to the test!


How to increase your abilities, reps and loads:

Not to get too sciency on you but in fitness, there IS some science. Here, when we talk about getting stronger and achieving an “RX” gymnastics movements like pull ups, pushups or handstand pushups, this “science” matters and you need to be sure you’re being led by coaches and trainers who understand this.  Sometimes the CFL1 isn’t enough if the coach spends his or her time on YouTube watching elite muscle up skills versus honing his or her skills for corrective exercise and progressing the new athlete from Scaled to RX (off soapbox, but we’re passionate about the quality of our coaching and the levels of education of our coaches!).

  • SAID stands for Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands.  This term is used from fitness to rehabilitation.  In a nutshell, if you don’t increase your fitness demands (in load, repetitions, volume, intensity or skill level), your body adapts and does not progress.  Maybe NOW you understand why we want you to go heavier or harder (safely) a lot of the time!  You can accomplish this by increasing load strategically, or increasing reps of the same load (be it body weight or barbell weight).  Over time, as you’ve increased your repetitions, your overall volume increases and when you return to a heavier load or a higher level of the gymnastics skill, you’ll be able to do it.  Ask your coaches for help. These little mini-programs are easy to sketch out and easy to progress.  They WILL help you achieve your goals, but you have to do them!
  • Supercompensation. (Supercompensation-2) Coach Glassman uses this a lot and it’s at the root of the programming in building an athlete, HOWEVER this is one part of the equation that requires you to play a role in your success. It relies on YOU listening to your body to recover. That can either be you knowing when it’s a rest day (even though today’s WOD is YOUR FAVORITE!) or by you knowing that today you need to run through the WOD at 1/2 or 3/4 effort. This DOES NOT run in contrast to what is listed above when we tell you “don’t quit” and “push through”, but rather it’s your role in “if today is a training day or a competition day”.
  • Progressions. Here’s where WE come in.  Let us help you choose you the right progressions to take you from handstand to handstand pushup, from elevated pushup to RX pushup, or from Ring Row to pull up.  We can guide you to the right progression but YOU have to show up and commit to do the work.


What if it’s your body weight that’s holding you back?

Excess body fat or  body weight can help your power lifts but harm your gymnastics and running/jumping.  The goal is to maintain strength while losing unwanted body fat.  You cannot crash diet, take your calories below 10 or 11x bodyweight and expect to excel with your training…and that’s what this whole post is about…your training!  Diet changes are a tough goal…but whether it’s your health, your performance, or simply you want to look good naked, there’s never a better time to start than now.  Here are some ways we can help:

  1. Keep a three  day food log and turn it in to Coach Sam.  No, you may not stand in front of a coach and dictate what you’ve eaten….they’re not your secretary. Write it down, hand it in, email it or log it in MyFitnessPal or Cronometer and screenshot it and text it to the box…we’ll get it to the right place.
    • Sometimes there are easy little tweaks you can make without a complete overhaul that can get you where you want to be. For instance, on athlete recently mentioned he wanted to lose “his gut”.  First question: “what do you start your day with?” Answer: Rice Krispies 😩.   We replaced those with more calories from potatoes, eggs and ham and the dude dropped 4 pounds over two weeks! Quality matters too.
  2. Learn about the food you eat. We promote a primal-ish diet – whole foods, minimally processed – and with the CrossFit theme:
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    • We do “challenges” throughout the year. Look for the next one and sign up!
  3. To tweak your diet to an elite level you need to fully understand how what you eat affects your body.  The macronutrient composition of your diet directly affects your body composition and the quality of your food directly affects your health. You have choices!
    • These are our three educational posts we have published in the past that will help you learn about your macros or the nutrient makeup of your diet from protein, carbohydrate and fat:  Macros Part 1, Macros Part 2, Macros Part 3.

Finally, get your goals up on the goal board!
It will help us, as coaches, to better push you toward reaching them. 



Missed Parts 1 and 2? Check them out here:
Goal Setting Part 1: Who You are as an Athlete
Goal Setting Part 2: What it Means to be Focused


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