Finding the Cricket

Spealler said it. I think it was Speal. It sounds like something he would have said:

“Set little goals for yourself. Worry less about your time, the number of reps, or weight on the bar. Set little goals and achieve them.”

So I did.

I do.

And that’s what I tell the athletes I train to do.  Set little goals for yourself.

  • Don’t walk away from the barbell when you rest.
  • Break the round of 15 into two sets, not three.
  • Don’t worry about your max, concentrate instead on fully opening your hips, shrugging your shoulders, or really working on that third pull.

I’ve got a new one for every day of the week. It’s great, I could do this all day.

For years I was a garage gym’er.  In my backyard I workout differently than I would at a box. After all, it was Coach, himself, that said “men will die for points.” The only living thing I often get to compete against is the cricket whose whereabouts have been unknown to me for six months now.  The few times I am lucky enough to step foot into an affiliate, I’m like a demon.  I love it.  My rest periods are shorter, the number of times I come off the bar are less frequent. It feels awesome. Rarely am I first name the whiteboard with the fastest time or heaviest, but it beats the hell out of being the only one on the whiteboard.

Believe me, it is 100% embarrassing to admit such blasphemy.  As someone who has been competing his whole life in sport, shouldn’t pushing your limits be a natural inclination? Do you need someone else in the room? I wish that were the case. When I’m finished with Cindy in my backyard, it still sucks, even without some firebreather on the rig next to me. I still push, but maybe not as hard as I could have.

A little while back, after the baby went to sleep and my wife was on the phone with her mom, I was able to creep down to the basement and get in a — what I thought would be quick — metcon.  Almost sixteen minutes later, my shoulders and that good ol’ posterior chain were fired up, sweat drops littered the concrete floor, and I struggled to get up the steps to the kitchen where thy beloved SFH protein drink awaited.

As I recorded the workout in my log, I looked at the number of reps (90), and my time (15:24), and realized there was a massive discrepancy there. My fastest Fran time, which is also only 90 reps, is sub 5 minutes… that was done with a crowd of people at my Level 1.  How could this have taken me over fifteen minutes?  Then I realized what had happened…

I’m still coming off of an injury, nor did I get much chance to warm up, the movements I was doing were more time-consuming than thrusters and pullups, so certainly the time would be longer. But, ladies, and gentlemen, the real culprit was none of the above. Those are excuses.  The problem was “Rest Period ADHD.”  As soon as I put the bar down, I started messing around with things unrelated to the tasks at hand, in this case being a couplet of snatch balance and bar-facing burpee.

I’ve set a new list of little goals for myself. I’m going to work on accomplishing them a couple at a time until I have attained them all. Here they are, folks…

Stop doing the following during workouts:

  1. Adjust wrist wraps
  2. Unnecessarily chalk your hands
  3. Change the song on the iPod
  4. Re-tighten the velcro on your Oly shoes
  5. Check in one more spot for that fucking cricket
  6. Wipe the sweat from your face more than once between rounds
  7. Go through a “foul line” routine to get the weight up to the front rack position (you probably don’t need to approach a 95# barbell the way you would your one-rep max clean, unless that is your one-rep max… in that case, do what you’ve got to do)
  8. Zone out
  9. Adjust the clips to make the bumpers 3 millimeters tighter against the collars
  10. Roll up the waistband of your shorts to make the inseam shorter because you saw Chad Mackay and Jason Khalipa do it during the Clean Ladder during the 2012 Games
  11. Think about and picture how cool it would be to have a Castro Rig in the back yard
  12. Contemplate adjusting the number of reps… I mean, after all, I’m writing my own programming

I’m not guilty of all of these, and there are days I’m not guilty of any of these.  But, could any of the above be a productive goal for you as well?  There may not be mirrors to look into in your basement or at your box, but there’s plenty of other shit to distract us. I call these things my “crickets.”  My goats are wall balls and muscle-ups. My crickets are the things I do instead of increasing my work capacity.

Be mindful of what you do with your time at the box or in your garage. Are there any crickets?  Sometimes it’s easy to find them and stomp on those suckers.  Others may take some time to locate behind the Rubbermaid full of winter clothing.

I may never find that god damn cricket, but you better believe I can stop adjusting my wrist wraps and get my Elizabeth time to a place it should be.

Happy hunting.

-Coach Colin