Go kill it out there.

I had this conversation a while ago now.

A member had recently returned from a selection course.

The first thing I asked her, excited and confident that I already knew the answer would be good.

“Hey, how did you get on?”

“Oh, not too good. I failed!”

“What the f%#k happened?”

Probably not the answer most people would ask, and probably not the response she wanted. However, I genuinely wanted to know. I have a substantial amount of confidence in my members, and I truly, often believe in them more than they believe in themselves.

“It was so hard! I mean the theory was hard. And I knew the physical would be hard, but it was much more difficult than I had thought.”

“So, when do you go again?”

“What? I don’t know, probably not”

“Why not?”

Think about it like this.

Have you ever played monopoly? The objective of the game is to be the last player on the board. You achieve this through buying property, which other players pay a ‘rental’ fee when they land on the space or property which you own. If you cannot afford to pay your ‘rental’ fee then you are declared bankrupt. As a result, you are then removed from the game. Throughout the duration of the game players encounter multiple chapters,

The “Im rich, anyone want a loan”, or

“Hey, want to donate some of your money?”, or

“That’s it! I am going to mortgage everything, I just need more cash”, or

“Yes! FREE PARKING, time for some hotels”.

No, doubt there are plenty more.

Now tell me, do you give up the first time you pay rent?

No.

So, what’s the difference?

When you were a child, at some stage you began to learn to walk.

Let me tell you a secret …

You fell over. A lot.

No one woke up one day, and decided ‘today, is the day, that I shall walk’. It doesn’t work like that. It took time. It took practice. And, you failed countless times. You paid rent. You probably paid a lot of rent.

What about now? Your ‘walk and fall’ rent isn’t due all too often. Because you passed that test and moved onto the next.

 Life is full of speed bumps. Moments in life which will test you. There may even be a couple of walls you need to get over, or go around. And you can.

It is up to you to succeed or fail. It is your choice to fail, and leave it there. Or fail, maybe fail again, and again but someday, when you truly believe in yourself, and ACTUALLY apply yourself, you will succeed.

I thought about what I had said. Was I too harsh?

No way.

I decided to send her a message …

“There will be times when you do not improve, when you do not achieve the goals you have set yourself, and you feel like you are wasting your time. The difference between being the champion you could be, and the person you perceive yourself to be, is knowing the reality of what success involves, knowing the struggle that individuals go through. The difference is the ability to work through that same struggle yourself. Do not be mistaken, there will be speed bumps, and there will dead ends. But, no matter what there is always another way.”

To her reply …

“Thanks Gilly. It's funny, people always ask why I'm so passionate about CrossFit and especially loyal to Taurus. That message plus everything else you teach us on a daily basis is why. You're an incredible coach & athlete & I'll continue to take any advice from you as Gold, really appreciate it thank you”.

You are stronger, more capable, and more determine than you think.

Go kill it out there.

 
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Michael Gillum
"Convenience is Bullshit!"

Very quickly, I became extremely passionate in this conversation.

Last week, a close friend and I were discussing several ideas that he had with respect to the systems at the gym he owns and runs. A number of ideas in, and we started talking about members. No members in particular, more the idea of members at his gym, what the potential of them leaving is vs. the value of them staying.

He then went on to say…

“Sometimes it is just not convenient ha? I had a member leave last week who said they are planning to go to the gym that is closer to home.”

“Bullshit! That is an absolutely bullshit excuse”

No response.

Consider this…

On the 7th June 1976 saw the opening of the first McDonalds restaurant in New Zealand. On the 7th June 2016 saw 166 active McDonalds’ restaurants operating in New Zealand. McDonalds have a precise goal, that is to have a restaurant within 8 minutes of any household, in all main centers. They all offer the exact same products, the same service, and are priced identically. The McDonalds’ brand is driven by the idea of market saturation and convenience.

The closest McDonalds to home, is convenient, because it is the same.

In comparison…

In Palmerston North city, there is a well-known café named Café Cuba. Anyone and everyone who has lived in Palmerston North, travelled to visit friends, or stayed would have, or next time should, visit Café Cuba. The café is situated on the corner of an inner-city street. The building is old, and should be written in the history books. The café itself is small and cluttered, with old small round and square tables, and two small toilets out the back of the dining area. Regardless of all this, the café is always flooded with patrons. Customers will often stand and wait for up to 30mins before a table is free.

According to ManawatNZ, Palmerston North features 66 Cafes, most of which are within 5km of the CBD. A significant number of Café’s that are much more convenient than Café Cuba. Yet, of them Café Cuba is one of, if not the busiest in the city.

It’s not convenient.

But, their customer experience is in high demand.

My friend now understood where I was heading.

“Obviously, what I offer is not a franchise like McDonalds’, therefore the product, or ‘customer experience’ as you put it, is different to every other gym?”

Correct.

There is only one reason you lose a member.

Your ‘customer experience’ is not as good as someone else’s, for the relative price you charge.

The same could be said about a member leaving to try a new sport, or because they “Can’t afford it anymore”. They don’t want to try a new sport, and they sure as shit can afford it. The issue is, that the experience you offer is not as good as someone else.

If you lose a member, don’t be offended.

Fix it.

Improve your ‘customer experience’.

No one sells a product or a service, we ALL sell an experience.

 
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Michael Gillum
You are only protecting your ego.

I hate this conversation. Yet, I have the same conversation all too often.

The controversy around this topic is created purely by top competitors. Whether they like it or not, they set the standard for competitors across New Zealand

I was reminded this morning during our 5.30am class…

“Hey Gilly, who is our 3rd boy for the teams comp?”

“I am not sure?”

“Oh well, why don’t we just sub in John or Craig (not their actual names, but for the purpose of this Bulletin, we will use ‘John’ and ‘Craig’)?”

“Why, because the team you are referring to is entered in the intermediate division. I am not about to encourage two, relatively good, competitive, ‘Rx’ level competitors to enter the Intermediate division. It is not only unfair, but unreasonable to create the best team possible and put them in any category we so choose”.

“But John’s not ‘Rx’!”

“I’m sorry. Hey John, name one movement you cannot do, which would in turn stop you from effectively competing as part of an ‘Rx’ team at the Team Nationals”

No reply.

My point exactly.

John pipes in “But I’m not as good as you, so I would get smashed!”

Here is where it gets interesting.

The New Zealand Team Nationals is now a relative comparison to the CrossFit Games, at least that is what John is suggesting. Form John’s comment we can then assume that, I should be entering the ‘Rx’ division at the Team Nationals, after placing 17th in the world at the Crossfit Games, correct. And as a result, although John is one of the most competitive individuals in the gym, he should lower himself into the intermediate division. Not because he is not good enough to compete in the ‘Rx’ division, but because there may well be competitors like me, in other teams who have recently competed at either the Pacific Regionals, or the CrossFit Games. And he does not believe in himself, that he will beat those teams, or for that matter be competitive.

Here is what I take from this…

John does not want to lose.

Regardless of the fact, that John is physically capable of completing all programmed workouts at this year’s Team Nationals, as prescribed (true fact). John wants to enter a category where he has a chance of winning.

John does not care that he is, by my understanding of the sportsmanship rules, undermining the point of the competition. Because, John wants to win.

Or…

What John really wants, is to protect his ego.

No one likes coming last.

Let’s be honest, it sucks.

There it is, the number one reason people from all over New Zealand, and in fact the world do not enter competitions. Because they don’t want to lose. They do not want to damage their ego.

It is so much easier to say –

“Oh, I’m just enjoying training at the moment”

“Nah man, I have a bit of a niggly back so going to miss this one”

“Hey girl, I am really focusing on my strength cycle so can’t make it”

“Who else is entered? Really trying to be pick my competitions wisely this year”

Do not get me wrong, these are all valid excuses on a non-regular basis. But, when you have been ‘focusing on your same strength cycle’ for the last eight months, you either need a new coach or you are straight up looking out for ego.

Unfortunately, there is no governing body for CrossFit based competitions in New Zealand.

Should this matter?

No.

Stop protecting your ego.

Enter the right f**king category.

Better yourself.

Remember why you started.

And please, help grow our sport, not hurt it.

 
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Michael Gillum
My reflection.

It is always easy to look back on decisions you have made. To say you would have done it differently, and to talk about what could have been.

The key is to look positively at ‘what could have been’ and learn from that experience.

Thinking back to when I returned from the Games.

The first person I remember talking to, “So, how was it?”

I replied, “Awesome, different, and a massive learning curve”.

 Probably not the answer they were looking for, but I knew they were curious.

The awesome bit…

The experience itself was phenomenal. It was all you expect and more. It is the pinnacle of CrossFit competitions. Tough, fierce competitors and challenging events. It is an experience very few will ever experience and one which many aspire to endure. It truly is the CrossFit Games.

“What was different?”

Everything. What you see on T.V and what it really is, is very different. You only see the cool bits. The pieces where top athletes are doing amazing things, achieving ridiculous results. What you do not see is the waiting, the mucking around, and the pressure.

For example -

The very first workout, the run, swim, run. We were told to check in at 8am. We were then walked as a group (all 40 teams), to the beer tent (a massive warehouse which would later be used as a venue for spectators) and told to wait there. The event was scheduled to start at 9am, at least that’s what we understood. At 8.45am after standing around for approx. 30mins, we were ushered to the start-line, directly outside. At 8.50am Dave Castro announces that he is unhappy with the way it is set up. As a result we were directed to go back inside and wait. At 9am we were then moved back outside to the start line to wait for the start of the event at 9.15am. Once started, all remaining pairs (this event was a relay completed as pairs) were moved inside. Bailey and I did not start the event until 10.25am.

The same theme continued for the duration of the competition, check in 90mins before. Wait a while. Walk somewhere. Wait again. Walk to the start line. Wait again. Start.

“What did you learn?”

The experience is something that I will always look back on. It is one experience which I can use to reference for so many things.

Most importantly.

Do your research.

Test.

Push the boundaries.

Believe in each other and yourself.

It is amazing what you can learn about yourself and others in stressful, challenging environments. If you really want to achieve what you truly believe is possible, it is essential that the people you choose to do that with are not only capable of the same goal, but they also believe in themselves that it is possible. A team of champions can compete together and achieve amazing results. A team of champions who truly believe in each other and themselves can achieve far beyond that of any other.

Know your goals, and truly believe them.

When you feel as though you have failed, so should the entire team.

When you feel successful, so should the entire team.

When things hurt, they hurt everyone.

If something is easy, it is easy for each person in the team.

Any lapse will be what breaks any team.

Because at the end of the day without every person in the team you cannot achieve what really is possible.

I continue to reflect on the experience. I am not negative. I look forward to the next opportunity.

 
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Michael Gillum
At the Games.

The feeling still resides deep inside, and the conversation is still fresh to the ear.

We flew 17 hours to Los Angeles where we spent four days somewhat adjusting to the change of time and temperature. It never really settled that we were in America, to compete at the CrossFit Games. Yes, it was another country, another gym where we were training, and we were all somewhat excited.

But, really it felt like another training session.

Friday the 28th of July, we travelled to Madison, Wisconsin.

We spent the weekend doing what we could to familiarise ourselves with the environment.

Wednesday the 2nd of August, is the day our team walked out in-front of a bus.

There was no stopping it.

We showed up to registration at 11am, where we spent almost two hours trying on and sizing our new gear. It is absolutely ridiculous the quantity of product individuals receive at the CrossFit Games. But, you know what, we earned it!

That night we attended an athlete dinner where Dave Castro announced several events. The cool bit not being the free dinner, but being surrounded by the individual competitors. Like-minded people who are driven to succeed no matter the cost. Normal people, real people, people who have all made sacrifices to achieve their goals.

On Thursday, it began.

We turned up early. Nervous an excited.

Event 1: (in pairs)

2.4km Run

500m Swim

2.4km Run

This workout was the one, that as a team we dreaded. It was one which tested us through and through. It tempted fate, and it was the one workout which questioned whether or not we would compete at the 2017 CrossFit Games.

Both success and more importantly failure, are what drive a team to succeed. A team that has worked through significant failures and felt triumph together will be stronger than a team who lies to each other.

Our story is no different.

Not all of our team members were confident in the water. In fact, the water was an area often avoided in our team trainings. Not excluded or overlooked, but less favored.

Why?

A story for another day…

The event required all team members to complete the workout to continue through to the next stage of the competition.

We placed 16th.

The light at the end of the tunnel really is there.

We competed again that afternoon, ending the day somewhat happy but not yet satisfied.

On Friday we had four events, the Obstacle course, max Clean & Jerk, and the rowing worm workout. Friday we were satisfied. We had done what we could and placed where we truly believed we deserved.

Saturday morning.

Event 7: (as a team)

150 feet big bob pull

150 feet big bob push

When this event got announced the excitement was indescribable. This was our event to win, or to loose.

“They must be the biggest f**ken team in the history of the CrossFit Games”,

“Mass moves mass!”,

“There are some big boys in the Functional Strength team”.

The pressure was huge, and we soaked it all in.

Planned and executed to perfection.

An event win!

Again, we competed several times more that day.

We went into Sunday with mixed emotions. Disappointed, but driven. We knew we needed to place well in event 10 to make the Final.

Our goal had always been to make the final.

The most memorable workout of the CrossFit Games.

Yet, our worst placing.

Our CrossFit Games had ended.

17th overall.

To be continued…

 
 
Michael Gillum
What it takes, to compete at the CrossFit Games.

The lead up.

Immediately following the Pacific regionals (May) in 2016 I threw around the idea of making a New Zealand team which would qualify and compete at the CrossFit Games in 2017. Making the Games had always been a dream.

I remember the conversation so clearly.

It was September of 2016, I was competing at the ‘Two 2 Tango’ competition in Auckland. I was waiting in line to start an event when…

I turned to Jo (Joelene Neville) “Do you still want to go to the Games?”

She replied “Yes, but I don’t have a team.”

I said again “Do you still want to go to the CrossFit Games?”

She replied “Yes.”

“Ok, Ill get the team we need.”

It was then that I made the team who would eventually become the 17th fittest team in the world. I knew I needed the right team. A team with individuals who I knew were in the right mental, physical and financial position and who I knew wanted it as much as I did, who I knew would agree.

Each person I asked, I only asked once. Once was all that was needed.

In November of 2016 it began.

Friday -

0500 head to the gym to coach the 0530 class,

0800 Write the teams programming,

1330 travel to Auckland

1630 Train with the team

1930 Travel to and spend the night at a team members house

Saturday -

0700 Travel to the gym

0830 Train with the team

1200 Travel home to Hamilton

Sunday -

0500 Travel to the gym from Hamilton

0830 Train with the team

1200 Travel home to Hamilton

This same pattern continued for the following eight and a half months. Each week without absence.

Why?

To follow the rules.

To grow a competitive team.

To get us ready.

To pursue a dream.

There is no question that the sacrifice we made was vast. The level of commitment was unheard of. But, we knew the reward would be so much more than all of that.

Our training was rough. It tested every one of us. We did things we had not trained before. I often put the team in uncomfortable and stressful situations. I frequently changed the training environment. I would repeatedly temper with each team member, with the goal to build them stronger for the future us. There were times when it was fun, but there were more times when it seemed so far away. We argued, and there were tears. But there were also smiles and laughter.

That was the point.

I knew I had the right team. With individuals who I knew wanted it as much as I did.

In May of 2017 we won the Pacific Regionals with a convincing 77 point victory. We received 580 points out of a maximum 600 points available, by placing 1st, 1st, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 2nd in the programmed workouts.

The team needed to win. They needed it to brighten the light at the end of the tunnel. And, to help pinpoint the teams goal.

And so, the training continued.

On July 24th we left New Zealand, for the 2017 CrossFit Games.

To be continued...

 
 
Michael Gillum
The difference.

I have caught myself having this conversation a number times over the past couple of weeks.

The difference between those who are at the top and those who are not.

In New Zealand I see so often, the same top competitors going head to head. I very rarely see new faces coming through.  

What is the difference?

We talked about programming.

Yes, programming is important. It is key to have progressive training, varied intensity, managed volume, output, and workload, and to cover both your weaknesses and your strengths. Not to mention, to practice, train and compete. However, even the best individualized programming in the world executed perfectly will not entitle them to be crowned ‘Fittest on Earth’.

We talked about experiences.

Yes, experience helps. It supports your ability to grow as an athlete. Experience provides a foundation for your next steps. And, it gives you the grounding you need as an athlete. But, the most experienced ex-gymnast in the world cannot be guaranteed a podium finish at the CrossFit Games.

We talked about gear, friends, and the gyms top athletes go to. All relative, but not what makes anyone number one and not what gets individuals to the top.

The difference, is the want. The want to succeed. The want to push harder than the person next to you. The drive to pick up the bar, when your shoulders are burning, you can’t breath, you are about to pass out from heat exhaustion and doing what no one else will. The difference is wanting to. Wanting more than anyone else.

Those who succeed, want to, and they truly believe in themselves that they will.

One to live by.

"Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't."

-       Jerry Rice

 

 
 
Michael Gillum
Performance based goals...

Last week I got caught deep in conversation with one of our members.

He asked, “Bro, what are your thoughts on nutrition?”

Wow!

I replied - “I believe in a long-term solution”

I do wonder if he really wanted to ask another question. However, I thought that first I would address what had been suggested.

Nutrition is one of the most controversial and opinion based ‘things’ in our ever changing, world. What you need to realise, is that your results are a direct reflection of the effort you put in. There is NO secret. There is no six-week program that will change your life. Yes, a six-week program may set a foundation which in-turn changes your life forever. But, it takes a lot longer than the initial six weeks.

Yes, nutrition is key to looking good, to performing better and to getting the results that you want.

My point.

Fix it forever.

Change one thing at a time. Make it a lifelong change, that in the future will become a subconscious decision that is right for you.

The accepted standard –

Visit a ‘nutritionist’, receive a five-week meal plan. Stick to each meal for the full five weeks, no cheat days. Well done. Now do that same five week meal plan for the next 50 years of your life.

Why not? You got results.

The solution –

Change one thing. In two or three weeks, when you have truly changed that ‘thing’, change something else. Make life long changes. It may be cutting bread, or drinking more water. It, most importantly is a change that will eventually become the normal.

The issue –

Nutrition is tedious. Checking your body weight everyday, or staring into your mirror hoping, waiting for change is ridiculous. Nutrition is widely accepted as the underlying issue, BULLSHIT! The issue is a lack of performance based goals.

You want to look like top athletes, you want your abs to glisten in the sun. Do you know what that takes? Do you know realise that top athletes could not care less what they look like. Top athletes, are driven by what they want. They are driven by their goals.

The coolest thing, is that their body adapts. Their body adapts to the environment, the training, and the pressures that the individual put on themselves. The way they look is a direct reflection of their goals.

Instead of measuring themselves, instead of measuring their food, they change their life to suit their goals. Nutrition is a small component in their lifestyle.

Change for the right reasons.

Change to suit your goals.

Set performance based goals.

 

 
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Michael Gillum
The power of experience…

It is always interests me, watching individuals grow as athletes.

Not a conversation that I have with members, rather something I prefer to provide as an opportunity.

Something to talk about in the future, to reflect on and grow from.

As I drove to Auckland last week, I turned to Craig and suggested the idea of pulling over to lie in the creek on the roadside. For what purpose? Bear in mind it would’ve been approximately 10 degrees outside, and lightly raining. We were currently dry, warm and somewhat entertained by the chatter of the radio.

Craig replied, “Ha? What for? Do need a story to tell?”

My response, “No, but do you see the value?”

Lying in the creek would suck. It would no doubt be cold, tedious and somewhat disheartening. We may end up in the emergency room with mild hyperthermia, and yes, we would have story to tell. However, I merely wanted to point out the metaphor. Next time we did something hard, how much easier would it be than lying in that creek, freezing, not knowing when it would be over?

A crap comparison?

Try this.

During the weekend just gone, I had planned for our team to swim at Takapuna beach. The plan was to complete a number of laps, out to the buoys and back. The number of times depended on individual ability. We knew it was going to be cold, and I knew it would mentally test a number of our team members. However, it was not just cold, it was 13 degrees. The lane pool you swim in, normally sits at a cold 26 degrees. The water that comes out of the tap is not even that cold. After much debate, and considerable encouragement we did complete the swim.

The result was tremendous.

After that, how easy is any swimming going to be in the future?

The experiences you gain, that at the time may seem unachievable, ridiculous and pointless, will support you forever.

Having the ability to look back on something knowing it was harder than what you are doing now, will always make what you are doing seem so much easier.

But, you must be willing to create the experiences.

Test yourself, everyday.

 
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Michael Gillum
The champion you could be...

You cannot honestly believe what you see on Social Media!

It is easy to snap your latest PB on Instagram.

It is easy to post about how much fun you had at a competition over the weekend.

It is easy to show the world what you have achieved.

What is often forgotten, and is never posted, is what that success really means.

No one wants to hear about the hours you spend in the gym stretching. Hanging out by yourself in the corner for the second hour straight, stretching. Or, how you have spent 20 mins working through the crossover symmetry routine, every day for the past six weeks. No one is going to read your story about how it has taken you 12 months of working percentages on your snatch to gain 1kg. No one wants to listen to you complain about the breakfast you have every morning, and how it has been the same for the last two years. The world certainly does not want to know it has taken seven years to get to the level you are.

The truth, for the majority of the time, is too much work.

I have this conversation every day.

Member: “Hey, I’m not getting anywhere. I suck at Handstand Pushups, and I just can’t get a bigger weight on my clean, everyone is better than me.”

My reply, every time. “Have you been practicing? For how long?”

Member: “YEAH, I have been doing handstands after class EVERY DAY for the last six weeks!”

And the reply, no one wants to hear “Good work, now keep going. Everyday. It may take you the rest of the year, it may take two. You will get better, eventually”.

Champions are not made over night.

There will be times when you do not improve, when you do not achieve the goals you have set yourself, and you feel like you are wasting your time, day after day. The difference between being the champion you could be, and the person you perceive yourself to be, is knowing the reality of what success involves, knowing the struggle that individuals go through. The difference is the ability to work through that same struggle yourself.

Stop lying to yourself. Stop believing the CRAP that is posted on social media. Everyone who succeeds, works for each and every result.

Your turn.

 

 
 
Michael Gillum
Stop Cheating!

We quickly got into a deep conversation during the weightlifting course last night.

“Have you seen some of the scores the girls have put up?”

I replied, searching for some more depth “what do you mean?”

“You know, some of the girls in intermediate have put up some ridiculous weights for their Cleans. And, I am pretty sure some of those Scaled girls are not scaled”.

She was referring to the New Zealand Nationals Online Qualifier.

I agreed.

At the end of the day, someone must win. No matter how many people are removed from a category, at the end of the day, someone will win. That’s the point of a competition.

However, as an individual competitor it is your responsibility to choose your category correctly. By correctly, I do not mean a category by which you are competitive. I mean the category with best represents your ability.

Consider this…

You can do a couple of Muscle Ups, you can handstand walk 5 meters on a good day, and you know you can probably clean 130kg provided you are feeling good. But, you are feeling relatively unfit, and knowing that the likes of Kevin Manuel and Luke Fiso will be competing in the Rx category. Where do you belong?

Let’s have a look…

The Rx division requirements state. Front Squat: Men 80 kgs +, tick. Bar and Ring Muscle Up, tick. Strict HSPU: 4 – 6 consecutive reps, tick. So basically, you can tick off everything in the Rx category. But, you are not sure if you will be competitive. Or do you mean, you do not want to go up against Kev, or Luke because you won’t win. That’s the same as, Rob Forte not going to the CrossFit Games, because he believes Mat Fraser MAY beat him. Or, Megan Signal not going to the Pacific Regionals, because Kara Webb MAY beat her. That’s BULL SHIT!

How do you honestly expect to get better, if you enter the wrong category because you gauge yourself off how competitive you are against the competitors in that division?

Just because you MAY NOT win, does not mean you should go down a category to win that one.

Grow a pair, and push yourself.

Stop cheating.

 
 
Michael Gillum
The Power of competition.

Last week, 5.20am, almost zero degrees, we pull up to the gym, a little late, to a sight of true inspiration. A carpark full of cars, full of motivated people ready to workout.

At the completion of the programmed workout I informed a small group that they had not yet finished, and would additionally be completing a 600m Dead ball carry. Really, I just wanted an opportunity to catch up with each of them.

Immediately the conversation began …

“I need to find me again. I am definitely getting itchy feet, I really want to compete again”.

I replied – “Why? because you miss the feeling of accomplishment. You miss being pushed. You miss having a goal, and purpose to train hard. So why did you stop?”

It is phenomenal what can be achieved through competition. The CrossFit Open is one of the best examples of this. We strongly encourage members to enter each year, not because they are going to win. But, because we want to provide an opportunity where individuals will push themselves beyond what they normally would in a regular class. We want them to see what they are capable of.

If you MUST do, you will. If you have the OPTION to, you may or may not.

Consider this…

You enter the CrossFit Open, knowing last week you managed your first pullup. And since then, you have managed to complete a couple of sets of 3 – 5 repetitions. You are pumped! Workout 1 is released, chest to bar pull ups and Squats. Uh oh. The first time you try it, you spend 11 minutes only to achieve a score of zero. But, you spend the whole 11 minutes trying. You are gutted, yet you remain determine. You come back on Sunday to practice. You even ask the Trainer for a couple of extra tips after class. Then Tuesday lunch time, right before submission is due, you come in and do it again.

3, 2, 1 Go…

“No rep. No Rep. 1.”

“What? I got one? YUS!”

You finish the workout with one round completed. The level of satisfaction is beyond containable. You did it.

Would you have got Chest to bar pullups had you not entered the CrossFit Open? Probably, but how long would it have taken? This is exactly what competitions do. As much as you want to push yourself, as much as you want to succeed, you cannot give the same effort as if there is something on the line.

I said to her, “so enter the next competition you find”.

 

 
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Michael Gillum
Practice, train or compete?

How often do you compete with the person next to you?

I started this conversation with a group of members after class earlier this week.

One of the group pointed out that they had overheard another member say,

“Hey bro, there is no ‘Rx’ anymore, haha”

What?

‘Rx’ is a term thrown around and often misunderstood within the CrossFit community. The symbol, or term was originally used by chemists and stands for prescription. Therefore, by completing a workout ‘Rx’ means you have completed it as prescribed. The misunderstanding is when a gym, coaches, trainers or the like sets what they consider an ‘Rx athlete’ someone who by their belief, and only theirs, is ‘Rx’. Unfortunately, this is incorrect. ‘Rx’ for a particular workout is deemed by whoever programs that particular workout, not necessarily ‘Rx’ for the next.

We always put the ‘Rx’ workout on the board. The only difference this time is that we had not stipulated the weight of the kettle-bell or the height of the box jump.

That same person made the comment,

“I think he’s right. We have spent so long trying to get to ‘Rx’ and now you take that away from us”.

This is the misunderstanding. I hadn’t removed what is prescribed. The difference in this case is that I had left it up to the individual to determine what they should do to better themselves, rather than compete against the person next to them. I had given them the opportunity to decide what would give them the desired stimulus within the set time domain.

I replied “Do you turn up to the gym every single day to compete? Or, is your goal to better yourself for your future? Do you truly believe you can reach your true physical potential by pushing your body to its limits every single day?”

Picture yourself doing a 100m sprint. You set on the blocks, eyes forward, heart pumping. You must win. The gun fires! You throw yourself out of the start line with one goal in mind, to move yourself as fast as you can to the finish line 100m meters away. You don’t hold anything back, and you are exhausted once it’s over.

That was day one.

Day two. This time with the same goal in mind. To give everything you have, to beat the person next to you at all costs. Run 10km.

Day three. Once again with the same goal in mind. To give everything you have, to beat the person next to you at all costs. Enter a weightlifting competition and max all of your lifts.

Day four…

Does it matter? You are smashed. Are you really going to be able to give it all? Do you truly believe you can sustain that kind of output? 

“Your body cannot sustain competing every single day of your life, it is not realistic”.

So, we Practice, we train and we compete.

How much depends on the individual and their goals.

We can practice everyday. Practicing is skill work, stretching, mobilizing, technique work, anything that you can do repeatedly and will benefit your ability to train and compete. Practicing is running a 100m section placing your foot on the ground the same way every single time. Or, completing small sets of butterfly pullups rotating at exactly the same speed each time, or at least aiming to.

You can train every day too. Training is 5 x 5 back squat, where you work a percentage of your max, training to get stronger. Improving your strength, bettering yourself as an individual. Training is also completing a workout in a class setting. But, your goal is not to bet the person next to you, rather it is to improve your capacity, or muscular endurance, or skills under fatigue. As soon as you do it ‘For time’ you are competing’.

Competing is excellent. But, it is a test. Remember, competing is when you push yourself to your limits, you give everything you have, and you leave nothing. Test yourself, but NOT all the time.

Create a better you each and everyday.

Always practice, always train, and sometimes compete.

 
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Michael Gillum
How do you perceive yourself?

Are you good enough to be in the team?

I had a conversation last week with a member who asked about going to Regionals, and making a team.

Before we started I grabbed the chalk and wrote on the blackboard…

‘Want to go to Regionals?’

Or

‘Going to Regionals?’

And asked her to choose.

What is the Regionals?

Last year saw 324,000 people compete in the CrossFit Open. From those people, 660 were invited to compete at the different regions across the world. From those competitors the top 5, of each male and female, 80 in total, were invited to compete at the CrossFit Games. The CrossFit Games is the absolute pinnacle of competition.

She looked at me a little shocked, and hesitantly pointed at ‘want to go to Regionals’. I then asked her “the most recent competition you entered, what category did you enter?”. I already knew the answer, but it was then that she understood where this conversation was heading.

If you want to make a team, to go to Regionals, then do it. But, believe it. It is only your perception that holds you back.

Matt Fraser doesn’t hope he is going to win the CrossFit Games. James Newbury didn’t go to the Regionals with his fingers crossed hoping that he will qualify for the CrossFit Games this year. Kara Webb didn’t ‘leaderboard’ every living moment of the CrossFit Open with the hope to make it to the Regionals. What they did do, and do time and time again is they truly believe in themselves, their ability and the results they are going to get. Not the results they want, the ones they are going to get.

Our conversation continued “What if I ask people to be in a team with me and they think I am not good enough? Do I say that I want to make a team to try qualify for Regionals?”

Perception of yourself can often be your greatest down fall. You are good enough for any team, but are you willing to put in the time and effort to go with that team, and if you are, do you believe you are good enough yourself?

I replied “When you choose your team, how about – I am going to Regionals next year, would you like to be in my team?” Now, you probably think that is arrogant. Arrogant is parading the streets, telling the world you are going to succeed. There is a distinct difference between that and believing in yourself.

Are you good enough to be in a team?

Yes.

Although, how do you perceive yourself?

 
Perception - CrossFit Taurus
 
Michael Gillum