Are You Getting Better Or Just Getting Tired?

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By: Marcos Hernandez

The concept of training versus exercising is an important one to grasp, and you’ve been exposed to it in one form or another if you’ve come to CFSS for any length of time.

There’s an important distinction between 1) going for the leaderboard, technique be damned, and 2) winning the workout because that’s just how fast you are.

Take rowing for example. On any given day, it’s possible to crank the flywheel up to a high number, row with terrible, inefficient technique, and get ten calories. Does this strategy get you sweaty and tired? Yes. And you might be able to repeat the effort, provided it’s short enough.

But, if you focus on your technique and movement quality, and are able to generate the power that results in you going fast, well… that’s a whole different story. If we increase the distance/time/calories rowed, you’ll be able to handle it. Getting back onto the rower already tired? Not a problem. Going from the rower to another task, guess what? Still good too. Why? Because you focused first on how you move and allowed the speed to come secondary.

Another example that comes to mind is the Dumbbell Snatch. Sure, a lot of you could muscle snatch it during a WOD…. but are you getting better? Will your technique allow you to get more weight overhead in the future, or translate well when you’re in a more fatigued state? 

(This doesn’t have to be a rhetorical question, go ahead and say “no” to your screen.)

In order to do CrossFit for a long time, and keep getting better, you might have to ignore the leaderboard for a bit. Take the time to focus on being smooth, efficient, and let the speed come. Sure, there are times to double down on your effort and just get the work done. However, one thing we know for certain is this: making the tough grind the bulk of your training is a surefire way to spin your wheels and get nowhere in terms of achieving your goals. Don’t confuse tired and sweaty with fitter and stronger, or short term intensity with long term improvement!