Written by: Coach Andris
“The most important thing a man can take into combat is a reason why.” – 12 Strong
Everyone has their reasons for the choices they make. If we give it enough thought, we all have an answer to the question, “why?” And it is these reasons we have for making the choices we do that determine whether we change ourselves for the better or give up before we have a chance to realize our greatest potential. Any choice that is intended to bring about fundamental change within ourselves cannot be made once in a moment of inspiration and then placed on the backburner once our initial enthusiasm dissipates. That decision must be made every day even after all the initial excitement of change dissolves and we are left wanting to go back to what is easy and comfortable. Starting is only half the battle. What matters most is how we finish, how we complete that last rep, and knowing your “why” is what makes that possible.
Many members of our tribe know that soon after moving to Arizona last summer, I made the decision to try and pursue a career as a professional CrossFit athlete. My initial plan for this season was to try and peak during the open and maximize my worldwide ranking to get a handle on how much work needed to be done before I could seriously start looking at competing on an international stage. That meant that once the open was over, I was planning on taking time off to rest, recover, and look for a coach to help guide my journey over the course of the next few years. But sure enough, shortly after submitting my 19.5 scores, I got an email saying I had qualified for the Down Under CrossFit Championships. I had never thought in my first year of training I could achieve enough recognition to receive an invitation to an international CrossFit sanctioned event. However, accepting the invitation meant that my time off to recuperate and start planning for the future had to be pushed back and my schedule would have to stay strict and rigorous for an additional 2 months. Two months that I hadn’t planned on spending at the grindstone. So after thinking I had already performed my last rep of the season, I had to check back in and refocus my efforts just as much if not more so than I had been for the past 6 months to make sure my last rep in Australia was my best one of the season. Accomplishing this wasn’t easy, but the decision to do so was. It was my “why” that gave me the push I needed. That, along with my recognition and understanding of what has gotten me this far: not just sheer luck and happenstance, but the lifestyle I have chosen to lead and the principles I have chosen to embrace. One of those principles being the idea of making every rep count to the last, and I don’t just mean in the gym.
My lifestyle for most of the year is incredibly structured as I try to make use of every minute of every day to get me closer to where I want to be. I go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, making sure I am in bed for 9-10 hours every night. I eat on a schedule every day regardless of whether I am hungry or not and measure out everything that goes into my body. I train 5-7 hours every day and I spend 2-3 additional hours actively trying to recover through sessions with Jordan, ROMWOD, rolling out, and even meditation. In between all of this, I coach a handful of classes during the week and try to find time to socialize with you all a bit before going home. When I get home, I can’t just shut the door and collapse on the couch to wind down. I have to shower, eat, and maybe do some reading or journaling to make sure my mind is in the right place to sleep so that I can recover optimally and get after it the next day. I cannot let up at the last rep, so to speak. I have to focus on my “why” from the moment I wake up to the moment I fall asleep. I must remember the reason I am doing what I am doing to keep me focused and to give me the best chance of becoming the person I want to be.
In Australia, this regimen didn’t falter. Just because I had made it this far didn’t mean I could just relax, enjoy the ride, and treat it like a vacation. I had to assure that this last “rep” of my 2019 season contained just as much focus as the first week I started training at the gym with this end goal in mind. I owed it to myself and everything I had worked for to make sure that my last rep was the best one. When I got back from the trip, I heard a lot of people telling me that it was too bad I didn’t get to make the most of my trip to Australia because I didn’t get to make a vacation out of it. But I did make the most of the trip. I did everything in my power to live true to my “why,” the reason I was over there in the first place. You’re right, I didn’t get to have a vacation experience in Australia, but I did get the opportunity to take a step towards where I ultimately want to be and that made the trip worth everything to me.
I know that most of our community does not share my goals and aspirations, nor should they. We all have our own reasons for doing what we do. But we all want to better ourselves and reach our full potentials in one way or another. The difference lies in how we define that potential and what we see when we imagine our best selves. No matter the end goal, we have to be mindful inside and outside the gym and make sure we are following through with our commitments, finishing every rep of every workout with just as much focus as the first. Though motivation can be a great help to start the clock and get that first rep done, our “why” is what will get us through the finish, and it is how we finish that determines whether we will progress or remain still and stagnant. Whether it is literally the last rep in the WOD at CFIS or the figurative last rep of a life-changing commitment, let’s make the last rep just as good, if not better, than the first. Start intelligently. Finish Strong!