Start where you are, not where you think you should be.
Even if you’re not new to working out and you started your functional training journey a while ago, this statement is still very applicable. Every day you walk into the gym, you should try to have realistic expectations of your abilities.
**Be where you are, not where you think you should be.
Train at the level you are at today, not at the level you think you should be.**
At High Function Fitness, we love collecting data. The more we know about a person’s – and our own – abilities, limitations, an overall performance, the better able we are to unlock people’s – and our own – true potential. Every 12 weeks, we program 6 days of benchmark workouts to test our fitness performance. As we approach another testing week here at HFF, it’s important to remember WHY we are here, WHY we are testing our performance, and WHAT exactly we are testing.
At the root of it all, we are always doing things to “get better”. That is in quotations because “getting better” can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. Yes, of course it is a wonderful thing when people’s scores improve on these benchmark tests to show the improvements in their strength, endurance, aerobic capacity, mobility, stamina, etc that they have been working hard for. But it’s important to remember what you are training for. Did you sign up at HFF because you wanted to be at the top of the leaderboard, or did you join HFF to become a better version of yourself that feels better doing daily tasks, moves with better quality, and is able to do things that you didn’t know were possible? Whether you’re a grandparent or a professional athlete, if you’re training here, Jeremy and I know that you share some version of the latter – you want to be the best version of yourself.
When it comes to fitness, it’s very easy to get swept away by our own expectations of ourselves. Be kind to yourself and set realistic expectations. Try not to overwhelm yourself but take relevant happenings into account – even if they don’t seem directly related to what you do in the gym. Over the past 12 weeks have you had a lot of new stress? Have you slept well? Have you given 100% effort every time you train? Did your job change? Were you in 7 weddings this spring? Has your nutrition been excellent? Did you lose or gain 10 pounds? Did you develop a food allergy? Have you been on a 12-week vacation from work and spent 24 hours a day stretching and doing corrective exercises? Your answers to these questions will have an impact on your performance in the gym – during testing week and every other week as well.
Understand where you are at and what got you here.
Your results from testing week won’t tell jack about where you should be – they will tell you what your performance is like right now. Thus, let’s test and find out what you are capable of right now. Period.
Don’t Try To Sprint Before You Can Crawl.
“Starting at too high a level doesn’t get anyone anywhere faster. It stimulates a coping mechanism at best, and opens the possibility for injury if the individual’s capacity is insufficient to the load and skill demands.” – Joanne Elphinston
In other words, don’t try to sprint before you can crawl. It’s sometimes tempting to take shortcuts in search of instant gratification. But, when it comes to fitness, taking shortcuts and skipping fundamental steps doesn’t usually bode well for your long-term performance. That is one of the many beauties of fitness! If you hop on the sprinting blocks before you are able to crawl up to them, you’re probably going to get hurt. Don’t let your ego get in the way of your success. Learn to crawl first. You’ll be a better sprinter in the long run.
If you held a 15 min perfect plank 12 weeks ago and got yourself up on the leaderboard, you may think that you should get at least 15:01 this time. But take into consideration how the past 12 weeks (or even the last one week) have been going for you. If you’ve had an insanely stressful few months and have only been able to come to HFF a couple times a week, haven’t gotten much sleep, and let your nutrition fall off track, you’re probably not going to come anywhere near your “peak performance” of 15 min… and that is okay! We all know that life is a roller coaster and there are many many ups and downs. There will be many more testing weeks and chances to improve your results. Hopefully, the next 12 weeks will bode well for you – you will sleep a little better, clean up your nutrition, and get back into a consistent training routine where you’re able to give it your all every time you walk into the gym. But don’t beat yourself up and add to your stress if you’re not psyched with your scores –dust yourself off and keep moving forward. There will be another testing week!
Don’t Train To Crawl When You’re A Sprinter, Either!
On the other side of the coin, don’t let low expectations of yourself hinder your performance. If you were not able to complete one of the tests last time – or you weren’t here for the last testing week – don’t set your expectations too low. Just because you couldn’t do something 12 weeks ago, doesn’t mean that you can’t crush that test now! Self-doubt may cause you to think that you’re only capable of mediocre performances – NOT TRUE!
Again, testing week will give you information about where you are at right now. If you have had a great 12 weeks prior to this testing week, you’ve set yourself up for success. If, for the last 12 weeks or so, things have fallen into place and you have lowered your stress or gotten a good nights’ sleep or cleaned up your nutrition and you’ve been able to bring your A-game to the gym every day, you are ready for a successful testing week! Approach each workout with confidence and an open mind to see what you’re truly capable of – it just might be really, really awesome.
INTEGRITY – Bring It.
We always stress impeccable form and testing week is no exception. In fact, every movement is standardized so that your score only counts if you meet said standards.
“Chase quality, not the clock. Speed will come.”
The quality of a movement is always more important than the speed of the movement. The quality of a movement is more important than the amount of weight. The quality of a movement is most important regardless of the level This one is pretty simple – no one wants to be up on the leaderboard with that (visible or invisible) asterisk next to his or her name that essentially says “Yeah, his or her name is up there but when Coach wasn’t looking, their form wasn’t very good.” That’s a lose-lose. Don’t be that guy. A lower score with impeccable technique holds a LOT more weight than a high score with poor quality. Effort is always commendable not matter what level you’re at. Strive for perfection.
Your score on each of these tests is for you. Your competition in these workouts is yourself. Approach each workout with confidence and give 100% effort to see what your body is capable of that day. When you look back in a few months, years, or decades, you’ll be glad you did!