Life, workouts

On CrossFit, Coaching, and Progress

When I first started CrossFit everything was a new experience. Now 3 years into it and every workout is still a totally new experience.

2014 was an interesting year for me. Every year I since I started my health journey I have been able to look back and say I’m stronger… faster… lighter… than the year before. I don’t know that I can do that this year. This year was all about having my excess skin removed, letting my body recover, and trying to learn what this new body is capable of. I am finally getting back to where I am just about as strong and as fast as I was before surgery. I weigh 10 pounds more than I did the day I had my surgery. So I’m not stronger, faster, or lighter than I was last year. In this new year time of reflection and growth it is hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that I haven’t made any significant progress in those areas I’m used to using for measurement.


I have been following some CrossFit Open Prep Programming for the upcoming Open season. We have been doing strength cycles for the last few months and now are starting to get more into metcon conditioning in preparation for the Open. I felt like I was finally hitting some old numbers and even PR’d my squat clean after one of the cycles, but as we started repeating old open workouts I’ve battled with frustration that I’m not even hitting some of the old PRs on those WODs and some of my skills have completely slacked off. The rational side of me realizes my body has been through hell and back this year. And I haven’t been able to work my weaknesses as much as I’d like. And that after all I’ve been through I should be glad to be within striking distance of where I used to be. The emotional side of me gets caught between the two extremes of being completely pissed that I’m not better… and wondering why I should care so much at all.


Then I realize that being frustrated just means that I care. I love having goals and working towards them. And sometimes those goals can’t be measured the same way all the time. I may not be stronger, faster, or lighter than I was last year. But I have learned a lot about myself this past year. I learned that I do care and I want to be the best athlete that I can be. Not just for me, but for my athletes. This year I learned that I love coaching even more than I love competing. I used the think that the best feeling in the world was finishing a workout I wasn’t sure I was capable of finishing… not true. The best feeling in the world is knowing an athlete is capable of something great and finally getting them to realize it.

[Tweet “The best feeling in the world is knowing an athlete is capable of something great and finally getting them to realize it”]


As a coach I’m always encouraging our athletes that consistency is key. Doing the work day in and day out makes the difference. And while I don’t hesitate to tell our athletes that, I often don’t remember it for myself. It’s like I forget that has been what has gotten me where I am today. When I started CrossFit I struggled to squat just my body weight. Now I can squat with more than weigh on my back. It didn’t happen overnight. So, I’m taking my own advice and remembering doing the work makes the difference. It isn’t always easy, but it will be worth it.

So, I’m going to develop a structured plan to follow to reach my goals. This includes regularly working on my weaknesses like pull ups, toes to bar, double unders, and rope climbs. This is my year. I’m going to take what I’ve learned as a coach and apply it to my goals.

What are your fitness goals for 2015?


3 thoughts on “On CrossFit, Coaching, and Progress”

  1. Do you guys write your own programming? Or following another program?

    I have been doing Outlaw for a few months now and was feeling crazy strong.. for me. Then, I see these people doing our gym’s programming (which they cannot always explain the method to the madness, so I never know what sort of cycle they’re doing.), and these girls are hitting new PRs and crushing me in metcons.. Like what have I been working for all of this time if I’m worse than they are?

    I’m really struggling now coming off the strength cycles into metcon as similar to you, my WODs aren’t where they were before. I PRed Grace this spring under 5:00; I did a WOD that started with 30 CJs last week and it took me 5 minutes to do 12!!!! I re-did that workout this week and finished the 30 in about 6:30; still a little frustrating.

    We have these benchmarks to measure our progress but even though we KNOW we are getting better and putting in the work, it is so hard to see progress when the numbers (scale, time, weight on the bar), aren’t changing..

    but like you say, we CARE.. so keep coming back for more..

    You are a crazy inspiration to so many women, Courtney.. just keep doing what you are doing 🙂


    1. So, we use Diablo Plan D for our “competitors” or people who are training specifically for the open. We do have similar cycles for the regular CrossFit classes as well. We are super purposeful with our programming. The thing I always think about when I see people in regular classes crushing stuff is that they have been doing regular MetCons consistently. They are also quite a bit newer to CF so they are PRing a lot because they still have those “honeymoon gains” where one small tweak in form means a 20lb PR. It is hard because there is SO much involved with CrossFit. and as soon as you “conquer” something and move on you can lose that progress if you move on to focusing on something else. It’s easy to get caught up in the PRs and crushing it… but really, I always default to Am I enjoying this? and Could I have done this a year ago? etc. You’re doing great, Jen. Keep it up!


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