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David Sheppard

The most discouraging thing I heard this week as we wrapped up the CrossFit Open was, “yeah, but I scaled it”.  It’s hard to see sometimes, but every one of us scaled it. We all scale on a daily basis. We are all on a different fitness timeline. Remember that. Embrace that. Then, remember that YOU are bad-ass today for what YOU did NOW. Today. Not what you have yet to do tomorrow. With that in mind…

The whiteboard is an important piece of equipment in our gym. We use it to record your daily performance so we can track trends, see progress, and provide motivation. But while the whiteboard is very useful, it is also not nearly as important as many people make it out to be.

That’s because your actual level of performance on any one day, as measured by the whiteboard and compared to your recent workout results, isn’t really the most important thing about your time in the gym. Yes, you want to do your best every day. And yes, if you consistently do your best every day, you’ll see an improving trend in your lift weights and workout times. But that doesn’t mean that you can or should be setting personal records on a daily basis, or that you will always do better on a workout than you did the last time you performed that particular WOD.

While it’s easy to get caught up in the immediate feedback of the whiteboard, your actual results on any one particular day matter much less than the mere fact that you showed up and did the work on that day. If you’re coming to the gym regularly, and working your hardest every day, then the progress will come. Don’t get too wound up if you didn’t match the weight you lifted last time, or got a slower WOD result. Maybe you slept poorly, or haven’t gotten enough food, or are just stressed out — there are lots of things that can create fluctuations in your day-to-day performance in the gym.

Now this isn’t to say that it’s not important to push yourself and try to do the absolute best that you are capable of doing in the gym each and every day. I’m actually saying the opposite: Giving your all in the gym is the only thing that matters — it doesn’t matter if you lifted 10# or 400#, as long as you gave 100% of your effort. If you truly worked as hard as possible in the workout, then you’ve done all you can do, and if you work as hard as possible each and every day, the results — increased strength, better conditioning, and a sexier/healthier body — will come.

So when you’re at the gym, be careful how you use the whiteboard. Use it to check scalings and set goals, but don’t use it as a way to judge how you performed on that day. Instead, simply ask yourself if you gave that workout absolutely everything that you could. If the answer is “yes,” then you’re doing it right — no matter what the whiteboard says.

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