Friday Night Lights. The gym is full of people. We’re at the beginning of our annual team competition, the Intramural Open, and most of the people who are competing this afternoon are already done.
I set up the rower at one end of the gym, he sets up the rower at the far end, there are 5 or 6 people in between us.
The workout involves rowing and wallballs. Not a lot of skill, just endurance, gameplanning, and staying in control mentally.
Tyler has pretty much ALWAYS been the best athlete in our gym. Easily, and by a decent margin. He’s a true natural athlete, he trains hard, he has lifting experience, and he’s willing to work his ass off.
He’s in a different portion of his training-life now, and he’s still amazing when he wants to be, but it’s not the same (and that’s totally ok, our goals change).
Back to the workout:
15 minutes long, 19 wallball shots, 19 calories on the rower.
He’s on one end, I’m on the other.
The workout starts, everyone’s moving along just fine. We all get tired pretty quickly, because ya know, it’s crossfit.
At this point I was a couple months into taking some of this fitness stuff a little more seriously. I was eating halfway like an adult (as opposed to fast food every day), I’d been consistently using heavier weights and performing higher difficulty movements during workouts, and I was super excited to see how I did in this year’s competition.
My gameplan was relatively simple: do all the wallballs unbroken, try not to pass out while on the rower.
Somewhere around 7 minutes in the workout, he and I had clearly distanced ourselves from everyone else competing.
I don’t think he was looking over at me at all, and I don’t THINK I was looking over at him, but out of the corner of my eye I could see that he was getting off of his rower at about the exact same time as me, and getting back on at the same time too.
Around minute 10, I started to get VERY uncomfortable. In previous years I would’ve slowed down significantly by this point, but this time felt different.
Tyler, our friend Darren, and I, are competing at a big competition (Wodapalooza) in a division we had NO business being in. hah! Darren and I are out-performing our abilities all weekend, but we’re clearly out of place. Tyler isn’t. He’s carrying us through each workout, not complaining, working himself to absolute exhaustion, for 3 straight days.
We’re doing workouts with VERY heavy cleans, overhead lunges, pistols, ring muscle ups, and each time, Darren or I find that our tanks are empty FAR before Tyler’s, and we get to watch this little kid compete his heart out while dragging us along. It was inspiring (if not a little embarrassing).
BACK TO THE WORKOUT:
We’re getting to minute 12 or 13. My legs are shaking with each rep of wallballs. Someone’s yelling at me to kick harder while I’m on the rower. We’re WAY farther along in the workout than I thought I’d ever be. And we’re still going basically rep for rep.
We’re down to 30 seconds. I hear something like “Don’t stop pulling.” It becomes clear that I’m not gonna make it off the rower before time runs out, so I try and empty the tank.
Time runs out. I let go of the rower handle and collapse forward. Someone comes over to me, slaps me on the back and says, “He got you by 2 calories!”
After all that work I put in, he beat me.
And I was so damn happy.
We’re at a big local competition (Thunderdome). It’s the final workout, a long, super high repetition workout with barbells and bikes and all kinda stuff.
Tyler’s vying for 1st place in the entire competition, and it looks like he’s falling behind a couple of the other competitors. They’re all pretty damn good at this point.
Our group (we had a LOT of people spectating), started going crazy, screaming, imploring, begging him to go faster.
But I’d trained around Tyler for years. I remember specifically telling people around us multiple times, “Chill out, he’s got this.”
The workout continues, he keeps moving at his consistent pace, moving with the efficiency of someone who practices hard, so the game is easy. It finished with a sprint on the assault bike, and unsurprising to me, he wins, taking 1st in the entire competition.
How was I so sure he was fine? Because I’d seen him train. When he’s working in the gym, he’s squatting below parallel, even when nobody’s watching. He’s touching his chest to the pullup bar, even when nobody will call him out. He’s locking his arms out on a press, even if he’s moving the bar too fast for the judge to keep up. Lots of athletes train hard. He trained WELL.
So as this workout went on, and other athletes started to deteriorate, things started to happen. They moved poorly, doing more work for less results. They got called for ‘no-reps,’ for trying to move fast instead of finish their movements, they got FRUSTRATED, because things weren’t going the way they’d hoped for.
Meanwhile, Tyler’s judge could’ve taken a nap mid-workout. He was doing the correct number of reps and the correct movement patterns and moving like an efficient machine. And it paid off.
BACK TO THE WORKOUT:
He beat me. All that work I’d just done, the mental portion specifically, was it wasted?
I got to be proud of my individual effort, because I knew that Tyler was moving well, squatting below parallel, working at the right number of reps, and putting a true effort in himself, and I’d just gotten to test myself against the best athlete we have.
This is one of the things I LOVE about training at Shark Bite. I know that the people around me are putting out their BEST effort at all times, and I get to stand amongst skyscrapers, pushing me to be my best, rather than make up my own rules and “win the workout” every day.