What a difference a year can make...

I originally wrote this article for my gym's website, CrossFit Reach. I've been getting such positive feedback from people who have read it that I decided it was worth putting on here as well.  Even if you have never tried CrossFit before I think you will certainly understand what is being said....enjoy! :)


I am sitting up in the office at the box getting some work done on a Sunday afternoon.

This is one of my favorite times of the week as it is always peaceful and quiet and it is usually a time where I come up with most of my ideas on the gym and in what direction  I would like to see CrossFit Reach go.  It is a time where I reflect on the past week and think about what was good and what can be improved on and it is also a time to look ahead to the coming week so that it runs smoothly and accomplish all of our goals for the week. And because it is the last Sunday of 2013…I’m thinking about the year ahead.

Aside from working on my goals for the gym…I also take time to work on my own personal goals for my workouts, etc. and what I would like to accomplish.  I was just going through my workout journal and reflecting on 2013 and where I stand compared to last January.

I did a double take when I looked at my numbers.

You see, it can be easy to forget how far you come when you go on a day to day basis.  It can be easy to get frustrated when you have a bad day and get down on yourself when you don’t perform well on a workout or you aren’t doing as well as you know you can.  But when you look back months and years..this is where the difference comes out.

Here are just a few of my numbers and benchmarks entering 2014 compared to entering 2013…

1 RM Snatch

Before: 115lb     Now: 175lbs

1 RM Clean and Jerk

Before: 205lbs   Now: 255lbs

1RM Back Squat

Before: 285lbs     Now: 345lbs

1 RM Front Squat 

Before: 245lbs    Now: 285lbs


Before: 175lbs   Now: 225lbs


Before: 7+ min    Now: 4:29

If you were to ask me one year ago that by the end of 2013 I will have made these gains I would have looked at you as if you had 3 heads.  There are more lifts that I did not list above and in each and every workout, lift, WOD…I improved.  And not just improved, but did so significantly.  And if I were to look back even farther to 2012 or 2011…the change is crazy.  

Now why am I telling you this…to brag and toot my own horn?

Absolutely not.  This is to show you that if you put your mind to something and stick with it…you can make leaps and bounds in as little as one year.

So what did I do to make this happen?


1.) I was Consistent:  When I look back in my workout logs I was able to workout an average of 5 days per week.  I didn’t take anymore than one week off (due to being sick) and I made it a point to workout consistently.  I didn’t do anything special with my programming.  I followed the exact same programming that is on the CrossFit Reach website.  I worked out in class with everyone.  I worked out sometimes 3 days in a row and I took a rest day when needed.  Total workouts for the year: 242

2.) My nutrition was good:   I’m not saying my nutrition was 100% healthy….by no means.  However, my nutrition was consistent in that how I ate was geared towards wanting to improve at the gym.  Taking more protein in on a daily basis, keeping an eye on my carb intake, eating to perform and not always eating for pleasure.  Sure there were highs and lows and some weeks were better than others but overall it was consistent.  My goal this year was to get stronger.  And that is what I did.

3.) I tracked my workouts:  To be brutally honest…if I didn’t keep track of my workouts or had an idea of my progress I would never have come close to seeing the improvements I’ve made.  Heck, I wouldn’t even be able to write this post because I wouldn’t have the data.  With all of the journals, apps, software available now…there is no excuse not to track your workouts.  Keeping track and planning out my workouts were a big part of my progress.

4.) I was hungry to learn:  Being in the fitness industry for over 7 years now I like to think that I have a good grasp on things.  But there is always a ton of room for me to grow and learn.  I never rested on my laurels, I asked questions, I watched tons of videos and I attended seminars.  If I was having trouble on my cleans I would sit and watch youtube videos on people doing the clean and I would soak it in until it because second nature.  I also listened to the trainers here (Crystal, Dan, Jen, etc)…because they may see something I am doing that I can fix.  There is always something to improve on and the fastest way to get there is to listen and learn from someone that is where you want to be.

5.) I went the extra mile:  We offer open gym on Friday nights.  I always here doing something….doing an extra strength session, working on skills, etc.  Dan and myself would come in on off hours and do something out of the ordinary like a two mile sled drag down the road.  In between classes I would get some extra mobility in.  If I felt like there was a weakness…I’d go after it and practice until it became a strength.

…and here is 5 things that I didn’t do:

1. Compare myself to others: Whenever I went into a workout and got my ass kicked by Dan or another athlete here in the gym, I never let it get to me.  You can’t get discouraged about what everyone else is doing.  At the end of the day it is you vs. you!  If someone does better than you or worse than you…it doesn’t matter.  What does matter is that you are making the progress that you need to make.  Someone doing more weight than you? Good for them! Congratulate them and then work hard to improve on your own strength.  If you are focusing on someone else then who is focusing on you?

2. “Cherry Pick” workouts:  Oh we have snatches today? I hate snatches I’m going to skip it!  That is something you never heard me say (or will ever say).  Ok you don’t like it….why? Because you are not good at it! That is the reason why we don’ t like things.  Once we get good at them the most amazing thing happens…we start to like it.  Want to get better at the snatch? Show up every single day that the snatch is in the workout, come to open gym and work on it until you are blue in the face…that is how you get better at it.  The workouts where you think “oh I don’t want to do that” are the workouts you NEED to go to.

Especially the strength days.  A strength day here at CrossFit Reach should be the busiest day.  The strength days are what makes you better.  Sure cardio days are lots of fun and you sweat a little more, but the strength days are where are the results come into play.  Don’t think you work hard during a strength day? Come and try out our Barbell Club class where it is all strength and you will see athletes sweating like crazy…because it’s hard work!

3. Make Excuses:  I’m only 27 years old and I’ve come to realize several things about life.  One of the main things in life that I’ve realized is that I am always going to be busy.  There will never be enough time in the day.  There will always be more work to accomplish.  There is always going to be another bill or another obstacle that is going to get in the way.  Now that I realize there is nothing I can do about these things….I’m just going to get my workout in no matter what.  That 45min or 1 hour is the best time of my day because I get to drop every problem, issue and headache in my life and I get to focus on what really matters.  Myself and my health.  You only get one life and one go around so it’s up to you to make the most of it. I was able to get 240 workouts in this year when most of the year I was teaching class from 5:30am and ending my day at 9pm.  Sure there were days I was tired and exhausted and didn’t want to workout…but guess what?  I did.  I made a promise to myself and I was not going to let myself down.

Don’t have time to workout at night? Get up earlier.

Not a morning person? Become one.  

Have lots of emails and phone calls to make? Turn your phone off for an hour and workout.  Those emails will still be there after. 

In order to have what other people don’t have…you need to do what other people won’t do.

4. I wasn’t inconsistent:  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this.  Person comes in and is gung-ho about working out.  Comes 5 days a week for a couple weeks.  Then fades down to 2 days a week…then you don’t see them for a month.  Then this vicious cycle continues of going 0-60mph then slamming the breaks on.

This may be hard to believe…but you can’t achieve all your goals and results in one workout.  Not even a week of workouts.  Or a month.

Achieving goals takes time and consistency.

Want to get in great shape? Here is the formula: 1.) Show up  2.) Listen 3.) Work Hard  4.) Be consistent.

5. Lose confidence:  Facial expressions tell me lots of things.  When someone is about to attempt a lift…I can usually guess what the outcome of the lift is going to be by the look on the person’s face.  Being confident and believing in yourself is vital to success.  If you don’t think you can do it….then you won’t.  And there is nothing that we as trainers can do when you are not confident and do not believe in yourself.  Your attitude determines your latitude.  I want every person that walks in the door to accomplish everything they set out to do in this gym.  I want every goal, every dream, every aspiration to be completed.  And it can happen…but it starts within.

2013 is just about to be another year in the past and there is nothing we can do about it.  I encourage you to take a look back at this past year and really examine yourself and see if you accomplished what you set out to do.  Did you improve? Did you do the things that you wanted to do? I think the vast majority of everyone at CrossFit Reach can say that they improved.

2014 is knocking on our door. What will this year mean to you? Let’s not make it the status quo and do the same things we’ve been doing.  Focus on the little things: tracking your workouts, showing up consistently to workouts, staying confident and positive.  I know that if you do this that in one year from now when you look back you are going to be astonished with how far you have come.

As a gym each and every one of you have made leaps and bounds since your first day here.

I believe that when it comes to your progress….we ain’t seen nothing yet.


*If you are looking to make this coming year different than the past then I encourage you to take the leap and make the change.  Stop in sometime here at CrossFit Reach and I'd be happy to give you a tour of the place and even put you through a workout :)

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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