By: Joe Campbell

Look around and there are so many ways to “Workout”. Running, rowing, ultimate frisbee so many options in this wonderful city of ours. It’s simple enough to sign up and keep going, but since the secret to happiness is progress, then how do we get better at all of these activities? Through approaching everything we do with purpose.

Don’t get me wrong, there are those that show up and go through the motions, but that isn’t why YOU are participating. You aren’t the type of person that desires to line your wall with participation trophies. You want to experience growth in your fitness and life, to be able to do more and more eventually. This all sounds general, but this is the defining factor that those that stick with something and improve it, vs. those that “Just try it out”.

Within every motion, there is a purpose. You walk to go somewhere. You run to get there faster. You do things for time to see how much you can accomplish. We call the one that can do the most in a given certain time frame, the “Fittest”, but they could never have arrived there if they didn’t approach their workouts with purpose.

Let me attempt to reduce the vagueness here. When you are about to workout, what goes through your head?

  • “This is going to be hard”
  • “Oh man, that movement is the worse”
  • “I can’t believe I have to do this”

Comments like these are typically from someone of the mindset that is looking to get through the workout, instead of asking what they could “Get From” this workout. The From is the purpose.

Even in suffering, there is meaning. “Suffering ceases to be suffering when we define a meaning for it” -Viktor Frankl

Try and look at things with

  • “ How could I purposely get through this and what am I going to walk away with if I do.?”
  • “ That movement is my worse movement, but if I can do it after rowing, then I will impress myself”
  • “If I do this, then I will finally be able to do this”
  • How much better would I perform if I did this on purpose

Crossfitters test our general prepared fitness, or how much work capacity we have over broad times and modal domains, through constantly varying functional movements at high intensity. It’s very easy to see if you do not focus on the purpose of why you want to get better, then everything will automatically seem overwhelming.

Brick’s programming is specific in that they test you, or force suffering, so you can define what that suffering means to you. From there you can start to look at what you will get from the workout and then measure your growth.

Here are some practical suggestions for you to derive more purpose in your workouts:

Ask you coach what the desired stimulus is.

  • Great workouts are written in a way with a specific stimulus for effective testing and growth.

Record your score for ALL of your workouts, and compare them over time

  • There are many apps like Beyond the whiteboard that you can use to track results, but make sure you keep track of your results after every session.
  • There are no workouts too small or big, everything counts, so record away.

Focus on your strengths and weakness in every workout

  • This is not a tactic to “Game” a workout, but you must approach each workout with honesty, so you can tailor each workout so you get something out of it.

For example: After my shoulder surgery, I had to approach workouts that included pull-ups and overhead movements as my limiting factor. Rather than think about how hard that would be, I found purpose in testing my pullups at moderate speed and trying to speed up every other movement. Over time, I was able to develop more shoulder stamina. Rather than feeling defeated or getting through the workout that required lots of pull-ups, and taking my time, I defined the purpose for my workouts as building my shoulder stamina but also pushing to increase the intensity of other movements.

At the end of the day, we are all working to get better. Whether you like it or not, your body is constantly changing. Your cells are changing as you read this. The question is, do you want to let that change happen and get through your life? Or do you want to define the purpose for you pushing yourself, the purpose in pushing in the gym, and the purpose of each and every workout to help make you your best ever?