What do you write on the white board after your workout? Sometimes it is a little hard to figure out the math or remember your loads, but it is usually a pretty simple number to write on the board. That number on the board after your name represents your work for the day. It represents your successes, your struggles, your PRs or maybe just the fact that you showed up to battle another challenging workout.
That number also represents the workload that you produced for the day. Whether it is in kilograms, reps or seconds, it is a measure of what you did in comparison to everyone else for the day. That comparison, however, comes with some assumptions. It implies that everyone did the same range of motion, number or reps, distances and movements. When a scale or a substitution occurs, we write it after our time or load.
But what if someone didn’t do the same workload and didn’t note the scale or substitute? Then the numbers on the board aren’t standardized and nobody knows. A lot of us use those numbers to gauge ourselves or as a target for our workout. But if the workload isn’t the same, the comparison isn’t valid.
There are a lot of reasons why the numbers may be inaccurate. I think the most common reason is how hard it can be to do something as simple as counting when we are fighting to just breath and move. I know that I often find myself losing count and second guessing where I am in a workout. Sometimes I move on to the wrong movement or forget if that double under was number 55 or 65.
Sometimes you may forget to write down a scaled weight or substituted movement or you just lost track during the workout, but sometimes we cut corners. With nobody else counting your reps, 45 squats looks an awful lot like 50. “Maybe nobody will notice if I skip a squat during one of my rounds of Cindy.” When that voice in your head sneaks in during a workout to justify a short cut, shut it out! When you hear that voice, look around. Everyone else is suffering just as much. Everyone wants it to end soon too. For better or worse, we all signed up for this and we are in this together. We want to be a gym of integrity and that means that we all put in the same work and make a note on the board when we need to scale or substitute. Most importantly, when someone cuts corners they are cheating themselves. These workouts are not random and they are designed and programmed help you progress. Cutting corners on the workout is limiting the potential you can reach.
The whiteboard is a simple thing. The scores get erased weekly and the numbers go away to never be seen again. But there is integrity involved in what number you write on the board. Work hard at keeping track accurately and always use the smaller number if you can’t remember what you are on. And when things get hard and the chance to cut corners presents itself, be stronger than the situation. Take the opportunity to develop mental and character toughness along with physical toughness. Help us be a gym where integrity matters.