jen dickmanI get asked a lot by the 5am and 6am classes, “What’s the best plan for this workout?” Do you obsess over a plan of attack for each days workout? Did you look it up last night and spend more than 5 minutes thinking of the strategy to get the best possible score? Sometimes we even lose sleep being nervous or scheming for the next day’s posted challenge.

I’m all for having a plan. I think it is helpful when approaching a tough workout, work situation or personal conflict. For our purposes, if you are doing any workout longer than 10-12 minutes, chances are you need to figure out your pace before you start. If we are looking for a new PR on a benchmark workout then you should look at your last score and try to find somewhere you could make up time or more reps. If you are unsure of the weight to use or how to scale or substitute movements, please ask your coach.

But not every workout needs a plan. When you see 75 kettlebell swings for time you don’t need to spend time working through different rep schemes or planning your rest breaks. Sometimes it’s good to go as hard as possible and see what happens. If you always hedge your efforts and think strategy over intensity then you are missing out on the key ingredient of what we do here.

kelly and brandi

There is a place. A dark place. A dark place where you question life choices and discover that you are able to endure significant pain and still continue on. There is no strategy in that dark place. No pace. No planned rest breaks. Only you in competition with you. Are you strong enough? Can you force yourself to pick it up again? If you fail it’s not because of a faulty plan. It’s because you weren’t strong enough. But by entering that dark place you become stronger. Each time you willingly choose to step into that dark place you gain the strength to endure just a little more next time.

The dark place hurts. Sometimes you come out in worse shape than you went in. But you always learn more about yourself and grow as a person when you spend time in there. The dark place reveals that you are capable of more than you give yourself credit for. When things go bad and you went too hard, the dark place teaches you that you can still fight on. You can endure more and still come out the other side alive and stronger.

You need to be safe and sometimes you need to have a plan of attack for a workout. But sometimes… Sometimes you need to throw caution to the wind, go as hard as you possibly can, and embrace your dark place. You might fail or you might hit a PR. But you will always leave the dark place mentally stronger and more capable.