Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My Case for the Whiteboard

Why does Crossfit have a whiteboard?  It is a unique part of our program.  At first, I understood the basic reason for it... to write down my result and track progress.  Others believe it is for the competitive types to compare scores.  It was after a few months did it really sink in its real purpose.  And I think it is more than either of those.

But first, why don't you use the whiteboard?  I can only think of a few reasons why.

1. "I didn't feel like it."  Really? You are too lazy to write it down?  You just finished 20 minutes of hell and you can't muster the strength to walk over, pull off a cap, and move your arm a bit?  Not buying this one.

2.  "I forgot."  OK.  I'll admit that with all the great friends you make, you get busy talking and totally flake writing it down. Every. Once. In. A. While.  If it happens more than once a cycle, you need to put a muzzle on that mouth and put up your score.

3. "I'm embarrassed."  This seems like a good excuse.  However, no one at Crossfit 540 will ever judge your score.  Many of us have come from the absolute depths of the board.  Hell, I was last for MONTHS.  I wrote down every single shitty score.  Every single one.  If I didn't finish, I wrote DNF in PINK... just to make sure it was clear.  You know what?  I NEVER felt judged.  Not once.

People like me know how long it takes to get bigger, faster, stronger, so we will never pass judgment.  So you are holding yourself back under false pretenses.  In my opinion, writing down your score puts your psyche on notice:  you are not afraid of holding yourself accountable and measuring success.

And finally,
4.  "I think it is stupid/I don't believe in it."  This may be the only valid excuse I can think of.  You simply don't buy into the mechanism of publicly tracking your WODs.  You aren't competitive and you don't care to remember your last score.  I think this is problematic, since the premise of Crossfit is to improve.  This may not be the place for you.  We get results... when you sip the kool-aid and follow the program.... modify it and we make no promises!

Whiteboard Undressed
So, in my opinion, what is the real purpose of the whiteboard?  It is simply this, to solidify for you, publicly, how you felt about your performance at that moment.  If you were disappointed, writing it on the whiteboard SEARS it in your mind.  On the wonderful flip side, when you have a great WOD, you set a PR, beat someone who normally kicks your ass, or beat a personal goal.... writing it down is a joyous celebration of that moment.  Sometimes it is simply a celebration that you CAN write down a time.  It means you FINISHED the "damn it to hell" WOD.  The whiteboard makes your emotion about the WOD very real, very tangible.

I remembered my time and weight lifted for almost every WOD for the first 5 months.  Why?  Because it was easy for me to recall my emotion at the time.  It ranged from sadness, shame, frustration, anger all the way to relief, surprise, joy, and elation.  Making the emotion tangible had a profound effect on my psyche about my results.  I liked feeling the pride of my score, so I worked like hell to replicate it.

So write on the white board and write it in a journal so the next time you can compare and see just how far Crossfit will take you.

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