Who else wants to break out of a Plateau?

A written plan is more likely to succeed than a simple wish.

A written plan is more likely to succeed than a simple wish.

Over the past two weeks, I have received several private messages from people who are also dealing with plateaus, injuries or exhaustion.

They asked how to adjust to reduced training schedules, extended recovery time, scaling options and more. If you are one of these friends, this series of upcoming blog posts is for you. 

I began this quest for Health & Fitness two years ago. I began working on nutrition in January 2012, and started CrossFit in August 2012. It was difficult work, introducing so much change after decades of doing nothing to take care of myself (V1.0), but progress came in somewhat short order. After all, it was low hanging fruit.

Version 1.0 of me was sedentary, squishy and overweight. Picture a taller, somewhat stretched out Pillsbury Dough Boy.

If all you eat is junk, eliminating overly processed food from your diet will help reduce your weight. Fat seems to melt away. If you just sit on the couch, befriending a barbell will affect your strength and shape.

Today Version 2.0 of me is more active, firmer, and slimmer. However, what worked to get me to this point is no longer effective. I am experiencing the Law of Diminishing Returns. Version 2.0 is broken. After applying several patches, V2.0 is still not functioning quite to specs. It appears to be time for a full version upgrade to 3.0 Perhaps you have experienced similar frustration.

There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.

Why do I believe it is time for an upgrade? The reason is simple, my efforts are not bearing fruit. I am not simply stagnant, I seem to be regressing. Bruce Lee said, “If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”

My current Plateau is widespread, as Bruce Lee mentions above. It is not simply a matter of taking a deload week, or taking some time off to rest. To go beyond my current plateau, I must shed the obsolete 2.0 version of myself.

Ironically, for me to move forward, I must first retreat. I must withdraw for a short period of time, to develop a new battle plan. I need to recover. I need to assess my strengths and my weaknesses. More importantly, I must reassess my goals. I need to determine where I wish to place my effort in the future.

Two years ago, when I embarked on my Version 2.0 upgrade, I only focused on food and fitness. Today as I envision what Version 3.0 will be, I must evaluate five key elements of my wellness plan:

  1. My Motivation
  2. Rest/Recovery
  3. Nutrition
  4. Stress Management
  5. Exercise/Movement

What additional “features” would I like to see designed into this new version. As I formulate my new goals, I must determine what my key metrics will be to measure progress.

I love CrossFit, but I didn’t start CrossFit because I wanted to do CrossFit. I started CrossFit because I wanted to get strong and healthy. Somewhere along the line I lost sight of my goal and CrossFit became an end unto itself. That must change. CrossFit must be put back into perspective, in relationship to my goals for health and longevity.

It is my hope to dissect these five elements and expound upon each of them in upcoming posts. In the meantime, I would love to hear what is working for you to push past your plateaus in any of these areas.


Your Heart is Strong

My Ticker is Strong (Photo and Heart by artist Kimberly Hart at MonsterCookies.com )

My Ticker is Strong
(Photo and Heart by artist Kimberly Hart at MonsterCookies.com )

A week ago I posted about what I perceived as my Treadmill Disaster at the Cardiologists office. At that time I promised to update you on the second portion of the test, the Echocardiogram. That is the purpose of this post.

Regarding the stress test, I am a CrossFitter, I expected that compared to a typical MetCon WOD, a treadmill test which never even required breaking into a trot, would be a cakewalk. It wasn’t, and it left me gasping for breath and my blood pressure and heart rate elevated.

My impression of the test results were quite different from my doctor’s. He was quite impressed and he claimed the test was an overwhelming success. He told me the Echocardiogram showed that my heart is very strong and is up to the task of the intensity of CrossFit. That’s good news, but…

But specialists are narrowly focused. I am concerned with a larger picture, a holistic picture.

While I am grateful that I am blessed with a strong heart, I am still concerned with erratic blood pressure when under physical stress, such as MetCons. I know, “of course your BP is gonna rise, you’re working hard.” I get it. But it shouldn’t take two days to return to normal. Blood Sugar is off. Sleep patterns are off. Weight is off. Actually weight is on, and stays on.

As I suggested in my previous blogpost, it is possible that these are all symptomatic of a single over arching issue – Stress Management. Presently WODs are simply another stressor, messing with cortisol and insulin, impacting my weight, etc.

Since the Treadmill/Echo Stress Test, I am tweaking my eating habits, I have lost a couple pounds, I have been more vigilant about getting sleep and I have taken time off from CrossFit. I attempted to cut my work hours, but that didn’t fly well. I guess I’ll focus on controlling the things I actually have control over.

In a future post I’ll share my revised schedule as I strive to be the New and Improved me.

Be Defiant! Be Well!

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