Why We Repeat

Why We Repeat

I get many questions when people sign up for Psychedelic Gypsy Fitness on why we repeat the same workouts for 4 weeks. It is a great question and one that I get excited to explain. 

In my last couple years of Crossfit I began to train in this way- methodically repeating my day 1 through 5 for the month- a block of training. At first I was resistant to this system- it seemed, well, repetitive. I should be training differently everyday because Crossfit is the unknown and unknowable. I felt like I should be adding in little elements from different training inspirations to make sure I am covering all bases. 

Yet when I trained like that, adding in more volume and more variation, my movement suffered, I was stressed from all the different components and my body began to break down. How could I possibly keep up with all that I had to master in the world of Crossfit? The overwhelm and feeling of being buried alive was a strong feeling. 

Enter Dave and Jenn Swagar with their concept of training to be a true athlete. An athlete that could move laterally, be explosive, jump, rest more, as well as be emotional and mentally at peace. 

This meant repetition. And not in the form of Benchmark "wods" every few months to hopefully see improvement; but week in and week out mastery of my body, my emotions and my mind. 

Why we repeat:

1. Mastery of the body

Repeating the same movements and conditioning every week gives you the platform to understand your body's capacity. What conditioning piece do you absolutely crush? What movement consistently slows you down? When I add load to any movement what happens? 

One month I repeated the workout Cindy 4 times (20 minute AMRAP of 5 pullups, 10 pushups, 15 air squats)- within that month I learned more about what my body was capable of than 3 years of Crossfit competition.

I knew I could whip through pullups. I made them so damn efficient. I made sure to use different pull-up bars, different grips, even different jumping up to the bar techniques. 

Push-ups were my goat! This is where I slowed down. I learned what I could push in terms of numbers- 7 and 4 were my sweet spot. I learned the effectiveness of different hand positions: wide, externally rotated, narrow, split stance and which positions helped me. 

With squats I learned that I could blaze through them. With grace, with tension and speed.

Each time I repeated my workouts the goal was QUALITY of movement. Pushing my limits of performing quality movement under duress and having the discipline to maintain it. 

If you walk into most Crossfit gyms today you will NOT see quality movement. There is no standard. There is not focus. It's willy nilly, let's see who can lift the heaviest and move the fastest because the next wod, the next challenge is always up on that whiteboard. Yesterday's movements, yesterday's struggles a thing of the past. Form simply isn't a priority. Yet the best movers are often rewarded, not always finishing first, but cruising through elements that crush the average athlete and without injury. The devil is in the detail. 

 

2. Mastery of mind

This was a great struggle for me mentally when repeating each week. At first, I detested the idea of repeating conditioning.Slowly, though, the mindset shifted as my body felt better, I didn't feel rushed to complete my workout because I knew what was coming down the pipeline. The repetition gave me a chance to actually find my center before a workout. Was I better being hyped up on coffee? Or listening to chill beats and calmly cruising through?

Furthermore, within my training week, I began to see patterns where I could push. I would have a lighter day on Wednesday and really go for it on a Thursday for instance. I began to know that block of programming like the back of my hand. This also made it easier to schedule life and honour my menstrual cycle. I could find freedom around the structure. I also had more time to play! Which meant overall health for my mind and greater exploration of my athleticism.

Mentally, I knew the same workouts were coming each week which gave me the mental prep to attack them better, to find alternatives, to learn how my mind worked under stress. Then I was able to talk myself through the struggle and ultimately, become very comfortable with the physically uncomfortable. I knew what I was capable of and calmly, with poise, went into that zone. 

3. Mastery of emotion

Do you ever find that in life the same problems keep presenting themselves to you? Or you find yourself in the same type of relationship? I believe this is because the universe will show you the same issue until we find inner-healing and then we are able to approach the THING, whatever it may be, in a much more emotionally mature way. Thus, breaking free of the cycle and huge personal growth. It is this idea of spiraling upwards; elevation for our soul's journey. 

This is what Psychedelic Gypsy Fitness emulates through our programming. Each week we spiral around to the challenge, the thing, the goat, the crucible, to see how we can creatively address it with emotional maturity, self-compassion in our own, unique brand of bad assery. It is our lab to find ourselves, regardless of what others are doing in the world, so we can really get to know what WE are capable of; how WE can choose to show up- even when shit gets messy. 

Fuck G.B.E.D

Here is what I learned about myself, repeating my training weeks: the concept of linear progression and "Get Better Everyday" is false. It is a concept that someone else came up with and I did not embody this. Well, I tried and I would beat myself up a lot.

Success is NOT linear. Crossfit training is NOT linear. It is a spiraling journey of huge setbacks, tiny victories and revisiting the same problem but through a different lens. Our growth happens within the spaces in between through self-reflection and development of fierce self-love. Our growth happens when our training and our life takes us sideways, when it spins us, when we move backwards. 

I realize too that there is some irony here. Structured, repetition of workouts enables you to get better amidst the chaos that is the fitness industry, the chaos that is life. Yet, when we are able to hold polarities and be okay that we are walking contradictions we have become a more whole human, a more free human. Which is the goal of this Psychedelic Gypsy Queen and something I want to share with you! 

Check out our programs here.

 

Until next time, 

The PGQ


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1 comment

  • This post has helped me so much, thank you for writing it! I’ve been struggling with my training over the past month and it basically comes down to exactly what you’ve outlined in this post. Excited to start thinking about and pursuing training in a slightly different way.

    • Chelsea