Sunday, January 13

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Prepare to prepare.


Juma Ikangaa became a sentimental favorite among fans at the Boston
marathon after taking second place 3 years in a row, from 1988 to 1990.
In spite of this he is better remembered for the quote “the will to win
means nothing without the will to prepare.”

The will to prepare. It has become almost a cliche. How many time
have you heard a football coach say that championships are won in

The will to work hard in the off season, to put forth great effort
when no one is looking, when competition is still far off. Yes, it is
necessary to have this in order to be the best you can be. But is it
really as special as we have come to view it? Is is really deserving of
praise? Is it really what sets the great athletes, the winners, apart
from those who fade in the heat of competition?

I say, NO. I say that it is not special at all, nor is it sufficient to make you the best that you can be.

Gold’s gyms all over the country are full of teenage boys doing
forced reps and drop sets and super sets and whatever other painful
routine Joe Weider told them to do not to go to the Olympics, not to win
Nationals, but simply to get their pecs a bit more “defined” in a
misguided attempt to get laid. They may be misguided, but a lot of them
are working pretty damn hard, and for relatively little reward.

Have you seen an aerobics room at a commercial gym lately? I defy
you to find me one that does not have 20 or 30 women engaged in some
form of self torture. Hours spent daily on masochistic machines like
elliptical’s and treadmills, and for what? Once again, not for a gold
medal, but simply to fit into a pair of jeans a couple of sizes smaller.
It may be misguided, but the amount of work and misery invested for
small reward or even no reward is mind boggling.

And then there is CrossFit. Most CrossFitters are not going to the
CrossFit games or appearing in magazines or getting sponsored by
supplement companies. They are normal folks, with normal lives, normal
jobs, kids, and mortgages. And yet there they are, in “boxes” all over
the country, pushing themselves through workouts that end in complete
exhaustion. Puking, or collapsing on the floor, and for what? Simply
to be more fit.

So is the “will to prepare” really going to set you apart from the
pack if you are a competitive athlete? I don’t think so. Not when
hundreds of thousands of people are at Golds gym or a CrossFit box
“preparing” and working their butts off even though they are NOT
competitive athletes, are NOT trying to win Nationals or go to the
Olympics. Even though they will never make a dime for their efforts, or
be on the cover of a magazine, even though the world will never know
their name let alone congratulate them or recognize their efforts.

What then, sets apart the competitive athlete who is indeed willing
to do anything, pay any price, for victory? Well, it is nothing so easy
as simply getting to the gym and putting in your time year round, in
season and out of season, when people are watching and even when no one
is watching. It is nothing so glamorous as the superhuman efforts you
put in while training. Anyone can do that, and almost everyone does

No, it is none of that. It is something much harder. You have to prepare to prepare.

That is the hard part. That is the thing most are unwilling to do.
What is preparing to prepare? A part of it is simple. Turning off the
TV or computer at 10pm 7 days a week to get regular sleep. Taking the
extra effort to prepare healthy food instead of stopping for fast food.
Saying no to your friends who want to go to the bar, or to a party.

Then there are some things which are not so simple. What do you have
to do to live where the best coach is, where the best teammates are?
Does this require sacrifices in your job, and your lifestyle? What job
fits best with your training schedule? It probably won’t be the highest
paying one, or the one with the best future prospects. You might not
be able to afford the nicest car, or the newest cell phone.

Does that seem a little extreme? Consider this. Somewhere out there
is a guy working a crappy part time job, chosen because it does not
interfere with training. He is talking on a 4 year old cell phone and
driving a 10 year old car because earning the money for newer, more
expensive things would require working more hours and that would
interfere with his training. He is going to bed at 10pm every night,
hasn’t been to a bar in several years and he trained on Christmas day,
and on his birthday. He is busy preparing his meals ahead of time
instead of watching “Two and a half men” or some other asinine TV

He is doing everything he can OUTSIDE the training hall, to allow
himself to prepare harder and more thoroughly INSIDE the training hall.
And he is going to be very, very hard for you to beat unless you do the


  1. Day 2: Park City, UT! WOD: Snowboard, All Day

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