Have you ever gotten in “the zone” when you’re doing something? I suppose it’s hard to explain what it is like to be in “the zone” when you’re doing something if you’ve never been there. However, I am going to presume that most readers of this blog have been there at some point in their lives.
It could be when you’re reading a book. You start, it grabs your interest, you remain focused, and because it is so good, before you know it, you’re done. It could be writing something, studying for something, cooking something, cleaning something, putting together something…you get the point. Whatever it may be, being in this “zone” keeps you focused and causes the task to be accomplished within the blink of an eye.
Have you ever had it happen during a workout?
There are two moments in my life when I can recall this happening: one occurred at the 2010 Northeast Regional final workout, and the other was in the second WOD of one of Rob Orlando’s Strongman Winter Competitions. Seriously, I don’t remember sweating, being out of breath (although I know that I was based upon the photos below), feeling the weight of the objects that I had to lift, seeing anyone else around me, hearing any noises; in fact, I think I completely blacked out in one of these workouts. All I do know is that I won both of these WODs; one sending me to California for the The CrossFit Games, and the other to the podium for a first place finish.
Of what I can assure you, was that I wasn’t thinking about something else. I wasn’t concerned with those beside me. I wasn’t concerned with the next movement. And I wasn’t concerned with the next workout.
To juxtapose these two workouts, allow me to relate my workout yesterday: I performed “Amanda”-9-7-5 reps of muscle-ups and a 95 lb squat snatch. I’ve never finished this workout in under the 13 minute time-cap that was allotted me at the Games in 2010 and the Regional in 2011. When I finished the 9’s, I looked at the clock (mistake number one). I had finished the longest set in under 3 minutes. I was sure that I would finish in my goal of under 7 minutes. When I approached the barbell of the 7’s, I began to think of my next WOD (mistake # 2): a couplet of split snatches and toes-to-bar. As I thought of this, I realized something: I was resting. Seconds were ticking by, in which I could have been pulling and squatting! I wasn’t resting for fatigue, I was resting because my mind was elsewhere. I finished the WOD in under the time-cap for the first time, but not within the goal that I had set for myself. Why?
Because I did not allow myself to get in the zone; I wasn’t dialed in. I was too worried about time, and more importantly, not focusing on the moment, to be successful at that which I was doing.
When we want to be dialed in, it becomes critical that we focus on that which we are doing in the NOW, not that which is to come in the future; for, when the future comes, you can focus on it then.
It isn’t possible to dial in during every workout, six days a week, but it is valuable to learn what it takes to get yourself in the zone. Because, mannnnn, when you get there, you feel unstoppable….it’s the best version of you. Even if you don’t win, the success is in you being the best you that you can be in that moment in time.