I was the most skeptical person of my own abilities to even attempt to follow Invictus programming. I didn’t know much about it other than I have seen the strongest athletes at LAX doing it and that it seemed like some crazy shit. I never in a million years thought I would even attempt such madness. Here’s a sample of an Invictus workout:
I didn’t take into account that Invictus could be scaled. I don’t know if the Invictus programmers would cringe at that statement as I suspect they designed it for the cream of the crop to train using the RX weights and movements. When a few of us hijacked a facebook status by one of our resident bad asses, Chris O, I scoffed at the idea of doing it. But like a lot of others things, I was easily convinced to get on board. I was curious to find out what I really am made of. I also was presented with a sensible and strong argument that it would help me get ready for the team comp I got suckered into signing up for in February (which is now just two days away).
Quickly into my new training program (which I began about 6 weeks ago), I began learning more about myself and the benefits to getting out of my comfort zone to train differently with a different team dynamic.
1) Pound for pound I am strong. I have always had a hard time accepting this mind set because I focus a lot on my weaknesses and I compare myself to others. (And of course I’m sure self-confidence plays a big part too). I am by no means perfect or as well rounded as I want to be but that doesn’t automatically place me in the weak or mediocre category either. There are plenty of times I move some seriously heavy weight when you factor in that I am 5 foot tall (and about 115 lbs, which you should not commit that number to memory!). The way Invictus structures its strength portions is quite often based on percentages of 1 RM. I am used to doing maybe 1 rep at 90% on occasion but with Invictus, it could be 4 reps. Example: Back in October I increased my deadlift 1 RM from 203 to 235. This week during the deadlift strength portion, the last of 6 sets of deadlifts was 4 reps at 90% which came to 211 lbs for me. That set felt like death but I did it. I lifted (4 times!) from the ground almost 100 lbs more than my body weight. I never would have attempted that had it not been for this training.
Almost every day I train in this capacity, and I typically get within 10% of my 1 RM’s across the board. This is daunting and I get butterflies when I step up to the bar but I dig deep for the confidence to do it and I do.
2) Along the same lines as #1, Invictus gives me more confidence. (Although if you were basing it on my pre-competition jitters this week you could argue this point…) There is some bewildering combinations that come up in the workouts that I would have looked at it and said “Helllllllllllllll no, I can’t do that.” I now look at like “Ok I can do this!” It’s like Invictus carries so much clout and respect that I want to do my best to not make a mockery of it.
3) I posted once about not every day being a good day. This is no different with this type of programming but the difference now is, a day doesn’t go by that I don’t somehow surprise myself with what I have done. Each day is typically divided into 4 parts of programming. Each of which is quite difficult. Each one on its own would be a sufficient solo workout. Yet, I get through each them, and after each part, when I don’t think I have anything left to give, I find that I do. I would not have necessarily have had this chance in regular classes simply because a strength or skill portion followed by a Metcon was sufficient enough for me to get my ass kicked. Why would I think there was any reason I should (or could) do more than that? Invictus has shown me that I have more in me than I realized. I will carry this mindset as well when I get back to regularly programmed classes to motivate to do some skill work or a mini wod after class.
4) Chris O told me probably the first or second day of Invictus training that I will quickly discover my weaknesses and that there is no place to hide from them. With the high volume of programming for each day, we cycle through a lot of movements quite frequently. Snatch and Over Head Squats are my two worst lifts because of my mobility (rather lack of mobility). Since they pop up in workouts a few times a week, it’s forcing me to work on them and really concentrate on improving technique which in turn will let me gradually increase the load. (Not to mention, I definitely cannot escape wall balls either, my true nemesis).
5) By far the best perk to doing this training program is the group of people who are doing it alongside me. (Big shout out to Amy, Zoo, Marlene, Steve, Alex, Chris O, and Garrett!) It takes a certain type of grit to even walk into a CrossFit box and tackle that day’s workout. It takes a different type of grit to do Invictus, and it is not because people who do Invictus are any better than those who don’t. It just takes a more disciplined level of commitment to do it. For one, the workouts take much longer (about an hour and a half on average plus pre-workout time to stretch and warm up). For us who do this at the crack of dawn, we are starting at 5:45 which for me means I wake up at 4:30 (most sane people would not do that!) I also am in bed by 9:30 these days because sleep is one of the most important factors in the equation of a successful workout. Most days by the time I get out of work and either do needed errands or get in some ab workout back at the box, I’m not even home until 8:30 at night. That leaves me about an hour of down time before I need to get my beat up ass in bed. I am choosing to give up a lot of my personal time to devote to Invictus (who I affectionately now refer to as my boyfriend). I would not have this level of commitment if it weren’t for my friends I train with. We keep each other accountable and motivated. We are all making some sacrifices to do this and that shared camaraderie is indescribable.
6) Not only do we share similar goals and disciplines, we have bonded, to the point of probably making other people roll their eyes and gag at our overt words of encouragement and affection for each other. For me, I genuinely admire all of them and aspire to be as strong as them. The energy and genuine respect between all of us is quite remarkable. They make what would otherwise be a grueling grind actually fun. They make me want to push as hard as I can and I would like to think I do the same for them.
7) I can eat carbs! Seriously. This makes me happy. I can eat burritos and pasta without guilt. My body actually needs that stuff to be fueled for these high intensity workouts.
What is really comes down to me is this an extra push I need right now to help me get to my goals. It’s making me hungrier for goals I have set but yet to reach (like butterfly pull ups, a pretty snatch (ha!) and the elusive muslce up. It’s helping me be the best I can be which hopefully I can infect others with that same positive energy.