Yesterday at crossfit, I experienced a VERY interesting phenomena that's never really happened to me before...
Background: I am extremely hesitant with adding weight to workouts in any way, shape, or form. Especially when it comes to WOD [Workout of the Day]'s, it's always difficult for me to know which weight I should do. The weight movements in WOD's are always compounded with additional movements [except if it's a "pump day" which isolates a specific weight lifting technique]. You need to strategize a little more since there's multiple factors to take into consideration.
....the point is....I always "play it safe"....VERY safe. I always aim for a lower weight to ensure I can do it and not fail. I have jokingly [and not jokingly] been told by crossfit coaches to add more weight to the bar for workouts, but it's definitely up to me and my confidence level more than anything. I just have an irrational fear of failure.
SO, yesterday at crossfit our WOD consisted of 21 reps-15 reps-9 reps of deadlifts and box jumps. From my chronic achilles issues that have been a major struggle for me since high school, BOX JUMPS ARE THE DEVIL. There are select few movements that I keep a high red flag radar on that amplify the difficulty of a workout for me, the ones that strain my achilles the most: box jumps, burpees, and jump roping in any way, shape or form.
Whenever these red flag movements show up in a WOD, I specifically scale back on the other movements a little more than normal since the strain on my achilles is practically a handicap. At first I warmed up with a 95lb deadlift and thought "Okay...this is on the lighter side..." but I added some more weight to the point where I thought "Okay....this is a little heavier but still doable." In my mind I assumed I had added weight to get up to the 115lb mark, because in my mind everything else above that was WAY TOO HEAVY FOR ME AND TOO MUCH OF A STRETCH AND SHOULDN'T EVEN CONSIDER IT FOR A WORKOUT WITH 45 REPS.
I went through the workout, and yes it was a bitch. But it was a good bitch. I didn't injure myself or go out of my comfort zone, yet I didn't breeze through the workout either [not even close, hahaha].
...then as I was taking the weight off of my barbell, I thought "Wait a minute........lemme add up this weight again......"
...and that's when I realized I had TOTALLY miscounted - what I thought was 115lbs was actually 125lbs!!!!!! I had gone through the entire workout unknowingly with 10 extra pounds of weight, and what in my mind seemed like would've been CATASTROPHIC was actually completely doable....just because I was confident in myself and felt good about it. And although 10 extra pounds isn't really a huge difference in weight, the significance behind doing a weight that I had completely ruled out of the question was a big deal to me.
And of course the weight itself isn't what I am or should be proud about - 125lbs to some people may seem like "HOLY SHIT THAT'S A LOT OF WEIGHT" but to tons of other people 125lbs seems like "PFFT THAT'S CHILD'S PLAY." That number is completely relative to the individual. If someone who thought they couldn't do more than 15lbs actually did 25lbs then that would be the exact same accomplishment.
In the end, the mind is a very powerful thing. You set your own standards of what you can or cannot do. I chose a weight based solely off how I felt warming up with it, rather than automatically putting myself in a category and saying "I can't do any more than this."
BUT a word of caution: especially when dealing with weights, TAKE DA BABY STEPS. I don't want anyone reading this [...if anyone actually DOES read it...] and then the next day saying "WELL I THINK I CAN DO 150lbs INSTEAD OF 100lbs SO IMMA DO IT." Definitely does NOT work that way. I have my crossfit coaches to thank a lot for my own progress. The right coaches/trainers KNOW WHAT THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT. If it's too much weight then it's too much weight. They'll tell you when to take a little jump and when to scale it back. Trust the process, they've been through it themselves!! And most of all, just trust that the longer you keep at it, the sooner you'll reach your goals :)