One of the 10 general skills of physical preparedness that has a huge impact on the ability and performance of a CrossFit athlete. Let’s take a closer look!
Definition: the ability to sustain prolonged physical or mental effort
Synonyms: Endurance, staying power, tirelessness, toughness, determination, perseverance, and grit
Based on the definition and synonyms alone, it may be obvious how stamina comes into play for a CrossFitter, but maybe not. Stamina is not just the ability to go the distance physically, it’s about going the distance both physically AND mentally.
Consider an AMRAP style workout (for those of you that are not familiar, that means as many rounds as possible within a certain time frame) for a minute. You start off with a blazing pace of 2 rounds each minute. As your heart rate begins to climb and your ability to convert oxygen into fuel as quickly as necessary starts to decrease, you start to notice that you are now at 1.5 rounds each minute. And then 1 round per minute. Time is called by your coach, your score for this 12 minute AMRAP is 15 rounds and some change. What happened? Based on the initial pacing, we should have reached 24 rounds, but we fell off…big.
Of course, over time, some other of our general skills may have depleted, like our strength, power, accuracy, etc. We may have gotten some no reps, etc. But what if that didn’t happen? Did you start thinking to yourself….”Wow, this sucks. I hate wall balls.” or maybe “That person over there is so much stronger than I am. I wish I could do that?” Or “My lungs are on fire… perhaps I should slow down.”
All of these internal comments have a negative effect on our stamina. When we start focusing on the negatives or comparing ourselves to others, we lose sight of the present moment and also seek ourselves short of the power we hold within. When we feel the effects of the workout and considering removing the “pain and suffering”, we are human and are trying to get back into our comfort zone. Ultimately, this type of process points toward our determination or grit. Can we just put our heads down, focus on ourselves, and push. Push beyond what is comfortable, push beyond what we have labeled the “limit” for ourselves.
I am of course, not talking about pushing yourself beyond and landing into an injury. That is just stupid and doesn’t help us get in better shape at all. I am just talking about pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone and into the results zone.
When we push our stamina to it’s boundaries, we start to see results of confidence, happiness, and belief in our capabilities. We see the possibilities of what we can accomplish or what we may be able to accomplish in 6 months from now. Our toughness increases, which allows us to go for a bigger unbroken set. Our staying power increases, which allows us to hold that 2 rounds per minute pace for 3 minutes instead of 2. Our courage increases, which allows us to try a heavier weight or finish that extra round even though we know it will hurt to do it and the clock will save us in 9 seconds anyway.
Having stamina is a powerful CrossFit and life skill to obtain. Outside of the gym walls, you may need to meet a nasty deadline and pull and all nighter. Can you go the distance and still produce A+ work? Do you have the endurance, tirelessness, and staying power to survive the unpleasant circumstances you may be facing right now? The answer is yes, you can and you will when you work this skill inside the gym walls.
Master your stamina and master your life. 3,2,1…GO!