Letter From Kris Z on Training vs Exercise

You may have recently read an article, CrossFit: The Good, Bad, and the Ugly by Mark Rippetoe on the differences between training and exercise. I thought long and hard about posting the article but in the end I decided not to (sort of, as you can see). Then Friday after the 12:30 class, Wes, Susan and I ended up talking about training vs exercise. Then I got the following letter on Friday afternoon from one our athletes, Kris Z, who lives in Chicago now, regarding essentially, training vs exercise. I think someone is telling me this subject needs a post. 🙂 Kris can take from here…

Hi guys!

Just wanted to drop a quick email to you, as lately I have been thinking about (more like, confronted with) some of the lessons you taught me. I’m especially thinking about a post you made recently about whether or not “slop” is acceptable, and what you used to say about the differences among training, practice, and competition.

I’ve been fitfully attending a gym here in Chicago finally. I was doing well for a couple of months, then we bought and moved into our first house, which created a good excuse for another couple months lapse, but I’ve been going consistently again for a couple weeks now. Lately we’ve been doing a lot of benchmark type stuff heading into the new year, and I have noticed a lot of, shall we say, enthusiasm, around encouraging people to PR. And, although the coaches demonstrate technique and ROM before skills or workouts, I have noticed a real lack of willingness to correct sloppiness during the work. I’ve certainly never seen a coach tell someone to take weight off and focus on their movement. And I’ve seen some ugly, ugly stuff. It’s not exclusive to this gym by any means – I have visited a lot of boxes across the country at this point, and it’s endemic to all of the ones I’ve been to except MDSoF.

I know that I am not in the best shape right now, and I haven’t been a member long, so I don’t feel it’s my place to go correct other athletes (even as I cringe and hope they’re not gonna blow a knee or something). But I am thankful that I got the proper grounding in *why* we do what we do beyond just being able to record more rounds, more pounds, or fewer seconds in a log book.

My scores are toward the bottom of the class. Sometimes I don’t finish. I do the women’s weight more often than not. BUT I don’t have any injuries. I know when I have nailed a lift and when it’s off and why. I’m challenging myself to improve my technique, my flexibility, and my awareness, knowing that if I dial all that in as I get stronger the numbers will come. I’m grateful I had a coach at one time who taught me it was ok to back off, who would make me take the time to do it right. Wish everyone could have that experience!

Keep doing what you’re doing, and best of luck!

I have nothing to add to what Kris has to say other than to thank all of the athletes who currently train, or have trained at MDSoF, who also believe that movement quality comes before strength and power and, most importantly, have trusted us and have taken the time and energy to make that happen.