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The beauty of the benchmark

In CrossFit, we talk a lot about programming, training, and consistency- all summed up in one phrase: the process. When athletes embark on their fitness journey, we don’t talk in terms of a starting point and an ending point, we talk in terms of a starting point and a checkpoint because fitness is an evolving process that never actually ends…. at least if we have anything to do with it.

These checkpoints are known as benchmarks. Benchmark defined is simply: a standard or point of reference against which things may be compared or assessed.

These points in CrossFit can take the form of workouts and lifts. The standard CrossFit Benchmark WOD’s are known as “The Girls.”

But the term benchmark is a point of reference. So anything that you do more than once is essentially a benchmark- a way to track your progress from where you started to where you are now. Wodify does a great job of noting your progress, whether it’s a gold star by your name or you notice that your old 1-rep max is now your 5-rep max. Numbers matter, and recording results helps you see positive results of your training.

All too many times, athletes fall into the progress trap: only looking at training day-to-day or directly to other athletes. Healthy competition is always good, but there is a time when these comparisons can become detrimental to your motivation. If you find this happening, look back to your personal benchmarks.

Think back to why you walked through the doors at 12 Labours CrossFit. What could you do then, and what can you do now? Can you lift more, move better, do more; do you feel better than you did when you first started? If the answer is yes, then you’re doing something right.

The benchmark is more than a progress checkpoint; it is a reminder of why you started training, and motivation to continue striving for more. It may not be a fast process, but it is rewarding on multiple levels.

“You can only see as far as your headlights. But you can make the whole trip that way.” – E.L. Doctorow

We’ve got some benchmarks headed your way this week. Check out the WOD Blog for more information.