The Nazca plain in Peru has large figures laid out on the ground. They were made from about 200 BC until about AD 600, and they are still there because there is practically no rain. There are animals and other shapes, including the left, which might be a maze. There is one theory that these shapes were walked through for ritual purposes.
Now if we pause to reflect, this strange phenomenon that has seemingly no significance to the context of an athlete, can actually start to harbour some meaning. When I look at this spiral I cannot help but see it as a natural course of improvement, development, or progression. When beginning a new sport, workout regime, or learning anything new at all; there is an initial learning curve where we tend to see linear progression (left). This is when learning is fun, engaging, and we often see improvements. We soon come to realize that our line of growth is not and cannot be exponential, there are natural progression limits. But when we are immersed in our goals, it becomes hard to see this macro perspective. It’s when athletes start to doubt: themselves, their training, their nutrition, their program etc… which is not all bad, we learn a lot in this phase of the athletes progressions because we are questioning. If we look not at the linear progression graph, but at the Nazca spiral, it gives us a more realistic visual aid as to what progression looks like over time. If we start at the beginning of the Nacza (with our goal to be to get to the centre), it looks identical to the linear progression, we start moving towards the centre right away. But rather than just falling off the graph, the charted Nazca path circles around the center briefly and then starts to move away. If we continue following the path, we can see that there is a pattern of moving toward the centre, then moving away, but ultimately getting closer to the centre or our goal over time. Observing this from a macro perspective, it is very clear that the path eventually leads to the centre, but in reality when we are walking the path, living the micro perspective, it’s almost impossible to see.
In CrossFit, getting new skills is damn sexy, it makes us feel good instantly. Something we are very used to- instant gratification. What is it to work for something? There is a learning factor amongst the grind, the basics, the very core of hard work.
Herein lies the paradox. The intention of crossfit almost always goes against the mentality of the athlete. Blame the alluring feeling of getting new skills like the pull-up and the muscle up, the pr.
CrossFit’s intention is a training program to be fit in all areas, to increase work capacity across broad time and modal domains. It has since become a sport to see who exemplifies its intentions in the best manner. Who is the most virtuous within CrossFit or fitness. Games athletes are always held in high regard, and made examples in our vastly growing community. We can learn a lot from them, however, with our skewed perspective of what we think is accomplishment we actually digress from using these athletes as examples. We do not see the forest for the trees which causes our mentality on training to be skewed.
The games athlete is a great exemplar of virtuosity and achievement of pursuit, they seem like they are living amongst their goals, they are living in the centre of the Nazca. It is clear that this is highly untrue, they might be in the centre of your Nazca, but the games athlete, the professional, the virtuoso is most likely further from their centre spiral then the average person from a relative standpoint.
If we can recognize and trust ourselves to have confidence with our progression, we can go from depending on daily motivations to thriving off of the discipline we were looking for in the first place. Because when you are disciplined, motivation is unnecessary.