Goats…we all have them, even the best athletes in the world have them. I have so many fucking goats, I could be a legitimate goat farmer. I would rather be a dairy farmer though, there is a lot of money in dairy farming. Have you ever tried goats milk? It’s the worst. I don’t even think you can eat goats and I am pretty certain they eat a lot of garbage, that’s probably why their milk tastes terrible…all that nasty garbage. But I digress.
For those who are unaware of the terminology, a goat is a reference for something that you are terrible at or hate doing. I am not sure where this reference came from, goats are actually the most adorable. You know what’s not adorable…looking like a jackass when your leg muscles don’t work and you struggle to stand up from a squat clean like a lumpy pile of mashed potatoes.
The great thing about Crossfit is that everyone has weaknesses and the challenge of tackling those weaknesses and making them strengths is part of what makes it so rewarding and fun. When you knock one weakness off the list, there is about a million more where that came from. So much so that it can be very overwhelming.
I live in a constant state of being overwhelmed by my weaknesses. My squat is terrible and my glutes are essentially dead inside, so I must fix that..but I also have no explosive pulling strength…or pushing strength for that matter. What even is a lat, and how does one activate their lats??? I have come to the conclusion that my body is nothing more than a set of lungs and a heart that pumps blood to my worthless extremities. #toomanygoatstocount
So, what to do when you are overwhelmed by the number of goats in your repertoire and don’t know where to start? I did some research and here is what the experts have to say.
How to Kill a Goat 101
“Everyone must choose one of two pains: The pain of discipline or the pain of regret.” – Jim Rohn
1. Manage Expectations –
Step one is understanding your capabilities. I am not trying to tell you to put limitations on your potential, but there is something to be said for being a realist. If your goal is to get a muscle up, you must first examine the situation. Are you proficient at dips? Can you do strict ctb pull-ups? If you answered no to both these things, than maybe you should pick some more manageable goals.
2. Prioritize –
When you have goats on goats on goats, it’s hard to know where to start. Rather than having a massive list of goats, it’s best to pick a few things you really want to focus on. It’s hard to mentally tackle a laundry list of weaknesses, so picking a few things to tackle will help you stay on track and make gains.
3. Be Patient –
This is not my forte. I mean, who the hell has time for patience these days. But…since I am the one giving advice here, I am telling you to be patient. Part of the fun of Crossfit is enjoying the process. Getting strong, learning to do skills properly and moving well are all important qualities for longterm health and success!
4. Ask for help –
It’s shocking to me how many people fail to ask for help. If you do the same thing over and over again and expect different results, you are the actual definition of insanity. Ask your coach for some tips, if they don’t have any time for you, then it’s time to find another gym. If you are too shy or embarrassed, there are tons of resources online. Check Youtube for progressions, mobility tips and videos on how to tackle those weaknesses.
5. Have a plan –
If you fail to plan you plan to fail. Write down your goals and set yourself a schedule for how you want to achieve that goal. It doesn’t have to be daunting. It can be as simple as 10 minutes a day of ankle mobility after you put the kids to bed. Whatever the scenario, if you don’t make yourself a plan it will likely fall to the wayside and you will be left wondering why you didn’t reach your goal.
6. Accessorize –
This is very important and often overlooked. When people have weaknesses they tend to want to tackle that weakness head on by practicing it every single day. That is not always the answer and is the recipe for an overuse injury. If you want to improve your squat, just simply squatting everyday may not be the way. Doing exercises to engage the glutes like banded monster walks, glute ham raises, pause squats with lighter weight, various legs exercises to create bilateral strength, increasing hip and ankle mobility. These are all pieces of the puzzle that must not be forgotten.
7. Don’t overtrain –
Have you heard of the “law of diminishing returns”? It’s an economic theory that can be applied to many aspects of life and training is no exception. Hammering your weaknesses is great…hammer away. However, if you hammer too hard and too often, there is a point in which your efforts will be for not. If you continue to keep hammering beyond the point of diminishing returns, you will reach a stage where not only does your output not increase, your overall output decreases! Be smart about your training – train with a purpose.
8. Keep your eye on the prize –
At the end of the day, if you stay focused and don’t lose sight of the end goal, you will eventually be successful. (If your goal is within reason of course). So, don’t let those goats overwhelm you! Identify your goat, make a plan, seek help and tackle it one day at a time.
Crossfit is a new and unusual discipline where people expect to see results fast and are constantly comparing themselves to others. The reality is, to be good at any athletic endeavour, it takes time and dedication. When I started playing basketball as a kid, I didn’t expect to be able to pick up a ball and hit a 3-pointer, it took me a decade and 100,000+ shots to be a 30%+ 3 point shooter. I am not really sure why I tackle Crossfit with a different mindset, especially when building strength and technique can take years. But for every impatient grasshopper out there like me, use these strategies to tackle those little goat motherfuckers one at a time.