In CrossFit we often use the acronym MCI in our initial Level 1 Trainer course. The components of the acronym are simple; this by no means implies they are easy to follow. Hidden within the acronym is the “secret sauce” of building muscle, losing weight, learning a new skill, and even winning in life! The acronym stands for mechanics, consistency, and intensity. They are listed in order of execution: start with mechanics and end with intensity. If they were listed in terms of importance, I would place them in the order of consistency, mechanics, and then (and ONLY then) intensity.
Mechanics are the basics, the foundation, the rules, and the pieces to build the puzzle. Mastering the basics means you understand how to do something, what to avoid and why, and the best practices. Mechanics are learned slowly through many repetitions at very low weights, scaled variations, and a low heart rate. Without proper mechanics you can not advance to the next step in the process.
Intensity is where the major gains are made. It is the determining factor in who excels and who remains mediocre. Intensity can be the amount of weight used, the speed at which something is performed, the amount of repetitions, or the length of time spent. Those who are willing to use the right intensity will gain more out of the task than those who lack intensity. However, intensity is dangerous and must always be used with caution. Let intensity get a hold of you without the prerequisite mechanics or consistency and injury can occur. Intensity is earned through hard work.
Consistency is showing up. Sounds simple right? Why, then, is consistency king? There is a constant battle raging for your time, energy, and ability to show up. Life makes coming to the gym hard: the kids are not cooperating, the spouse is deployed, the baby is up all night, work is busy. Even our own self can be against us, saying things like: “I’m not fit enough to do this, I don’t feel like going, I’ll go tomorrow, I’m too busy,”… Without first showing up, the mechanics can never be mastered, and the intensity will never be brought. No gain will be made without first being able to walk through the door.
So, what does this mean for you? Harness the power of consistency in your life and begin to unlock your potential. For those of you who have not been to the gym in a while (or LONG while), commit to showing up once next week. That’s it. Don’t go crazy and try to come every day; just show up once. If you are consistent with your gym attendance, look at a different area of your life (let’s say your nutrition) and find a place where you can add some consistency. Commit to practicing being better every day.
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