The Whiteboard and why PR’s matter
At Oregon CrossFit we have a huge whiteboard that says “PR Board” the board is placed in a prominent location where you are almost guaranteed to walk by it to change your shoes or use the bathroom. “PR” for those unaware stands for Personal Record or with weightlifters/track athletes and others it is seen as Personal Best or “PB”. On this whiteboard we write our name and something we have PR’d. In a typical week we have at least two opportunities to “PR” once on Monday during our Max effort lower body work and once on Friday on our Max effort Friday work. Also during the week anytime we do a “Benchmark” workout we have an opportunity to “PR”.
Okay now I know what a PR is, but why does it matter to me? A PR does a few different things for you. First, it allows you to track and measure your improvement. The process of writing your name, the lift or workout you completed, and the number or time will assist in remembering that measurement. So when you write “Bob/Bench Press/185# on it you are more likely to remember that your PR is 185# for the next time Bench Press comes up or when we use percentages of your 1RM Bench Press.
Besides remembering the weight or your time for the workout it does something else for you – it shows your progress. You get to see what training is doing for your health and wellbeing by saying – I am improving. A lot of people are their own worst critics; they put themselves down or don’t allow themselves an opportunity to be excited. The tracking on the whiteboard makes you celebrate your PR’s and doesn’t allow you an opportunity to be a “negative Nancy”. Last time Bob benched he got 155, but this time -185# and he is now approaching a bodyweight bench press. This is awesome for Bob as he got a 30# PR (better enjoy those 30# PR’s while they still happen) and Bob also gets an affirmation that he is getting more fit and is another step towards his goal. Bob also doesn’t get to “feed” his negative side, instead he has to “feed” the positive side by writing his “PR” on the whiteboard.
Writing a PR up on the board and “feeding” your positive side allows a person to build momentum and helps change their perspective about themselves. Training is hard. Bob has a full time job – 2 kids – and a lot of stress. He doubts himself but every time he writes a PR on the board he’s pushing the negatives out of his head and putting positive thoughts in there.
So I am writing PR’s on the board – what should go up there? Most people put their max effort work(Monday and Friday) up on the whiteboard. Benchmark times for workouts (typically workouts with names) like Fran, Diane, Grace, Isabel, and Kelly to name a few, and they also put up things they are proud of in the gym. It isn’t uncommon to see a name with a smart comment like “Karlee – Pr’d carrying baby June for 9 months” or other things people are proud of. The whiteboard is a place to be positive and a way to “feed” your positive side. Every opportunity you have, please add your name + the lift or workout + the load/time/or measurement as your shared fitness community will celebrate your accomplishments with you.
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