So I made a promise to myself recently. I promised I would stop modifying my workouts in order to do well and force myself to preform the movement prescribed whenever possible. When it comes to weights, this has never really been a major issue for me. Lifting heavy things has become one of my strengths [no pun intended] and although my form on many of my lifts is far from perfect, I can preform the movements.
My issue arises when it comes to body weight and gymnastic skills - pull-ups, hand stand push-ups, double unders and the like. I'm physically capable of doing a pull-up, albeit ugly, I can get my chin over the bar (and when need be, I can get my chest to the bar). Are pull-ups easier if I use even the thinest band for assistance? Of course they are, but I'm never going to get better at doing them unassisted if I keep using that safety net. The same goes for putting risers under my head during a hand stand push-up. Double unders have been a slow progression for me and committing to not substitute singles in a work out has probably been the biggest challenge thus far and I have the whip marks to prove it.
Have my metcon score dropped significantly since I started this new venture? Yup, but I know that won't last forever. Last night, I preformed my first prescribed "Jackie" (for all of my non-CrossFit readers, Jackie is a workout consisting of a 1000 meter row, 50 35-pound thrusters and 30 pull ups). Thanks to the pull-up portion, the workout took me 14 minutes and 21 seconds to complete (I'd like to send out a big thank you to everyone at my gym for cheering me on as I finished - I needed that). Six months ago, I did the same workout with band-assisted pull-ups in 11 minutes and 25 seconds. Yes, I was nearly 3 minutes slower, but I'll take the slowest prescribed time over the fastest modified any day.
Keeping this promise to myself has been hard. Really hard. However, I know it's the best choice in actually improving and getting stronger. While I'm never going to set a world record with my WOD times, I know I will get faster. It all goes back to something one of my coaches said my first week of CrossFit... "it never gets easier, you just get better."