If you go down a path and it turns out to be a dead end, you really made a contribution, because we know we don’t have to go down that path again.


I obviously think that all the big rocks of Intelligent Cross Training are the “most important” step. And they really are the big rocks that support the foundation of the program that you build, but one of my favorites is:

Fail with Intent

It sounds counterintuitive, as though you might start out actually intending to fail, but it’s not that at all. To fail with intent requires that you make your failures meaningful. They become learning experiences that allow you to become better.

In the case of #intelligentcrosstraining, this step comes after you’ve been plugging away at your program for awhile. But right now, right this minute, we’re going to address how you even get to that point.

One of the reasons that failing with intent is SO important is because it teaches you to embrace uncertainty. Yes. There is a step in the process of Intelligent Cross Training that addresses what happens if when you fail. Why is this important?

  • The ready-made program you chose wasn’t the best choice. (HINT: That’s okay.)
  • Your goals suddenly change — maybe due to injury or something else. (HINT: That’s okay.)
  • Life got in the way. (HINT: That’s okay.)
  • You HATE what you’re doing and therefore aren’t doing it. (HINT: That’s okay.)

There are literally hundreds of reasons why something that might seem like a failure could happen to you during your program. And you know what, that’s okay.

Here’s the deal with uncertainty…

it sucks.

You know why? Because it’s really just a fear of failure. And as much as I like to talk about derby and intelligent cross training and mental toughness, these things aren’t the end of the world. We all constantly feel some degree of uncertainty.

There are some places in our lives where we just push ahead anyway, thinking: “Fuck yeah, I’m unsure, but I’m going to do it anyway because it’s worth it.” Then there are other places where we hem-and-haw and are literally paralyzed by our own analysis of the situation.

The real question becomes: What’s worth it?

What is valuable enough to you? What is important enough to you? What makes you want to try anyway even if you might fail? Because (TRUTH BOMB) you will fail. We all do. And it’s a damn good thing because we learn much more from failure than we do from success.

The antidote to uncertainty is self-trust.

All your hard work might blow up in your face. (Although probably not anything quite that dramatic because we’re mostly just talking about roller derby and cross training.) And that sucks and it’s frustrating and you might need some time to grieve whatever it is that didn’t work out for you. But, ultimately, you can pick yourself back up and try again.

How do you overcome uncertainty?

  1. Just do something. I’m a huge proponent of “something is better than nothing”. The best way to overcome mental paralysis is just to get moving. Pick something and get started — don’t wait for perfect, it doesn’t exist.
  2. Fake it ’til you make it. It’s a cliche for a reason. Pretending like you’re not scared will force you to forge ahead anyway (see step one). And projecting confidence is the same as actually having it, at least as far as everyone watching is concerned. (Trust me on this.)
  3. Practice realistic optimism. Don’t get all starry-eyed and assume everything’s coming up Milhouse, but do be excited about the possibilities if everything goes as planned. On the flip side, prepare yourself for potential adversities and imagine how you might overcome them.
  4. Practice forgiveness. TAKE ACTION first and then practice forgiveness (and shrewd self-evaluation) afterward.

Awesome piece from Asa Punk Designs.

Do a post-mortem.

After a month (or so) of following the program that you’re on, you’ll take all of that lovely data you’ve collected and sift through it. You might also run your pre-assessment again to see where you’re at. And you might not be very far. (HINT: That’s okay.)

Look at where you succeeded. Did your squat weight increase? Are you doing more reps than before? Do you feel less winded? Are you completing the circuit faster? Yay for you, celebrate your wins!

Look at where you were less successful. Did your 27-in-5 lap time actually decrease? Are you still SUPER tired and worn out most days? Did you not improve on your assessment? Guess what — that’s okay.

Keep the things that were successful and tweak the things that weren’t.

Does that sound hard? It’s not. You just do it. And if it doesn’t work, you do it again. Every time you go through the process you learn a little bit more about what works for you and you get a little bit closer to the ideal.

Bottom Line?

Intelligent Cross Training is supposed to be fun. It’s supposed to make your workouts more flexible and keep you from being paralyzed by uncertainty. Something is better than nothing, even if it didn’t quite get you to your goal.

When failure is demonized, people will try to avoid it at all costs — even when it represents nothing more than a temporary setback.


Look at it this way. You want to do Bulgarian Split Squats? Great. Put them in your program. If, at the end of the month (or so), they don’t make you more strong and stable — assuming that’s you’re goal — then you can drop them. Or do fewer of them. Or decide that you just really like them and it doesn’t matter if they help you reach your goal, you’re going to do them anyway.

And you know what? That’s okay.

Want more?

If you’re interested in more exclusive content, access to my FREE resource library, and the slightly weird workings of my inner mind, you can sign up for the Iron Octopus Fitness email list HERE. Wherein I harass you weekly with all things intelligent cross training, mindset, and…other.


About IronOctopusFitness

Online athletic training and nutrition coach, full-time mom, okay skater, and connoisseur of all things tea, chocolate, and roller derby. I'll help you unleash your inner athlete by building a strong, capable body that can withstand whatever life throws at you.

Leave a Reply