Having seen a lot of athletes make extraordinary gains since we’ve opened, I wanted to share a few trends I’ve found that will help all members think about making real improvements going forward. Here are my favorite 10:
1. Set Clear Goals
Tell yourself you want a bodyweight backsquat or a 1.5X bodyweight deadlift, or plan to do a workout as RX’ed. Maybe you want to be able to do a pullup, or string 30 together. Smart goals are measurable, obtainable and give you something to work towards. It also feels really awesome when you get them. Ask us about setting reasonable goals.
2. Save specialized training until you have a strong generalized base
Specializing for events is important if it’s part of your training goal, but I do not recommend going out and training for a marathon or a triathlon (for the purposes of “getting fitter” or “losing weight”) until you’ve substantially developed a base level of fitness. The same goes for trying to olympic lift, power lift or any other specialized event. If you don’t have a strong base you will most likely suffer with an injury or huge stepbacks in your general training.
3. Don’t Overtrain
Doing 6 days in a row and doing multiple workouts in a day only works for experienced, top level athletes. You get better because you rest and you let your body recover, not because you increase volume and try to do more.
4. Put Nutrition Ahead of Everything Else
Proper nutrition accounts for 80% of your figure and 100% of how you feel. You can’t replace horrible nutrition with one hour in the gym. Food is fuel and without providing yourself with the best possible fuel, you will most likely run into problems. Younger people need to take note: you are lucky you have a fast metabolism and can deal with poor nutrition, but that will change.
5. Stop Picking Stuff You Want to Do
Handpicking workouts and choosing the easy way out won’t get you anywhere. Focusing on the things you really dislike will benefit your overall fitness better than just certain things in favor of others. Ask Gretchen about her training for the games.
6. Go the Extra Mile
The best CrossFitters don’t stop when the workout is done or the timer stops. They go the extra mile to work on their form, practice a few pullups or ask about how they can do X better. Constant improvement doesn’t come from doing what’s asked, but from challenging ourselves and devoting that extra time to stretching out our tight shoulders, practicing movements and doing the best we can beyond the stated goals.
7. Stop Cheating Reps
Read our “No Egos Allowed” article. We know it hurts when you have to go the full depth on that wall ball or lock out on that press, but guess what, if you don’t set clearly measurable standards, you won’t get better. A half squat means you failed the workout and your score means nothing. Prioritize the movements over the clock and the plates on the bar.
8. Own Your Improvements
Remember we use the clock so you can get better as an individual. Who cares of Person Y got 3 seconds faster than you; they probably cheated the reps anyway. Focus on bettering yourself not on beating someone else. The more you focus on others, the less improvements will matter to you.
9. Stop Making Excuses
Everyone has weaknesses. Everyone could be stronger, faster, fitter, better. You have to push yourself. There are no shortcuts to being better at CrossFit, other than pushing yourself. People start blaming things outside of themselves, saying “that workout was unfair” or “I didn’t eat right today” or “I need to do this special thing instead.” Think about excuses for a minute. Ok, now forget them.
10. Embrace Pain
Pain is good. Pain is part of CrossFit. Finishing workouts with 100% of our maximum ability is what we want to do everytime we are in the gym. Programming is important, but not nearly as important as you having the will to push yourself. I’ve seen too many people decide to take it easy on a backsquat or to avoid pushing themselves. They don’t maximize results and it’s a pity.
We can’t get inside your head, but we can give you the platform to do the best you can everyday. At the end, it comes down to being supportive of each other and realizing there are no shortcuts. We have to do the best we can individually, every day, both in and out of the gym if we really care about making improvements. We’re extremely biased as humans and we’ve got to shed our egos if we want to experience true gains.