Why do you train? Why do you put up with the soreness, the gasping for air, the uncomfortable components of CrossFit? I think this is an important question to ask yourself often. Each individual will have his or her own Why ? so what is yours?
A variation of this question and one I am more interested in getting to the bottom of with each of our members here at CFC is WHAT are you doing with your training?
CrossFit has become mainstream and grown very quickly the past 3-5 years. Its popularity ranges from its ability to keep people interested to creating undeniable physical results with people who exercise a clean nutrition-eating plan. It is safe to say that it is hard to get bored with CrossFit but it is all too easy to get discouraged.
As a gym owner and coach, I often get the enjoyment in hearing from new members what their initial ?why? is. The most common answers I get for what they want out of their training is to be healthier, lose some weight, look and feel better.
So ask yourself before moving on in this article ? are you healthier? Can you run further or faster? Can you train longer at a higher intensity than on your first day at the box? See we do believe that goals should be updated but we often move right past these small victories without acknowledgement. Why do we do that to ourselves? It is simple ? our society, the world is way more comfortable talking about what we can?t do than celebrating what we can do. All you have to do is open up one of the bazillion social media outlets and look to your feed to see the world?s complaints. It is a no wonder we feel more comfortable discouraged than we do feeling a sense of empowerment. Our negative self-talk is a parasite ? it is constantly playing the comparison game with what you ?still? can?t do.
Everyone is on his or her own journey in the gym but I want to discuss the individuals that I have come to call ?life enthusiasts?.
Life enthusiasts have traits and habits that are different from others. They come in with a humble approach to getting better each and every day and place themselves in a positive mindset inside and outside the gym. It?s the mindset of these individuals that set them apart and allows them to see the most progress. They have a quiet confidence about them because they design their life around well roundedness, taking the pressure off them to ?prove? themselves in one metcon or max out attempt. Life enthusiasts are the ones who keep their complaints and excuses at a minimum. They don?t announce to the entire gym that they tore a fingernail and that is why they are struggling with x movement today. No, this group is kind to themselves ? they exercise positive self-talk in their mind. How do I know this? It is because they spit out positive talk around others. If your mind and self-talk is negative to yourself then your phrases will also be negative in public showing up as excuses, or being overly boastful, to cutting range of motion to put up a good score or even cutting reps in a workout.
The life enthusiast groups are well rounded. They value health and fitness and looking and feeling good BUT they have that attitude in every aspect of their life. They enthusiastically live life inside and outside the gym not feeling the need to prove himself or herself to anyone on any given day. They do not look over their shoulder wondering what weight the guy or gal next to them is doing. They are on their own path and they are at peace with a good day and a bad day in the gym understanding that one-day doesn?t make or break you.
The life enthusiasts are active ? they can be found playing. Just like when they were kids at recess or after school they play and enjoy recreational activities. ?They can be found running 5K?s, playing golf, racquetball, basketball, slow pitch softball, rock climbing, road biking, etc. They use the gym and their workouts to enjoy their recreational activities more and that is where their happiness comes from. With happiness comes more motivation for the upcoming week of WOD?s.
CrossFit is ridiculously competitive and with each passing year the talent in the gym continues to improve with young talented athletes joining up to get into CrossFit. Should the goal be to be ?GREAT? at CrossFit? For some that may make sense because their life, athletic potential, time commitment, etc. allows for hours in the gym working on their weaknesses. For MOST this goal will only leave you discouraged and losing your perspective on why you train. For most our goal should be to be GREAT AT LIFE.
Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed ? if you aren?t having fun then why are you doing it? I love having fun in the gym ? I have fun when I?m not trying to prove myself. I have fun when I enjoy the people, the coaching, and the progress I see from consistent dedication & patience. If I am not working on a weakness then I?m not surprised when it doesn?t get better. An example of my WHY coming out recently was at the driving range ? I hit a golf ball further than I ever had showing me a glimpse of some potential if I apply myself to the game. In that moment I thought man I am STRONG look at that ball fly and I was thankful for the gym and for CrossFit. Later that day I came up against big weakness in the workout ? I didn?t lose my mind I just worked through it the best of my ability and remembered the enjoyment I had earlier that morning hitting the golf ball a long long way. ?So ? what?s your WHY? Ask yourself that and make sure you are enjoying your why often otherwise the world of CrossFit can get discouraging.
For everyone who experienced the CrossFit Open this year ? ask yourself if you are glad you did it? You are! You know why ? because you showed yourself you are capable of much more than that negative self-talk gives you credit for. Go out and get yourself in more of those environments that allow you to enjoy the work you are putting in the gym and keep proving your negative self talk wrong by living an active and prosperous life that is more fun thanks to your CrossFit workouts.
Are you the athlete that sits at home the night before, gets antsy and fidgety or even sets an alarm on their phone for 5 pm when the WOD for the next day is posted, then after reading decides if they want to come to class or not? Do you cherry pick your WOD?s based on the movements for the next day?…..we should stop posting the WOD ;)??? Think about the kind of athlete you are (yes you are an athlete whether you lift a PVC pipe or 1,000 lbs consider yourself an athlete) Now, are you an athlete that comes 5-6x/week, 3-5x/week or 2x/week or less?
Ask yourself what you?re goals are. Why do you CrossFit? The community you have found, your weightloss goals, your strength or performance goals, is it something that gets you out of the house for at least an hour and helps you keep your sanity amongst chaos? Now with the goals you have, are your workout criteria meeting those goals? If your goal is weightloss, and you come 1x/week, is what you want and what you?re doing on the same page? Obviously not. Same can be said about strength or performance goals. If your current routine does not meet what your goals are, maybe it?s time to talk to a coach for help! We?re here to offer assistance any way we can and we have numerous resources to do so. Don?t be afraid, life happens, CrossFit is meant to prepare you for the physical tests you face in life, coaches will help you overcome the other obstacles you face in life. Take advantage of it!
Now for the breakdown. Go back to the kind of athlete you are, how many times/week do you get a workout in? If this is 2x/week or less, every single workout you should be going hard and heavy and getting as much out of this environment as you can. That?s it, no if?s and?s or but?s because you only get the coaches, other athletes, equipment and the competitive mindset and programming for 1-2x/week so you need to soak it all up!?
If you are the 3-5x/week athlete, choose 1 day as an ?active recovery? day. This is the day that you don?t take completely off, but you don?t lift any barbells either, still get a good workout in but on a lighter scale and mix it in with mobility. This is still done in the box, communicated to the coach beforehand saying ?Hey, this is my active recovery day, I?d like to get some good mobility and soft tissue work done as well as the METCON? and watch how well your body recovers and how much more mobile you get.
If you are the 5-6x/week athlete, three things are said for you. First, make sure you take one day in the box as a lighter day. Meaning if you are consistently someone who Rx?s the WOD?s, take a day in level 3 or so to make sure you don?t completely tear your body down and can?t recover. Second, make sure you have an active recovery day/mobility day as well. Don?t take mobility for granted! Doing a lift ?sort of well because something doesn?t quite move right? is not the right mind-set to have. Take advantage of the tools and resources around you, use an active recovery/mobility day and we bet you see better improvements on PR?s. And last make sure you take a day completely off. This doesn?t mean go for a ?light? 3-5 mile run (or more), a 20 mile bike ride, or a ?leisurely? hike, this means off, completely off. Rest for goodness sakes! Your body needs to recover. If it?s been a while since a PR, ask yourself if you take any days off, do you do the necessary mobility, if you can honestly and whole heartedly say yes to both and still no improvements then it?s time to talk to a coach 😉
Whatever kind of athlete you are, we?re glad you?re our athlete 🙂 Keep working hard, keep asking questions, keep getting educated and keep pushing yourself to find new limits.
As always?.Happy WOD-ing!