Exercise you love is exercise you will do. Period. I was a member of a CrossFit gym (just can’t bring myself to say box) for almost two years, attended and obtained my Level 1 Certification, where I was instructed by the oh so fabulous Christmas Abbott, and even have written posts about why I love CrossFit. So, to get this out of the way this is not a CrossFit bashing post but a PSA, if you will, on how to reconsider how you CrossFit.
Take some responsibility and scale your workouts like it is your freaking job.
Be super conscious of your weight selection. Some workouts are meant to use heavier weight and some are meant to use lighter weight. A workout may call for a women to do 65 lb thrusters and you may think “Yes, I can totally do that weight!” But if the workout is meant to be a “lighter” workout that you should try to fly through, and you struggle to do just a few 65 lb thrusters, you need to adjust your weight according. Heavier is not always better.
Also check yourself if your form is sloppy. If your hand release push ups start to look like a sad version of upward facing dog in yoga, drop down to your knees. If you kipping pull up is sloppy in “Angie” then please choose a band or do a jumping pull ups, and if your shoulder is jacked just skip the sumo deadlift to high pull all together. Have no shame in opting out or choosing different exercises.
Which leads me to my next point.
Just say no.
I attended my first CF class after a two year break recently, and I might as well have just said “Hi, my name is Adele and I refuse to do kipping pull ups.” I didn’t introduce myself that way but I did say I do not do kipping pull ups. If your kip is on point and you have had no issues, do your thing, but if you struggle or your form is sloppy just say no. Like I said above, choose a difference variation. Work on that exercise outside of the WOD to be able to implement it in to your WOD.
I will also say no to workouts all together that just plain suck. There is no need for me to attempt to snatch a barbell over my head 90 times at progressingly increasing weights. Olympic lifts are SUCH technical movements that people spend YEARS developing. I would suggest spending more time working on your Olympic lift technique than repping out high numbers.
Don’t let others peer pressure you into going hard all the time.
I get the benefits of working out in a CrossFit community, even working out with other people in any sense. It does push us to work harder and do more than we normally might do by ourselves and this is why I am a huge fan of CrossFit, personal training, accountability partners etc. It’s the best feeling when you just did what you did not believe you could because of the person or people next to you.
BUT you know your body best and pushing harder and doing more does not always result in a greater outcome. Take a quick scan of how your body feels that day. Are you fueled? Are you fighting a flu bug? Are you sleep deprived? These components play a huge factor in how you will perform. And on those days you want to show up but just do not have it, take it easy. If it does not catch up to you today, it will tomorrow.
Focus on rest and recovery as much as your workouts.
One of the biggest trends I see, is not an extreme injury that keeps people out for months, it is the go hard for three weeks, then go home for two weeks pattern. I know this from first hand experience. I would get 4 workouts in for a few weeks and then have to take a few weeks off from exhaustion, an aggravated shoulder, or soreness so extreme that I was in no shape to be working out. Gotta love your first workout with full rope climbs.
The 3 days on, 1 day off motto of CrossFit is just too much for some, and if that is you ( it sure is me) be ok with it. Just know the harder you push in your workouts the more you will need to rest and recover to come back in full form. The hard thing about this is it tends to catch up with us a couple weeks after we over do it. To keep your routine and motivation more consistent, schedule in rest days, pay attention to your body, and view recovery as the key to getting stronger, not just your workouts.
Rest is your friend and should be treated with respect in each and every workout and in each and every week.
Stop with the strict challenges already.
Ok please stop with the strict challenges, committing to 5 days a week of training while minimizing your food intake to way less than you expend. When you workout MORE and eat LESS, you are setting yourself up for perfect scenario to shoot your hunger and cravings through the roof and drop your energy levels to the ground. Even if you make it through the challenge you will not be able to sustain this kind of training and eating and you will jack up your hormones and your metabolism. If you are choosing to workout more, then please eat more to show your body some love and give it some support, for all the hard work it is giving you.
Results are ones that last, not come and go. Ask yourself if you can eat like that forever? If yes, keep at it. If no, remember that you do not have to be super strict to sustain results. I want a diet that includes chocolate, an occasional adult beverage and indulging in rich food when I feel like it. Why? Because I plan on doing those things forever.
Focus on the big picture.
Always keep in mind the prescribed weight CrossFit sets for men and women based on the most ELITE athletes in the world. Just as you don’t expect yourself to have the same training ability and skills as Lebron James do not expect yourself to have the same training ability and skills as Rich Froning.
Some of these points may be way obvious or some may be a fresh perspective but I want to encourage you to start thinking outside the box and take the structure that CrossFit gives you and adapt it to make it your own.