Top Three Game-Changing CrossFit Things to Start Doing Today
When it comes to goals, there are generally two types of athletes at the gym: The competitive crew and those that scale workouts as needed just to sweat and have a good time.
The “scaling is cool” athletes want to lift, laugh and be healthy. The competitive athletes might be training for something like a local CrossFit competition or they’re seeking auxiliary training to achieve skills, build strength and “level up.”
Both groups are in the gym to be better than they were yesterday. That’s what makes the CrossFit gym community so amazing. And throughout people’s fitness journey, they may go back and forth between the two groups.
For anyone in either group who wants to get better, faster, there are three things you should start doing today:
Nutrition. Seriously… NUTRITION.
“You can’t out-exercise a bad diet.” We can’t emphasize this one enough. There’s a reason nutrition is the foundation of the CrossFit pyramid. Clean food is important to fuel your workouts, to help your body recover effectively and to hedge your bet against chronic diseases.
There are a million nutrition blogs out there but here are two quick pieces of advice to get you rolling:
- If you aren’t tracking your food and/or you don’t know what macros are, the day to change that is TODAY. We can’t make adjustments until we know exactly where we’re starting.
- If you’ve truly been putting in the work in the gym and nothing is changing, chances are nutrition is the culprit. It’s worth investing the time (and sometimes money) to find out.
STRENGTH Is The Key To All The Skills.
Sometimes, the reason people aren't achieving the thing you’re trying to is that they're simply not strong enough...yet. People often don’t want to hear it and that's absolutely understandable. Here’s an example from Monica, the owner of Together We Rise CrossFit in Indianapolis, IN:
From the day I started CrossFit, there was one skill I always wanted to get: Butterfly Pull-Ups. I’m not kidding when I tell you that day after day, week after week, month after month for years, I spent hopping up on the bar, flailing around and thinking that magically, today would be the day it just clicked and I would just crush those pull-ups.
Along the way, my coach Kiel would (very nicely) tell me the same thing over and over: "You don’t have the strength yet. First get strict pull-ups, then get kipping pull-ups. Once you develop that strength, the butterflies will come."
I didn’t want to hear it at all. So I just kept trying and flailing and frustrating myself. Finally, three years of flailing later, I was fed up and defeated.
"Fine," I grumbled. "What do I need to do?"
You guessed it: Strength training, strength training and (hey!) some more strength training. I had to check my ego, learn to get out of my comfort zone and find out that the human body is capable of some pretty amazing things.
Note that with an example like this one, it’s going to take some work outside of class but not like “quit your job” type of time. You'll find that it's amazing how consistency in strength training - even just a little extra accessory work - adds up over time.
The Shortcut To Injury Is Skipping Mobility.
There’s a key component to fitness that no one likes to talk about because it’s very boring. Remember that monotone professor you had for Political Science class? More boring than that.
Mobility is the thing that no one wants and everyone needs. Stretching is not glamorous. Working on mobility weaknesses is not fun. Foam rolling… kind of sucks. The Lacrosse ball really sucks. And honestly, the more you need it, the more it sucks. But it is so necessary.
Think of it as “pre-hab.” If you injure yourself, you need rehab work. If you want to prevent injury from happening, you better be doing your pre-hab.
Want to make it suck a lot less? Work on it a little bit each day. Never try to do a “mobility day” and commit to an hour of stretching and foam rolling. Why? BORING. Instead, take 5-10 minutes before or after class (or both!) to take inventory of your bod. What feels tight or uncomfortable? Or maybe just not right, like you might be verging on an injury? Also, do you know the difference between soreness and pain?
Pre-hab means being proactive with your body instead of waiting until something happens to do something about it.
TL;DR - Nutrition. Strength. Mobility.
If you're just starting your CrossFit journey, perfect. Use these three game-changers to progress faster. And if you've been at it for years, it's never too late to make strides faster, right?
As with anything, be realistic. If your diet is currently pizza and burgers, don’t expect it to go well if you make a change to strictly chicken and broccoli. Need help? Look for a nutrition coaching program like Healthy Steps Nutrition (HSN).
If you want to build strength, find a program with a realistic plan (like 30 minutes of extra work, twice a week). If you’re going to focus on mobility, start with five minutes a day, or check out GOWOD, where you can choose a range of 8 to 22 minutes per day.
3, 2, 1... GO.