For some people, just getting to the gym is the toughest part of staying fit. I agree, getting into the gym is tough, but it’s just the beginning! Once you get through the door, there’s a wide range of things that you must do to reach your fitness goals. One of the main things is to understand the process and your role in it.
To begin, think about your goal. Do you want to be a competitive crossfitter? Or do you enjoy using functional movements as your source of fitness? The process for each is slightly different, but the basic format is the same.
The first step in understanding the process is to accept your true physical capability. For instance, if your goal is to become a scuba diver, you would determine whether or not your body could physically endure the swim. This means you have to accept your true physical state and be willing to work with whatever condition you are in. You can’t expect to move weight or execute gymnastics movements like the elite athletes in the Games after a month of training, if you have been living a sedentary lifestyle for years. These athletes know their physical capabilities and have tuned their bodies to reach that potential.
Using the scuba diving example, your next step in the process would be to learn about what it takes to be a scuba diver aside from your physical standing. What equipment will you be using? What are the dangers? How will you learn all the “ins and outs”? This is where a good diving course and a certified instructor who understands the process, come into play; similar to a good box and CrossFit coaching. Just being able to do the workout movement isn’t enough. Understanding the effect of certain movements and being led through technique drills are just a few things that you’ll need to understand in the process.
The process also involves, but is not limited to the following:
Base of strength – In order to excel and progress at certain movements, you need to have a basic level of strength to perform the movement according to the proper points of performance. This means being able to do an air squat with sound technique, before attempting a heavy overhead squat.
Mobility – Keeping our bodies healthy is just part of the process. We put some stress on our joints and many other parts of our bodies. Doing mobility exercises on the regular keeps our bodies primed, ready for physical activity and weightlifting and even prevents injury.
Foundational and basic movements – As many of us get better in fitness, we focus on the more advanced barbell and gymnastics movements and neglect the basis of our training. CrossFit has nine foundational movements that should be should still be a part of your regimen in some way, shape or form. For instance, when was the last time you did an air squat and strictly focused on form? Or did a single-under consecutively for a minute? Master these basic movements or even practice them as a part of the process.
Training volume – Get an idea about how much volume you have in training. This is in regards to how many reps you are performing, how much load (weight) you are moving or even how long a session is. Too much volume can stress your neuromuscular system and actually stunt your work out progression. You don’t’ have to perform all the extra work that is prescribed, especially if you are not used to all the work. Realize that what might be good for others, may not be right for you.
Rest/recovery – You know your body better than anyone else. When you’re feeling tired or worn out… REST! Most work out programs will have scheduled rest or recovery days. Take advantage of them! Remember, rest means to not do anything in the fitness realm and recovery can mean doing light physical activity with minimal stress to your physical and mental fitness.
The main takeaway from all this is to know that there is a defined process for any goal you have in CrossFit. Don’t be misled by the scores or times on the gyms’ leaderboard. Don’t try to emulate the 2-time CF Games champ if you’ve been only doing CF for a month. Go through the process and accept your role. It will be a long, arduous road for most of us, but the benefits are unmatched.
Stay on the Grind, Team Manta Ray and remember that Ability is Limitless