Feel like you’ve hit a brick wall in your training progress? Fear not! Here are some effective ways of breaking new ground.
CrossFit is a tricky beast at times, but that’s why so many of us stick at it; always a new skill to learn or improve upon, a new time to beat or a new load to lift. It’s the very variety of the programming that keeps us coming back for more. Each day brings a new combination of movements, a new time zone to work within and a new experience for your body and mind.
Constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement.These are the 3 reasons why our programming works so well for so many of us. Even the fittest and strongest among us are still breaking new ground in their fitness. So why do we sometimes feel that things have ground to a halt? We start to notice that our workout times are not decreasing, or we aren’t getting stronger on our lifts……..and don’t even mention gymnastics or kipping pull ups!
There are many reasons why you might feel stuck in a rut and feeling lost in the gym. A big part of the satisfaction and fun we gain from CrossFit is the progress that it is possible to be making on a weekly basis. Below are some suggestions that, based on my experience as head coach and owner of CrossFit TEF, will be very effective at getting you out of a rut. Try one or two and track small wins over the next couple of months.
Constantly vary your training times if possible
While the programming we provide is constantly varied, many of us have organised our schedules so that we attend the same classes at the same time and day every week.
Doing so over a long period creates routine and routine means our bodies and minds adapt to and expect the same experience each week. We can feel we are putting in effort each time, but without realising, we have gotten comfortable training at the same time, with roughly the same energy levels every week.
If you are in a rut, try mixing up your times a little and visit some of the other classes. You’ll also be very likely to train with a wider range of people too, some of whom will be way above your level and some you may be able to encourage yourself!
Here at CrossFit TEF we aim to help you develop a broad and functional physical fitness. This means that we include as many physical movements as possible within the programming. Life being what it is, you’re going to love some stuff and you’re going to think some things just plain SUCK!
Have an honest, quiet moment of reflection and make a little list of those exercises you would rather not see appearing in the WOD. Ask yourself if you’ve avoided training recently because you don’t particularly like burpees or thrusters, or you would rather use your legs for squatting than running 400s………
Remember, training your weaknesses will not only improve your weaknesses, but it will significantly enhance your strengths. Try it – mix up your classes a bit and don’t avoid those horrid looking sessions. Your fitness will start improving again.
Work at High Intensity
Intensity will light a fire cracker under you. Feeling out of breath. Feeling fatigued. Feeling like you don’t know if you can make another rep let alone another round. Going to that place where you finish the WOD – and take a seat – not being able to speak for a bit. Experiencing all of this and yet still staying in that zone where you can just about go on with good form. The people who make constant progress are the ones who go to this place most classes.
Intensity is the SINGLE element needed to encourage adaptation. Without it, our physical fitness; our ability to produce work efficiently under stress, will not develop.
You know the place I’m talking about. You’ll know if you have been there after a workout.
There are signs and we all know them. Are you going there most of the time? If not, start taking that trip. If you aren’t sure what it really should feel like then talk to your coaches. They are here to help!
The level of intensity needed is relative to each of us. It depends on existing fitness, age, psychological and physical tolerances. Our job as a coaching team is to get you there within your own tolerances…working to where the wheels wobble a little but don’t fall off!
Develop the quality of your functional movements
The magic is in the movements! These big, full body movements we do are amplifications of everyday, natural movements; mainly driven from the big muscles of the hip and core.
Learning to move well is the bedrock of your training. Moving consistently, gracefully, with awareness of the movement, comes before intensity.
Sometimes, your progress can stall not because you aren’t working hard enough, but because you aren’t moving well enough. Take time to iron out the wrinkles in your overhead squat or your pull ups and watch how they start to speed up all by themselves just by being smoother! If you speed up from moving better, the intensity will increase all by itself too! See how that works?? you can get really fit without even noticing it!!! (that’s not actually true)
Remember, SALAD ISN’T FOOD!!! Well, it does have lots of nice nutrients in it for sure, but if you and I are going to do CrossFit then we need to fuel the fire and keep ourselves in good, dense and nutritious calories!
Have a look at what, when and how much you are eating and how that might correlate to your performance and progress in the workouts. If you are stalling, then making some changes to your eating can be FUNDAMENTALLY effective. After all, our bodies need food to actually BE, let alone do Fran!!!
Little changes go a long way and when you experience progress as a result, you often want to make more changes!
Get more sleep
Big one this. Sleep is nice, we like sleep, sleep rocks, sleep is all cuddly and pink…….or blue….or whatever, but just get some!!!
KEEP A TRAINING DIARY!!!!
If you don’t keep one, start one! Ask the coaches how to set one out if you don’t know.
I truly believe that those who do not have a record of what they have achieved will take much longer to improve. Having a diary, paper or app-based like SugarWOD (FREE for all TEF members), to keep records of all the major lifts and WOD times is not only helpful, it’s a statement of INTENT and BELIEF in your capacity to achieve more.
Writing something down makes it real. Write down your goals and then your achievements. Your achievements then point the way for new goals.