The sport of CrossFit, which is COMPLETELY different from CrossFit as a fitness modality creates many challenges for both aspiring athletes and affiliate owners. It’s time to unpack some misconceptions and lay the foundation for success.
Succeeding at high level CrossFit competitions requires the exact same commitment as any professional sport. Training once a day is superb for general physical preparedness and you will be fitter than 98% of the world’s population, but that won’t take you to the podium in local comps and onward to The CrossFit Games.
The longer you attend classes at a CrossFit Box the better you get at the varied movements found in CrossFit, that encourages you to enter a local competition. You will find yourself training a little harder for the upcoming event either alone or with team mates. You will do okay in your competition BUT the experience will often leave you wanting more, making you believe that you need to do more to be better.
Misconception #1: More is always better!
More sessions in a day, more load, more muscle ups, more feet of handstand walks, more reps if performed in a chaotic manner, can lead to adrenal fatigue, injury and loss of joy for the thing you love – CrossFit. You may also start to question the box class programming and think you need to go online and get a “Competitor Program”…surely that will make you a Titan of Fitness!
Misconception #2: The magic is somewhere other than right in front of you!
CrossFit competitions are basically fitness races – you’re exercising for time, and you need people to race against and to push/challenge you.
Unlike in class, where you have an abundance of training partners, most times if you’re on a competitors program, you are training alone. In addition to having training partners who support and motivate you, classes offer constant feedback from coaches, who ensure you are performing movements correctly, safely and efficiently. When you train alone during open gym time, you miss out on those elements, which are critical to growth and longevity in the sport.
Misconception #3: You don’t need to learn how to walk if you can run
Even though we all want to be able to do the “sexy” movements like muscle ups and handstand walks, doing more of these won’t necessarily make you better at them (obviously it will help, but allow me to digress). For example, can you perform 5 PERFECT wall walks every minute on the minute for 5 – 10 minutes? Can you bang out 10 – 15 strict pull ups and 15 strict ring dips every minute on the minute? Can you hollow and arch rock perfectly for 2 minutes without breaking? Can you hold an L-sit on parallettes for 1 minute without stopping?
Above are examples of BASIC things that need to be mastered before we place the physical demands of higher skill movements on our bodies. If we can’t perform the basic/fundamental gymnastics positions/movements in a static setting, how can we hope to attack 30 muscle ups for time – in big chunks and finish in under 3 minutes (a very competitive time!)?
Misconception #4: If you avoid your weaknesses long enough, they will disappear
Once you can identify areas of weakness, devise a plan and dedicate 10 minutes before or after class to improving them! Bear in mind that you do not need to melt yourself every session. Deliberate practice – while not totally gassed just trying to get through a WOD – is the key to improving weaknesses. Additionally, pay attention to when your weaknesses appear in classes – warmups, skill work, metcons etc. – and make sure to attend those days and give the session your best effort.
Misconception #5: You can outwork a bad diet
Your coaches can help with ideas, but the path to Competition Glory has to be walked by YOU! The truth is, you can’t achieve anything if your nutrition game is not on point. Austin Malleolo said at the Competitor’s Course: “…there can be NO mistakes with nutrition!”. So if you still want the cake, the sneaky pint, the BBQ platter you need to think loooooooooooong and hard about what level you want to try compete at, and ask yourself if you can truly COMMIT to the highest level.
In the end, it is up to YOU. Do you want to get some fitness in and enter local comps for fun? Or do you have higher level aspirations? Whatever path you choose to take, just make sure you’re having FUN, because it’s the fun that will pull you through the hard times and allow you to grind.
See you at the box!
- Coach Dave