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November 15, 2012

10 Ways to Improve at CrossFit

Courtesy of CrossFit Leander1. Leave Your Expectations At The DoorThis is not P90X, Yoga or Zumba. This is Crossfit. The path we take to reach physical excellence is unlike the aforementioned activities and expecting otherwise based on past experiences will only serve as an obstacle in your Crossfit journey. Having expectations automatically attaches you to an outcome and if the outcome doesn’t come to fruition, you’ll set yourself up for disappointment. Allow yourself to be open to new ideas, new techniques, new outcomes and various ways of getting there, because Crossfit is anything but conventional.2. Relinquish All MythsWhen we were kids, we got away with the wildest explanations of why things are the way they are, and when people (namely other children) would ask how we knew, we would matter-of-factly reply, “Because my Mom said so.” Well your mother, bless her heart, was told these things by someone else, who was also told these things by someone else. Are you starting to see the pattern? The point I’m trying to make is that you can’t replace facts and data with what you heard from someone else. There are a TON of misconceptions about Crossfit and fitness in general, and the only way to help set the record straight is by doing your own research & encouraging others to do the same. Be an advocate for knowledge.3. Keep It PositivePart of why Crossfit is so appealing is because of the positive, can-do environment. I like to refer to it as the powerful platform of unlimited potential. When we’re struggling with thoughts of self-defeat during a WOD, there’s always someone there to tell us we can do it. This camaraderie can taper off over time if you’re not conscious about the topics you choose to discuss before and after class. So keep it positive. We’re not there to gossip or complain or vent, we’re there to move past all of that.4. Listen, Listen, ListenJust like reading an entire instruction manual, there are several benefits to listening to the coach. You may not understand it all in the beginning (“a burpeewhat?!”), but as you continue to listen (and watch), things will start to make sense. You begin as a sponge and it’s in your advantage to soak up all the knowledge and benefits that are constantly being shared if you pay attention. If you’re genuinely interested, people sense that and will seek to help you out.5. Remember To BreatheThat’s like telling you to remember to close your eyes before you fall asleep. Duh? It seems so basic, but you’d be surprised at how often we forget to breathe during a warm up and a WOD. I speak from many months of migraines. Just breathe.6. Staring Is CaringShyness is incapable of surviving in a Crossfit environment, so don’t be afraid to stare. More importantly, don’t feel uncomfortable if someone is staring at you. When we stare at someone in Crossfit, it’s usually because we’re admiring their form and / or technique and trying to file it away in the mind’s rolodex for future reference. You can learn a lot by watching.7. Quality Over Quantity, Always!Numbers are a great tool because they represent a goal that we’re all striving to achieve. But it’s important to remember that they’re exactly that: just a tool. Numbers don’t matter if you sacrifice the quality of your form. This not only puts you at risk for injury but it is counter-productive to the strength you’re intending to build. You’ll earn more respect coming up 10 squats short at the end of a WOD because your rock star form slowed you down, then half-assing them just to make time.8. Be Someone’s CheerleaderSo you’ve finished your WOD and you’re torn between laying on the ground panting in exhaustion, socializing with fellow finishers or rooting on some of your team mates who are really, really close to finishing their WOD. If you can muster up the energy to push through the tail end of a WOD, then you can muster up the energy for one more minute to whip out your proverbial pom-poms. If you’re genuinely interested, people sense that and will seek to help you out. And when the time comes when you find yourself stuck on a WOD when everyone else is finished, you’ll be amazed at how many of them will step up to the plate to cheer for you. Pay it forward9. Keep Going To Crossfit, Even When It HurtsMuch like dogs, when we’re injured, we tend to “den” (find a safe and secure place, often our homes) until we feel better. The problem with this in regards to Crossfit is that sometimes what we think will take days to heal, can actually be relieved within one hour or less of guided mobility. When I had lower back issues, I was shown a technique on a foam roller to relieve the pain and it went away almost immediately. Sometimes we also discover that it’s not an injury at all, just a pull or soreness. And often times, that soreness becomes irrelevant within the first few rounds of a warm up. So no matter what kind of discomfort you’re feeling, keep showing up for Crossfit and let your coach know right away so he or she can evaluate what’s needed to make you feel better.10. Make Peace With “Last Place”It’s just a figment of your imagination. The only person you’re truly competing against is yourself and it’s important to remember that to get where you’re supposed to be going, you have to start somewhere. Without dark, we cannot know light. Contrast is a beautiful thing. Enjoy the journey.

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