Every journey in CrossFit is unique to the individual, starting points can be very different, maybe you joined already able to do pull ups, heavy back squats and all the olympic lifts, others start heavily over weight just trying to establish some healthier habits to live by. The starting point is irrelevant, the point is, you start.
And although each journey and experience is unique, as a coach we are able to see patterns to the madness that each person will sooner or later follow. This is how to continue making progress in CrossFit.
This is where you taste the ‘cool-ade.’ Group training is a primary pillar of CrossFit and one that makes it truly special. This is what creates the intensity, the passion and the friends that will help you become the fittest you’ve ever been in your entire life. Every workout is ‘THE BEST’ workout and your coach is ‘THE BEST’ coach as progress is often and injuries don’t exsist. Some stay with the group for years, listening to coaches and implementing change through the principals set out in the group classes. Progress is fast to begin with, some can even find progress everyday for years by simply attending a 1 hour class per day but at some point progress will slow down, you could run into injury and change may be needed.
SCALING AND NUTRITION
Scaling and nutrition are often two of the things missing when progress slows or injuries occur. These components are more essential to your progress more so than the type of OR duration of your training days. Basically, it doesn’t matter if you’re doing CrossFit, weightlifting, zumba or yoga, you need to understand how to drive intensity through scaling workouts both up and down as well as introduce real nutritional habits that tackle deep health factors. Learning how to eat for you body and activity level is essential to athletic development and is by far the first thing you should pursue before thinking of adding more exercise to your schedule. Scaling workouts to suit your goals is also a skill, one your coach should be able to help you with right away during your group CrossFit classes. Wanting to lift the heavier weights and put on some lean muscle mass? Your coach can help you prioritise the weightlifting domain in workouts to suit this goal simply by adapting workouts so they emphasise strength adaptations and limit others. You’ll be asked to eat a little more, feel a little more ‘sluggish’ all for the greater good of your goal. If you’re constantly wishing to better at the gymnastic side of things, your coach may simply ask you about your eating habits and lifestyle before CrossFit. No matter what the goal is, after a year of CrossFit classes, you should seek improvement.
ONE OF MY CLIENTS
One of my clients has been with me for 3 years only attending the group sessions. Since joining he/she has actually put on weight which was something we set out to do. With an extensive background in running and hitting high carb and low fat diets, my client was severely underweight, lacked strength, flexibility and had poor postural awareness. Now sitting at their ideal bodyweight, he/she has equal and huge amounts of capacity in their fitness. They can do pull ups, clean their body weight, perform handstands and handstand push ups, they are injury free and have also revamped how they eat. This three year journey is what every coach dreams of, this is fantastic progress. But three years on, lot’s of progress made, progress and PB’s are becoming a little more difficult to acquire.
This is the time we introduce skill or specific work. Group training is fantastic, it is the only thing that brings real intensity. But at some point, in order to continue the athletic development of a client they must transition to 1-2-1, skill or specific training that is aimed directly at them as an individual targeting specific areas of their fitness. With my client, we will be replacing two group sessions per week with two one to one sessions per week aimed at developing more complex skills that don’t have their place in the group setting. Through this short term transition we will slowly decrease intensity, increase complexity to then transition back into the group so they can then build even more capacity across now an array of skills that they didn’t have before.
PERSONAL TRAINING OR PROGRAMMING
PT is the most effective, programming is the most cost effective. Programmes are only as good as the person reading and implementing it, it doesn’t matter who wrote it. It doesn’t matter how good I think my programme is, the only way it can deliver results to the greatest breadth and depth is by having me interpret the workouts to you and translate them in a way that you not only understand but then have the tools sand confidence to implement. What I mean by that is if I write a workout up of 21-15-9 Pull ups and thrusters at 42kg and you say cool but finish in 9 minutes, you have the confidence to give this a go because you want a great workout but lack the tools to recognise intended stimulus and adaptations to fitness. If I have another client on that same programme who comes in at 4 minutes and two seconds telling me that was the worst workout they’ve ever done it is clear to see this workout has been interpreted differently across my two clients. Having a coach with you is essential, effective and in my opinion worth every penny. I started one to one with a coach when I started CrossFit, I joined in on group classes after two months of one to ones. I never found my progress came to a halt and I strongly believe it was because I had a coach first and workout friends second.
BACK TO GROUP
You’ve spent weeks working on muscle ups, you’ve nailed handstand push ups, you can back squat two times your bodyweight, you can run 5k in under 22 minutes, what next?
Back to the group. Working on specific things is great, you develop everything you set out too. But what about all the things you left behind. Once you can do muscle ups you need to find out if you can do them after performing 10 hang cleans at 60kilos. See if you can take those skills and use them in workout, it’s like turning up to a race in a fresh new pair of trainers. You know you look good and feel good but how will they hold up during the race?
This is what our client lifecycle looks like, their is no end goal with CrossFit, there is always a next level, an improvement to be made and PB within sight. Enjoy the process, change up your sessions, invest in a coach, go off plan, work on your nutrition, never stop wanting to learn.