The law of individuality tells us we are all the same, but we are all different. We are all made of blood and tissue but how we approach things or respond is individual. Everyone will respond differently based on genetics, stress load, nutrition, and recovery. However, there are some general things that you can focus on to make things work to your advantage.
Basics work. However in most people’s eyes basics are boring. It is more fun to attempt to a muscle up rather then build the required strength of pulling the rings to your chest and working on deep dips. Attempting to do the thing you want to do (flailing away on the rings) feels like you are working towards the thing you want. That is emotional, not practical. Put in the boring work, get back to the basics.
We saw this thing happen in a great documentary, Rocky III. In Rocky III, Clubber Lang was a rising contender and wanted a shot at the title. Rocky was considering making that fight his last hurrah and wanted to go out in style. Much to the dismay of his trainer Mick, he set up training in a hotel ballroom. It was a circus, fans interrupting, glitz, glamour and totally distracting. What happened? He got is ass kicked by a hungry contender. His former rival Apollo Creed saw that he lost his edge. Apollo takes him back to basics, sweaty grimy gym full of hungry fighters, works on his footwork, his jab, his speed, and his defensive techniques. The lesson is to relentlessly pursue the basics through regular practice.
In fitness, basics are squat, lunge, step up, horizontal/vertical pulling, and horizontal/vertical pushing. All movements in CrossFit are a combination of these 7 basic/primal movements. The better and stronger you are in each of the primals, the better and more fit you will become. This might mean practicing them outside of class time.
Scaling seems to be a dirty word for some. There is intention with each workout based on energy systems, which is why we have the different levels. Each person should get a similar training effect by hitting the desired energy system. Sometimes to hit the right intention you may need to step back a level to reach the proper intensity. Even though you may be an overall blue, you may have some skill or strength deficiency that might keep you from reaching the right intensity.
For instance, with something like toes to bar, you might be able to do one or two. However, you may not be able to string them together, especially with higher reps above 5. Maybe it is better to scale to the hanging leg raise or hanging knee raises to push the intensity. And work on the lat strength and practice stringing them together outside of class time at open gym.
Practice patience with your fitness and skill development. Most results and skill building take time, patience, and effort. If you want a skill, be willing to put in the hard work to get it.
Don’t Take Warm Up for Granted
The warmup provides the best opportunity to get prepared for the work of the day. It primes your muscles with blood and preps your nervous system. It is also a good time to focus on moving well as there is no clock or time component. The warmup is an essential part of the workout. This is why it is important to be on time and complete the warmup with intention
It is also a great time for community and catching up with your tribe. However, do not let that get in the way of properly preparing for the day’s workout.
It does not have to be a complete overhaul. Look at your diet, have less then optimal foods snuck in to your daily eating? During 2020, there has been ample opportunity for this because we have spent more time working from home. Has one cocktail turned into 3-4 each night? Has there been stress baking? Do you find yourself snacking more regularly?
Proper fueling pays dividends when it comes to workouts. Take gymnastics movements for instance. Gymnastics is the ability to control your bodyweight through a range of motion or extended range of motion. Extra body weight can affect your ability to perform push-ups, dips or pull ups.
Provide your body with high quality nutrient dense foods. You will have the energy needed to fuel your workouts. Providing your body with low quality high calorie low nutrient density foods will leave you sluggish.
Realistically look at your nutrition. Do you need to tighten things up? Do you count macros/calories but don’t count certain things? This might be the cream in your coffee, to the bag of chips, to the 1lb of ice cream, to each handful of almonds, whatever it is.
Be honest and objective with yourself when it comes to your eating habits, and/or drinking habits. Understand that for any change to happen, a change needs to happen. Only you can make that change. Even 5-10% changes make a big impact to your health and your performance.
Comparison is the Thief of Joy
Performance and results are typically not a straight line. It is more like a roller coaster with ups and downs. It is easy to get discouraged by someone else’s performance or our own past performance. Trust the journey and enjoy the ride.
Realize that we all have different experiences and lives which affect us in the gym too. We do not train in a vacuum. Shoot to be the best you over time, which is why we say “Evolve to your strongest self” at CrossFit West Houston. It takes time. Look at the body of work, not an individual workout or lift.
Take the time to work on yourself, dial in your nutrition, warm up properly, master the movements, scale to improve, and judge yourself on your body of work. Be patient. Put in the hard-difficult work. Be proud of who you are and who you can become. Evolve to your strongest self.