For over 4 years, Crossfit has been the foundation of my fitness regimen. Throughout those years, I’ve have learned a ton of lessons and I wanted to share a few.
Nutrition Matters! – You have heard it before: “You can’t out exercise a bad diet”. Whether you are chasing performance or looking to lose/gain weight, success will always come back to diet. Are you eating well? Drinking plenty of water? Having a well balanced diet of good proteins, carbohydrates, and fats is crucial to any fitness goal(including living life!). During my CF career I have been a vegetarian, zoned, started eating meat, gone paleo, zoned paleo. One constant thing I found with my ever-evolving diet was that the more balanced I ate, the better I felt, looked, and performed at the gym. If you have been stuck at the same bodyweight, the same number of rounds in "Cindy," or same deadlift number – take a look at your diet. A great diet will return great results in the gym.
Rest Days Matter, too! – “Listen to your body, not your ego” – I should have this tattooed on my forehead. Rest days are a must! CrossFit is an INTENSE way of working out. The body needs time to rest and recovery in order to continue working at such a high intensity. During my early years, I loathed rest days. I would come in 6 days a week, several hours at a time: hitting multiple wods, running, working on skills. For a while, I saw a ton of PRs. I then hit a plateau. I couldn’t move past any of my numbers at the gym, I wasn’t sleeping well, and my body felt beat up all the time. My body was screaming for rest! Fast forward to today and I generally take 2 rest days now and my body thanks me for it. Incorporate rest days into your workout schedule – however that schedule works best for you. You may not immediately love it but you will still be able to (and enjoy!) coming to the gym years from now.
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable – Sometimes you are going to finish last, sometimes you aren’t going to be the strongest, sometimes you are just going to have a bad day. This is a tough lesson learned with CrossFit. Although we say “check your ego at the door”, we are all still human. It is often scary to think you could be the last one on the pull-up bar, at the bar, or on the floor trying to nail double-unders(eh-hem – Me at sectionals in 2010). When things are scary, IT IS UNCOMFORTABLE. There really is no way around it except to get comfortable with it.
CrossFit for you – Why do you CrossFit? How many times have we asked and answered this question? To look good naked, to get on the leaderboard, to get a pullup? This is probably the most important lesson learned. Crossfit has to be about you, for you, and what you want. Ask yourself why you crossfit: weekly, monthly, yearly. As time goes on, answers may change and that’s ok as long as it is what motivates you to get into the box regularly.