We love CrossFit. It prepares us for anything and everything plus trains our bodies to be in top physical form. We love the competitive atmosphere and the community of friends and family who push us and keep us accountable. It’s where we bust our ass, get our asses handed to us, and we keep coming back for more. One hour in the gym, throw around some heavy weight, break a sweat, and we are good for the day. Some of us even enjoy competing within CrossFit where we see how we stack up against other athletes. So a question for you is are you going to the gym, or are you training for a goal?
Okay, lets look at your goals. What do you want to accomplish? Do you want to get in shape? Build muscle? Lose fat? Do an 800# back squat? Or do you want to get to the CrossFit Regionals? Do you want to win a cash prize at a local competition? Win your state’s Highland Games? You need to identify what your goals are and depending what they are, train to accomplish them.
CrossFit for Fun
If you want to just get in shape or lose fat doing CrossFit a few times a week and focusing on your nutrition are more than enough to knock those goals out. 99% of the CrossFit community is right here. Yes ONLY 99%. You may be the box badass, but let me tell you. Rich Froning trains more than you. Every single one of the Games and Regionals athletes trains more than you. Your coaches who have less time than anyone at the box probably train more than you. So what are you training for and how often are you training? Now increased training volume is not something to just jump into, but more on that in a second. What about the other goals?
If your goal is to get a serious lift you need to do that lift. And CrossFit is probably not your best option as it’s constantly varied. CrossFit on your off season is good if you want to stay lean, but to just work on a lift or two it’s not really ideal. They say with food, “You are what you eat” so in this case, you are what you lift. You need to knock out that lift, often. Train supplemental movements for that lift and no matter what the lift is, squat. Record the lift. Analyze the lift. Watch others do the lift. Oh, and do the lift with a coach who knows about the lift. It can be remotely or in their presence, but you must do the lift with a coach. Not your friend, a real coach. They’re a coach for a reason, they know more than you, and can see things you can’t. That coach needs to write your programming too. At the very least a few days of it per week depending on what they are coaching you on.
Now, you want to compete. Hell yeah! Go get some! You go do your box’s daily WOD and Competition class. Maybe hit a few podcasts and Open gyms when you see something cool on Instagram. Good for you! But are you doing supplemental work? Are you doing the supplemental work you NEED to be doing? Do you have a program? Are you writing you own and do you even know how to program? (I mean really program) Your “average” Regionals athlete train 3-5 hours a day on training days. Your Games competitors train for 8-10 hours a day. * It’s a full time job to do this and you don’t just suddenly start doing 4 hours a day of CrossFit training. (You don’t just load the bar with your 1 Rep Max and start working do you?) Your body would be toast in less than a week and injury is highly probable.
So you want to compete, but now what are you training for? Is it risky? Can you fail? Is it tough and uncomfortable? If you have a goal, and your training program isn’t always the fancy “sexy” movements that requires multiple hours in the gym daily. It’s a good start. If it requires work, effort, and is unpleasant at times you are most likely training to compete. Putting in the work is tough! As a former professional musician I used to hate practicing techniques, scales, and patterns, but I knew if I didn’t I would never have be able to perform at the level I needed to so I could get the gig and get paid. Put in the work, work the technique, and get the gig.
Now (again), who are you being coached by? Yes, who’s your coach? Not your WOD partner, your coach. No matter how “amazing” you are, you need a coach. Every Regionals/Games level athlete has one (or more) coaches helping them progress to the next level. Not only do you need a coach, but are you a coachable athlete? Can you accept criticism that you do things badly or incorrect and could be doing them better? Are you willing to trust a coach and not just do your own thing cause you don’t feel like it? Are you willing to put in the work and effort that isn’t always fun to accomplish what you want?
You may be super strong and can pull a 100kg snatch that’s sinfully ugly, but what if you cleaned up your technique and worked the “unsexy” stuff for three months? You really dive into the technique behind the lift and the flow of it. You may never attempt another 1 rep max for that time period; however, you may pull an 110kg snatch much easier and with much better technique. So the potential is there to lift even more with more work and refinement.
So do you CrossFit? Or do you train? Do you work on your weaknesses with a program designed by someone who’s ruthless to your needs and failings? Who’s your coach? What are you goals? Do you put in the time to mobilize? Do you have rest days? How’s your nutrition? Think about these questions if you’re thinking about starting on this journey if you truly want to compete or to determine if you’re just having fun exercising.
“Find your weaknesses, make friends with them, then beat them to death!”
*These are approximate numbers from discussions with Regionals, Games, and various competitive CrossFit athletes