It goes unsaid that we all want to have successful endeavors, including in work, home, family, hobbies, and in our workouts. How do you plan to have a successful meeting or day at work? For one, you may think positively. For example, going into a presentation, we want to feel confident so we might reflect on all the hard work put in. In addition to thinking positively, many times, we plan ahead. We decide beforehand what we want to focus on, such as our goals, and we tailor our day(s), life, eating habits, time, and so forth, in order to take steps to achieve those goals. Therefore, one of the key factors to having a successful endeavor, including a workout, is to plan ahead.
However, with Crossfit classes, athletes don’t have to plan their workout because everything from warm-up to cool down, is pre-programmed. This is one of the factors that some gym goers like about Crossfit, because they don’t have to sit down and spend time on what movements or exercises they will perform. However, if you have goals, and you should (see above), even if you’re not training for a competition. Many athletes have a general idea of what they want, for example: to be healthy, fit, “in shape,” lose weight, etc. but what does that mean? What does that look like? Feel like? How will you know if you’ve achieved “getting into shape”? How will you know if you’ve lost enough weight to be happy with yourself? Setting specific, clear, and realistic goals are vital to knowing where you’re going, why you’re doing this, and when you’ve made it!
Now, back to planning, lets look at your workout routine. If you’re part of the standard Crossfit classes and only perform the hour workout you may think it can be challenging to set goals since you may or may not know the strength or WOD (workout of the day) ahead of time. Not the case. One, you can always ask your box owner or coach about your specific goals, in fact, it’s ENCOURAGED! The more you tell people the more support you’ll receive. Your coach(es) can then guide and assist you with the planning including next steps toward achieving your goals.
On the other hand, some athletes like to come early or stay after class in order to get extra work in. If this is possible for you, take advantage. This is a great time to get more mobility, more extensive warm up, cool down, and mingle with other members. This is also a great time to try to get some work done on your specific goals.
Let’s review an example: Class ends and you had an awesome day – you PR’d your back squat and you have time to stay after class to work on some more skills. You weren’t planning on staying, but you decide right then and there that you’re going to and you want work on HSPU (hand stand push ups). In classes you’ve been doing pike push ups and wall walks, but have never tried a HSPU. So you get the ab mat and after several attempts of kicking up and lowering yourself to the ab mat you can’t figure out the kip to stand up. You continue to press up, but fall over, unsure of where you’re going wrong. As a result, you’re tired, your neck aches, and you go home disappointed.
Have you ever experienced a frustration similar to that one? We need to recognize it, understand where we went wrong, and change/avoid it for the future:
Again, the key to this is planning. If you might stay late or go to the gym early, think about what you want to focus on. From there, think about warming up and stretching those specific muscles and joints and think about what progressions and movements you should go through. Also, don’t forget to take pride in what you did accomplish! It’s important to focus on the good things you’ve done, but also to learn from your failure.
To learn movements, we must study and practice them. That includes reading, watching YouTube, and studying proficient athletes. To put this into perspective, use the following steps to guide you to a successful workout every time:
- -Decide exactly what you’re trying to accomplish
- -Understand your abilities and apply them to your goal
- -Do your research
- -Know the progressions
- -Write out the steps you will take to be successful (consult your coach about this so you can come up with a few week check-in/guide to follow)
- -Make sure you are fully warmed up and stretched for the movement
- -FOLLOW THROUGH (work your plan, revise it as needed, and don’t give up)
Understand the progressions, watch more experienced athletes, and talk to your coaches! Ask them about their successes, failures, and progressions. Often, they will tell you what they’ve gone through and save you time and aggravation.
Most of all, BE PATIENT. Dropping the bar or not completing want isn’t always a terrible thing. Learn and grow from it, and speak the wisdom of your experience when helping others.
For more check out this article.