CrossFit is a lot of fun and changes to how you feel and how your body feels happen fast. When you first start out, that progress is nearly immediate and changes in your skill level and even your body composition can be seen quickly. On day one, a back squat feels like a foreign movement, but the next day, holy cow, it is like you were born to squat!
Eventually, as time progresses, you may start to plateau. It is easy to feel like the improvements are not coming as fast anymore, sometimes there can be a block to progress and it seems like you are moving the same weight and doing the same things every day. Don’t get bogged down! Consistency is key and improvements come in waves.
If you feel like you’re in a rut, here are my three tips to start moving the needle again.
WATCH WHAT YOU EAT
It is important to be aware of what you are eating. The best way to start out watching what you eat is to pick a food or an item and count how many times a week you eat it. For example, how many glasses of wine you drink in a week, how many times you eat sweets during the week, or even how many times you stop at your favorite Starbucks drive through. Pick one item when you start, do not overwhelm yourself.
After you’ve tracked that item for one week, start lowering the amount of food in the group you eat. Maybe it is only every other night you have a glass of wine or eat dessert. Try black coffee with milk versus a sugary frap.
*Keep a food log for one week to see what you are eating. This can be very eye opening!
Nutrition is just like anything else in fitness, it comes gradually, not all at once. Too fast and you can burn out. Start with one item, see if you can reduce or eliminate, and keep improving one food item at a time.
TRACK YOUR WORKOUTS
The second tip for getting past that fitness peak is tracking your workouts. You can use your phone notes, a fitness app, or even good ole pen and paper (my personal favorite method). Taking notes keeps a log of improvements and the notes can be a source of inspiration on where to improve.
Metrics to track:
- One rep max lifts
- Run times
- Benchmark WODs
The key to tracking your workouts is making notes on how the workout, including any new movements, made your body feel. For example, it might be important to note when your legs feel really sore or when you have a funny sensation in your knee. Other notes could be when a movement feels better or you notice an improvement. Ex: Stretching my quads today made running feel easier.
Tracking your workouts can also show you where you should focus your energy. If you notice over the course of tracking that you can run really fast, but you need to improve your lifting, now you can focus on increasing weight in your squats or ground to overhead movements. Which leads me to my last tip…
FOCUS ON ONE MOVEMENT AT A TIME
The last tip to taking your crossFit to the next level is finding one or two movements to improve at a time. The internet is a great resource that can provide a ton of information on how to improve your CrossFit movements. Try watching a youtube video on how to improve an overhead squat or how to do a pull up, and then pick one aspect within that to focus on first. For example, if I want to improve my handstand walks, I may start by working on balancing on the wall. Just like with nutrition, pick only one tip or trick to work on, do not overload yourself with information.
Important notes on improving movements:
- Do not pick something that hurts. If it hurts your body, it is not something you should be doing, your body knows best.
- If it is awkward or takes too long to set up, choose a new movement or trick. Keep it simple.
- Stick with it for at least two weeks. Just because there is not immediate improvement does not mean it is not working.
These are three tips than can help take your CrossFit to the next level. Watch what you eat, track your workouts, and focus on one movement at a time. As always discuss with your coach on ways to improve!