A few weeks ago, we published a blog for our new CrossFitters: A Beginner’s CrossFit Road Map. We hope this was helpful for all our new athletes, but if you think that as soon as you hit the 6 month to 1 year+ mark, things all click, you can do anything with a barbell you want and every day you set foot in the box, you have a positive mindset, realistic goals and, post-WOD, you know exactly what to do to help your body recover fully in one evening so you can attack the next day’s session… Oh boy, have you misunderstood.
This blog is dedicated to our more seasoned CrossFitters, those who are beyond the CrossFit honeymoon phase, know their way around the box, and have the progressions and warm ups down pat. Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about you guys!
Here is the road map to the second leg of your journey. The part where you’ve finally turned off of the rolling, curvy country roads, left behind the stops and starts of the city traffic and are now cruising down the motorway, easy, breezy, but wondering when you’ll hit the next speed camera, traffic jam or road construction (are you also wondering how much longer I can carry this road trip analogy? Answer: AS LONG AS I WANT.)
What happens when you have guzzled the proverbial CrossFit KoolAid and now the pitcher sits in front of you, completely empty…
A CrossFit Road Map for the Intermediate Athlete
1) You will become a Mobility and Mashing expert (at least in your eyes). You will own more foam rollers and resistance bands than your physiotherapist and have more lacrosse balls rolling around your living room than the English Lacrosse Team has in all of their clubs.
2) Whenever you plan a holiday, you will automatically check for a box nearby the hotel you’re staying at. Sometimes booking your drop-in session will come before booking your hotel room…
3) You will have partitioned out a space on your kitchen counter where your protein mix, greens powder, fish oil, pre-WOD and other various supplements sit alongside no less than three shakers. You’ve read the blogs, you’ve tried the free samples, you’ve convinced yourself that the money is well-spent. Just don’t lose sight of your nutrition basics, because supplements are just that… Supplementary, not replacements!
4) Similarly, you will have cleared a space in your bathroom cabinet next to your cotton buds and toothpaste, where sudocrem, climb-on, arnica cream, a callous shaver, icy hot and Epsom salt now take pride of place. In the experienced CrossFitter’s world, there is little more satisfying than an Epsom salt bath and sorting out your hands after a toes-to-bar-laden WOD.
5) Your PBs will lessen in both degree and frequency. Gone are the days when you would hit a 10 kg PB on your back squat a week after you just hit a 5 kg PB. These days, PBs will start to be won and lost with change plates and over months instead of weeks. What does this mean? The ‘Novice Effect’ has worn off. That doesn’t mean that your progress has stalled! Speak to your coach about how you can vary your lifts with different methods. Most importantly, remember, a PB is a PB, whether it’s 10 kg or 1.0 kg. Often you’ll find that when the PB takes a bit longer to achieve, it will feel that much more amazing.
6) You will share a cue that once worked for you with another athlete during a lifting session. This cue might just help them get a PB, they will be ecstatic and you will be elated that by sharing your experience, you helped someone hit their goal. This feeling is what Phil and I get to experience every day as coaches. Isn’t it flipping amazing?!
7) You’ll forget where you started. Struggling to hit that sub-4 minute Fran? Keep failing your bodyweight snatch? Frustrated?! Well, let’s take a trip down memory lane to when a sub-8 minute Fran was a mere glimmer in your eye and you were lucky to get a 40 kg thruster over your head 5 times, let alone 45. Or when your attempts at snatch looked more like getting assaulted by a barbell than putting it overhead in one smooth lift. I’ve never been a massive fan of trending (#YOLO, #fitfam #WhatMakesMeHappy, #etc etc, I’m too old for that shit…), but I do like #ThrowBackThursday because, when things get frustrating and progress seems to be stagnating, I can remind myself how far I’ve come. And this isn’t just about your numbers! It’s about your knowledge, your community and your overall health. Remind yourself often where you began and how far you’ve come.
8) You will get frustrated when a new joiner can’t seem to understand the order of the WOD. Re-visit #7. You were there once, so be patient and help where you can, just like an experienced CrossFitter helped you.
9) You will find yourself more willing to WOD shirtless than you ever would've dreamed of 6 months ago. Read this: http://www.tabatatimes.com/11-reasons-take-shirt-crossfit/
10) You will find yourself in a clique. The ultimate mistake of the experienced CrossFitter, avoid this like the plague. I know that finding your perfect training buddy is like finding a four leaf clover and trying to train with someone you barely know sounds like an absolute nightmare. I also know that many people can only train in the morning or the evening, so you will inevitably end up working with the same group of people on most days, but when possible, try attending a different class. Try mixing up the group of people you lift with. Don’t wait for a face you don’t recognise to introduce themselves to you; instead, embrace the American origins of CrossFit, run up and high five them first! You never know when the clique you spend every day with will move to other cities and boxes or need to change their class time because of work, or when you end up working with someone new and actually find that they encourage you just as well, if not better, than your other training buddies. Be open to new experiences and new people. Because you Just. Never. Know.
So, what do you do when that first pitcher of CrossFit KoolAid is gone?? Well, you make a new batch and chug that down too, savouring every gulp and reminding yourself how good that first pitcher was, how great you’ve got it and why you drank the whole thing at the beginning.