PR – Personal Record… Everyone loves PR’ing. Everyone loves PR’ing a benchmark WOD. You Rx’d Grace for the first time, that’s a PR. Later on, you improve your Rx’d Grace time by 2 minutes, another PR. 6 months later, you improve again by 10 secs. Then you try again and don’t improve. This is a common trend among CrossFitters. All athletes in CrossFit will PR everything in the beginning as long as they give 100% effort day in and day out. At some point, the improvements will slow and maybe even come to a halt once you start to reach your body’s potential. At that time, you have to evaluate your training and lifestyle if you want to keep improving. Ideally, you will evaluate before you reach your plateaus. Once you realistically and honestly evaluate yourself, you will probably find out that most of the following need addressed: technique, skill, strength, nutrition and lifestyle (sleep, stress, alcohol etc).
A WOD like Grace is short, fast and hurts like hell if you do it right. There are three main components to a WOD like Grace that you can improve to make your time go down. Technique/Skill: Having more efficient movement will allow you to use less energy for each rep and in turn be able to move faster through the WOD. Mental Toughness: If you believe you can go faster, you will go faster. Physical Strength: If the Rx weight is 80% of your max, the WOD is going to be a lot more difficult than if it’s 50% of your max. So, no matter what, more strength is going to make you better at the WOD.
The Magic Ingredient
What are your goals? Did you qualify for regionals? Do you just want to do the best you can at next year’s Open? If you are a regional athlete, which none of us are, you have an excuse to be working out multiple times every day. You have to train your body to be ready for a whole lot of volume for one weekend. If you are not a regional athlete, and you have a life outside of the gym, but you still want to get better and give your best shot at making it to regionals next year, you really have no reason to be training more than once a day (especially right now). Splitting your strength and metcon up each day does not count as a multiple, but you should be able to get it all done in the same session.
Far out from your competition (the Open) your metcon times mean nothing (well not nothing, but not as much as other things). This is the time when you should be focusing on your technique, skill and strength. For technique and skill, easy, find someone who can help. You can only go so far by watching youtube videos. You need a trained eye watching you and more importantly you need to listen to their suggestions. For strength, squat. Squat low. Squat with virtuosity. Squat heavy and often. Focus on the basic lifts until you have them mastered. Don’t worry about bands, chains or other alternative methods until you are proficient in your basic movements. Have a strength plan written up for you and follow it. Your strength plan is now your daily workout. It is the most important thing you do each day. Put all your energy into it. Then, you metcon. You might sacrifice a few seconds on your metcon because you did 100 squats before it. It’s OK, that happens. Now, don’t let that happen again. Push your mental toughness. Don’t give yourself an excuse to slow down. Every time you metcon, push your toughness threshold a little higher.
When you walk out of the box you should always walk away with a WIN. And, the most important lesson, no matter what you do, do it with integrity. Nobody likes a cheater, especially you when you repeat a WOD and know that you’re better now but don’t get a better time because you cheated last time.
We have a unique situation here at the 307. If you don’t want to come to class, you have the option to work out on your own at any time. We can’t force you to do our programming. But, we can guarantee that if you do follow our programming including the strength portion, you will improve, no matter where you are in your ability level. We have weekly programming meetings to plan out the workouts at the 307. Most of the time, WODs are already scheduled 60-90 days out. We all follow the programming and are in touch with our coaches to know when certain WODs may have taxed certain body parts more than expected and we modify the upcoming programming accordingly. We are constantly shifting and changing upcoming WODs according to your needs and goals. If you decide to come to class, follow our programming and/or hire a coach to help you with your technique, you will become a better CrossFitter. If you decide on a different program, follow it, stick to it, don’t deviate. The worst thing you can do is just pick and choose and do whatever you feel like each day.
What is the Magic Ingredient? If you do continue to refine your technique, constantly get stronger and always move with virtuosity, consume the proper foods in proper quantities, sleep a lot, and decrease any unnecessary stresses in your life, you will be a good CrossFitter. But, if you want to thrive, you must attack each day with scary intensity. Intensity leads to results, period. Someone who trains for quantity with the intention of “doing more to be better” will get worn out and unnecessarily sore. With that much volume, the intensity will start to suffer to keep up. Someone who trains following a precise strength and metcon program with less volume will feel more energy and less soreness. He/she will be able to train more regularly with the highest possible intensity. If you follow this advice, you can work out less and see bigger gains.