Many people have preconceived thoughts on what CrossFit is, or what it will be like without even stepping foot inside a CrossFit facility. Whether this is from watching the CrossFit Games or hearing from friends, many people do not realize that the CrossFit experience is a journey. There is growth, and there will be a lot of blood sweat and tears. It can also be fun though. But, at its core, CrossFit is not the Games. Less than 1% of participants qualify for the CrossFit Games. Here are three things that may hinder your CrossFit experience and prevent you from improving your fitness and enjoying your experience.
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- Bad Coaching: Just like a teacher, a good coach can go a long way to helping you achieve your fitness goals. With that being said, a bad coach can be a detriment to your training. A good coach is caring, motivating, engaged and knowledgeable. They have a good mixture of teaching tactics, communication skills, and motivational tools. They know when and how to push you. Not everyone learns in the same manner, and not every person responds to the same style of coaching. Good coaches have a “coach’s eye” and a knack for seeing and correcting movement. It is important for your coach to have his or her own coaching style, but it is equally important for them to be adaptable and have the ability to relate to different type of people.
Good coaches build a strong relationship of mutual trust and respect with the clients that they train. Bad coaches are stubborn and set in their ways. They may be good at giving verbal instructions, but may not necessarily know how to teach movement and technique. Bad coaches do not show that they care about their clients’ goals. They do not see and correct poor movement. Make sure your coach is qualified and knows how to relate to you. Make sure that he or she is invested in you and your fitness goals and knows how to facilitate a program that is going to help you achieve those goals.
- Poor Movement: Mechanics, consistency, and then intensity. This is CrossFit’s philosophy when it comes to progressing athletes. Proper mechanics consists of posture, positioning, line of action, and movement. The proper technique and form of every movement should be the number one priority when performing that specific movement. Too many times, athletes have deficiencies with certain movements, and instead of focusing on correcting those deficiencies; they try to perform those movements in high intensity workouts. This includes heavy weight, high volume or sometimes a combination of the two. It is important to focus on the fundamentals of each movement, learning and mastering the mechanics of those movements. Mastering the fundamentals will assist in learning and mastering the more advanced movements.
Even when you watch elite CrossFit Games athletes, more often than not, the athletes who have a breakdown of their technique or mechanics are usually the athletes that falter in the workouts. The athletes that maintain their technique are the athletes who sustain the longest, and typically perform better than those who do not. This is known as virtuosity, or doing the uncommon commonly well. Before trying to increase intensity or learning more advanced movements, make sure you are mastering the fundamentals and mechanics of your movements.
- Ego: CrossFit can be a very humbling experience. It is a great way to test your fitness, but many times it shows you that you may not be as fit as you thought you were. There is a rule that I learned early on in my CrossFit journey, and that rule applies each and every day that I step foot in the gym. CHECK YOUR EGO AT THE DOOR. This rule is important because if you are not willing to put your ego aside, you can hinder your progress, or worse, get injured trying to do something you may not be ready for. It doesn’t matter how great of an athlete you were in high school, or that you are a personal trainer, or that you are a marathon runner, or whatever the case may be.
Another motto that I have learned is: “past performance does not dictate future results.” There will always be movements and workouts that are going to humble you. Even the best athletes sometimes have to dial it back to make sure they do not get hurt, or to make sure they are fundamentally sound, or not overtraining. If you are willing to follow instruction, learn knew things, and are willing to take constructive criticism, this will go a long way in your development as an athlete. Do not let your ego negatively affect your CrossFit experience and then hinder your progress.