I’d like to share three tips that have to do with “common sense” when training. For many of you this will be obvious, but sometimes the obvious just needs to be clearly stated. YOU are responsible for your training as much as I or your other coaches/trainers are. You know your body better than anyone else and good communication with those helping you is essential to your success.
Tip #1 – It’s not always about a PR.
We all know that CrossFit is all about performance and everyone that is a part of the program wants to get better. Even things as simple as swinging a heavier Kettle Bell, doing the workout as prescribed, or completing your first pull up matter, and rightfully so! Many of us however are constantly evaluating ourselves compared to others in the gym, at the track or at an event that we are participating in. Those of you who are serious about your training really want to see quantifiable improvement in your performance, weight, etc. However you need to remember that it is acceptable, if not normal, to perform at sub-max levels on a daily and/or weekly basis. By submax I mean NOT hitting a personal record every time a benchmark comes up or you go and compete.
There is a theory in the fitness community called “super compensation”. Super compensation basically states that training will cause you to appear deconditioned for a period of time before your body adapts and you actually get better. Ideally (and we all know that as CrossFiters we are to be ready for anything, at any time) this is when you should attempt PR’s. Conversely when you attempt max efforts while in the “deconditioned” state you should not expect record times or weights. PR’s are actually a good representation of your abilities. This is simply an indicator of an effective training program. Moral of the story, don’t freak out if you don’t PR every time you attempt a workout, be just as happy with yourself when you complete a WOD, as when you PR.
Tip #2 – Are you hurt or are you injured?
Many fitness programs prescribe to the theory that “if you want to get better at something, keep doing that same thing over and over” (ie if you want to be a better runner, then you need to just run). Sounds great in theory right? In practice this is really a beat down of a program and forces you to work at your max effort or long slow distances (see tip one) on a daily basis. Bottom line this hurts, like down in the bones hurts.
Now, lets distinguish between injury and being hurt, or hurting. An injury is essentially something caused by some outside agent and can include anything from a broken collar-bone to a bruised toe (both are very painful) and will require time off to heal. Hurting is simply a painful sensation, either caused by physical suffering or mental anguish. The mind can really mess with you when it and or your body, gets pushed to the brink. Think about how you felt the last time you PR’d, did a bench mark or gave everything you had on a WOD.
So now, an important question to ask yourself when you are training and decide something hurts. Are you “hurt” or “injured”? When i ask this i am looking for an answer that tells me if the specific movement we are doing will make whatever is hurting, worse. If it will make the pain worse, then most likely you are injured and need to take time off to heal. If it doesn’t make it worse, you are just hurting. Bottom line, hurting is ok, injury is not.
Tip #3 – If it seems like a bad idea, it probably is.
Going into a workout you need to know your abilities and limitations. If you walk in a see 135# power snatch in the workout, scale the weight. Your coach should be able to help you, but it is still your responsibility to ask for help if you need it. Remember, first learn the skill, then do it faster, then do it longer.
Bottom line, be smart. Take responsibility for your fitness, health and wellness. Be the best that you can be and be proud of being the best you!