You come to the gym a few times per week and put in the work, but are you doing all that you can to maximize your CrossFit results?
Here are a few easy ways to make the most of your efforts.
CrossFit Results and Your Diet
Have you ever seen the CrossFit pyramid?
If you’re not familiar, it might surprise you to learn that the foundation for fitness isn’t exercise at all (this is coming from CrossFit HQ, folks). It’s your diet.
You can’t expect to perform your best if you’re not fueling your body well. This includes eating appropriate amounts of calories, protein, fat, and carbohydrates, based on your body and your goals. Beyond macronutrients, you need vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients in adequate amounts for optimal performance and recovery.
Want a simple approach? In the words of author Michael Pollan, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
In other words, load up on the fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Add a bit of lean protein, and minimize processed and packaged foods. Stop eating when you’re 80% satisfied.
Need more specific guidance? I’d love to help. Click here to book a free nutrition intro.
Pay Attention at the Whiteboard
The whiteboard at the beginning of each class is an often overlooked tool for maximizing CrossFit results. Come to class on time and pay full attention when your coach is delivering the whiteboard.
Coaches use the whiteboard to make sure that athletes fully understand the workout. Ever paced to the board and back during a workout, trying to figure out what to do next? Definitely a momentum killer and a time suck.
The whiteboard is also an opportunity to be sure you understand the workout’s intended stimulus. CrossFit is defined as “constantly varied, functional movement performed at high intensity.” If you’re always going heavy because you like going heavy, you’re not making the most of your CrossFit results. The same goes for always going light and fast.
The intended stimulus provides some context for when and how to scale workouts, based on factors like speed, strength, and stamina. Sticking to the intended stimulus will 100% make you a better athlete over time. Listen for the stimulus (your coach will say something like, “the goal for this workout is…”), and be sure to ask if it’s not clear.
Don’t Sandbag the Warmup
Our programming at CF26 comes from TrainFTW—a company made up of three CrossFit Level 4 coaches (including Matt Chan, who placed second in the 2012 CrossFit Games and has 4 top 10 finishes).
We love our programming for so many reasons, one of which is the very thorough warmups. A good warmup gets your body physically and mentally ready for more intense movement. Jumping in without a good warmup sets you up for a bad workout and increases your risk of injury. You don’t have to go HAM while you do it, but don’t cut It short either.
Ditch the Crutches
In my early CrossFit days, I got called out for using a crutch. Several, actually.
It was one-rep max back squat day, and I’m just going to be honest and say I’ll never be totally comfortable with a barbell that’s heavy AF on my back. So I picked up little procrastination rituals. I’d tighten my belt approximately 47 times. I’d do a little dance. I’d sip some water. I’d chalk my hands, not just once but twice.
One day, my coach questioned whether it was reeeeeeallly necessary to chalk up for a back squat. (No, Josh, the answer is no.).
A crutch or two probably won’t hurt your results that much on a one-rep max, but it can eat up some serious time during a metcon. Stop and ask yourself—do you ever chalk not because your hands are slippery but because you’e short of breath? Do you ever drink water not because you’re thirsty but because your legs are shaking?
And if you answered yes to either of these, is it possible to just slow down rather than stopping altogether?
Over time, giving up these little crutches can boost your performance and your results.
Do Your Mobility
There’s a reason your coaches are always chasing you around with lacrosse balls.
For many athletes, mobility is one (if not THE) major issue that’s holding up progress. Regular mobility work promotes recovery and lowers the risk of injury, of course. It can also help you lift more weight with better technique by allowing your body to get into better positions.
Our programming includes mobility work most days, so be sure not to duck out early! TrainFTW has lots of movement demos on their YouTube, and there are many free mobility resources online.
I find that I’m more likely to stick with a mobility program if I pay for it. I personally like Movement Vault (note: I have no personal or professional affiliation with MV—I just like it).
Exercise is hard on your body. But you know what else is? Chronic stress, bad sleep habits, and skimping on rest days.
Your workouts are actually pretty low on your body’s list of priorities when you’re stressed, sleep-deprived, and overtrained. You can’t perform or recover well if you’re not taking good care of yourself.
Schedule some time each day to offload stress. This will look different for everyone, but you could meditate, call a friend, read a good book, do a craft, put on mellow music and stretch…whatever calms your nerves.
Finally, try to get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. This may mean turning in earlier or skipping a 5:30 class sometimes, and that’s okay! It also helps to limit caffeine and alcohol intake and turn off all screens at least 2 hours before bed.
Well, friend, what do you think? Are you doing all that you can to maximize your CrossFit results? We’re here if you need help! Click here to schedule a free goal setting session, so we can make a plan to get you where you want to be.