5 (of 10) TIPS TO BECOME A COMPETITIVE CROSSFITTER
5 (of 10) TIPS TO BECOME A COMPETITIVE CROSSFITTER
I’m glad to share several approaches we discussed that will help a competitive CrossFitter reach their full potential. There are 5 in this post, and look for another 5 next week.
These tips also apply to athletes in any sport. Also, even if you don’t compete in anything, many of these factors will also help increase both longevity and quality of life.
I’ll dive into way more detail regarding these tips in the coming weeks, as each one could stand alone as a major component to consider in your CrossFit training!
Here are the first 5 things you can do to improve your performance when it counts …
DEVELOP A BASE OF CONDITIONING
Every year, we see a new group of athletes in their first year of training (or less!) who come to Crossfit competitions and do very well. All of these trainees have in common a very large “base” of either strength or endurance from a prior sport.
This base, particularly an aerobic base, allows them to recover faster during or after workouts. Though this is not well known, most top Games competitors still regularly do what is essentially base work, such as rowing a 2k or running 5-10k every morning.
As a side note, my recovery was far better during my first few years of Crossfit when I wasn’t as strong or skilled. At that time, I trained a played rugby in canandas premier league , 5-6 days per week — in addition to Crossfit. I had done that for 16 years without a break. This monster base provided a great ability to do well at longer WODs like Fight Gone Bad.
Developing a large base is not just about adding more and more work to your schedule. There are specific ways to do it correctly, and as competitions get closer, you’d trade some of it out for more intense work.
Here at CrossfitSouth London, we can use specific tests to find out if your conditioning is lacking this base. We’ll look at some of these on Wednesday.
If you’re interested in undergoing a comprehensive array of these tests in order to develop an individualized program, drop me a mail and I will.
FOR LONGEVITY AND BEST RESULTS – TRAIN MOSTLY IN YOUR “ESSENCE”
All individuals have a genetic dispensation for one type of activity or another. Are you stronger, but have less endurance? Or vice versa? This is a simplification, but discovering your predisposition or “strong suit” gives important clues on how YOU should train for the best results. Though there are no scientific tests to determine this, it’s something we can assess observationally.
Though you definitely need to train your weak points, you should spend most of your time improving your strengths. Not only will your results ultimately be better, but you’ll suffer less training stress, and in the end be healthier.
PLAN YOUR TRAINING INTO SEASONS
If you want to compete, you are now an athlete and no longer a casual fitness buff. If you want the best results when it counts, you must set up a plan for your year, just like an athlete in any other sport.
Planning training and programming is a far bigger topic than I can cover here, but I’ll lay out a few basics.Start with your main competition (the Open?) and plan backwards. You’ll then want a recovery period following your main comp, followed by a base-building phase where you address strength, aerobic, or mobility goals.As the next comp draws nearer, you’ll shift to more intense work as well as practice specific movements you’re likely to see in the contest.Finally, the week or two before the contest you’ll begin a taper phase.Again, I can provide individual guidance here. Through personal training, I can detail base, intensity, and taper plans to help you program for your competition.
TRACK YOUR WORK!
If you don’t track, you won’t know if what you’re doing is working!
Tracking includes writing down much more than sets, reps, and times.Track your perceived exertion for each workout or exercise. Track how much you sleep, plus rate your sleep quality and how you feel when you wake. See part 5 to see why this matters.
I will be writing an article about tracking next week.
GET YOUR LIFE IN ORDER
For most people, this may be the biggest impediment to progress! These days, training to make the Games as an individual requires the same commitment as a pro athlete in any other sport. Training and recovery demands have become a full-time job. If you’re training like these athletes and working a 40-plus-hour/week job, caring for your kids, etc., your recovery capacity and gains will only go so far.
What’s the average Joe/Jane to do, then? First, you must realize and acknowledge this reality — have fun and do your best, but don’t harbor any delusions unless you can quit your job and get sponsored! Find a way to sleep a minimum of 8 hours in a dark room. Wake/eat/train/sleep at the same times every day as much as possible to have a more stable cortisol rhythm. Remove any unneeded stressors or energy-sucking activities from your daily life. Find enough downtime daily to lower your overall stress response, both from training and life.
Stress is the main thing that will impede your recovery and progress. Monitoring sleep as mentioned above is one metric that can be useful to keep a watch on this. If you’re suddenly having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or it’s getting harder to wake and get going, it might mean it’s time to dial back the training some or remove some of the other life stressors.
Okay, we’ll look at 5 more tips on Wednesday!