I’m lucky enough to work with, coach, and talk to a large number of CrossFitters. Many of my friends in this circle are new to this crazy CrossFit thing and I find myself talking about some of the same subjects over and over again. I’m going to try and cover a few of them here. Cool?
Disclaimer: These are my opinions and not the official stance of any one I’m associated with. IF you don’t agree with anything I say feel free to tell me what you think in the comments!
I have a goal and you should too
Sure, everyone says they have a goal. Unfortunately most completely forget about said goal as soon as the clock starts. My personal goal at this point in my CrossFitting career is pretty simple: My first rep should look exactly like my last. High quality movement is the name of the game and I want to be the one who moves best. CrossFit preaches mechanics, consistency, intensity in that order and my goal is to perfect my mechanics.
This goal is my number one priority and because of that I may be slower, my loads may be lighter, and I just may not end up on that leader board. I don’t care. None of those things fit into my plan. If you haven’t taken a good hard look at what you are looking to get out of a program like CrossFit I suggest you do so before you head back to the gym. If you don’t know what your long term plan is with this functional fitness stuff then what are you working towards? What is your end goal? Figure this out and tell your coach, we really want to know so we can help you reach that goal.
Mechanics should be everybody’s number one priority
Yeah, yeah I know I should be focusing on my mechanics but muscle ups are sooo cool! I’ll let you in on a little secret: No coach worth a shit cares that you got a muscle up if you have a garbage air squat. Sorry… The truth sucks huh? If you can’t perform basic movements correctly then you’re probably gonna end up hurt. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but eventually you’re gonna blow up and the wheels are gonna fall off. So check your ego, grow up, and learn to move better.
After skill, you need strength
If you can’t do a strict pull up you have no business adding in a dynamic kip. If you can’t perform a strict handstand push up then you have no business adding in a dynamic kip. This applies to every other movement you can kip or perform dynamically… This also mainly applies to people who lack a background in strength training. For you strong ones out there your focus needs to be on mobility and technique. Your strength will keep you safe for a while but it’s only a matter of time…
You probably need to spend less money of trendy gear and invest in some good coaching.
As CrossFit continues to gain traction in the mainstream fitness world the retailers are coming out of the woodwork. Some pretty neat businesses have been built. Reebok has hopped on board to boost their brand and everyone started donning their 21 pieces of CrossFit flare to workout. Reebok Nanos? Check. High Socks? Check. Wrist wraps, headbands, easy to rip off mid workout shirt? Check, check, check. Flawless double unders? Perfect snatch technique? Yeah, didn’t think so… I don’t want to sound like a dick here but if you’re rocking all of the latest trendy CrossFit gear and get mad when you’re expected to pay extra for some specialty or 1-on-1 coaching then you’ve got your priorities wrong. Spend that money on some high quality personal training and fix your shit.
Always be learning and always be coachable
I’ve been to dozens of gyms and have met hundreds (probably thousands at this point) of CrossFit coaches. A few of these coaches weren’t worth the ink on their Level One certificate, the rest were amazing. The biggest thing I’ve seen that separates a good coach from a bad coach is their willingness to check their ego and constantly be seeking out new information. There are a thousand different ways to coach the air squat, the good coaches don’t rest until they know all 1000. Because that is what the members of your gym expect, that is what they pay you for, and that is your duty. It may not be the most exciting thing but it is the right thing to do.
This also goes for you, the gym member, the athlete. Your job is to listen to the coach. Your job is to be coachable. 99% of the time your coach is telling you something with the sole purpose of making you better or keeping you safe. If you can’t trust your coach to coach you, go find a new coach. If you think you know better, go workout in your garage. No one has time for bad attitudes and know-it-alls.
So this was part informative post and part rant on my part. I’ve seen so many people get wrapped up in the excitement that is CrossFit that they lose track of the big picture. This usually results in injuries and/or crushed hopes and dreams when they find out that number one on the local box leader board is good enough for a 3672nd placing at the Open. The beauty of CrossFit is the constantly varied functional movements. The downside is the cold hard truth that these movements take a loooooong time to learn and get proficient at. The only short cut is hard work, discipline, and the ability to fight through the frustration that is learning a double under.