Fact: Even if you’re attending six classes a week, you’re still spending 96%+ (162 hours) of your time outside of the gym.
That’s a lot of time! And, it has a huge impact on your health and the results you see from your CrossFit training.
As coaches, our primary objective is to provide safe, effective coaching when you’re at the gym and in class. We’re committed to giving each of you individual attention to address your specific strengths and weaknesses. We also do our best to educate you on other aspects that impact your health and wellness like nutrition, sleep, and recovery.
That’s our responsibility, but there are two sides to every relationship!
You have a responsibility as well. If you want to get the most out of your training and reap the benefits from the work you’re putting in every week, you can’t just ignore the hours you spend out of the gym. Even six hard CrossFit workouts a week aren’t enough to outwork a poor diet and lack of sleep.
We truly want to see each and every one of you accomplish your fitness goals and experience success both inside and outside of the gym. We wanted to write down the training habits you need to build to get there. We’ll, of course, provide resources and tools along the way, but success in these areas is largely up to you.
Have the right mindset.
Each workout we program has a specific goal in mind. We might be trying to build strength, develop aerobic capacity, push lactate threshold, or refine technique. Either way, we’re laser focused on what we want to achieve that day in the hour we have you.
Similarly, when you’re in the gym, you should be focused on what you’re looking to take away from your time with us. The hour you spend in the gym isn’t the time for texting or scrolling through social media. It’s time for improving your health.
Each time you walk in the gym, be clear about your intentions for why you’re there and what you want to take away.
Log your workouts.
The beauty of CrossFit is that it’s focused on creating “measurable, observable and repeatable results.” # Meaning, if you squat 30 more pounds this year than you did last year, we can definitively say you got stronger.
This focus on measurable, observable, and repeatable results has tons of implications. It means that we can regularly retest workouts and assuming everything is going right, we can expect to improve. It also provides a clear lens to evaluate our programming. If we’re not seeing consistent improvement in our members, it might be time to reevaluate our training.
This entire system breaks down if you’re not tracking your workouts.
If you’re not writing down your results each time you come in the gym, it’s impossible to track your performance over time. It’s also much more difficult to celebrate major breakthroughs and PRs along the way!
We offer two primary ways of tracking your workouts:
- Your Triib account, which is free with your membership
- Writing them down in CrossFit Undeniable log books
Either way is fine with us! Just make sure you’re tracking each workout and periodically reviewing your progress.
Get better sleep.
Each time you come in the gym and finish a grueling workout, you’re getting weaker, not stronger.
During workouts, we break down muscle tissue. That’s one reason why your last 10 reps of Grace feels much harder than your first 10 reps. Your muscles are fatigued and damaged.
We get stronger outside the gym. Workouts provide the stimulus necessary to get stronger, but the actual growth and rebuilding necessary to improve your fitness occurs in the other 23 hours during the day.
Both pieces are crucial. Without the workout, you wouldn’t have the stimulus necessary to improve. Without the recovery, you’ll find that you’re constantly tired and seeing few gains. Far too often, we see athletes focus on the former and completely neglect the latter.
We’ll write more about this in-depth soon, but here are some quick tips to help you get more sleep tonight:
- Aim for a minimum of six and ideally seven or eight hours of sleep. However, we want to focus on quality in addition to quantity. Six hours of constantly interrupted sleep doesn’t do you as much good as six hours of great, deep sleep.
- Make your room cold. Think somewhere between 65 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Keep your phone out of your room. Buy an alarm clock and charge your phone elsewhere.
- Establish a bedtime routine. Try to go to bed roughly around the same time each night and have a wind down routine that helps you get ready for sleep.
- Read a physical book before bed. Right before you sleep isn’t the time to watch TV. The blue light can keep you awake.
Nurture healthy relationships.
The age-old adage that “you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with” is repeated so often because it’s normally pretty true. If you’re spending the majority of your time around toxic, unhealthy individuals, it will impact your health, fitness, and mindset.
Surround yourself with positive people that push you to be better. Have some difficult conversations with your close friends. Explain that you’re on a mission to improve yourself and lay out the goals you have set. Invite them to come along for the journey and explain that you would love their support. Best case scenario, they’ll share your enthusiasm and join in, but be prepared that you may need to distance yourself if they continue to be a negative influence.
Eat good food.
Nutrition has a huge impact on your health and wellness. If you’re fueling your body with junk, it won’t just impact your workouts. It will impact your mood, recovery, sleep, and much more.
We’re gearing up to provide much more support in this arena with nutritional coaching, workshops, and additional blog posts and videos. However, it’s up to you to put this information into practice. Are you cooking meals at home or are you eating out for most meals? Are you sabotaging progress with a six-pack of beer or soda every day?
If you’re looking for a place to get started with nutrition, check out these series from the CrossFit Journal. It will provide you with a good overview of macronutrients (proteins, carbs, and fats) and some overarching nutritional concepts:
- Simple Nutrition Part 1
- Simple Nutrition Part 2
- Simple Nutrition Part 3
- Simple Nutrition Part 4
- Simple Nutrition Part 5
CrossFit provides an interesting dichotomy.
On one hand, you have elite athletes that are pushing their bodies to the limit trying to eek out one more second or a few more pounds on each lift. They’re the 1% of the 1% seeing what the human body is capable of.
On the other hand, you have the rest of us. We’re probably not going to the CrossFit Games. We’re in this for the long haul. Our goal is to be healthy and move well for life. We want to be able to squat to full depth when we’re 100.
Since everything in CrossFit can be measured and tracked, there’s an expectation that every workout, every lift will be a personal record. When that isn’t the case or when a workout doesn’t go your way for whatever reason, it can feel deflating. You put in so much hard work. Why didn’t you knock it out of the park?
To be successful in CrossFit, it’s important to maintain a solid perspective about why we’re doing it in the first place. Our goal is to improve our fitness and build health habits in a fun, supportive environment. Every day won’t be a personal record, and that’s totally okay! As long as we’re having fun and getting a tiny bit fitter each day, that’s more than enough.
Keep that in mind the next time you miss a lift or fail to best your time on a WOD. Definitely take a look at what you could improve or do better for next time but also keep it all in perspective. Your goal should be to do this for 30-40 years. One day won’t matter in the long run.