Monday, December 29, 2014

Top 8 Things I've Learned in my 8 Weeks of CrossFit

Today, I wrapped up my 8th week of CrossFit at All Heart CrossFit in Kent, OH. I have learned so much in these first 8 weeks and continue to on a daily basis. Today, though, I'd like to give you the Top 8 things I've learned in my first 8 weeks:
  1. Show up ready to give it all. There is no other way and a complete and devoted commitment to the task at hand has to be your focus. I have learned that leaving a workout questioning my effort is an awful feeling and one of regret.
  2. Resist the urge to compare yourself. This is a dangerous slippery slope. I am literally twice the age of many in the box where I work out and similar to others while younger than a few. Every person has a different reason for being there, has been there for different lengths of time, has a different physical makeup, and different levels of commitment. Focus on getting better and stronger every day. Focus on you and no one else. The one exception: There is a great social benefit to CrossFit and the feeling of family. It's absolutely for real and one you can choose to enjoy or not. I have loved meeting new friends and "family" and look forward to seeing them every day!
  3. It's not about the weight, it's about safety first. We are wired to want to hit big numbers and gain bragging rights. It is imperative to get form and safety first and the weight will come. CrossFit gets a bad rap and this is often due to doing too much, too soon, and poor coaches/students.
  4. Listen to your coaches. There was a day where we did an EMOM followed by a WOD using the same overhead press. It was stressed over and over again to "lower your weight" after we finished that EMOM because the WOD would be very tough. My coach said it over and over again (which I learned later was pointed towards me because I wasn't removing weight). The WOD began and halfway through, I had to remove some weight and I was called out. It was humiliating, frustrating and I left angry. I learned a humbling lesson that day: listen and follow the coach's instruction. (This plays big with regards to safety as well.)
  5. Work hard and watch yourself change. I still run but not nearly as much. However, my running has become stronger and more confident. I am still able to go long distances and my endurance has not decreased. Physically, I have gone down two jeans sizes and my upper body is developing for the first time in 41+ years. As the changes progress and I see more changes, it's simply more fuel to keep charging forward. Note: I have not weighed myself as that can be misleading with the addition of muscle. Instead, I pay attention to the mirror, how I feel and how clothes fit. I may ask my wife what she thinks from time to time as well. :)
  6. Eat right. I have found that a Paleo diet and Paleo/Zone are common in the CrossFit universe. I am following neither but am close to the Paleo diet. If you're following my first point of giving it all yet you still eat like garbage, my opinion is that it'll all be for naught...or darn close to it. I have found that my intense workouts fuel a desire to eat right. Not eating right only makes recovery worse and waking up for that 5:30am class feeling "bleh." If you truly want change, it's a lifestyle change and not just "one hour a day at the box" change.
  7. CrossFit YouTube Channel. In my spare time, I have found myself watching short training videos or competition videos on CrossFit's channel. I often seek out one that's covering a lift or movement that I just did and want to get better at. For example, I want to become strong at the thruster. It's half of the WOD that makes up "Fran," the original WOD that fueled the beginning of CrossFit. I have been watching training videos and picking up on "cues" to remember when it's time to execute it again. Today, I had that opportunity as we did a thruster/burpee WOD. Instead of needing to be taught again by my coaches, I remembered the video instruction and did it and didn't get corrected one time. With so many lifts and movements, it's tough to keep them straight this early but in time, it will get easier and is.
  8. Remind yourself why you're there. Prepare yourself for the negative self talk and the naysayers out there on social media, at your workplace, etc. I was one of those naysayers and couldn't stand the "WOD talk" on my Facebook feed for the longest time. If you don't know why you're going, you need to know and keep going back to that. If not, you'll feel defeated, compare yourself, and probably quit. I won't forget what my coach told me on day 2: "It never gets easier." It's true. As you get stronger and faster, the bar just keeps getting raised. There is no top. Know why you're there and you'll keep challenging yourself.

1 comment:

Jason said...

Nick, if you plan to stick with CrossFit, you should use something like BeastScore to track your progress. Good idea to get started with that from the beginning.