One cornerstone of CrossFit is being prepared for the “unknown and unknowable.” This means building your nutrition and fitness foundation to be ready for life’s surprises – whatever you will be challenged to face. CrossFit is more than the workout, it is the lifestyle including physical and mental fitness. While we focus on the physical fitness in our workouts, sometimes the most valuable benefits are in other areas of our lives. Routine is comfortable, but life rarely goes exactly as planned.
Humans are creatures of habits, we like to know what is around the next corner and behind the next door. Sometimes you have to leap and see where you land. At Crow River, the workouts for the week and typically posted ahead of time and allow you to prepare for the workouts. This is excellent if you are looking up your back squat max and calculating the 75% ahead of time for the strength section. Or if you are doing additional workouts on your own, scheduling the right day for your long run or your squat session. However, I used to look ahead for a different reason: How can I avoid the workouts that I don’t like? While it can be fun to always have workouts that you “like,” this won’t challenge you in the same way and working on broadening your skills. I’d look at the week and think “Where are my favorites?”
One of the models for CrossFit is described as the Hopper (this is one of four models: Reference: https://journal.crossfit.com/article/what-is-fitness). You have all the various events and select events randomly – how can you train to be ready for whatever comes out of the hopper? By training with as many different options and methods as possible. Vary the equipment, use kettlebells, barbells and dumbbells. Change the height of your box for box jumps. Try new exercises. Learning something new is exciting and mastering a new skill provides a sense of accomplishment.
As a creature of habit, I’ve developed a “my favorite syndrome.” I’ve got a favorite kettlebell, a favorite spot on the rig, and so on. There is a particular kettlebell that I like for snatches now, I know the handle of the kettlebell, the grip and how it will respond. This is driving away from the unknown part of CrossFit. When you walk into a different gym or a competition, you will have to adapt to whatever bar the competition is using, whatever height it is at, whatever bumper plates are available. Adapt to the space, you might get pushed to complete larger sets while sharing a bar on the rig. Embrace a different position instead of wishing for your favorite.
Remember being new to the gym and have the “I’ll try” mindset. The I-don’t-know-what-any-of-this-means-but-I’ll-try approach. Use any and all kettlebells. Try the competition kettlebells sometimes, use the ones with thicker grips, go lighter for speed some days. Partner with someone new, they may push you differently than you expect. The blend of kettlebell classes and CrossFit classes we have offer you many opportunities to try new things and keep your workouts different and exciting. It’s overwhelming, but you just show up and do your best. As you gain experience and confidence with the movements, it’s time to pick 1 – 2 skills to focus on developing and if you really want to master those skills, it will usually take a few additional minutes of your day a couple times a week. Don’t worry about everything, it’s best to pick one or two skills to practice at a time, once mastered, set a new goal. This can be a progression and continuation of your first goal as well. Once you have 5 pull-ups, you may want to continue with that goal to reach 10 pull-ups Or, you may want to select a new skill.
As new skills are acquired, the skill becomes more enjoyable. For the first year I was in CrossFit, the My Favorites Syndrome really applied – I didn’t like any workout with jump rope, let alone double unders. I avoided some of the heavy barbell workouts. I’d look ahead and cherry pick between Kettlebells and CrossFit. What this does is limit the ability to learn new skills. Now, some of those same skills I used to avoid, I look forward too. I show up ready to try my best at double unders and work on my skills. It takes time, and progress may seem glacial and frustrating. If there’s something you want to learn how to do or get better at, define it, talk to a coach and put in the practice time. Instead of cherry-picking, today I look at the week as a whole and the overall loading and programming to include practice time for 1 or 2 skills to practice.
While the “My Favorites” syndrome may be a comfort zone and it’s perfectly fine to spend time there occasionally, try to step outside that zone every once in a while. You may gain more than a new skill at the gym. Have fun with moments of My Favorites syndrome, avoid living only in My Favorites!
~Coach Lindsey J.