Train Hard, Train Smart, Train for Life
Picture this; You step into the box feeling a bit tender and aching in all the usual places from the last few WODs you’ve done. You grab a foam roller and start general roll out, coupled with a few static stretches and some trigger point work while you talk amongst your friends before the session starts. Class starts and you get through the warm up knocking out a few of those kinks you felt earlier. You start warming up to a working weight for the WOD and you’re trying to ignore those stabs of pain from the usual places. You tell yourself... “It’s ok, everybody goes through this, once I get started the pain will go and I can smash this WOD”
You get through the WOD and your heart rate is jacked, your muscles are numb and those pains have subsided again for another day. You run through the stretches your trainer has given you to do and follow the designated extra mobility for the day in hopes of getting rid of those aches and pains for tomorrow… Then you get to the box tomorrow and nothing has changed. You still hurt and you still push through the pain.
Sound familiar? A lot of CrossFitters suffer this "never say die" and "all or nothing" attitude. This can’t be maintained, eventually something gives and sets you back a long way. Rehabilitation takes a long time. So we need to find a way to work hard, get rid of these kinks and still move forward with our fitness.
Let’s look at your body like it’s a machine, a car. You fuel it (eating), you drive it (live your daily life and workout), you change the tyres (get new kicks), you clean it (bathing), and you perform minor maintenance on it when it needs it (stretching)... But when was the last time you took it in for a full service (Looked at injuries, risk of injuries and repaired them)? Would you put your car that you drive every day on a race track and race it 5-6 days per week and not get it fully serviced regularly? Cars need constant maintenance so they don’t break down and we get them serviced BEFORE something can go wrong so that nothing does goes wrong. To put it simply, you wouldn’t race your family car and push the limits of its capabilities daily because it’s not designed for that. If you wanted to convert that family car into a race car it would take time. You have to slowly replace parts, make sure they all work together in synergy and if it doesn’t work, then you have to work on another part to create this synergy. Essentially, everything has to change and it takes a lot of time, testing and effort to get it right.
The human body is no different. If you have walked through life doing minimal exercise or minimal maintenance on your body then you can’t expect to push its maximum limits daily and expect results… eventually the engine will blow. But fear not, there is a way to turn that family car into a race car and it just takes a little common sense. If you can stick to this list of 6 things then you will be on your way to athlete status rather than injured and out of action and you’ll be able to maintain it and continue to grow for life.
1.Find your injuries or structural flaws and work on them
Injuries aren’t hard to find, they find you. However, structural flaws are a common cause of injuries. Lazy posture from being in unnatural positions all day in front of computers, phones and in cars are the big cause of this. Some people have ankle, hip or knee issues. Find the root of the issue and work on it.
2. Don’t push through pain...EVER!
Learn to determine the difference between muscular discomfort and sharp, cold or warm pains. They are all very different and mean very different things. You want muscular discomfort, you don’t want pain. A general rule to follow… If it feels sketchy then it usually is and you should stop.
3. Find the 80-85%Zone
If you work at roughly around 80-85% of your predicted maximum heart rate or even 80-85% of a perceived exertion rate you can continue to work hard through your entire WOD. So don’t come out of the gates so hard that you redline straight away. Find that 80% zone and redline right at the end of the WOD. Bring it home hard and sprint to the finish line.
4. Do some light days
People hate hearing this one, but your body needs time to recover and sometimes we trainers program some pretty tough stuff. If you have major DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) going on in your quads and there’s a heavy snatch and rowing tomorrow then it might be worth knocking that damper setting down a bit lower on the row and not Rx'ing your weight on that day. Long story short, listen to your body and do what it says.
5. Be consistent
The most common reasons for not turning up to training is either family related, work related, injury related, or DOMS. Invest time in yourself now before it’s too late. In the end excuses get you nowhere. If it’s family holding you back, in years to come do you want to be with your family still and enjoying quality time together? Work related, do you want to be able to work still? If it’s injury related, the only way to repair properly is to incorporate proper movement patterns, Got DOMS? Movement helps fix that…
If you consistently turn up and put in the work mentioned in previous points then you will become fitter, healthier and stronger. No question about it.
6. Track your progress
You can’t improve if you don’t know where you started. If your box still uses the traditional whiteboard then you could either carry a journal with you and record it in Excel later or another great option is set up a Beyond the Whiteboard account. Our box uses Wodify as a check in and record management system in which members have to put their scores/results in before they leave and they also have the option to use Beyond the Whiteboard on top of that. This ensures that every single person in our box knows exactly what they are capable of, where they have come from and takes out any guesswork.
If you work on the 6 points listed above you will be destined to improve your overall health and fitness… and you’ll be able to do it for life. It won’t be easy and it won’t happen overnight, but we wouldn’t want it that way anyway, would we? What’s life without a challenge? Train hard, train smart, train for life.