A Letter to New CrossFitters: Good Training Habits
The original version of this article appeared on David’s blog, Inside the Affiliate.
Below is a short article we ask all our new members to read when they graduate from our Foundations program. At CFSBK, we believe it's important to guide our members’ training perspectives early on. The sooner we can get folks thinking about how to make proactive, intelligent training decisions, the more likely they'll optimize their time under our roof.
While it's our responsibility as coaches to teach movement, program wisely, and generally take care of folks, it's your job as an athlete to listen to your body, track your workouts, and maintain a mature perspective about why you’re doing CrossFit in the first place. For some athletes, this may be completely intuitive, but most folks walking through our doors will need to be taught even the most basic components of serious physical training. Many people pursue CrossFit because they want to lose some weight or a friend does it and it sounds fun—not necessarily because they've suddenly decided to eat, sleep, and breath CrossFit. (The obsession part happens organically, after they’ve been exposed to its benefits.)
With that in mind, the commercial fitness industry’s claims of quick fixes and supposed “secrets” to success may have influenced peoples’ perspectives and expectations when they arrive at our gym, and it behooves us to disabuse them of such false messaging. Messages such as the one below are part of a larger dialogue that CFSBK is constantly facilitating, with the aim of giving our members the most accurate and honest advice about what it takes to adopt a healthy lifestyle.
Hopefully, all of you have already read this article. But a good refresher never hurt anyone…
Good Training Habits
While it’s our responsibility as coaches to teach you movement, program intelligently, and keep you safe, it’s your responsibility as athletes to develop good training habits. Here is an overview of three great habits that will significantly enrich your training experience.
1. Be Proactive With Your Movement Prep
Everyone needs to do a little personalized maintenance on their bodies. Even 10 minutes of DIY movement prep before class can go a long way in keeping you fit and pain free. After you've signed in and changed, take advantage of the time you've got and start moving.
Row an easy 300-500m on the erg. Get your heart rate up a little and try to get a light sweat going. We recommend holding 20 strokes per minute and rehearsing good form.
Many of us know where our tightest areas are—they're the ones that make it difficult to squat below parallel or press a barbell overhead. Spend a few minutes mobilizing and doing some soft tissue work (foam roller/LAX ball, etc.) on your "problem areas.” If you don't know where to begin, ask a coach what you should be prioritizing and we'll help you out. We also regularly refer our members to out Active Recovery classes and MobilityWOD.com. This is great resource for folks who need simple, effective strategies to help them move better.
2. Log All of Your Workouts
Training without logging is like driving without a road map. You don't know where you've been or where you're going. Taking notes on each training session helps you track your progress and helps us make informed decisions about how to assist you in choosing weights and scaling movements. Each day should list some quantitative and qualitative notes about your training session. Here is an example:
3 rounds NFT
5 Snatch PP (22lb bar)
5 Muscle Snatches
10 Push-ups on knees
Move up to yellow bar
AMRAP 15 minutes:
12 Overhead Squats, 45lbs
4 Rounds + 320m
Kept rows at about 2:23 splits, felt hard but doable. Don't shift forward during overhead squats.... Mid foot!
You can track your workouts in a journal or online. As coaches, we LOVE to read the details of your workout in the Comments section of CFSBK’s blog. It gives us a deeper perspective into your training and the programming in general.
3. Start Slow and Maintain Perspective
We take our training seriously at CrossFit South Brooklyn and with that comes with a good deal of responsibility. Our movement pool uses serious strength and conditioning exercises in order to develop broad, inclusive fitness. If we don't treat these movements and workouts with respect, training plateaus and injuries are sure to follow. The best way to ensure your success and training longevity with us is by starting slowly and developing a rock-solid technical base. In fact, the first few months you start CrossFit, intensity should not be a significant concern. The movements are potent enough that just consistently performing them will create a favorable adaptation. After you feel really comfortable with most of our exercises and have a working knowledge of your weights, only then should you start ramping up the intensity.
Training with a lifelong perspective is incredibly important. Remember that you're here to build yourself up, not break yourself down. Scaling workouts properly, listening to your body and checking your ego at the door will allow you to work out successfully for years to come. Most importantly, have fun with this stuff and enjoy the process.
Coach Fox wrote an article a few weeks ago that expands on many of these themes, called "Tips on How to be Prepared and Get the Most Out of Group Classes." Check it out!
- This is the second day of the first week of our new cycle. If you want to see what else is on tap, check out the Current Programming Cycle link in the left sidebar.
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