Setting the Stage
CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program whose goal is a high level of work capacity, conditioning in all metabolic pathways, and the mastery of 10 elements of fitness as we define them. It is the development of the highest level of GPP (General Physical Preparedness) imaginable. We are all training to be strong, fast, agile; to leap over a fence in a single bound, run a 5:00 mile and snatch bodyweight and then some. Ideally, we will develop all of these attributes concurrently and consistently, being able to develop each element of fitness but not at the detriment of any other.
Which athlete are you?
Some of you have been doing CrossFit for a year or more now. You’ve probably experienced periods of extreme growth and accomplishment, but also times when progress seems fleeting. No doubt, you’ve gone from dropping several minutes off your WODs to a minute or less, from adding 30 pounds to your deadlift every month, to fighting every extra pound.
Others have just started in the last few months, but you may find yourself struggling with in some area. Maybe your running is the pits, or you couldn’t press a bag of groceries if your life depended on it. You’re making incredible progress in some areas, but you know for damn sure that in CrossFit, your weakest link will find a way to haunt you.
Lastly, maybe you’re just a badass. You’re soundly and consistently destroying every workout that you come across, from 1RM Deadlifts to 5k’s. You’ve got the good genes, good sense, and the sheer willpower to make you a physical specimen. But you want more; you’ve gotten 250# overhead, but you’re looking for 300, you were competitive in that last 5k you ran, but you want to get the time of the day this time, and wear some ridiculous shirt announcing yo’ve got a bigger snatch than all your competitors.
Everyone needs goals
What makes these people similar is their need or desire to define, plan for, and achieve goals in CrossFit. Yes, our goal for everyone who steps through the door is for them to get better at just about everything as stated in the first paragraph. Some people may argue that having a goal of being better at, well, everything isn’t a goal at all. Until we’re unable to consistently make that happen for our trainees, I don’t have too much to say to those people.
But eventually, and hopefully right off the bat, you guys will have your own personal goals. Maybe you see yourself as one of those people above. What will keep you on track is a log book to measure progress, and well-defined goals to ensure your progress is moving in the right direction.
Get a log book and use it
The log book is easy. Buy a small spiral bound notebook, composition book, or daily planner. Write your name on it, and leave it in the car, or here at the gym. Each day, simply write down exactly what you did, the weights you used, and your time or score. When we repeat workouts, we’ll reference the last time we did it. You get to look back at your old time and say “Hot damn, I’ve made a lot of progress here.” The log book will keep you motivated, and will allow you to know without a doubt that you have made improvements. Some people may be satisfied going to the gym and feeling better with no sense of progress or direction. That’s fine for them, but we’re only satisfied if your performance is increasing, and we’re here to make sure that happens.
Define your goals
Setting and achieving goals in CrossFit can be complicated, but doesn’t have to be. You can pick something you need to work on (burpees, double unders, running, and lifting are all popular contestants in this category) or improve something you enjoy doing. We have members who lift before workouts, or going run, bike, and swim after. Initially, simply add more volume/practice where you need it, whether it’s skill, strength, or endurance focused. Recovery is key when adding anything in with CrossFit; do too much, and you’ll be worse off than before.
Don’t be afraid to ask an instructor for a hand when trying to set goals, and figure out the best way to achieve them.