CrossFit: Part Deux


Apr 7, 2020

 by Mitch Potterf
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If you read my first article on CrossFit and you are still here congratulations. I’m sure you are stronger, fitter, smarter, better looking and a whole lot cooler person. If not, there is still hope for you… just click here, spend a few minutes catching up, and we’ll be on our way to more awesomeness. If you were one of the people who didn’t enjoy my last contribution to fun and fitness, then this is your exit cue. Avert your eyes, click into a different window, talk with some humans, or put in a fun video and cuddle up with the cat… THIS IS NOT FOR YOU!

Ok, now that it’s just us cool kids — let’s get to work. Whether you are adding CrossFit into your own work-outs, going to a registered affiliate or just getting started, there are a few things we need to get fixed.

Set a goal, not a wish, not an inspiring butterfly-laden internet meme, but a real “I’m gonna do it, this shit is happening” goal. Look, to-do lists are great, but to-done lists are what gets you where you want to be  You can inspire the shit out of everyone on Faceschool, but in the end you set out to do something, not aspire to it. There are a million articles that exist on how to set a goal, so I’m not going to waste your time with all of that. Your fitness goal is the thing that just popped in your head. What you need to do now is set a path backward from that goal, and then change gears and start moving forward. There will be obstacles and setbacks, but fuck that shit and keep moving forward. The overall value you’re adding to your life by setting a big ass goal, working, pushing, falling down and getting back up to finish will improve your life in ways you can’t even imagine. It makes everyone around you better — all in the simple pursuit of a pull up, muscle up, or fucking double under. Damn, you’re a bad ass.

Stop Trying to Rx the WOD and start MeXing the WOD – When I was a kid playing backyard football, I would imagine that I was Brian Sipe, Ozzie Newsome and Mike Pruitt. I was leading the Browns on a game winning drive (remember those). I would throw the ball, catch it, and run over everyone. Everyone was also 65 pounds (MeXed), and if they had actually been full size (Rxed), I probably wouldn’t have faired so well. The same goes for CrossFit. It’s great to put the stresses of the day aside, throw on the special shoes and throw off the shirt but if you’re not actually moving the big weight like the big boys (fast), then you’re doing it wrong. One of the keys to continuous improvement and long term success is good sound mechanics at intensity (speed). Just because the board says 135lbs and you can grind through 15 horrendous slow reps at 135lbs, doesn’t mean that you should. Back it off, do it perfect and faster, not Rxed and slower. Look at the WOD, assess the situation and level the playing field. Stop chasing the Rx ribbon and ask for help to modify the workout to be better for your goals. There is a time and place for everything. There is nothing wrong with pushing the envelope a bit, but pick your shots. A good thing is a good thing and too much of a good thing is too much. Bottom line: know your abilities and scale workouts accordingly and you will get what you want.

Know the numbers – It’s hard to get somewhere if you don’t know where you’re at. Good programming and hard effort can get you pretty far, but a lot of this is just guestimating bullshit unless you know the score. Seriously trying to figure out how to get better without tracking/scoring some things is like trying to figure out who wins a youth soccer game when nobody keeps score and everyone gets a ribbon. That’s cool if you just need a fitness sticker, but don’t tell me you want to get better if you don’t want to know what the score is.

Long WODs – These are the ones in the 20-infinity time domain. These can be fun and popular and if you have put in the proper prep work to earn your turn they are ok in moderation, but they aren’t going to get you anything but wrecked. While you’re at it, the WOD is not the place to develop skills and get stronger — it’s a test or conditioning segment. Take some time before or after the WOD to get stronger and more skilled.

Squat More – I know you already squat more than you ever have, but as long as you do it properly, it’s going to help. I’m not necessarily saying that you need to do it with weights all day, but how about just sitting in a perfect (as you can get) squat position for a few minutes spread throughout the day? There are some days it may seem painful, but you mostly just sit at a desk checking Facebook and reading exercise blogs anyway, so get up and squat a little. Once you get that locked down you can add in a few more heavy days.

Run More – We get it… you don’t like it, but just because you lift weights doesn’t mean you can forsake the most basic, functional human action. It doesn’t have to be long, but two to three miles per week mixed up into various intervals will make sure you can still be the only guy actually running hard at the local 5k to raise awareness for Downtown residents annoyed by needless road closures (It’s a thing. I have a T-shirt).

Rest More – At least one full day of rest and an active day… maybe more if you need it. And get some consistent deep sleep. If you know how many reps you did this week but not how much sleep you’ve gotten, then you are headed down a dark path. Balance, young grasshopper. Do the work, get your rest, rinse and repeat. Remember, we’re climbing a mountain, not jumping off one.

Eat More Vegetables – You lift weight. You eat meat and bacon. You strong! You’re so badass eating that wild beast you bought at the local market, but how about you give some vegetables a little cred. #brusselssprouts #parsnips #radish – They are like nature’s skittles with actual nutritive value. Eat more real colors, and start with green.

Quit cherry-picking – Stop being such a pussy and avoiding the things you don’t like. If you’re doing your own programming, don’t always pick the stuff you like, and if you’re at an affiliate, don’t be such a pussy on deadlift day. Seriously. Crossfit is great because it finds something we are all good at (you are a snow flake, you really are). It also has a way of finding EVERYTHING you aren’t good at. That’s humbling and informative, and information is power. If you’re regularly doing things that you aren’t good at, you become better at them. Systematically overcoming things generates momentum in our lives. Next stop, Elite Fitness Supremacy and World Domination. You are a BAMF!

Stop talking about CrossFit – Seriously it isn’t for everyone. They could do it… but not right now. They want to be where they are, and that’s cool. For some, CrossFit is step one, and for others it is step seven, and others don’t ever want to go down that road. It doesn’t mean they hate exercise, just that they are communists. Leave them alone for now, that wall will fall eventually.

In the end, just quit being so fucking serious and bring it! It’s just exercise — it should be the coolest thing you do with your human machine all day. Your body wants you to do this, and it’s verified by the addiction-causing hormones it secretes when you really go for it. So get some friends together, turn the music up, kick some ass and have some fun. Then go out and do something with all that elite fitness you’re creating. Go hike or bike or swim or play a game of football in the backyard (just don’t pretend to be any current Browns players — that just ends up in pain, shame and sadness).

It’s your fitness — use it however you please just have some fun with it.