We often hear people say they don’t have time for rest and recovery but the biology is simple – if you like to work hard during a WOD – and we all do J - and you want to get better and better – and we all do J - then you need to take care of yourself.
At Sledgehammer most WODs have a small section at the bottom which says “mobility”, usually with some focus areas to get you started. We are also starting to more specifically spend time focusing on this at the end of the class through a mixture of stretching exercises and mobility work to get you cooled down before you scuttle off back to your real life.
It’s that time of the year, the beginning part, the part where you set goals. Some people call them resolutions, but they’re actually different. Goals are the end point of a resolution – the thing you commit to achieving through that resolution, and often people forget about that rather important bit. Let me give you an example: often people say “This year will be the year I lose weight” – that’s a pretty typical New Year’s resolution, but where is the goal? Some would say the goal is just that, to lose weight, but the goal actually needs to be more specific to qualify as a goal – it needs to be along the lines of “This year I will lose 10 kgs” - now we are talking! And how about a kicker… “and keep it off”!
So let me say it again: Now is the time to set goals. If you’ve been doing CrossFit for a while then you’ll be familiar with our record keeping – we record our results, we record our benchmarks, we record our achievements – why? Because we like to see progress, we like to know that what we are doing is working – that we are getting stronger, fitter, and more capable. There are other benchmarks – weight, clothes size, body fat percentage, general wellness, all important too. What’s my point? if you’re doing CrossFit you’ve already started an important part of goal setting process, its the bit where you find out where you are. Knowing where you are is important because you can now establish not only where you want to go, but how you plan to get there. Back to our example: So you want to lose weight? OK…how much? OK got the number? Ok, how are we going to do it? If you’ve been doing CrossFit then continue as you were, but then let’s now look at your diet or let’s look at the frequency you come to class or the intensity you achieve and play with those elements. If you’re not doing any exercise, then let’s look at starting some. Obviously we recommend CrossFit but we don’t turn our noses up at any form of exercise – it’s all good and good for you, if done correctly. Next step in the goal-setting-goal-achieving universe: you need a coach and you need some fans. Again, CrossFit comes with pre-installed coaches that you can call your own and a community which doubles as a really great fan base – we all really and truly want to see you succeed, because we know how hard you’re trying, because we are all trying that hard too…so boy can we relate. But when you go home or to your friends place you need fans there too – what we’re saying is: surround yourself with people that support you and your goals, there is no room for negativity in the goal-setting-goal-achieving universe.
Last thing is probably both the easiest and the hardest part of this whole deal – do the work. Just do the work. Just put your head down and get it done. Sometimes you will hurt, sometimes you will be cranky, sometime you might even feel your lip wobble because you’re tired and just want to veg on the couch. Sometimes, usually mid-WOD, you will wonder what the hell you are actually doing there in the first place, but don’t give in to any of it, just remember what you are doing, and why, that you have a coach and fans who want to see you achieve your goals, and most importantly that you have already started so why turn back now.
To end off, a thought from an American Coach, famous for his pioneering kettlebell work, Coach Chris Holder: “I have a question for you. If I could guarantee that by the end of next year, you would be the healthiest you have ever been, that you would have energy throughout the entirety of the day, that your sleep, mood, and overall feeling of well-being would be at an all-time best, and, most importantly, you would look better than you ever have (naked) - what would that be worth to you?”
Puzzling over your goals? Corner a coach and let them help you through this process. We’re always ready and willing to get involved J
There are many benefits of Crossfit and below we’ve listed a few, but today we’d love to hear some of the benefits you’ve felt since you’ve been doing Crossfit. Whether it’s more comfortably lifting your kiddie everyday, or summiting the berg, we want to hear it all!
This is a really great perspective into CrossFit for those starting out, or something nice to reminisce over for those who’ve been doing it for a while. We’ve “summerised” it below because we know you’re all busy, but if you do have a chance then give the full article read, it’s worth it.
The 10 Things That Will Happen When You Begin CrossFit
What led to me beginning CrossFit was a realization that, if left to my own devices, I would never push myself hard enough to truly make the changes I needed to in order to get in shape. Occasional jogs and going through the chest-and-biceps motions of a traditional gym simply weren't going to get it done.
For those who are thinking about trying CrossFit and rewriting their own futures, below are the first ten things that will happen.
- You will find out how truly out of shape you are. You will likely sweat like a pig and require numerous breaks to catch your breath even during this relatively easy phase. This is because you are engaging and stretching muscles that have been dormant for years. You will also be sucking at the air for every molecule of oxygen you can get.
- You will realize how fat you and other regular people are compared to real athletes.This is because your certified instructors will have the physiques of comic book superheroes. You will weigh 40 percent more than them but they will be somewhere between 50 and 150 percent stronger than you. The instructors are not huge or freakishly jacked like traditional body builders, but I wouldn't want to bet against them in any contests of strength. You will learn about real strength very soon.
- You will begin learning the lingo and using it without feeling like a dork:
- O.D (or WOD): Workout of the Day, this is the combination of exercises, prescribed weights and time allotment that will be the law of the land from the first class to the last.
- RX: When one does the prescribed amount of weight and reps, one is said to have RX'd (as in, he or she followed the prescription).
- Box: CrossFit centers are not called gyms, they're called "boxes" and many of them resemble just that. There are no smoothie bars or aerobics studios in one's peripheral vision, just the iron bar you'll hang from, the weights you'll thrust up above your head and the ground you'll drip your perspiration and occasional tears into until you feel as though you've become a part of the place. This is your box.
- Your friends and family will start Googling the term CrossFit and giving you warnings."Oh, you're doing that Cross thing, I think I just read something about that..." They will also come across [disorders and] stories about injuries and the like associated with CrossFit search terms. The reality is that these types of injuries can and do occur with any kind of training if taken too far and under the wrong type of supervision.
- You will get insanely good at counting.Everything in CrossFit is about reps. 20 clean & jerks followed by 10 box-jumps topped off with 30 sit-ups, then repeat five times and compete for time. Think about the counting, the counting down, the mental division of large quantities of reps into small, more manageable-seeming blocks. "Okay, let me get five more then take a breath and then just three more and then only two sets left until I'm three fifth's of the way through the five rounds."
- You'll begin to respect endurance and stamina. You will begin to be much more amazed at things like quad strength and lower back strength. You'll be blown away by the ability of others to do hundreds of airsquats or hold various static positions. When you can barely get through 30 seconds in these positions but you see someone hold them for 4 to 6 minutes, all of your ideas about what being strong means will be out the window.
- You will gain weight at first[, or the scale just won’t budge].The most frustrating part of my first month at CrossFit was the weight gain. Simply stated, because you are using muscles that have been out of the game for years, you will be building those muscles rather rapidly, and muscle weighs more than fat. So while you will definitely be shedding water weight puffiness and sweating like you've been on a scavenger hunt in a rainforest, the scale will [initially] be ticking up not down.
- You'll notice an uptick in energy, even when you're dead sore from CrossFitting.This new-found energy bounce comes from the fact that you're dragging less fat around with you all day and you're breathing easier. You're putting less wear and tear on your cardiovascular and pulmonary systems and the dividend is you can keep up with your kids and accomplish more each day. The confidence and happiness that comes along with this is self-explanatory.
- You will learn about your mental weakness.My box, the CrossFit Lighthouse, posts the Workout of the Day on their website each morning. Three weeks in, once I had learned all the various exercises, I found myself hitting up the site and deciding based on what the W.O.D. was whether or not I was going to attend that day. I realized that I was picking and choosing the workouts like they were on an a la carte menu, "I'll do this but I'm skipping that because my ankle is acting up." Once I realized this about myself, I stopped going to the site.
- You will learn a lot about your mental toughness.You will find that you barely knew yourself at all before beginning this adventure. That you didn't have a clue about what really made you tick, your own elemental motivations and desires. In the heat of battle, when your head is soaked in sweat and there is nothing but the clanging of metal and the grunting of others around you, you will reach inside of yourself and go to that next level.
In my first three months of CrossFit, I came to grips with who I truly was, how out of shape I had let myself become and what kind of impact a steady and compounding list of physical achievements could have on my daily life. Now I find myself fleeing from the city after work each day at top speed just to make it back in time for a class.
But I've found a new addiction, something that both takes everything from me -- physically, emotionally and mentally -- and then gives me back even more than I had before. I'm hooked, and now all I want to do is keep getting better at it.