Coach’s Corner: Jessica Muto
“Tough times don’t last, tough people do.” – Robert H. Schuller
The six stages of CrossFit
It’s been a little over six years since I started the exercise regime/lifestyle called “CrossFit,” and I’ve noticed that like most journeys this one has some ups and downs. CrossFit is as challenging and rewarding as you allow it to be, and understanding where you are in the cycle can help you continue to make progress and enjoy long term results.
Stage 1: You discover CrossFit and it’s the best thing ever, it’s all you talk about, you watch Crossfit and weightlifting videos constantly, and your day revolves around what the WOD is and when you’re going to do it. Your non-gym friends start to complain.
Stage 2: You start to see changes in your body composition. You know what “paleo” means and you laugh at people who eat bread. The PR’s are happening almost every time you go to the gym. You start to sign up for local competitions and strategizing workouts so you can beat old scores and your gym buddy.
Stage 3: You get hurt or maybe life piles on some extra stress and things at the gym get tough. PR’s are few and far between. You don’t talk about the gym on Facebook anymore, though you and your gym buddy still constantly compare how awful that last workout was. It’s just not that fun these days. Maybe you’re even a little frustrated or depressed because the injury is lingering or you’re not hitting the goals you wrote on the board 8 months ago. The CrossFit/weightlifting gods seem to have turned their backs.
Stage 4: You accept this is who you are now. You work out because you’re paying your membership and all your friends are at the gym, but you tell yourself you don’t care how you rank on the whiteboard. You exercise, and that’s enough. Your diet has fallen off the tracks, and you’re not staying after class for accessory work or mobility. A little sweat and out the door for a burrito.
Stage 5: One day you decide you’re not happy feeling fluffy, and you miss the way it felt to finish a WOD on the floor or to lift something heavy. You decide to actually try on a workout and you crush it, or you’re talked into going for a new 1RM on a lift and things go way better than you thought. You start to think about recommitting to a program, listening to your coaches, and taking this fitness thing for real again. You start foam rolling before class and cut back on the burritos.
Stage 6: You’ve achieved something that resembles balance. You enjoy the gym, work hard on accessory programming, mobilize like you’re supposed to, and do well in workouts. Maybe PR’s are not as frequent as the old days, but your technique is improving, newer members are asking for advice, and clothes are fitting like they should. This is the new Stage 2, only you’re wiser this time. You know injuries aren’t the end of the world, and that one cheat meal won’t throw off the whole plan, but you also know that consistency with good habits is the only way to reach those new goals you wrote on the board.
Hopefully you aren’t in Stage 3, and hopefully you don’t get there and skip the rest of the stages by giving up altogether. Tough times might happen, but they won’t last. Remember: burritos might come and go, but the barbell will never leave you.