Busting Your Gym Slump — By Coach Alison

If you’re spending time in a gym or a CrossFit box, things can feel stagnant at times. Here are 3 simple ways to see progress in the gym that you can implement immediately.

Appreciate where you are

It’s good to have goals. And your coaches get excited when you talk about wanting to learn new skills or develop new strengths (because we can help with that.) But there is something magical about appreciating where you are, right now. 

Maybe it’s in acknowledging that you’ve made progress already — stringing three pull-ups together when pull-ups weren’t an option for you when you walked into the gym, or that you have been going to at least two classes a week since joining the gym. It could also be in appreciating what you are lucky enough to have — a healthy body, time to workout most days, the belief that a muscle up is possible for you.

When you look ahead to where you’d like to be, don’t lose sight of where your feet are. Be grateful for where (and how) you are standing in this moment.

Ask for specific help to progress in the gym

If you’re looking to make progress with strength or skills in the CrossFit gym, one of the best things you can do is to ask for specific help. Asking for help is a close second.

Let’s say you had a goal in mind relating to deadlifts, so you walked up to your coach and said something like “I’d like to get better at deadlifts.” What happens next might get you closer to your goal, assuming that your coach knows what you mean by “get better” or that they ask you to clarify.

Your intention might be to be able to lift a lot of weight once, but in asking for help to “get better” your coach interprets that as being able to lift bodyweight deadlifts at high speed. You could see progress in your overall strength but it wouldn’t be as beneficial as a program geared specifically towards building strength.

Taking the same goal, you could walk up to your coach and ask “what work can I do to add 50 pounds to my current deadlift 1 rep max?” You are both now on the same page and your coach can give you accessory work that is specific to your goal. They can also weave your goal into the class workout by tailoring your bar weight or rep scheme to help with your goal of lifting 50 more pounds. 

Or maybe you are struggling with double unders (DUs). Ways you can ask for specific help with that movement could be 

  • I hold my breath during DUs, how do you maintain an easy breath during big sets?
  • In workouts with 50 DUs, my grip is shot with barbell movements. Do you think I need to work on my grip strength or does it have to do with my DU form?
  • Will you watch me do a small set of DUs and give me 1 or 2 things to work on when I have extra time? 

Specific help doesn’t have to be quantified by a number. The purpose of asking for specific help is because you’re responsible for your own life. Frame your question or your request for help in a way that will give you the best (and most useful) results. If the answer to your question/request lines up with what you need, you are much more likely to use the information consistently.

Put in the work, sometimes

With the answers you’ve received from asking for specific help, it’s time to do the work. Sometimes. Simply put, it’s not all or nothing. 

You might have gotten some feedback that you can implement before or after your workout. If you take classes on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, don’t feel like you aren’t going to see progress if you don’t do the extra work on all four days.

Maybe traffic was bad on Monday and you had an event to get to on Wednesday. Still doing the accessory work on Friday and Saturday means that you put in two days of effort to improve, which is going to help you progress more than zero days of effort.

In order to make progress, you must be willing to do the work. You, also, must be willing to be human and know that something is better than nothing. Because at the end of the day, progress is progress. 



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