Throughout my seven years of doing CrossFit as my main form of exercise, a lot has changed. I’ve opened gyms, gotten married, adopted a son, bought a first house, and gotten seven years older. Life has been a constant roller coaster, and throughout all the changes I’ve noticed some changes in my philosophy about working out. I’ve had a few realizations over the years that I wish I could go back and tell 2012 Chris before he heads down this crazy rabbit hole. I’d probably start by saying “THIS IS GOING TO BE AMAZING AND CHANGE YOUR LIFE, DUDE! Congrats, you just stumbled into your life’s calling!”
These are three things that would have improved my experience, fitness, and my life in general. I’m passing these words of wisdom to you now, in hopes that it will help you enjoy your fitness journey even more, and keep you moving forward even when times get hard.
Quality over Quantity, Intensity over Volume
One of the fascinating parts about CrossFit is that we have unparalleled access to see the training programs of the highest level athletes in the sport. We pop on Instagram and see Games-level athletes working out for 5 hours a day, and the incredible things they can do with their body because of it. It’s hard not to fall in the trap of thinking that if you could just work out a little more every day, you’d get stronger so much faster! And since there’s always this demand, “competitor programs” are available for anyone to subscribe to online. We can follow along with the pros! If it works for them, it’ll work for me, right?
I fell into this trap a couple years into my CrossFit journey. I loved competing, and wanted to keep improving. So I started following one of these competitor programs. I’d go in before work to do the strength sessions, then come back later in the day to do the (multiple) conditioning pieces and accessory work. This meant at least 2-3 hours in the gym every day. It was pretty fun at first, but my body held up for a month or two before my performance actually started to drop. I couldn’t put full effort into any of the workout pieces, and I felt like crap. I was always extremely sore, and I felt lethargic in my workouts. If I’m not progressing and I’m not having fun, what’s the point?
Unless you’re in the upper ~5% of athletes, you will benefit more in the long run from putting all your effort and focus into one workout piece per day. Hit it with everything you’ve got. You’ll keep progressing, you’ll have energy, your body will feel better, and you won’t get burned out.
More is not better. Better is better. That simple mantra has completely revitalized my love for coaching, CrossFit, and working out in general.
As the great Ron Swanson once said…