A friend of mine who coaches in Austin, Texas posted a recent article he wrote regarding "getting back to the basics" where he spoke about mastering simpler movements (in his example, he used the squat, the push up, and the pull up) in order to build a large foundation for the wide gamut of movements that CrossFit asks us to do.
That got me thinking about what I consider to be the basics that everyone needs to have covered. This list is aimed at novice or rookie trainees, people who really haven't worked out very much in the past. If you think you're past the "rookie" stage and you don't have these things down, I've got some bad news for you... Here we go:
Keeping a training log
We talk about this every couple months, and we do our best to accomodate your busy lifestyles by offering an online photo album of whiteboard photos so you can look back and see how you did on specific days, but that's not enough. You've gotta have a specific place where you keep not only what workouts you did and your results, but also how you felt on a given day and your thoughts on how the work outs went. I keep my log on a Google Document that I can search (which is nice considering this current iteration of my log has more than a year's worth of workouts) and not only can I find what my benchmarks are, but I know how I felt on specific days after specific workouts, in the middle of specific weeks. The more data I have, the more informed my training decisions become. Here's an example of an entry from my training log:
Consistently attending class
So you signed up at the gym, but you still haven't consistently used all your classes each week. You know you lose those right?! Seriously, how can you claim to be committed to your own health and fitness if you won't make it a priority to carve out the time to attend class? Maybe you've gotta wake up early in the morning and hit up the AM classes, or maybe you've gotta stop going out so late on the weekends and make it to one of the weekend AM classes, or one of a million other things. The point is that you can't ask any of your coaches "why can't I do a pull up yet?" or "why do my overhead squats suck so much?" if you aren't consistently attending class.
Practicing at home
Overhead squats, along with double unders are probably two of the most common things that trip up beginners. They take a lot of time and patience to develop and master. Fortunately, you can practice these movements with little to no equipment. How? Well, get a jumprope and spend 10 minutes every day jumping rope. Or get a broom, screw off the head, and use the handle to practice the overhead squat at home. Don't wanna go through the trouble? Then try wall squats. I'm pretty sure your house or apartment has walls, so find an empty space along it and practice those wall squats. Once you get better at wall squats, your balance, mobility, and flexibility will all get better and suddenly the overhead squat isn't as scary as it used to be.
Being aware of your nutrition
You're working out like a fiend, but you don't have the abs of steel yet...what the hell!? Well, a classic training phrase is that "abs are made in the kitchen" and it's true. It takes time and dedication to see those love handles and that spare tire disappear, and if you haven't figured it out yet, CrossFit isn't about getting "shredded in 90 days". We're here to give you the skills you need to live a healthy and fit life, not a healthy and fit 90 days. That's not to say it won't happen (the Fight Gone Paleo Challenge is a great place to really go after your goals for 7 weeks and see what you can accomplish in that short period of time), but you've gotta know what you're putting in your body, how you can improve your nutrition, and how your nutrition affects your body.
5 rounds for time
Posted by Armen.