Part I: New Cycle, New You? A guide on how to tweak your training for adaptation

So you’ve been doing CrossFit for a while. Maybe a year, maybe a few months. Hell, even those of you just starting up should listen in on this. At first it was “the hardest thing you’ve ever done” and you were trying to remember the differences between the thruster and the clean and jerk and you got eaten alive every time burpees popped up in a workout. But now you’ve been at this for a little while, you’re noticing some changes in your body, your lifts are improving, you’re noticing you can rep out burpees a little bit easier – newsflash: they never get that much easier - and you’ve become the person in class newer members ask to differentiate between the clean and jerk and the thruster.

Here’s the other thing you notice: you’ve been coming in and giving every day everything you’ve got. You go as heavy as you can during strength and as close to prescribed as possible during conditioning, and you’re starting to tire. What was once a thrill to come into the gym every day, is now seemingly a chore. “I have to go workout…” Rest assured, we do our damnedest to program variety, to make classes fun and engaging and to help you perform at an intensity appropriate for where you’re at. But let’s face it, eventually you will hit a point where you are dragging yourself in. I can see you naysayers out there – “That’ll never be me! I’m determined and I love it!” – but I promise you, one of these days you’ll want something different. You’ll find other things to fill your time with. You’ll want a break.

You might be thinking, “Caitlin, are you trying to sabotage your own livelihood?! How sacrilegious of you!” Perhaps, but I’m being honest. And don’t think I’m just going to leave you hanging with this depressing news that the CrossFit glow will fade. I have a solution and one that doesn’t involve extra money or time. All you have to do is train smarter.

What does that mean? Great questions. I’ll tell you.

We are starting a new cycle today. If you can identify with anything I’ve written above, listen very carefully. If you can’t, still listen carefully. You will need this eventually. I am going to outline 5 steps that will allow you to enhance your training experience at Kingfield, merely by putting a little forethought into your training schedule. This week we’ll get to steps 1-3, the evaluation process. Next week, we’ll chat about steps 4-5 which will give you the tools to make some easy changes to revamp your training. Without further ado, buckle your seatbelts…

1.     We need variance. It’s the reason CrossFit works so well. That whole “constantly varied” concept that you hear thrown around the gym, that’s the key. However, if you’re always coming in on Monday, Tuesday, resting Wednesday, and back at it Thursday through Saturday, we are missing some of that variance. Yes, this goes as far as our scheduling. This is likely for those of you still pretty early on, where a small change like training with a different crowd can make a huge difference (a little further on, I’m going to recommend some training schedules and then how to approach training within those schedules.) Tip #1: If you’re feeling stale, try coming on a different day.

2.     That above being said, consistency and schedule are important to us, especially if you’re "type A" like me. I tend to train Monday through Wednesday, Friday and Saturday with rest days on Thursday and Sunday. That works well for me and I don’t see that changing, so Tip #1 doesn’t work too well for me. What you need to do is identify your schedule. If it’s relatively rigid, that’s totally fine. Write it down. Is it every day of the week? Is it consistent or varied? Do you have a rest day? Do you have time to do other things like go hiking, take a yoga class, go swimming or go on a bike ride? Or are you getting 100% of your movement done at the gym? Honest assessment is key here. Look at what you’ve done the past month, not what you intend to do. Tip #2: Write down and assess your current workout schedule.

3.     We’re going to dive deeper into that assessment. This might take some time. It’s possible you’ve never thought about these things before so don’t be afraid to do this in the coming week. The more honest we can be about it, the better outcome we’ll get. What days are you really amped to get into the gym? What days are you kinda sorta dragging yourself there? What movements or workouts do you get really excited about? What movements or workouts do you not like so much? Take your workout schedule (that you should’ve written down) and make some notes – “On Monday’s I’m always fired up regardless of the workout because I don’t come in on the weekends” or “On Thursday’s I’m always dragging because it’s my fourth day of training in a row and I’m sore and tired and have so much to do at work and at home and…” Check out the example below.

a.     You wrote out your workout schedule and evaluated your days. It looks like this:

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b.     Is there anything wrong with this? HELL NO! There are tons of positives! We’ve identified likes (squats, weightlifting, skills – even though you missed them), motivators (friends, class size, type of conditioning), and our schedule (as often as possible is how I would classify this one).

c.     That being said, can you see where we get ourselves in trouble? Can you see where, with a little forethought, we could’ve had four really solid days of training instead of two great days and 5 subpar ones?

d.     Tip #3: Identify your highs and lows in your current training schedule.

You now have one week to try on steps 1-3. If you’re really serious about this, when you sit down to read this blog next Monday, you’ll have a sheet of paper next to you, pencil or pen eagerly twitching to make edits and get excited about your exercise.

We’ll follow up Part 2 of this blog with some tips on sleeping, stress and eating that should have us humming right into summer! Stay tuned!

-Coach Caitlin