CrossFit has been gaining huge popularity and many people have found a wonderful program that gets them a lot of success. There are a multitude of articles out there tying nutrition, sleep and other practices to reasons for failed results when doing CrossFit. I agree wholeheartedly that your CrossFit workout is 1 hour of your day and as a wise coach once told me “there are another23 hours in which you can F*#k it up.”
What if though, you are sleeping well, taking appropriate recovery days, eating good, taking your fish oil, etc. but your success or progress is stalled or even going the wrong direction. You have probably been doing CrossFit for over a year by now if this is you and in the beginning you saw huge PRs as are usually pretty common. You were getting stronger, faster, fitter…all the things that CrossFit can give you. Then all the sudden you are getting more and more frustrated. You work out 5-6 days a week, work on skills but yet you haven’t seen a PR or even a hint of one in months, your times are slow and although you aren’t supposed to compare yourself to others people that you used to beat or were in line with are now beating you handily at workouts. There is another piece of the puzzle and it is truly a piece that you and only you can fix.
The piece that may be missing is the big I word…INTENSITY. That is the beauty of why CrossFit works so well for people. Intensity as we define it in CrossFit is exactly equal to average power (force x distance/time). For those of you non math people out there consider it the “suckability” of the workout after you are done. Did it leave you gasping for breath? Are you laying on the floor? The greater the intensity the better change we have of optimizing results of whatever type we are looking for. i.e. weight loss, improved cardiovascular health, lower triglycerides…
So how do we increase intensity for people who may need that extra little push to see more results? Here are some suggestions to try:
- Workout dependent can you not put down the bar or get all of the reps in a set at once? Example: If there are 10 power snatches in a WOD try to pick a weight for the workout that you can do all 10 throughout the workout. Same thing with box jumps or burpees, etc.
- Transitions: think fast transitions. Can you run from one movement to the next and go right into the next movement. Example: When getting off the rower after a row in the middle of a WOD do you stroll back to your bar or the pull up bar and stare at it a while? Try thinking of jogging back to your station and put your hands right on your barbell, the pull up bar, the wall ball, etc. and do 1…then keep going
- Use the clock. We all know that the clock is who we are up against during any WOD. When you rest look up at the clock and only give yourself a set amount of rest before you have to pick up the bar. 3 seconds or 5 seconds is a good goal.
- Don’t watch others, you are truly up against yourself. Often times others can help push our intensity level, don’t get me wrong BUT what if you are in a class where everyone else is moving slow that day? Or maybe someone else’s high intensity isn’t close to what you are capable of…by watching them you may be holding yourself back. Its often easy to think…”I am way ahead of so and so, I can just stay steady in this pace and keep moving” instead of pushing yourself to your own limits.
- Don't be afraid to test the "red line" every once in a while. Try to see how fast you can go even if it means that you may either slow way down at the end or even not finish. Example: How fast can you do "Fran" with a PVC pipe and jumping pull ups???
Try a few of these and see if you can find the intensity inside of you!