Starting out in CrossFit is great - everyday is filled with new challenges and skills. Then you start to get the hang of it, and it's PR city. You can't touch a barbell without PRing. You feel stronger and more capable everyday. You are on the fast track to badassdom, and it just keeps coming. You are unstoppable. And then, just like that, it happens... PRs start to slip away, the weight loss slows down and the frustration kicks in -- you wonder why CrossFit isn't working anymore. And then one morning you decide it's cold outside and you elect to battle it out with your snooze button instead of coming in for your morning WOD. Then one missed class turns into two, and suddenly 2 weeks have gone by since you have come into the gym and we coaches have gotten the torches out and are ready to send out the search party.......
If any part of this sounds familiar - don't fret. Despite your frustration, this is a temporary phase - a growing pain of your fitness journey. The important thing to remember is you are the tortoise, not the hare. Just because you have stopped making regular gains does not mean you have met the maximum of your fitness potential. What it does mean is that you have hit a plateau. But I will repeat - this is not permanent. There are some simple changes you can make to your routine to break this barrier and start feeling like a badass again:
- Talk to your coach - Your coach sees you on the regular, and they might have some insight as to where you should be focusing your attention. Be accountable for your fitness journey - schedule 5 minutes with them and ask!
- Change your class time - sometimes getting out of a rut can be as simple as surrounding yourself with different athletes and a different coach. New people in your routine might help you push yourself and give you the boost you need.
- Mix-up your intensity - if you have been choosing heavier weights for WODs to push your strength, try going a little lighter and turning up the speed (with good form). After a couple weeks, try switching back and test it out.
- Tweak your nutrition - maybe you've been allowing more cheat meals. Maybe you've been eating the exact same thing every single day. Just like with your exercise, you need to have variety in your diet. Mix it up and dial it in.
- Focus on recovery and mobility - the right mobility work will do wonders for you. The only hard part is figuring out which one you need. Talk to your coach and take some extra time to make sure you are addressing your issues. They just might be what's holding you back.
With any changes you make to your routine, overall remember to be patient. Most people have the potential to be good or even great athletes if they allow themselves the patience to stick it out.