I remember going into the crossfit box for the first time like it was yesterday. I brought my roommate along for moral support and watched the “WOD” take place. I was in awe of the intensity of the workout and the perseverance of the athletes. I couldn’t wait to be suffering with them! My first few weeks of doing crossfit were a blur. I was learning so much every day and couldn’t get enough instruction from the coaches. I felt like a sponge, soaking up as much knowledge as I possibly could. I would come to the WOD early and stay late, practicing new skills and the Olympic lifts. I gradually increased my strength and endurance for the WODs and was putting up great times with the scaled weights/movements.
I eventually made the decision to always try and do Rx (prescribed weights) even if it took me a little longer to complete the WOD (as long as my form was perfect). I continued to progress and would hit new personal records every week whether it be on a lift or getting my first Rx movement! I was thinking about crossfit all day long and dreaming about it at night. I was completely hooked and loving everything about crossfit and the athlete I was becoming!
Everything sounds swell, right? Actually… wrong! Recently, I have hit the biggest plateau of my life! I was so into crossfit and Olympic lifting that it consumed me–if I missed a lift or didn’t put up a top score on the whiteboard my whole day was ruined. I became a self-fulfilling prophecy. I would look at the WOD the night before and see that it contained a weakness of mine… I would convince myself I was going to do poorly and then I would. I eventually started dreading going into the group classes when the workout called for my weaker skills because I wouldn’t be the best. Then I just stopped going to the WODs completely. I was always tired, sore, and feeling sad. Some days it was just hard to get out of bed. I couldn’t wake up in the mornings to workout, but then I would be too tired to do the WOD or lift after work. I would train on my own which was not as much fun, but I had no motivation to train with a group. I had become jealous of the people who I trained with that were stronger or faster than me, which is not the kind of person I want to be. I love competition, and I love the company of a workout partner who will push me. I needed to get my sh*t together. ASAP.
I wanted so badly to be this athlete that I have envisioned, but I didn’t want to put in the work! I have been doing some research and talking to my friends about how to break out of a plateau and this is what I am trying myself:
- Active resting! Take a break from your normal routine and mix it up! Do something you haven’t had the time/energy to try. I have been going to hot yoga, and it is so much fun! I am thinking about incorporating it into my programming. Go on a hike, play frisbee golf, or anything else that will keep you active while giving you a break from your normal workout regimen.
- Reevaluate your nutrition. Is your fuel the right kind to support your athletic goals? Are you eating enough and staying well hydrated? If you are putting in the work at the gym, but not getting the results you expect, maybe it has something to do with your nutrition.
- Listen to your body. If you are too sore to get out of bed and cannot loosen up your muscles, your body most likely needs some time off to recover. Instead of loading up a barbell, go on a walk or swim some laps to get your blood flowing! If you are dreading going to a workout, sit down and reflect–what is holding you back?
- Set new goals! Look back at the gains you have made and see where you want to be in a few weeks, months or even a year. Sign up for a competition to help you get motivated to train.
- Get excited to workout again! Find a new workout partner and hold each other accountable to your training sessions. Surround yourself with positive energy and people who have the same goals as you. Buy yourself some new workout clothes that you cannot wait to show off! Lululemon is always a special treat for me!
I will say that I am slowly starting to break out of my plateau. I am back in the group WODs and staying positive even when I don’t do as well as I think I could have. I am staying more balanced in my training by adding trail running and hot yoga so that I don’t get burnt out in the gym!
How about you? I would love to hear your struggles with plateaus and how you broke free from them! Do you have any advice for me?
I wish you all the best of luck with your training!