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10 things I have learned from being a CrossFit coach

August 9, 2016

1) You do not need to PR everyday, Training and testing are two different things.

2) Do the strength work and percentages properly. If the strength work is front squats 4 sets of 5 @ 80%, then make sure you do that properly. It’s not time to go for a PB squat or do a few warm up reps at 50% then go for one heavy set at 90%. That tough percentage work is what will get you the PBs later down the track.

3) Sometimes you have to push past your limits in your workouts when your brain is telling you to stop. We all know what that feels like (open workouts anyone?), and going to that redline point in training every so often is a good idea.

4) However, being smart with your training is important. Have a plan with your sets and reps, stick to the percentage progammed during strength work (see above) and do the sets properly. Have a bit of strategy with your pacing in workouts. Try and stick to the intended time frame for completing your work, even if it means scaling more to work the right energy system. Improvement doesn’t occur just because you flailed about mindlessly with abandon for an hour and got your heartrate up. Whether you like it or not, at some point you have to start taking ownership of your workouts.

5) Ladies, you will only get stronger if you lift genuinely heavy weights for you, in that uncomfortable zone (80-90%), where you have to put a lot of effort into each rep. If you aren’t willing to do that, then stop complaining that you aren’t getting stronger.

6) On the other hand, other people need to take some weight off and focus on form. Scale as needed to complete the movements with the best possible form and range of motion you can.

7) The best coaching cues are the ones that actually work and are understood and deliver, not the ones that sound the smartest or use the biggest words (“engage your …” “externally rotate your…” Many people will make no connection with these words and their body). I have found stimulating a visual helps, as does making a connection between their body and my words. The regular girls in the morning class have heard me use all sorts of analogies and visuals ("shirts up not skirts out" when doing olympic lifts, "squat like you are taking a shit in the forest" when squatting, haha)

8) More is not always better. More cardio, more running, hundreds of light weight reps, more more more of everything. Did you know that you can sometimes spend a whole hour or two just burning your hard-earned muscle, which is not making you leaner or stronger. It’s making you weaker. If you don’t have enough glycogen in your body or you have used it all up and yet you continue to do mindless high intensity work you will be burning muscle. Wondering why your body isn’t showing more visible muscle after your months of training? Maybe you just keep burning all your gains with things like two-a-days before and after work, marathons of several metcons in a row etc. Nothing wrong with doing extras and it’s great to be committed to training, but if you are going to do extras, think about doing quality work. Ask your coach for some suggestions of extras that will get you closer to your goals and work on those things. And make sure you fuel your training appropriately.

9) Show up consistently and don’t be a cherry picker. Even if you don’t like the workout, just show up. You won’t get better at the things you don’t like or suck at if you never practice them.

10) Making hard things look easy is anything but easy. True mastery is ease and grace in a movement.

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