This is a re-post from way back when. With all the recent additions to the CFC family I thought it'd be a good idea to throw it up again. For you veterans, it's a pretty good reminder of where we were and where we're headed.
I saw the following post from CrossFit South Bay in So Cal & to be quite honest, they were able to convey the message I have in my head in a much more eloquent fashion. Society has created an expectation of instant gratification. We want something and we want it now. There is a pill or powder for just about anything we want to do these days. Get smaller, bigger, faster, more awake or sleepier in a heartbeat. Everything is promoted by “easy” and “fast”. The downside, is that none of these methods provide sustainable results, if they provide results at all.
Some of us get a little frustrated with CrossFit because we expect immediate results for all of our hard work. We look around and see everyone else progressing so much faster. How do they have kipping pull-ups already? How are her double unders so good? How did he get so strong all of a sudden?
Gains are made a few seconds and pounds at a time. The people who make the biggest and quickest gains work extremely hard at improving their technique and form and attacking their weaknesses. After watching different athletes progress, there seems to be a common timeline for everyone. Of course there are certain assumptions.
- Comes to CrossFit between 4 and 5 times per week
- Has adequate nutrition and sleep/rest
- Listens to the coaches on recommended weights and does assigned homework
- Comes early to work on skills and stays late to work on mobility and/or strength
- Was not grossly inactive or recovering from a significant injury
First 2 weeks
Usually the first two weeks of CrossFit is going to be either On-Ramp or Elements classes. The main goal for these classes is to teach the correct form and movement standards. Most athletes won’t be perfect with the compound movements, but they will at least understand the areas of improvement. They also learn mobility techniques and begin to build a base level of strength.
The next month is spent figuring out limitations. Athletes are instructed to always err on the lighter side of weights. Here most of you will find out what movements you are comfortable with and where you really need work. This can be the most frustrating month for most because you are generally working out next to advanced CrossFitters who aren’t even comparable to your level of fitness. So just don’t compare yourself to them. They have hundreds if not thousands of hours of work on you. Take this month to figure out your comfortable pace and where you hit the wall and how much you rest. Get a baseline on all of your lifts. This will help you and your coaches understand how to scale workouts and how to help you attain your goals.
Most people really start to take off about their 3-month mark. By now most girls have gotten their first kipping pull-up and most guys can do a handstand push-up. Most athletes have built up their base level of strength, which allows them to do most of the movements correctly. The majority of the movement deficiencies begin to correct themselves. Recovery times lessen and you don’t feel like you’re about to die during every workout. Athletes begin to finally feel stronger, but also forget how far they have come. Some athletes don’t feel like they have made progress because they have just gotten to a base level of strength to be able to perform the majority of movements at a safe level. Remind yourself what it was like in On-Ramp. Now is the time to really clean up those Olympic lifts and focus on your weaknesses. Stick to the plan and push harder.
By now the athlete should be able to perform most of the movements proficiently. Most of the workouts seem doable. Lots of PRs in lifts and metcon times. Athlete works on not just being good at lifts, but becoming perfect. The Olympic lifts begin to make sense and the athlete has become aware of how their body moves. Muscle soreness is down to an acceptable level. Workout intensity has increased significantly. Sleep and nutrition are much more of a factor now that the training has become more intense. You can see the progress in the athlete both aesthetically and functionally. Most of their initial pains (i.e. knees, shoulders, back, etc) have gone away. Those who play a sport can see a drastic improvement in strength and stamina.
Most athletes have decided to put their training to the test in either a CrossFit competition, a sport or a race. Training becomes more specialized to attack specific weaknesses while maintaining strengths. Some start to help coach classes and help with On-Ramp. Most workouts are done as prescribed and some are scaled up. Some athletes may plateau in their training for a couple of months, which is sometimes due to overtraining. Athletes start exploring new means of torture like performing a workout in firefighter turnouts or weight vests or sand WODs.
By now most athletes have become pretty damn fit. Some may not feel like it because they are constantly searching for improvement. 8 months ago you were just hoping for 10 double unders in a row and now you want 2 minutes unbroken. Where you wanted to overhead squat more than the bar becomes 10 times at your bodyweight. Where you used to feel like you would never be able to do any of the things you saw other people doing, you now feel like you can pretty much accomplish anything. You fully understand your body and the steps that need to be taken to get that next PR.
It’s not an overnight process. The only way to get those results is to work hard, smart and diligently. I always find it upsetting when I see someone just about to round the curve and they quit right before that first kipping pull-up or that first Rx workout. There are no shortcuts or magic pills. Some of us may progress faster and some may progress slower, but the point is that we ARE making progress. We are better than we were yesterday. Post experiences to comments.