BLUF: Fitness isn’t solely achieved through the one hour spent doing CrossFit. Fitness is maximized by building a plan for the other 23 hours of the day to create a full-spectrum approach.
Most standard CrossFit athletes can look forward to the hour they spend in their CrossFit box to be the best of their day. Dedicated attention (sometimes too much) from your Coach, actually doing a warm-up and cool-down, usually a strength and metcon, and then a high-five or fist-bump with your fellow classmates when it’s all done. Feels good, right? However, organizing the other 23 hours of the day is probably even more important to meeting your overall fitness. You won’t have any coaches looking over your shoulder to make sure you stay on task; self-discipline will be the key to unlocking even more of your fitness potential.
Here are five area that should be incorporated into your schedule. Consider these mandatory appointments!
Accessory Work – Talk with your coach and ask about the accessory work that focuses on your weaknesses. For me, this this involves a lot of shoulder and back exercises, such as Crossover Symmetry or Handstand Push-up progressions. Some of the work may look like traditional body building movements, and that’s ok. These exercises can usually be completed after your regular class and should be complementary to the body of work you already have scheduled. Timing and placement of this work may require assistance, so I’ll repeat that you should talk with your coach to formulate a strategy.
Mobility Work – When winding down and watching some CrossFit Games Behind the Scenes or season 3 of Narcos, clear your furniture and use the space to roll and stretch out. Just purchasing a foam roller doesn’t count (gasp!), you actually have to use it consistently to reap the benefits. Rollers, lacrosse balls, yoga blocks/straps, and even electro-stimulators such as Compex offer you the chance to speed up the recovery from the most recent WOD or the accumulation of WODs. Multitasking isn’t always the answer, but watching entertainment and mobilizing seem to make a great fit. If you need specific guidance, programs such as ROMWOD or MobilityWOD are just a click away.
Nutrition – This should be dedicated to your meal prep. Not only do you have to have the discipline to make better food choices throughout your week, you need to find the recipe, buy the ingredients, cook the food, sort them, and do your dishes (don’t be an asshole, do you own dishes). In addition to having these meals prepped, make sure you buy smart decisions like fruit, vegetables, and jerky to meet any cravings that attack you through the day. Coach Glassman makes it a point that Nutrition is the foundation of any successful training program, and CrossFit is no exception.
Sleep – I won’t get into the optimal number hours of sleep, but being consistent and taking advantage of a pre-sleep routine can organize any choices. If you’re a morning athlete like me, you probably aren’t living it up late at night as often as you used to when you were in your 20s (wait, that’s just me). Right before bed, read something physical like a book or magazine to give your eyes a rest. If you’re lucky, talk w/your partner in bed to share some thoughts on the recent day or the upcoming day. Maybe it’ll even turn into another cardio session, hehehe. Recovery with quality sleep is something that literally everyone should be taking advantage of, because we all have to sleep!
Mindfulness – With 1,440 minutes in a day, aim to spend at least 10 of them quietly to work on reflection and meditation. Doing this work at the beginning or the end of your day will depend on your preferences, but just like the other four areas mentioned the key is to be consistent. If you aren’t familiar or experienced with meditation, look for a simple app like Headspace that can narrate your thought process to keep you calm and relaxed. A consistent mindfulness practice can easily turn into the best 10 minutes of your day.