Written by OPEX Head Coach Robin Lyons
There’s plenty of misinformation out there about what it takes to be the best in the Sport of Fitness. Given the time of year, the halfway point of the 2018 CrossFit Open, I thought I’d dispel at least three of the myths that surround the CrossFit competition training process for athletes and coaches.
Here are the three lies you should stop believing about CrossFit Competition:
CrossFit has made its name through the popular phrase coined by its founder Greg Glassman: constantly varied functional movement performed at high intensity. Unfortunately, CrossFit HQ has bastardized this phrase and created an army of amateur coaching zealots who believe that the key to elite performance lies in training with unsustainable ‘high intensity’ on an almost daily basis.
First let’s define what high intensity means :
Secondly, not every athlete can actually train at “high intensity” as defined above, to be effective, as they do not have the mechanisms developed or nervous system to produce force that would give a higher dose response.
Thirdly, those athletes who CAN produce higher intensity efforts CANNOT sustian that output on a daily basis. This ends up is a fast track to overtraining and overreaching, stopping all progress.
Let’s look at other sports and compare. Do you think track runners, like Usain Bolt, attempt to break their personal best record every track session? Do you think olympic weightlifters attempt to beat their best lifts every day? Do you believe a marathon runner runs a marathon 3 x week to improve their performance?
The answer is no. This still hasn’t stopped many CrossFit Athletes from lifting heavy weights and hitting short-fast metcons on a daily basis, as if the Sport of Fitness is somehow an exception to this observation. The problem is most crossfit athletes who have found success at CrossFit affiliates start making progress at first without the right systems in place either because they are resilient enough for the time being or have compensated through other experiences or genetics they posses. But the limited success is short lived or true potential is never expressed as in any sport without establishing the fundamentals you can only get so far.
As I coach I am constantly educating athletes that there is an order to follow. There are rules to the game. It’s not random… It’s not whatever-the-fuck. There needs to be a plan and that plan needs to be executed and tested then modified along the way because there is NO SUCH THING as a shortcut through intensity.
A lot of amateur CrossFit athletes follow online training blogs. It’s easy to understand the appeal. They are typically backed and sometimes programmed by high profile CrossFit Athletes like Chyna Cho or Josh Bridges. Your competitive friend may entice you into one of the many ‘competitive’ blogs he/she is subscribed too.
However, this is simply clever marketing at play. Don’t be fooled by it. These high profile athletes who ‘appear’ to follow the blog likely have a personal coach who individually designs their fitness program. How else could they continue to compete at the highest levels? Genetics may certainly play a role, but it’s often professional coaching which allows them to continue their sport.
Get a real coach.
This is a big fat lie. Long-term athlete development is a process that takes multiple years and /or decades. Look at the Winter Olympics for an example, what athlete competed with a training history of only 6 -12 months? Olympics athletes spend a lifetime dedicated to developing their fitness, skill and competitive experience to compete at the highest levels in their sport.
Physiological characteristics in the sport for CrossFit demand the allocation of considerable time. Time dedicated in developing those characteristics such as:
That’s just to name a few of the characteristics required. It’s simply not possible to become a master in all of these categories in a few months. Athletes who are looking to fast track to gain or taste success is participating in the sport for the wrong reason in my opinion. Like I mentioned earlier there is no such thing as a “ free lunch” in sport.
Training for CrossFit competition involves a plan that meets the athlete where their fitness ends. Some athletes mention that they don’t have the “time” to train for 2-3 hours a day or to dedicate for 3-5 years to be great. I have heard this repeatedly… and my answer is then you are in it for the wrong reasons. I believe athletes who are looking for quick success, happiness, love, acceptance, recognition in their sport and end up chasing dust in the wind (enter song here).
Fast tracking for “INSTA” success is like dipping your toes in the water without jumping straight in. You end up missing the depth in your sporting journey and you never grasp the process of mastering something, one thing, that grants you access to a deeper, universal understanding. This of course comes down to the total experience… and what “experiences” do you really want?
CrossFit® is a registered trademark of CrossFit, Inc. OPEX Fitness’s uses of the CrossFit® mark are not endorsed by nor approved by CrossFit, Inc., and OPEX Fitness is in no way affiliated with nor endorsed by CrossFit, Inc.