So, you've been going CrossFit for some time. You're the "regular" at the gym - but you can't help but feel dissatisfied with CrossFit. Recently, you feel like you're just going through the motions, unmotivated, and generally "not feeling". Many athletes get to this point when they've been attending class programming for some time, and what this is, is boredom. You're no longer being challenged like you used to. When you first started, there were so many of these crazy acronyms, topless, screaming people, and so so so many movements that were constantly blowing your mind. However, now you are one of those people. So, what do you do? How do you gain back the confidence in your CrossFit programming? What options do you have?
In this article, we explore the next steps and why. Why the harsh reality that class is no longer an option for you, and what you can do next?
Why are you bored of CrossFit?
Put simply: you're no longer being challenged like you used to, and you need more. At this point, pull-ups are a regular in your workouts, you've got the hang of more complex movements such as double unders, and you're just starting to attempt advanced skills such as handstand walks, muscle ups, and pistols. This is a great place to be. You should be super proud of what you've achieved.
However, if you're attending class, the more advanced skills are unlikely to turn up; the model fits towards "one size fits all". Recently, we wrote an article on when scale or go RX, and we take a deeper dive into how to adapt variations correctly to match the stimulus of the workout. You can read more here about how class might be stalling your progress.
The challenge when it comes to programming class is being able to offer members a workout that can be scaled up and down easily. As a result, more advanced movements are often left behind.
This is not to say that every workout you do has to include harder movements in order for you to be challenged, but if you're finding yourself bored, and unmotivated to train because it is the "same stuff" all the time - then exploring other options is going to be a better option.
Find Your Goal and What's Right For You - Why are there different types of programming
Here at WODprep, we commonly ask you "what's your goal?", and if you're unsure of that, "what's your why?"
*If you're you're unsure, sign up to Strong Mind to find out why you do CrossFit to be more motivated in your training. You can do so by clicking the link here.
If you're feeling bored, something is missing in your routine, and we need to find out what that void is. By digging into your goal, and your why - it allows you to find out what's the best CrossFit programming for you.
For me, competing isn't for me. Having had a background in sports, competing was the last thing on my list. However, the need to be competitive was still there. Always wanting to be the best and being able to RX every movement in CrossFit is what drives me to turn up every day. Unfortunately, CrossFit class alone isn't going to give me the time required to work on each discipline of CrossFit is outside of the 60 window.
When you combine your goal and your why, it's this that will allow you to find the right programming for you. Whether you are working directly with a coach or with some support, you'll be able to discover more about yourself: find out where you are now and where you need to be. With this help, you can plan your journey through step-by-step progression, giving you the confidence to trust the process.
Recently, we wrote an article about how to plan your CrossFit season, where we focus on the different cycles of periodization throughout the year, and it allows us to focus on each area. By focusing on different areas of CrossFit at one time, allows the body to progress through cycles of being pushed and recovery. It is this balance of knowing where to push your body and when the best time for recovery comes from a good coach. It's their job to do all the planning and preparing for you. It's then your role as an athlete to follow and trust the process. You can read more here.
Think about it; if you went into the gym and tried to PR your snatch every day, people would think you were mental. However, the same can be said but turning up to the gym and competing in every training session.
If you're flat out on the floor, staring up at the ceiling, having redlined to win the workout, AND you're doing that every time, you're pushing your body way further than it should be. By doing this, you're going to exceed the body's capabilities and it takes longer for the body to recover from this kind of exercise.
If you're a typical CrossFitter and turn up for the gym the next day, and the day after, and so on with this kind of training, you're not allowing your body to be in the optimum training range.
Which leads me nicely onto what option you have an available to you to continue to progress at CrossFit, and achieve your goal. Ultimately, by finding the best CrossFit program for you, you'll feel happier and more fulfilled and start smashing through new PRs. Here are some of the options that you can focus on:
Gymnastic Specific Programming
Pull-ups, handstand walks, muscle ups times two, and toes to bar are just a few to mention that fall under the umbrella of CrossFit gymnastics, and if you don't come from a gymnastics background, this is arguably the hardest skill to learn as an adult.
Gymnastics require strength, power, and mobility. These elements don't just turn up overnight, and require a lot of hard work. That being said, with the right progressions, starting at the ability you're currently at, spending 30 minutes, 3 times a week - that's not to say becoming an RX CrossFit gymnastic athlete is not achieving - it 100% is! I've seen so many athletes able to excel in movement they never thought possible by being consistent and following the program.
For example, let's take pull-ups. Pull-ups are a stable in CrossFit, with 3 different variations to master; strict, kipping, and butterfly.
Weightlifting Specific Programming
Is it squat or power? I joke. At this point, those days are long go where you're no longer annoying coach by asking the basic questions - even if it's still fun to do so.
There are many reasons why you might want to do a weightlifting-specific programming. But, again, the barbell is typically found in most workouts, and many of the CrossFit benchmark workouts include them too. When we refer to weightlifting, we typically mean Olympic Weightlifting, which includes the "clean and jerk" and the "snatch". We've written many articles on weightlifting and workouts that you will love.
Similarly to gymnastics, weightlifting commands mobility, strength and power but with varying degrees. It can be argued that weightlifting is less demanding than it's counterpart, but that being said, to master the discipline, having a consistent plan and program to focus on the break down of both lifts, is the process in helping your to RX the movement - or better still, smash through PRs.
For example, if we take just the clean. The clean is when then the barbell starts at the bottom (on the floor), follow the length of your shins, above the knee to the hip, whilst the arm pull the barbel up and under to the top of the chest. This is whilst the legs are driving and squatting under the bar. Simple, right? No. This is a lot for the head to get around, never mind being able to continue adding more weight to the bar.
In order to take your weightlifting to the next level, spending additional time throughout the week working on drills, progressions, EMOM's and extra metcons accumulate over time, and skills are developed.
Engine Specific Programming
Murph comes around every May, and oh man, does it suck. Whilst Murph mainly consists of pull-ups and body weight movements, even the thought of having to run is just terrible. Cardio in CrossFit is unavoidable, and it's just a case of sucking it up. The next time a cardio workout comes up and your heart rate shoots for the roof, cardio is just one of those things where it takes practice - and if you stop, you lose it!
That being said, there are ways where you can make progress "easier". For example, I've recently started running to the gym and running back. Whilst I hate running, because I run to the gym when I'm fresh, and have no transport to use for the way back, it forces me to run under fatigue. By consistently doing this, I'm slowly making easy wins.
The alternative is to have an awesome engine program that keeps me accountable when I simply don't want to do it. The guilt of paying for a program, and having workouts left over is enough for me to be "motivated" to get the work done. Notice the struggle - cardio sucks, and I want to do it, but the incredible feeling you get when you don't completely redline a workout or smash through the Open is worth it.
You may go to class, because 60 minutes is just the right amount of time to get a workout in, but having to be at certain time in the day for class can be super frustrating. If only there were flexibility. That's where a classic programming is more ideal.
Sometimes, training isn't about hitting PRs, looking the best that you can be or going for competitions. Sometimes, you do just want to tick over, feel great, and feel like you're looking after yourself, but life has taken over, and other commitments are taking priority.
For example, many athletes come to a point where they want to start a family, and CrossFit simply has to take a back foot. When a newborn has entered the household, life isn't as you know it anymore. Suddenly time doesn't exist like it used to, and keeping the baby alive is now at the top of the list.
But still, you don't want training to go fully out the window, so having a 60 minute program to work through in your own time, is the perfect solution to keeping you motivated and healthy whilst the universe has other curveballs thrown at you.
You may have done a local competition, and now you've tasted what it's like to compete - but now you want more. If you're going to compete, you're going in to win - am I right?
When choosing to compete, you want to be the best athlete you possibly can be. So, you want your training to reflect that. So, when you choose a CrossFit compete training programming, it's important to find a track that peaks at the right time for the competitions you want.
For example, you don't want to be "competition ready" all year round. If so, you'll constantly be doing workouts that are similar to the competition day, and that's it. The lack of variety will soon become tiresome, never mind the huge list of movements you'll be neglecting whilst you'll be distracted by the shiny workouts.
In your competitive programming, you need to look for periods of time where you're solely working on your engine, your strength, your power, and that's combined with your weakness areas.
Your body isn't what it used to be, right? Yep, science would agree too! What your body is able to do in your twenties compared to your forties is completely different, and your training should reflect that!
If you're over 35, it takes longer for your body to recover, you need more sleep to be able to hit the same level of intensity in a workout - and finally, as your body has taken more "knocks" over the years, it's most likely it require additional support in the joints area. Shoulders, wrists, backs, and hips will need to be strengthened, require more accessory work, and being on top of your mobility is an absolute must.
These are some of the numerous changes that are needed to fit your needs. You can feel confident knowing that the programming is designed for the older athlete, and guarantee to help you hit training hard every time. No ache. No pains. Just feeling healthy, and happy whether your inside or outside of the gym.
The frustrations of individualized tracks can be the total specificity of each program. Whilst at times this is excellent as it keeps you focused on the purpose, other times, it can be a limiting factor of what's so enjoyable about CrossFit - the variety! However, it doesn't need to be like that. It is completely possible to make multiple tracks at once depending on how much time you have to deduce to CrossFit.
For example, combining a master's CrossFit programming, plus gymnastics track, and coaching support will give you a well-rounded week, and support your goals.
Boredom can easily set in if you're no longer being challenged, but the thought of starting something new can also be scary. It's easy to be left in a paradox of not knowing what to do. But when you're in this place, I have a favorite example that I'll finish with.
When your first go to the gym, you don't expect to be CrossFit Games athlete? Nor would you expect to have an 8 pack after eating one leafy green - though we wish this to be true. The same can be said for your CrossFit programming. Time is the only thing that we can confidently say, that it will 100% go on, and therefore, if time is our constant, then we only need to do is have a plan on what we want from our CrossFit training. The consistency of always working towards a consistent goal, is what's going to give you the gains that you're looking for. Time, hard work, and consistent equals results.
Starting a new CrossFit program can be daunting, and you may have some uncertainty about whether it's right for you or not. With so many choices out there, it's hard to tell! From this article, I hope you're able to find the right program for you, and feel confident in trusting the process. Like every one says, it's only a matter of time if you continue to keep working at it.
Comment below if you have any questions about your programming. If you feel stuck, why not head to our CrossFit programming page, where you can join our close-knit family of CrossFitters from across the world.
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