The “constantly varied” part of CrossFit is what keeps each of us on our toes. “Constantly varied” means the workouts will be different every day, calling upon different skill sets and muscle groups. It also helps keep away boredom. And for those of us who logged hours and hours in globo gyms, or trained as endurance athletes being put through the same routine day in and day out, “constantly varied” is a real blessing.
Nonetheless, there are times when even the most hardcore lovers of our sport experience some sort of stagnation. We become stuck. We have trouble motivating. We may even feel “burned out.” If you believe you’re falling in a rut, consider taking some steps to pull yourself out:
1. Change your schedule
Routine can be a necessity, and it can be comforting. We’re all for it. But if you’re dragging to class and no amount of caffeine or power food is helping, maybe you just need to mix it up! If you regularly attend the 8:00 a.m. class, try coming at 4:00 p.m. If you are partial to one particular coach, try training with another. People give off energy in the gym: perhaps you need a new set of faces to “throw down with.”
2. Revise your goals
It’s important to set fitness goals. It’s critical to regularly evaluate those goals. If you’ve been working on double unders every day for a month then it’s likely you have them by now, but, if not, put down the rope. If your attempts to master muscle ups are proving to be more frustrating than fruitful, leave the rings. When you fail at handstand pushups, come off the wall. Practice may very well make perfect but mental fatigue can be every bit as damaging as physical. Take a little time off, go work on something else, and then return to your nemesis with renewed commitment.
3. Relax the Rx
Finishing a workout “as prescribed” is an important milestone in a CrossFitter’s journey. It shows that you have gained a certain level of strength, speed, and/or agility. Just don’t be obsessed with having that Rx next to your name on the whiteboard. Instead, focus on technique. Take some of the weight off your bar and really work on the depth of your squats. And never mind about what other people are doing! That’s their business.
4. Take some days off
As shocking and impossible a concept this might be for some of you hardcore CrossFitters, not coming to the gym is an option. Go do something else: ride a bike, go for a hike, hit yoga or, yes, just rest. We’ll be right here waiting for you.
When faced with burn out, also take a good look at other areas such as diet, alcohol consumption, lack of sleep, or other life stressors. Are there other things in your life weighing you down? If so, address them. By making a few adjustments you may experience new found energy, new PRs, and maybe a new love for CrossFit.