More frequently than not, I wake up in the morning and scrap my CrossFit programming in light of something completely different. This is for two reasons:
I am incredibly sore from the day before.
I cannot do the workout for mental purposes.
With two CrossFit competitions in the last two weeks, I’ve had both of these reasons come into play several times. I’ve had to adjust my schedule every day for the last two weeks, and take unplanned rest days because I just couldn’t do it anymore.
Today was another example. I had a CrossFit Hero workout planned, which are CrossFit workouts named after service men and women and are known for being tough. However, when I woke up, I just couldn’t run. I had done a HIIT workout yesterday and ran over 3 miles. Hence, while doing the workout, I changed it.
While I freely admit I don’t know how to stop doing what I do, I do know when to stop doing a movement when I can’t. Today was one of those days. I stopped running and rowed instead. I cut all my reps in half. I did a 30 minute recovery workout.
HOW TO PRESERVE THE MENTAL GAME
In the past few months, I’ve learned the mental game of CrossFit is much more important to master than the physicalness of it. Don’t get me wrong, you have to be able to physically do the moves; but that’s not the hard part of CrossFit. The hard part is committing in your mind to do the CrossFit workout.
TIPS ON MASTERING THE MENTAL GAME
I’ve learned you can’t go hard core every day. You have to rest your mind as much as you rest your body. Sometimes you just have to get up and perform some mindless rowing so the next day you can hit it hard.
You have to preserve your sanity. CrossFit burnout is real; it hits me every few months. You have to pull back in order to move forward.
Do what you need to do when you need to do it. The beauty of at-workouts is you can do what you want, not what someone else programs. It’s the ultimate in listening to your body.
If you CrossFit for any period of time, you’ll know how hard CrossFit is on your hands, from constantly being dried out with chalk to the bars tearing into you and the motion of pull ups on the rig. You are bound to rip at some point in your CrossFit workouts.
TIPS FOR HELPING YOUR HANDS HEAL FROM RIPS
Once you rip, immediately wash with water, apply a disinfectant, and bandage up. You’ll want to cut any loose skin away from the wounds to help with healing.
Wait a few hours and then remove bandages. There are two schools of thought here: either keep the wounds moist to facilitate healing or dry out the wound to let it heal. I always let mine dry out.
Be extremely careful for the next few days. Depending on the severity of the rips, try not to do too much with your hands.
Showering will be painful, but it’s good to rinse your wounds and keep them clean. You may want to skip shampooing for a few days.
Tape up when you decide to work out again. This will protect the wounds from infection but mainly from being damaged any further.
Avoid the rig, ring work, handstands, pull ups, rope climbs, or any other movement that will further cause damage until your hands are completely healed up. Barbells and dumbbells are usually okay as long as you’re taped up.
Let time do it’s thing. Your hands heal really quickly so in a week or so, you’ll be back at your regular CrossFit workouts.
Ripping is never fun, but it’s usually inevitable if you end up doing CrossFit workouts with high rep counts of pull ups or chest to bar or muscle ups. For me, I have been doing strict only. This eliminates the back and forth motion that causes rips. However, when it’s the CrossFit Open or any other kind of competition, I kip because I’m competing. That is why I ripped.
As I’m sitting around my house today letting my body heal my hands since I can’t do much physically after ripping on 19.5, I realized something: I earned it.
I was wearing Bergeron’s Master’s tank top with the hashtag #EarnIt on the back while doing CrossFit Open Workout 19.5 and realized something: I definitely earned it this go-around. I ripped early on and kept going. I kept ripping and kept going. I almost finished but got time-capped.
You don’t have to rip in order to earn it (in fact, I’d recommend NOT choosing this way), but when you CrossFit regularly, many times you feel as if you’re not earning it. In fact, all you feel is tired, sore, and mentally worn out — and you’re left wondering why am I even doing this.
The fact of the matter is if you CrossFit, you earn it with every single workout, every single day — even if you don’t feel it. You earn it when you show up at 5 am for an early morning workout or drag yourself after work when all you want to do is go and sit. You earn it when a CrossFit Hero Workout makes you so sore you can’t squat to do laundry, or when you go all-out on Fran to set a new PR. You earn it when you do strength work that is mind-numbingly boring (for me, this is deadlifts), or when you practice hollow holds over and over again because your kip sucks and it needs to get better.
What does Earn It mean? For me, it’s always me against myself. What can I do better? What can I do today I couldn’t do yesterday? And how do I feel when I beat my expectations and do things other wouldn’t?
This morning I woke up. I’m pretty sure I have a calf strain as my right calf is tight. And my shoulders are sore.
I gave up long ago trying to decipher what it’s from. It doesn’t matter; I’m going to do the same movements again no matter what.
After three years of doing CrossFit, you get used to the constant soreness CrossFit causes. You expect to wake up and feel some part of your body sore, tight, or overall off. You deal with it (after all, it’s your fault you’re sore). You complain and moan, which doesn’t really help. You hobble around sometimes. Picking up items on the floor becomes painful. All you want to do is sit and rest.
However, there are days (like today) where I get tired of the soreness from CrossFit. I just would like to wake up and not be sore. Just every once in a while. To be honest, I can’t remember my life when I wasn’t like this. I can’t remember how I felt every morning before I started CrossFit training. I have no idea what people feel like who don’t choose to beat themself up constantly feel like.
Soreness from CrossFit is a lifestyle that sometimes I don’t want. I would like to wake up one day and experience what it feels like. That would be something.
The more I do CrossFit, the more I realize the mental game is much more important than the physical game. Sure, you have to be in shape, but being in shape is an equalizer — the mental game is what will set you apart from others and allow you to win CrossFit competitions and just win your daily CrossFit WODs.
I woke up on Thursday with a plan to do CrossFit workouts that were simple but involved a barbell and burpees. No part of me wanted to do any of it. I was sore and just not feeling it. So, I didn’t. I just rowed and ran, a modified CrossFit Hero WOD Jerry, if you will. And I felt really good afterwards.
This was both a mental and a physical break. I could have done by planned CrossFit workout, but it would have sucked because my head wasn’t in the game. So why bother?
The Main Advantage to Doing Your Own CrossFit Programming
You can adjust your CrossFit programming to suit your needs. I adjust my CrossFit programming on a daily basis it seems. I get up and assess where I’m at. Towards the end of the week, I’m spent, and my CrossFit workouts often change. I believe this is the best part of doing your own CrossFit programming and of working out by yourself. Instead of constantly pushing and tweaking your body and pushing your mental game, you can take breaks. Breaks become especially important as you get older.
If you attend a CrossFit box, know when to take mental breaks from CrossFit. It’s okay to do a different workout than everyone else. It’s okay to let your mind rest, so you can attack the next workout. Doing your CrossFit workouts constantly half-heartedly is not going to benefit you in the long run. Breaks allow you to come back stronger and attack CrossFit workouts when you need to.