The CrossFit Games, the pinnacle event that happens each year in our community and the competition that every athlete in the Sport of Fitness hopes to one day add to their accolades.
This week, 40 individual men and women, and 40 teams take to Hermosa Beach, The Stub Hub Center, and perhaps unknown locations to prove where they stand among the fittest in the world. So how did they get there? Is it a secret program or supplementation regimen they have that makes them so successful? Are they all just Rich Fronings training 12 times a day and eating peanut butter?
To say there is one way to get to the top is absolutely foolish and it’s been my experience that most people do a variety of things that they have figured out work exclusively for them. However there are a few things that I believe are consistent with every competitor thats elite, and consistently lacking with everyone who isn't.
It is not 2007, your competitors do not work full time “day jobs” outside the gym, and the sport of CrossFit becomes more and more challenging every year. If you are just starting your CrossFit journey and have dreams of going to the Games I think thats great and actually perfectly achievable, hell I only started a little under two years ago, so there is no way I will say it’s not possible. What I will say is that if you want to be one of the best in the world, or even on the edge of the best, training must become your life. That doesn't mean you need to be training 12 hours a day (again find what works for you), but what it does mean is that every decision you make, from nutrition, sleep, standing instead of sitting, the way you walk, the people you surround yourself with, where you live, where you go ect.- all need to based off of what is ideal for training and recovery. To those who truly want to succeed this comes as second nature, to those who are wishful thinkers, the lifestyle of an elite CrossFit athlete will be unattainable.
I belong to the Affiliate CrossFit Jaakarhu and I’m a member on their games team that is competing throughout this week. Before joining the gym in the fall of last year I was training by myself, or on a rare occasion one of the guys I was coaching with. For about six months I trained what I was good at, got super strong and decently fit, but had major holes in my capacity. On top of that I became very demotivated and started giving myself excuses to sandbag workouts. When I joined Jaakarhu I got a Coach and a team of training partners that not only wanted me to succeed but also expected me to push the other top men and women competitors. There is a saying that states “Heat and pressure forge a strong blade”, and there is always plenty of both in each of our training sessions.
I think that is is important to train on your own as I believe you learn quickly about what type of athlete you are, as well as things about yourself that you may never have known otherwise. However I also believe that unless you are a veteran of the sport (which there are almost none) you will certainly benefit from having an experienced coach mold your well-roundedness and furthermore I don’t think you can ever push as hard training alone as much as you can when working out with people who are as good or better than you. Rich Froning gets programming and coaching from experts in every modality that is performed in our sport and he trains consistently with some of the fittest in the world.
For most people training is an accessory to a lifestyle they have outside of the gym. Whether it’s their work, family, or friends that they dedicate a majority of their time to, their efforts spent in the gym are purposed to improve their overall capacity to do what they love in “normal” life. For competitors the lifestyle is almost completely opposite.
Most of us either work in the gym as coaches or owners, or work as little as we can outside the gym to maximize our time spent in there. We are not working out to be better at our jobs, our job simply is to be the best at working out, and like any job, it can become monotonous and demotivating if the end goal doesn't seem worth the effort put in. Whatever it is, glory, fame, instagram followers, god, family ect.- to be able to grind through the day in day out of training for years on end, you must find some higher purpose for doing what you do. You will soon find that some things rank far higher than others on the scale of being able to get you out of bed for training or not.
So there you have it, three things that all successful games athletes have in common. Personally, being able to focus on these aspects of the training lifestyle and realizing that they all have their importance, has been extremely influential in my growth as an athlete, as a person, and the decisions I make on a daily basis. If you have dreams of going to the games, and want to put your full effort into making that become a reality, start making changes to what you do based off of what you’ve read here.
Only you really know, but maybe I’ll see you in Carson some day.
July 21, 2015
Way to go Orion!