CrossFit for the “Unfit” CrossFitter

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Mobility

Mobility

“Lifting heavier just isn’t going to happen if you can’t do the basic movements correctly.”

One of the great struggles that I have had in my CrossFit journey so far has had to do with my mobility. Or, to be blunt, my absolute lack thereof.

I hadn’t really thought about my flexibility and range of movement before CrossFit, but it became pretty clear — pretty quickly — that I had significant mobility problems that were hampering my ability to complete movements properly.

The most obvious display is in my squats – I couldn’t get my butt anywhere near my knees, let alone below them, and my forward lean during those pitiful half squats was a sight to see.
Weight be damned – I couldn’t give two hoots that I was only back squatting 30kg (66lb), this was a personal best because of the range of movement and it was AWESOME.
Praise be to my coaches who introduced me to the foam roller and MobilityWOD. Daily stretching and rolling has my mobility improving out of sight: six months ago I thought that I was a lost cause and that I would never ever do a proper squat, but just a couple of weeks ago I was ecstatic to have my squats pass muster at comp level. Weight be damned – I couldn’t give two hoots that I was only back squatting 30kg (66lb), this was a personal best because of the range of movement and it was AWESOME.

So, unfit CrossFitters, don’t be surprised if you find yourself struggling through movements because of tight shoulders and tight hips (sit at a desk much?) and tight God-Knows-What-Else. Work on this NOW and know that improvements in this area are just as significant as PRs of the weight kind because lifting heavier just isn’t going to happen if you can’t do the basic movements correctly in the first place.

Don’t Beat Yourself Up

“Focus on what you are doing: turning up and working hard.”

CrossFit has made me cry twice. Once, early on, doing Karen (150 wallballs for time). Throwing that stupid med ball up against the wall with everyone else already finished and me about halfway through. Biting my lip to stop the tears coming out in front of all those nice guys cheering me on but just feeling totally humiliated.

And the second time in the privacy of my own home when I found out that I had finished last in my first competition. I bawled my bloody eyes out at the anger and frustration I felt towards my body for betraying me by being so useless, at my embarrassment for being so stupid as to think that I could ever do this, at that hopelessness of being me. Yep, a real self-pity party.

That you’ve looked around at everyone else in the box and felt hot stabs of embarrassment and frustration at not being able to keep up.
I’m sure not all unfit CrossFitters are as big a crybaby as me but I’d bet a million to one that you’ve felt that pain and self-loathing. That you’ve looked around at everyone else in the box and felt hot stabs of embarrassment and frustration at not being able to keep up. My advice? Just stop it. Focus on what you are doing: turning up and working hard. You might not ever become a star, but you are already fitter and stronger and healthier than you were when you survived your first WOD. Which brings me to….

Celebrate Your Achievements

Celebrate Your Achievements

Photo by The FITographer

“Sing that song from the rooftops!”

You’re here and you’re doing awesome.

When you achieve something great, tell someone. Hell, tell everyone! CrossFitters love to celebrate their fellow CrossFitters’ achievements, because superfit or unfit we all know what it is like to work towards a goal – the monumental effort, the slow progress, the frustrations.

[S]uperfit or unfit we all know what it is like to work towards a goal – the monumental effort, the slow progress, the frustrations.
Did those front squats not totally suck for the first time ever? Did you string together two double-unders in a row? Did you run 800m at a plodding pace but without needing to stop? I’m here to tell you, unfit CrossFitters, that you need to sing that song from the rooftops and accept the congratulations that are going to inundate you because you have EARNED it and it is going to spur you on to your next milestone.

Congratulations on becoming a better you.

Follow Katrina Wood on Twitter at @katyberry1 and visit her blog The Opinionated Manager.

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