Realistic Trajectory of CrossFit Gains
Behold. The most scientific graph of all time. This graph represents the average CrossFitters gains over their CrossFit-lifespan. For some, this lifespan may only be a few months before their fitness habit gets derailed and they only experience #1 and #2. For others, this represents decades and they get all the way up to #8 and higher. Lets breakdown the different phases of gains:
1 – The early stages of your CrossFit career. Marked by gains on gains on gains. No matter how often you come its fat loss, muscle gain, and PR city. This is amazing!
2 – The first plateau. It happens to everybody. What you have been doing no longer results in gains. Perhaps this means you aren’t picking up the intensity as you get fitter, or maybe you need to increase the weight on the bar. Either way, your adaptation to the stimulus has halted.
3 – The frustration phase. “If my gains have stalled, if I just work out more, the gains will return!” FALSE! Something else needs to change; adding volume is rarely the answer. For most, it is learning that your rest and recovery is actually what makes you stronger. This could mean a deload week, implementing more days off, or improving your nutrition and sleep habits.
4 – The second gain train. Ahhhh, yes, feels good to make gains again! The change you implemented is working. Perhaps you are being more intense in your workouts, or using more challenging weights, or you dialed your nutrition. Its working!
5 – Damnit, another plateau! Remember the first frustration phase, and how you fixed one thing and the gains returned? Go back to your list of potential fixes and fix one more thing.
6 – The third gain train. Boom! Love gains. But this time, the gains come slower. It’s the natural progression of fitness. The more you do it, the harder you have to work for smaller gains. But the important thing is, there is still gains.
7 – Another plateau. Geez. What now? Time to analyze. Nutrition? Scaling? Intensity? Deload? Recovery? Stimulus?
8 – Gain train, choo choo! Oh yea, livin’ that gains lifestyle! Life is good!
…… and so on, and so on.
I’ve been doing CrossFit for over 10 years now. I’ve owned CrossFit Simsbury for 5 years. I know hundreds of athletes and we all go through this cycle. Learn to love the process. Let me say that again; learn to love the process. If you can do that, you will be living a fitness lifestyle well into retirement, keeping you on the dance floor while others younger than you are using a walker or wheelchair. Every time you fix a plateau, you make a tweak to your lifestyle that is making you healthier and more receptive to fitness. Its a beautiful thing, and the result of CrossFit over the long term is some very healthy individuals.
Stuck at a plateau? Email me! Seriously. The Coaches are here to help you out. I’m more than happy to give recommendations via email or sit and chat for 10 minutes. If you want to really get into it you can book a 30min or 60min personal training session. What we cover in that time is totally up to you; it could be a strategy session on your strengths and weaknesses and how to best break through those plateaus. The important thing to know however, is that you do not have to figure it out on your own, use the Coaches! We want the plateau and frustration phases to be as short lived as possible. Gains are great!