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CrossFit 101

Thinking of trying out a new sport in 2018?  We explore our fourth sport, CrossFit, in today’s post.

Among many athletes—think runners, swimmers, cyclists, triathletes—there are some dirty words you just don’t say, like quit, can’t, impossible, and CrossFit.

It’s true. For many of these athletes, CrossFit is written off as incompatible with training for another sport.  CrossFit’s goal is to push your body to exhaustion in new ways by swapping routines daily. If CrossFit is your chosen sport, the exhaustion is fine—you’ll rest until it’s time to push past those limits again—but this makes it difficult to build into an existing training routine.

Or, does it? If your goal in 2018 is building strength or just getting better at your sport, don’t rule out CrossFit too quickly. As with any new addition to your training regimen, it takes time and planning to integrate new workouts into your existing routine. While exhaustion won’t be new to you, the CrossFit path of getting there will be. Here are some tips and pointers we have for making CrossFit work as a cross-training routine for you:

  • Get a Good Coach – There are some great stories of athletes tepidly trying CrossFit only to fall in love with the intensity and challenge of the whole experience. The trick to both enjoying CrossFit and excelling in your current sport is building a plan that works for both. Shop around for CrossFit gyms in your area, try a few, and talk to the coaches about what you’re trying to achieve. If you have a coach in your sport, work with them as well to make sure you’re developing a plan that will work for your goals. Remember, just like athletes, running or swimming coaches may be CrossFit skeptics, too. Make your case and together you can make a plan.
  • Planning Is Crucial – You’ll need to balance big training days with the intensity of your workouts. The offseason for your competitive sport will be a great time to ramp up CrossFit and build muscle and endurance. During your season, you’ll still benefit from the strength conditioning, but will want to modify your CrossFit frequency and/or intensity to ensure you’re still progressing in your sport.
  • Eat It Up – One thing we know about CrossFit trainers is they are great at encouraging. Sometimes it is less, “you can do it!” and more “pick up the pace!” or “pick it up! Pick that thing up!” You’ll feel it right away—they are cheering for you. Soak up that energy and really push yourself. But remember that CrossFit is the support. If you know exhaustion is not the game plan for the day, don’t get lost in the amazing, challenging atmosphere of picking up heavy things, slinging ropes, and flipping tires.
  • Stay Healthy – A constant conversation around CrossFit is the potential for injury. You know this applies to any physically demanding regimen. Listen to your body. Absolutely push yourself! But know your limits. Practice proper form and good technique, and remember your goals.
  • The Perks
    • One of the benefits of the CrossFit model of pushing yourself to exhaustion is boosting VO2 Max. This will allow you to perform at maximum output for longer durations.
    • This boost ties in with the second benefit: Endurance. You will hurt. You will hurt so good! Learning to work through pain is an obvious benefit to any athlete.
    • And the third and most obvious benefit: more Strength. Building stronger muscles allows for greater power output. Not only that, but the muscles you may neglect in your discipline-specific training will get some attention.

CrossFit is one of the trickier programs to integrate as a cross-training plan for athletes. It takes a toll on the body; and, when given full effort, will require some recovery time. But it can be a great complement to your training regimen if you’re willing to work out the details.

Are you a CrossFitter in addition to your primary sport? How have you balanced the two and what benefits have you seen? Can you fully engage in both sports without sacrificing one for the other? Tell us your story or share your thoughts on CrossFit as a cross-training tool. We’re always listening on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

And however you cross train, don’t let cramping stand in the way of your goals. Go here to pick up your supply of HOTSHOT—the only product scientifically proven to treat and prevent muscle cramps. Best of luck in achieving your goals this year!

MORE ON THE HOTSHOT BLOG

Like this post? Check out our other intro to training articles here:

Swimming 101

Cycling 101

Running 101

 

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