• Zac Zuspann

CrossFit: Keep It Enjoyable and Effective FOREVER - The "Honeymoon" is Over, Now What?


We all likely remember the "honeymoon" phase when we first started CrossFit. Every workout was EPIC. Each day was loaded with EXCITEMENT. The gains were plentiful. We were crushing WOD's without mercy. We were passing out powerful high fives and sharing the "Kool-Aid" with anyone who would listen. We were making new friends.


Our spirits were sky high.


Some of our honeymoons lasted longer than others.


1 month. 6 months. 2 years. Maybe even 5 years.


But inevitably...


The "honeymoon" ended.


The workouts were less and less "epic". The excitement seemed to be wearing off. The gain train was creeping to a halt. WOD's began to crush us. We felt less desire to give that powerful high five or share the "Kool-Aid" with our friends, family, and neighbors.


Our spirits were sputtering.


Did this wonderful thing come to an end?


The short answer is NO. This wonderful thing is not over, but the emotional high that comes from the initial phase of something as beautiful as CrossFit WILL FADE and we need to shift our mindset, priorities, and daily approach to continue to chase progress and maintain our love of training.

What makes this effective and enjoyable FOREVER?


Let's be clear. It is unlikely you will ever feel the way you "felt" in that first phase of your training. That giddy excitement. The joy and progress that felt effortless.


It felt AMAZING, but let's be real.


The REALITY is that in the pursuit of any worthwhile endeavor or relationship, the time will come when progress/joy/fulfillment won't come easy, but instead will take focus and intentional work.


You have a choice to make.


Move on to the next "honeymoon", chase that until you burnout, and then find another one - and another one... you get it.


OR


YOU DIG IN and work for the truly rewarding stuff.


What makes this effective and enjoyable FOREVER?


Check out my RAPID FIRED PRINCIPLES for maintaining a HEALTHY, SUSTAINABLE relationship with training that will keep you progressing and happy for the long term :)


FOCUS ON LONGEVITY

  • let’s do this FOR LIFE - this is not a “phase” or “quick fix”, but part of who we are and what we do FOREVER

  • Persistence > Intensity

  • don’t catch “feelings” - limit emotional attachment to to your workouts

  • the quickest way to burn-out is to get "emotional" about every training session - it does not define who you are and a single day is not an accurate assessment of your fitness level. DO YOUR BEST and move on

COMMUNICATE

  • create open and consistent lines of communication with your coach, mentors, and gym leadership

  • there is no value to suffering in silence - if something is going on mentally, physically, emotionally, etc - LET YOUR LEADERS KNOW

  • We are able to adjust and provide solutions IF we know what you are experiencing as an athlete.

  • Keep us in the loop and let's work together to ensure OUR approach fits your goals, current challenges, and season of life

CONSISTENCY

  • Keeping momentum going in training is HUGE. This applies to physical (how your body feels) and mental momentum (how your mind feels) Stopping and starting makes things so much harder!

  • Each day we move a little bit of dirt - sometimes we move it with a TINY SPOON and sometimes we move it with a huge SHOVEL but we always MOVE THE DIRT.

  • Training ebbs and flows with seasons of life - this is natural - keep moving!

  • You do not need to force false high motivation. There will be many days where training will not be epic, but instead it will feel like punching the clock. This is normal and should be embraced. The epic days will still come now and then :)

  • Are you in a funk with training? THIS HAPPENS TO EVERYONE. Keep showing up. Motivation will not always be high. Keep showing up and understand that ACTION PRECEDES MOTIVATION.

PATIENCE

  • Develop appreciation/love of the process VS. outcome

  • Appreciate and respect the accumulation of small, consistent victories (move the dirt daily)

  • When you move forward from the HONEYMOON phase, it will be important to celebrate SMALL VICTORIES - The days of 25# PR's is likely over, but you can still do 1 more rep in a benchmark WOD, push through a mental block, move with better quality/technique, or add 2.5# to your best!

  • The small victories are plentiful if you look for them.

  • Everyone progresses at different rates - focus on YOUR path. Comparison will steal your joy faster than anything else. YOU DO YOU!

"The man who loves walking will walk further than the man who loves the destination"


RECOVERY and LIFESTYLE

  • Obstacles to progress are usually rooted in habits OUTSIDE the gym or due to poor mindset

  • Sleep, nutrition, stress management, non “exercise” based movement are all HUGE contributing factors to making progress in the gym - If your progress is stalled take a detailed look at these things first

  • It is very rarely the "programming" or lack of effort during workouts that hold you back but instead lack of CONSISTENCY and lack of lifestyle habits that support recovery and consistency outside of the gym

  • Listen to your body! As you move on from the honeymoon phase your recovery between workouts will ebb and flow much more with things like sleep, nutrition, and stress/demands outside the gym. MOTION IS LOTION, meaning movement is good. ALWAYS. However, it is vital you check your ego and scale back on load and intensity when your mojo is low.

MOVEMENT QUALITY

  • Mechanics → Consistency → Intensity

  • The best movers = most efficient movement = highest level of fitness

  • Poor movers will ALWAYS have limited potential with their fitness and will always have higher potential for small tweaks, pain, and injury - These things HALT and STALL progress far more in the long term than anything else

  • Progression is EVERYTHING - those that have the patience and the discipline to follow proper progressions stay injury free AND progress to higher level movements (Ring Row to Pull-ups --> Pullups to Chest to Bar and so on)

  • make your movements harder little by little and focus on quality! (Progressive overload)

  • As I said above, listen to your body! There will be days where your mojo will be low. Scale down and focus on intention and quality of movement. It pays off big.

LOGGING

  • Measurable and repeatable - This a foundational piece of CrossFit and ensures you can adhere to one of the most important principles of training - PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD

  • Your body does not care about effort or how you feel - It responds to progressive overload

  • Progressive overload is when you gradually increase the weight, frequency, or number of repetitions in your strength training routine - the body only adapts when it this is accomplished -

  • To know where to go, we must know where we have been!

  • You vs. you - AGAIN - logging is to mark the progress of you vs. your former self - NOT you vs. someone else

BUY-IN to COMPLETE (or insert your gym)

  • SHOW UP. WORK HARD. HAVE FUN. REPEAT FOR LIFE.

  • any gym worth their salt cares deeply about the success of their members and is actively pursuing the best path possible for member success - if you do not feel this way, FIND A NEW GYM NOW

  • lack of buy in, program hopping, cherry picking workouts, and thinking you know what's best for you, etc - These things are likely holding you back from progress

  • a HUGE part of the success of any program is BELIEF - you must believe what you are doing has a purpose and will work

  • COMPLETE FAMILY - Trust that we are striving to serve, learn, and grow and we are RELENTLESS in the pursuit of well rounded fitness

  • COMPLETE = Service - Consistency - Purpose - Hunger

HAVE FUN

  • Fitness doesn't need to be so serious.

  • Yes, we want to improve each day, BUT life is already heavy enough - Talk shit - Crack that joke - SMILE - The gym should be a place of STRESS RELIEF, make sure you put fitness into that space with your mindset!

  • find a crew that you have fun with during training - Yes, accountability is great, but enjoying the gym is probably more important to long term progress

As you progress well past your honeymoon phase, hopefully you use the principles above to use fitness to SERVE YOU a happier, healthier, and more adventurous life with less stress. As opposed to adding more stress to your plate!




Happy Training!


Z

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