At Athlete Daily, our mission is to educate, empower and evolve. We want you to learn things, apply them and get better as a result. We know you work hard, inside the gym and out, but you could still be inadvertently sabotaging your progress. Here are five common things to stay away from.
Thinking ‘I can eat whatever I want because I lifted/worked out today’.
Nutrition is more important than anything you do in the gym when it comes to your physique. Want to lean out or add muscle? There’s no lifting/CrossFit program on earth that can do that for you if your eating habits are horrendous.
Perhaps you’ve heard the old saying, that you can’t outwork a bad diet. If not, I’ll say it again: you can’t out-work a bad diet.
Does that mean you can’t enjoy a cheat meal or treat yourself once in a while? Absolutely not. But if you’re serious about getting better, looking better and feeling better, make nutrition a priority. And stop thinking about it as a diet. It’s fuel.
Being in a rush to hit your goals.
When people rush, steps are skipped. And when that happens, it becomes very easy for form to break down and injuries to occur.
I know some of you are strong enough to lift more than the barbell when you’re learning to snatch. But until you get a basic understanding of the movement the weight’s not going up.
At my first CrossFit gym, I didn’t have an intro or foundations class. I walked in and the first day was snatch in a workout. Because I was a former collegiate athlete, they let me put ten pound plates on each side because ‘I could handle it.’
It took me more than two years to un-do a year of horrific form. Heck, it’s still a work in progress.
Talk to any high-level athlete and they’ll tell you how important the basics are. Hammer them now or go back and waste more time down the road.
Relying too much on your equipment.
I’ve made my thoughts on using lifters in most CrossFit metcons pretty clear. But I had a few people ask me why I didn’t at least mention the over-use of belts. So, here it is. Belts, like lifters, are a great tool to help your training. But they’re often used as a crutch.
I’ve seen people throw them on with an empty barbell and once saw someone wear a weight belt to do pull-ups because ‘it helped her stay tight’.
Well-respected USA Powerlifting coach Matt Gary doesn’t let his athletes use a belt for the first few years while they learn how to properly brace their core. Former Games champion Camille LeBlanc Bazinet has made it no secret that in the past she over-relied on a belt.
Like lifters, there’s nothing wrong with using a belt for heavy lifts or in a competition. But it can’t be because you have no idea what to do without it.
Really learn how to brace your abs. Learn how to stay tight and use your midline. The whole point of your core is to protect your spine. I’d say that’s something worth learning, wouldn’t you?
Assuming you can stop working on technique/form when you’re no longer a beginner.
So you’ve mastered a few (not pretty) kipping pull-ups. Check! Now, it’s time for chest-to-bar! Wrong. Now it’s time to get better at pull-ups.
Watch a weightlifting meet, powerlifting meet or the CrossFit Games and what do you notice? Despite the obvious talent and strength, the majority of the people that are at the top make things look effortless.
Why? Because they are excellent movers. They hammer technique and form long after anyone else is satisfied. They hit PRs that look the same as their 70 percent lifts. They know that great technique is a constant work in progress.
Former Olympian Tara Nott used to set technique goals for every training session.
Want to get better at pull-ups? Practice getting stronger at strict ones and more efficient in your kip.
Video yourself. That can be huge in seeing how you really move (versus how you think you do.)
Comparing yourself to anyone on social media.
It should fall under the Captain Obvious category (who cares what a random stranger on Instagram is lifting?) but it doesn’t. I could go on rant about staying in your own lane and that everyone is built different with different strengths and weaknesses and talents, but I won’t.
Instead, I’ll just quote Mean Girls. “Calling somebody else fat won’t make you any skinnier.”
Watching someone else PR won’t make you any stronger.