WHAT IT TAKES
CrossFit is definitely a different type of workout. It offers so much to its trainers and its athletes. This brings me to the point of this article.
As an athlete it's important to take make good decisions outside the training facility to help your trainers make you a better you. As trainers we are truly interested and dedicated to you. However dedicated and interested we are we cannot be at home with you and we cannot follow you around all day.
Make no mistake, you are not off the hook when you leave the facility. Not at all. You have an obligation to yourself to take care of you, to eat properly, to train, to play and to put the work in. What you decide to ingest is going to make a difference in your performance and your energy level. It will reflect in your workouts. When you choose to train at a CrossFit facility with a CrossFit trainer there is a mutual, two-way commitment. But there is also the personal commitment an athlete makes to himself/herself. That commitment is about choices that will take you closer to your goals or further from them. This becomes crucial when you are away from the coaches, the trainers and even the other athletes. It's your responsibility to help your trainers and coaches guide you into improved performances. Consider this: there are 168 hours in a week. If you are fortunate enough to spend 6 hours a week with a trainer you still need to facilitate your growth and performance by making good decisions in the remaining 162 hours. If you are only with a coach/trainer for an hour or two a week then what you do in the remaining 166-167 hours is that much more important. Besides making the aforementioned good choices you will also have to work out on your own. Once it's gone you cannot get time back. Might as well make the most of it. If you are using the other 166-167 hours to NOT workout, NOT sleep enough and NOT eat properly do not blame anyone or anything else for lack of motivation, lack of improved performance or lack of results.
Part of what a good trainer/coach will do is motivate you….help push you out of your comfort zone. While being motivational is something trainers should aspire to be, the more an athlete is self-motivated the better. I have spoken with Top-tier CrossFitters who have performed absolutely awe-inspiring feats. Most of them stepped up their own training, on their own, to a higher level with a deep desire to not only improve, but to be excellent. Sure they may have trainers or training partners in many cases, but what makes them improve is that they want to and they take steps toward improving. They are coach-able. They will entertain ideas from other sources. They seek answers. They experiment. They fail, but don't quit. They come back and keep trying. They find what works for them and they improve despite what else is going on around them. They are almost never really completely satisfied with how they performed. They always think they could have done something better even when they were fantastic.
Leaving your comfort zone is the opposite of quitting. You will need to push yourself. There will be times when you don't think you'll be able to continue. THAT IS WHEN IT'S IMPERATIVE THAT YOU DO CONTINUE. Not giving in to the internal voice that says "I'm too tired" is the very thing that will exercise and grow your mental toughness. Conquer the urge to stop. "Breathe later" as I heard one trainer say.
Sometimes leaving your comfort zone means doing the things you are not very good at. Avoiding the things that you feel are a "weakness" is the ugly sister of quitting. Weakness should be ruthlessly exorcised, and exercised, from the body and mind. Vanquish all power or energy "leaks" to the best of your ability. Trainers aren't looking for miracles and they can't perform miracles. They are looking to help you to kick it up a notch.
If you're reading this chances are good that you are CrossFitting or have decided to. Your will power has been exercised. You don't need "discipline", as some like to say, if this is something you want to do. You need discipline to do the things you don't want to do. If you are CrossFitting you have a desire to do so. The hardest part is getting to your workout location whether that's a section of your bedroom or a huge facility.
Congratulations on a wise choice!
Trainers are usually athletes who besides having the desire to improve athletic performance also have the desire to help others do so. As a trainer it's incumbent upon you to know your athletes. Your relationship starts from the very first conversation including phone conversations. Ask questions. Find out what brought them to their interest in CrossFit.
Once you meet them explain what they'll be doing. Explain what you're looking for. Look for weaknesses, but also look for strengths. Make notes of what needs more work. Push, but not "off the cliff".
Make corrections, but don't harp on the same negative aspect over and over again. To do so will cause the athlete to hear "blah, blah, blah" whenever you speak. Sometimes it's better to leave something alone for a while then come back to it later. Some athletes will "wrap their mind around a concept" after they have left the training environment.
Celebrate the small victories. Celebrate the Personal Records. Congratulate a job well done!
Think about, plan and be able to execute: Workouts, modified workouts, scaled workouts. Do-able, but challenging. Challenging, but do-able. Ask questions, observe everything, make an assessment on what would be challenging without sending the athlete to the emergency room, yet do-able beyond having them walk away thinking, "you mean that's it?" Consider their level of conditioning, the experience, the "crossfit" experience, health history, and current health/injury issues.
Trainers need to be courteous to the athletes and other trainers. Arguing between trainers in front of the athletes is poor form.
CrossFit athletes are an observant bunch. They watch everything that goes on around them in the training environment. Likewise, the trainers need to be that way while they are working with the athletes. If there is a team of trainers present it's good to have athletes observed from many angles. One trainer will likely pick up on something the other trainers did not or could not see. When a team is available training others as a team is beneficial. The team effort should begin as soon as the athlete walks through the door.
Like it or not, as a trainer you're a role model. Be a positive role model. Be someone the athletes want to be like. Speak and behave like you're being watched at every moment. YOU ARE!
Continue to seek a better way to explain, a better way to articulate what you're coaching and a better way to get the athlete to do the exercises. Those who can do and teach are extremely valuable!!
Go make great things happen!