We've all been there. We start a program; we progress, and, yes, we plateau.
CrossFit is no different. We start the program to see fairly quick results and then the dreaded plateau happens. We've all been there; yet, we need to be patient.
This is why it is so important to keep track of our progress. This is not by paying attention to how well we did against others on the board, but how we as athletes have changed throughout our time with CrossFit. We start slowly and it seems like it will never get easier and then it does. After this much needed and welcomed result, we start seeing progress and times get faster and faster. However, then the dreaded day comes (just kidding--it should be an awesome change) when, for instance, we go up with the weight, down on a band for pullups, and we actually start touching toes to the bar, etc. Guess what? This is going to initially slow us down.
So many of us measure our progress from what happened the day before or what the person or persons around us are doing. We start noticing that many around us are flying by and killing our times, passing us up, and we may be coming in close to, if not flat ass last. What we aren't paying attention to is where WE started, how WE started, and how far WE have come. This is that tunnel vision many CrossFitters get. It's so important to keep a journal of what we were doing days, months, and/or years ago to measure how far we've come.
We can't compare to those around us or times on the board from our class, or other classes for that matter. First, this totally dependent upon the comparable athlete's integrity to count their reps, rounds, etc. correctly and whether or not they were at full-range of motion. In other words, did they do it exactly as we would? Probably not exact, therefore, not an apples to apples comparison. Second, did they use the same weight, or modify the same etc.? The only way we can know what our progress is depends on us individually. A true comparison of day-to-day, month-to-month, and/or year-to-year progress WE have made as an athlete depends on our self kept records. If, for example, you did Fran in 7 minutes scaled and then did it again less scaled in the same 7 minutes, or RX in 9 is still progress. It may not seem that way because of our need to compare ourselves to others but this is progress for YOU. A favorable result YOU should be very proud of!
We have noticed that many do not keep track of their results and it can become very discouraging to not remember where we started and how for we have come. It will sometimes feel like an oxymoron - our progress is slowing us down. Yet, in reality, think about it, some of us started on PVC with mediocre, lack of range, squats. The lack of mobility in shoulders, hips, ankles, and knees may have held us back for a while. Some of our running was initially lots of walking. Now, fast-forward. Some of us are RXing wods, when we never had before. Yes, we may be coming in last in our class or even first; however, we need to take in consideration some of our class members are either younger, older, using lighter weight, heavier weight, or scaling to a point that lets them go a bit faster or changes that may be slowing them down. All these factors are not a reflection on us as individuals. If we get caught up in that, it can be very deceiving or very disheartening. We need to remind ourselves not to slide down that slippery slope. We need to be truthful and responsible to ourselves and not worry about all the others. Our progress is OURS!
Never let someone else's progress, or lack thereof, measure your progress.......
This is another great reason to really pay attention to the benchmark wods -- the girls and the hero wods. They will always remain the same; the only thing that will change is us. It is hard when scaling to be accurate of how well we are doing because the scaling, especially in the beginning, can be all over the place pertaining to levels of modification. However, if we keep track, we will see the progress even with changes in the modifications.
Not gonna lie -- This will happen time and time again, so be prepared. We will, hopefully, keep progressing which means going up in weight or mastering another skill that may take longer and slow us down. If we are going to let plateaus really bog us down, we need to keep reminding ourselves of the beginning. Think about it -- banded pullups begin to get easier, but what happens when we get our first chest-to-bar pullup without a band? We finally do them in a wod and they WILL slow us down, but only for a while, because this too will eventually get easier and faster...................