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Fitness Plateaus and Set Backs


I was really, really mad when the doctor told me the news: “No working out or deep squats for 10 days”. He obviously didn’t understand that Monday was the deadline was 14.4 and next week I had 14.5. What did he know? He was just a doctor for crying out loud. Let me back up a second, I was in the Urgent Care getting some stitches in my leg for a very minor accident that I had while doing some yardwork, nothing super serious, but given the location of the injury. Working hard would pop those stitches open in a hurry. My CrossFit Open was over and my workouts and all that I had gained in the past weeks were on hold.

My story isn’t unique. There’s all kinds of reasons that you’ll get discouraged in your workouts. Mine was an injury, but maybe it’s because you aren’t seeing any results, or you were seeing results and now you’ve plateaued (leveled off) in your strength/mass/etc gains.

So how do we look past our setbacks? More specifically: how do we break through CrossFit plateaus and setbacks?

The Mental Game

This is THE biggest factor in any type of setback in your fitness regiment. If your mind is telling you that you can’t, then you won’t. The trick is to understand that there are things that will be tough and things that you can’t do, BUT the things that you are doing will allow you to do the things you can’t.

For example: Your frustrated that you’ve hit a snag with your muscle ups, you can’t seem to string more than 3-4 together. Spend your time on the things that will help you with that: weighted dips, ring technique work (on a lower set of rings) such as transition work, or pulling to the chest and then to the side correctly.

Get Uncomfortable

I’m guilty of this…a lot. We get to a weight we’re comfortable with and we just stick there. For example, I can clean and jerk 155 all day long for a warmup. But what if I took it to 165 or 175 for my warmup? If I’m “comfortable” with 95 pound thrusters, what if I start doing some work with 100 lb thrusters? This will force me to be a little more uncomfortable with my workouts. And remember this: If your comfortable, you’re not changing.

Take a Break

Hit a wall with your training? Take a break! Your body needs time to recover and everybody is different. Sometimes, depending on your workload, just 1 rest day a week might not be enough to let yourself recover. Take an extra rest day one week and see if it helps you and your body feel better.

Eat Something!

A common mistake for newcomers to CrossFit is that they eat for a weight loss diet. That’s a big no-no. You’re going to feel tired, out of it and you won’t get peak performance. The amount of work that you put in with CrossFit is going to mean that you need a slighter higher than average calorie intake just to maintain your energy levels. If your eating less than that, you’re going to start to feel the effects: lack of energy, focus, drive, etc…

Wrapping it up

Understand that everyone is going to hit a setback or a plateau in their “Fitness Career” but also understand that everyone is going to get past them. It’s your drive and determination that are going to help you.

What other tips do you have to break your plateaus or workout setbacks? Let me know in the comments below or on the EveryLastRep Facebook Page