Advice From the Pros: How to Maximize Your Time at the Box

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September 28, 2022

Becca Voigt, Nine-time CrossFit Games Competitor

On programming:
I feel that a lot of people want to see huge growth and progress, and they want it so quickly that they detour from what their gym is doing. They think the people at the gym who are doing their programming don’t know what they’re doing so they need to go off to the side and do their own thing. Now, I think doing extra work is totally appropriate in order to be at a competitive level, but when you’re not joining in on class, you’re missing out on what CrossFit is really all about. CrossFit is about pushing yourself beyond your limits, and if you’re working out by yourself doing your own thing, you can’t do that.

Cherie Chan, CrossFit L4 Coach & HQ Flow Master

On quality movement:
If you’re not working towards achieving quality movement, you’re going to reach a plateau. It can suck to slow down and clean up your mechanics, but it is the only way to improve your performance and mitigate risk for the long haul.

On pain:
I get it, pain sucks, but there s ‘good pain’ and it’s necessary for progress. If you want results, you have to take yourself to a very dark place and go there often. Getting better isn’t about the volume of training but the quality of that training and the level of intensity you are willing to reach.

Lauren Fisher, Four-time CrossFit Games Competitor

On pushing through:
When I get tired in a workout, I just focus on one movement at a time. Get through this, and go to the next one.

On everything:
I want to tell people to focus on their own training and what they’re capable of. Don’t worry about what others are doing. Don’t compare yourself. Eat and be healthy. Enjoy cheat meals every now and then. Don’t think, ‘I can’t eat this. I have a competition coming up in a month.’ Enjoy yourself. There’s more to life than just CrossFit.

Sam Dancer:

On life:
I live a very organic lifestyle—I try to live day-to-day and don’t plan too far ahead. I try to affect the people who are directly associated with me and near me on a day-to-day basis

Michele Letendre

On weaknesses:
You have to be honest with yourself and assess where you are and go ask for the right kind of help. For example, if you wanted to work on your metcons, the worst thing you could do is go get an individual program where you work out by yourself. You need to find a good

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group environment that can push you. If someone wanted to work on their strength, they would need to understand that strength takes time. I think the biggest piece of advice I can give is to assess where you are, be honest with yourself, and then go get the help that you really need.

Lauren Brooks

On programming:
A common mistake a lot of people make nowadays is believing that you have to follow programming. Programming can be great, but if you get a general program online—whatever’s “‘cool’ at the time—the bottom line is that it’s not a program for you. The mentality in CrossFit is that you show up and because you’re hardcore, you get it [the WOD] done—but that’s not always a good idea. So if I show up at the gym and my back is bothering me and I’m supposed to max out my back squat or my deadlift, is it really smart for me to do it? No, and at this stage in the game I wouldn’t do it. Instead, I would probably do 5 sets of 10 overhead squats at 95lbs just to work on my muscle endurance instead of hitting something heavy because of how I’m feeling. But people show up to the gym and say to themselves, “Well I’m hardcore so I’m going to get it done,” so and they ignore the warning signs and they end up getting injured.

Noah Ohlsen

On quitting:
No matter how tired you are or how hard the workout might be, if it’s still within the parameters of being safe to finish it, you should finish it. If you start a task, you need to complete it and get the closure of, ‘Ok, I didn’t do my best, but at least I finished’ and not have that feeling of quitting lingering in the back of your mind. After you quit once, I feel it can open the door for you to do it again.  No matter how tough a workout is, make sure you get it done. When you’re done, work on whatever it is you struggled with, so that next time you’re in that situation it doesn’t happen again.

Emily Bridgers

On goals:
One of the bigger mistakes people make is only making ‘big’ goals, and not making small, daily or weekly goals. You have to celebrate the small victories, whether it’s a 5lb. PR or even a day when your technique got a little better. Focus on any improvement versus solely focusing on the larger goals you set for yourself.  I think the reason we do CrossFit is for the process of going into the gym everyday. It’s about everyday fitness.

Ben Smith

On staying the course:
You’ve got to be tough and you have to keep the faith during the ups and downs, and keep doing all that you can to improve. Even if you’re hurt somewhere, you can still improve in other areas, and that’s a really cool thing about CrossFit—you can bounce back and forth between multiple areas, but you’re always working to get better in some aspect of your fitness. You have to just stay in it and stay mentally strong.

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Katrin Davidsdottir

On nutrition:
Nutrition is key. If you want to perform at the highest level and train like a champion (which is two to three times a day,which probably adds up to eight hours), you have to eat well to ensure you’re recovering as best as possible.

On your support system:
You’ve got to have people. You have to have a coach. You have to have a team around you to help with recovery and keeping your body whole—it’s a package deal.

Spencer Hendel

On working weaknesses:
I know what I need to work on and where my strengths lie, and I think I͛͛m mature enough to make myself do something that I don͛͛t want to do in the hope that it will make me a better athlete.

About Damect Dominguez

Co-founder of BoxLife Magazine. Author: Training Day: 400+ Workouts to Incorporate in Your Training.

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