Balancing WODs and play
Are you a pro-CrossFitter? A pro-athlete? No. Me neither. But do you work out hard, watch your nutrition and feel proud when you tell people you´re a CrossFitter? Yep. Me too.
We´ve all got our own reasons for doing CrossFit – to get stronger, faster, lose weight, hit PBs and master complex movements we´d never have considered doing before walking into a box that first time.
But it can be easy to get caught up in numbers, percentages, moves and WODs and forget the broader benefits that increased fitness gives us. We can also forget the more general reasons why we dedicate so much time and energy to working out.
The fifth level of the CrossFit hierarchy, following the bases of nutrition, metabolic conditioning, gymnastics and weightlifting is to play sports, and have fun! Participating in a sport outside of your box allows you to bring together all of the skills and physical gains you obtain inside the box, and demonstrate them in a different way.
Although 5-6 WODs a week will certainly help you to bring your Fran time down, they´ll also have you performing better on the football pitch, netball court and at the local park with your kids.
Think about the 10 physical components CrossFit develops – cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, agility, coordination, balance and accuracy. Now think about how these would transfer over to your favourite sport. Chances are that if you signed up to a club or even a social work team you´d find yourself performing much better than before you began CrossFit.
You didn´t do a sport prior to CrossFit? Well, now you´ve got no excuses. Now you can jump on boxes, quickly put weight overhead and do a pull up (in some way). CrossFit was once new and scary but you mastered it. Step out of your comfort zone again and do something else you didn´t think you´d be able to do.
Always wanted to learn to surf? Now you´ve got the balance and agility for it. Always thought rock climbing looked scary? It kind of is, but now you have the upper body strength and flexibility to get you up that wall. Always thought a 10km race or a triathlon would be too hard? Well, now you can do 50 wall balls, box jumps, pulls up and kettle bell swings one after the other for 20 minutes straight, so you´ve gone and got yourself some mental strength too.
Sport doesn´t have to mean signing up to an actual team or event. Just getting up and moving with your kids, family
and friends will be beneficial for all of you. When I´m at the beach I love to lie in the sun with a book for hours, walk 15m into the water to cool off and then get back to my book. This week I ended up playing beach tennis for a good hour and what a work out that was! I was jumping, lunging, squatting, running for the ball, darting from side to side. I was quite surprised by how many of the 10 physical skills I was using. Oh, and I laughed, squealed, shouted and had heaps of fun.
Skipping the occassional WOD in favour of a fun activity can actually be quite beneficial. Don´t be scared of taking a day off! If stress starts piling up at home, at work, with family and kids and we keep going hard at the gym pushing our bodies without letting them rest we can do more harm than good, running the risk of overtraining. Overtraining is not good. Read this article on Mark´s Daily Apple for more on why. Swapping a WOD for a gentle swim, a bike ride with the kids or a long bush walk with your partner will give your mind and body a bit of a rest, bring those cortisol levels down and keep you active while having fun.
And if you´re really stuck for something new and fun to do, remember that you´ve now got a whole lot of new friends at your box who probably do lots of fun and different activities. Put yourself out there and get chatting.
P.S. Climbing trees is super fun too.