Dear Wannabe Games Athlete,
So you’ve found CrossFit and you love it- that’s awesome! But there’s some things you’ll learn along the way as you get more mature in life that you might want to know.
First and foremost: YOU NEED TO EAT! You cannot live on apple slices and gluten free pretzel sticks. You will be tired all the time and you won’t perform the way you want to. You need to eat to fuel your body for exercise, but also you need to enjoy life. There will be so many new experiences in your life- don’t let a fear from the past hold you back. Enjoy each moment and opportunity presented to you and most of all live your life not thinking about how you’re going to eat as little food as possible and still perform the way you want. It won’t work. You learn this eventually and now enjoy life, eat to perform, and follow the 80/20 rule (okay sometimes 70/30- ice cream is your weakness!) but you’re able to reach your goals while not restricting your diet.
Second, you are not a games athlete and you were not meant to be one. Training like a games athlete is harming your body and will eventually lead you down the road you always feared, so remember what your goals are but be realistic with yourself. Your health is most important, always. No exceptions. Your focus later on in life will be your own health. PRs won’t matter, lifting heavy won’t matter, what will matter is that you wake up each day without a headache, your joints stay in place more, you have more energy, and you still stay in shape. Shockingly, you learn that it’s okay to only workout 3 days a week. Turns out intensity over duration really is true. You’ll actually become fitter and stronger when you do this. Turns out that most people shouldn’t train like a games athlete. What you’ll learn is that games athletes are training to compete, not to lose weight. They are training their bodies to recover and go again. They’re NOT training to lose weight and build muscle. You’ll learn this in college but you’ll ignore it at first, DON’T: Recovery time is where you repair and build muscle, if you under recover, you won’t build muscle. Games athletes aren’t training to necessarily get stronger, they already got there through hard work, they’re training to put their bodies through the ringer and then rest, eat, and repeat. Just remember what your goal is and ask yourself if it’s really in your best interest.
Lastly, remember the most important part of the workout is intensity. If you run a mile in 11 minutes but your PR is 7 minutes and 11 seconds and you’re not pushing yourself very hard, you will not get better. That’s not challenging to your body. Challenge yourself to make yourself better- it’s good for you! But remember: sleeping, eating, and resting are all part of the program, so push the intensity, but have days where you dial it back and focus on recovery. This will be a big step for you.
Remember, your goal should be on your health and keeping yourself out of the doctors office and off as many medications as possible. Keep yourself in check, have fun, and become fit for life.
The Older and Slightly Wiser Rachel