Alternate title for this post could be “How to Crossfit when it feels Sucky,” or “Working out after Christmas Without Hating Yourself.”
So, if you’re reading this right now, chances are that you, like me (Hilary) are coming off of a few days (or weeks, I don’t judge) of eating more than normal. Maybe you’ve taken a few days (or weeks) off from the gym due to travel or holiday busyness (or a visit from everyone’s favourite seasonal visitor, stomach flu). Or maybe you just couldn’t get into the gym as much as you wanted.
Chances are, when you get back to the gym, it’s going to suck a little. You might hate yourself, and be tempted to engage in a nice bout of self-loathing, being down on yourself, and/or having a nice little pity party (preaching to the choir here ’cause that’s what I’m fighting the urge to do right now). Don’t. Take a few deep breaths. Get back in there. Do what you have to do. It’ll be ok. How? I’m so glad you asked.
First of all, don’t beat yourself up. It’s not as bad as you think, I promise. Yes, you might have eaten way too much. Yes, you skipped a workout (or two, or 3). Yes, you may be moving slower. But it’s ok. Just as it seemed that progress, speed and strength slip away so quickly, after you get back to your normal routine, they will be quick to return. And refuse to engage in negative self-talk. Ignore that nagging inner voice that makes comments like “fat cow” or points out that seemingly increased roll of flab that you swear you can feel when you box jump. Hating yourself only cripples you further. A little self love and kindness can go a long way.
Second, accept a few days of sub-par performance. You are going to be moving slower. Your WODs might feel terrible. You will wonder why the barbell seems so heavy. Don’t expect to return from a week of eating, drinking, and being merry and be exactly where you were before. Give yourself permission to ease back into things. Get back to working hard and you’ll be PR-ing again in no time.
Third (and this goes along with the first point), celebrate the things you did well. In my case, yes, I did lead a generally sedentary life for 4 days straight. I didn’t work out on Christmas Day. I ate way more decadent and delicious food than I should have. But I also sought out a Crossfit box while visiting my hometown and went there twice. And on Boxing Day I did 500 burpees (post on that to come shortly). Just be kind to yourself. You are not all that terrible.
Fourth, remember where you’ve come from. This morning, I was frustrated that my score for our gym’s contest of the month (2 mins of double-unders) went down (not shocking really, given last week). Yes, that’s annoying. I could choose to focus on that, or I could think “6 months ago, it would’ve taken me 3 minutes to get the same number of DUs.” I was annoyed that my back squat only went up by 5 pounds. BUT IT STILL WENT UP. Just because you may not be performing at your absolute peak doesn’t mean you can’t still celebrate how far you’ve come.
Fifth, think about how you feel when you’re eating clean and training hard versus when you’re not. I want to make it clear that I am absolutely NOT saying not to indulge and enjoy the holidays. I did, and it tasted amazing. But after 5 days of sitting around eating delicious but heavy foods, my skin was broken out, I felt stuffed, sluggish and tired. Going back to a healthy eating and training plan suddenly seems so much more appealing when I look back to how awesome it makes me feel not only physically, but mentally as well.
Sixth, don’t take yourself too seriously. Chances are, for most of you reading this, you’re not headed to the Crossfit games. One week off and a couple of crappy WODs aren’t going to cost you your spot at regionals. Laugh it off, get back to your training, and don’t let a few lackluster days spoil your fun. Which leads to my last point…
Remember why you Crossfit. Most of us aren’t (and will likely never be) Camille or Rich. We will never be competing at that highest level. So why did you start Crossfitting in the first place? Was it to prove something to yourself? To achieve levels of fitness you never thought possible? Nothing can take that away from you. Remember the goals you have, and keep chipping away at them, despite setbacks.
What are your top tips for getting yourself in the game after holidays?