Tick. Tick. Tick. The clock. It takes on an entirely new meaning when you start CrossFit. Blame it on the named WOD’s. Blame it on the board. Blame it on being an overly competitive society. Blame it on your own need to stroke your ego. But the only way to progress towards your goals is to ignore the CrossFit clock and focus on your training. I started CrossFit a little over two years ago. As a runner and triathlete, I lived for the clock basing my growing abilities on my mile pace whether it be for a 5k or a full marathon. I gauged my progress by time. When I transitioned to CrossFit, I approached the WOD’s with the same gusto. I often allowed my form to suffer just so I could experience the satisfaction of having the fastest time on the board. I’d use lower weights than what I was capable of because I wanted to be fast. But does your time really matter? Nope, it only matters in one situation and that is during competition.
Now that I have taken a four month hiatus from Crossfit and am returning stronger than ever before, I realize that the clock is a mental mind trick because it ultimately DOES NOT MATTER. The clock does not make you stronger, faster, more powerful, or more efficient. YOU do that. And the only way you progress, particularly in Olympic lifting, is to treat every single lift the same way, doesn’t matter if it is 50% of your one rep max multiple times or striving for a new PR that is twenty pounds heavier than your current maximum weight. Slow down. Breath. Listen to what your body is doing. Are you opening your hips with full extension? Are you using your lower back or your glutes and hamstrings during your deadlifts? Are you shrugging your traps during your cleans and snatches? Each time you focus in on those muscles, you are creating a mind-body connection that will aid you when you really need it. The endurance and “cardio” will come. That’s the easy part, the part your body will pick up very fast and never forget. It’s true strength that will improve your performance the most. There is a saying that CrossFit prepares you for the unknown and unknowable. The key word being unknowable. But you DO know what is expected of you each day you walk into your box and see the WOD. Next time, focus on developing strength, the movements, and most of all, stop comparing yourself to others. You can do that when you are taking your trophy home at the next competition. Written by Erin Elliot – Fitness model and experienced competitor in CrossFit, Iron Man, Triathalons, Physique and Figure competitions.