How to overcome your one year slump

03-05-2022 Cecily Ellis

During the first few months of CrossFit people often feel unstoppable. You’ve found a new sport that you really enjoy. You’re constantly learning new movements and setting new PR’s. Everything is awesome! And that’s when the one year slump hits you. Suddenly progress isn’t a given, and at times seems like an illusion. CrossFit is no longer the shiny new thing in your life and many people start to lose interest. It’s a pattern that we see over and over as coaches. So what should you do? How do you conquer the CrossFit equivalent of a midlife crisis?

Farewell beginner gains. Hello consistency. 

The best thing about being new to a sport is the amount of progress you can make during the first few months. Sometimes it feels like beginners only have to look at a barbell and they’ll set new PRs. However, after your body becomes more accustomed to this new type of movement you’ll find you can no longer set PRs week after week. Instead, consistent effort is needed to progress. This isn’t a bad thing, for while your body now requires regular training to get stronger, it offers you more consistent results in return. For many people simply knowing that at some point progress will become more of a marathon than a sprint, and that this happens to everyone is enough. Others need some time to adjust to the new grind, and experience that while PRs may take longer to achieve, this simply makes that moment of victory even sweeter.

What to do and how to do it. 

Now that you know setting those PRs is going to take a bit more effort, it’s worth considering what your training goals are. Let’s say your fulfilment in training comes from measurable results. Then instead of simply showing up to class you could also determine your weak points and focus your efforts on those specifically. Is your weightlifting technique holding you back but your cardio already up to par? Go to two STRENGTH60 every week to improve your movement patterns and one CF60 class to keep you fit. Is strength your limiting factor? STRENGTH60 is your new best friend. Accept that you can’t fix everything at once, and instead focus your attention on the movements that will help you improve most overall. That being said, maybe you conclude that you don’t particularly care about progress (right now). In that case, there’s nothing wrong with just showing up when it suits you and cherry picking the workouts you enjoy. Remember the ultimate goal is likely not to become a professional athlete, but to stay active and healthy for life, and you should tailor your training experience so that it makes you want to stick around. 

Find your crew.

My final advice is to really dive into the community. People often join CrossFit for the sixpacks and sweat, but end up staying for the friendships and atmosphere. As a coach I will always try to be as involved as I can, asking people where they’ve been if I haven’t seen them in class for a while. But I will never be able to compete with the friendly rivalry you have with your buddy, or the text message from the 7AM group asking where you were this morning. Find the people who will complain with you about how hard the workout is and then join you to do it anyway. Who will admire your rope climb battle scars and pull up blisters. Who will judge you inside and outside of the open, but always to bring out the best in yourself. Find your crew, and together you will weather the ups and downs of training for years to come. And maybe, if you’re lucky, make friends for life.  

Cecily Ellis

About Cecily Ellis

Cecily is a CrossFit, Strength and Olympic weightlifting coach at UnScared. She devoted most of her young life to competitive swimming and gymnastics, only to discover UnScared and fall in love with CrossFit and Olympic Weightlifting. She now spends her days studying computer science, doing snatches and baking protein-filled goods. Don’t let her love of fluffy animals and British accent deceive you however, her puns are still unBEARable.

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