How to take your CrossFit game to the next level
We chat to CrossFit coach Pat Barber about how to boost your performance, stay motivated and avoid injury
What advice would you give to those who are currently attending CrossFit classes but want to take their performance to the next level?
CrossFit follows a natural progression, there are thousands of movements and by exposing yourself to them slowly over time you get better: you will start to pick up heavier weights, run faster, etc. I would also say be patient and stay committed. Start slowly and don't rush - it's a lifestyle program, you have 10-20 years to get better!
Also nutrition and sleep are needed if you really want to see changes. Find what's right for you with nutrition, like with CrossFit itself. Be wary if people say there is only one way.
How can those who are already doing CrossFit stay motivated?
Well the camaraderie that CrossFit creates is very motivating. Doing the same thing together means people make healthier lifestyle choices together, try new stuff together, and push harder for longer. People often don't quit CrossFit because they'd be quitting those relationships too.
Also, a lot of people do sports to look a certain way, but for anyone in my gym it's what you can do and what you can accomplish that is important, not how you look. It's also healthier to set goals around accomplishing things, and don't focus on being the best, but just being a better you than the one you are today.
How do you avoid injury when training and doing CrossFit?
CrossFit is a tool that can be used poorly or well, it's all in the application. The coach is important for this, and my program is designed to help people be better at what they do, so look for a coach who holds safe classes and teaches you in a style you like - not everyone wants to be shouted at! People should be pushed to their own limits and not held to the same standard as everyone else.
Are there any other sports that you recommend to complement and improve CrossFit training?
In the first year of doing CrossFit some people discount other sports, but just because of their passion for CrossFit, not because you can't do other sports with it. The idea of CrossFit is GGP - General Physical Preparedness - so it's not sports-specific, it's training you to be fit, flexible, mobile. It should allow you to do whatever you want and should make you better at all sports - soccer, water polo, whatever, so choose stuff just because you like it.
What advice would you give people for helping the body rest, recover and heal in between workouts?
Take rest days, the amount will vary for the individual but normally people train three or four times a week, although some five or six. Personally I like three days on, one day off and so on. But what is best for you is what you can fit in with your lifestyle.