So this week I turned another year older…and it was my 1 year anniversary for KG-Fit! Reflecting back on the year, I have learned a lot to say the least about training, dieting, competing, and most importantly myself. I have also gained a lot of new friends from all over the country, mostly due to my roommate allowing me to come with him to various Crossfits! So thank you Mike 🙂
So in reflection, I will share some of the top things I have learned in the above categories:
- Listen to your body. Especially when eating in a caloric deficiency, it is critical that you listen to your body because the likelihood you may injure yourself increases due to slower recovery, lack of nutrients, etc. Work hard, but work smart–if something hurts, substitute another exercise for it. Would you rather stay healthy or go from injury to injury because it makes you feel like a B.A to push through exercises that hurt? Being a paid athlete may make this decision more complicated and you are less likely to simply stop or do something else, but as any athlete that has pushed through an injury in college knows, you are lucky if you get out without needing surgery or feeling the aftermath for the rest of your life.
- Lifting should be done with a sense of purpose. Doing the same # of sets and reps will most likely produce what you have always gotten. I have been programming for my main lifts such as front squat, back squat, deadlifts, and bench and I have seen my weights dramatically increase.
- Train for your goal. I know this is a hard one at times, but sometimes you need to refocus yourself as to what you are training for. Since I am currently dieting down for a figure competition, I need to be ok with letting Crossfit go to the wayside because I am not training for a Crossfit competition and it was stalling my weight loss. I need to do what will better prepare me for the stage which is my ultimate goal for now.
- Harder is not always better. Crossfit is intense. You may feel like you are fine and recovered from the workout the day or two days before, but you may not be. Since most Crossfit workouts include weight and a lot of reps, they can take a toll on your Central Nervous System (CNS). Because of this, you may not be able to handle 3 or 5 Crossfit workouts a week, especially if you are just starting out. If you do not start off slow, you seriously risk getting injured because your body cannot recover in time to be prepared for the next WOD’s demands. This also goes for other forms of training whether you are kicking your butt in lifting, intervals, sprints, plyos, etc. Sometimes taking an extra day off or instead of doing 3 hard Crossfit/high intensity training workouts a week, maybe only do 2 and substitute something less demanding like a metabolic conditioning class. I bet you will feel better and your level of endurance and intensity will increase during your workouts!
- You cannot out-train a bad diet. Yes I have known this forever, but every year I coach, it is reinforced. I see people kicking their own butts every day, but I hope it is not with the intent to lose weight, unless they are also watching what they eat. You can workout 2 hours a day, but if you are not cleaning up your diet, you will never see the results!
- I believe out of the whole population, only 3% know the basic rules of nutrition. For example, losing weight doesn’t mean cutting back on grains and simply eating fruit for every meal, skipping a post workout meal, eating under 1200 calories–and that’s without working out, etc. I will never know enough about nutrition, but I continue to educate myself as much as possible in order to become a better coach as well as share it with those who follow my blog. Now for the more complex, I have heard so many different ways to diet whether it is carb back loading, paleo, clean eating, IIFYM, etc that even I get confused as to what is best! But ultimately, it is finding what works best for your body. But here is a secret: unless you are planning on doing a bodybuilding competition and need to get to an extreme bodyfat %, eating a reasonable intake of calories (not underrating/overeating), eating mostly unprocessed foods, and drinking plenty of water will yield weight loss!
- If you ruin your metabolism while dieting due to eating too few calories, you MUST slowly increase calories back in in order to not gain 30lbs like myself. I did mention I learned a lot this year didn’t I?! After you ruin your metabolism and you are post show, one of the hardest things is to continue to diet and not eat until you are satisfied. Your body will make you feel hungry in order for it to regain enough fat to feel comfortable and prepared for another potential famine in the future. Even though I probably put on 10lbs of muscle in 6 months (and about 10% bf), I was extremely unhappy with how I looked and felt really self conscious. Not good for someone who 2-3 months earlier was on stage showin off the goods I worked so hard for.
- Slow progress is still progress. Even more so this time around, losing the fat is harder and more frustrating! I set dates for competitions and then continuously have to pick later dates because of how slow I am losing body fat. However, I am pretty sure the majority of weight that I have lost so far is fat. The last PR I had was in April, so that tells me I am not losing strength. The main lifts that tend to struggle after a couple of months of dieting are my squats and oly lifts. I did however PR my snatch and clean and jerk in the last 3 weeks or so. But more often then not, my lifts feel heavier than normal or I have to change my squat programming more frequently because I struggle to add weight each week–but that is to be expected with dieting..just make sure to take advantage of the days you feel good! But the take away is you must be happy with the small changes and progress you see!
- Scales are the devil. I knew this going through dieting last year, and I have gotten better about not caring too much about the scale. Your weight can fluctuate due to a number of reasons and I have pulled back the amount of times I have my clients weigh themselves because even though it is a measure of progress, pictures are much more accurate and what the scale says tends to just depress and freak people out–or it makes people addicted to the number. If you are someone that becomes obsessed with what the scale says, put it away! Take pictures and track progress based on that. When it comes down to it, even those who want to weigh a certain amount of weight will either be satisfied or not solely based on whether they like what they see in the mirror..so why even weigh yourself?
- Learn to be happy with your improvements and don’t base success off of placement. Since I turned 25, I have competed in my last show of 2012 and won my height class for the 3rd time, but not overall (they didn’t place the top 3 for whatever reason). I am happy with having won my class each show I have competed in, but who doesn’t want to win overall? Regardless, competing in figure is hard because you never really know what look the judges are looking for. It is important to see progress in yourself and be happy with the improvements you have made from the last time you were on stage.
- Compete in what you love. I have competed in my first Crossfit competition, even if it was a team competition. I had a blast and my goal for 2013 was to compete in one, so technically I have, but am hoping to do an individual one in the fall! Ideally I will get to a point where I can compete in Crossfit and figure. Competing provides me a sense of accomplishment and gratification that I miss from my swimming days.
- Compete every day. I am competitive by nature and one thing I have enjoyed about this off-season was getting stronger. Each workout I had a plan and I successfully got stronger so it was exciting to see my progress. Did I lift heavier every workout? No. I had days I felt like crap or I went to do the weight that I had planned for squats and my legs either weren’t recovered enough or just weren’t able to do the weight, so instead of getting upset, I just listened the my body and lowered the weight. Sometimes your body just doesn’t have it and that is all part of training in general!
- My expectations for myself may not be the same expectations others have for themselves. I am honest, blunt, and have a strong personality. This is what makes me unique and likable to some, but it also gets me into trouble at times! The biggest thing I have been trying to improve upon is understanding that everyone is different and sometimes it is better to give the person what they want for now, in order to give them what they need later!
- I love fitness and nutrition. They say you should make a career out of what you spend most of your time doing. I continue to figure out how to make it a career and do what I am passionate about. I also love blogging and sharing my passion with all of you!
- I am happy. My goal every year is to be happier than the year before. Happiness for me is made up of the people I surround myself with, my jobs, helping others achieve their athletic/physique goals, my free time, my hobbies, and of course the choice to be happy and appreciate the small things in life. Last year was awesome and even though this year will hold a lot of change, I am determined to make it great!