CrossFit is synonymous with community. Whether you train in class, with a partner, or in a group, few of us who do CrossFit prefer to do it alone.
Getting through a training session requires grit, discipline, and dedication; qualities that are easier to summon when someone is working out by your side.
It can be difficult to convince yourself to visit the pain cave several times a week, knowing that you’ll have to face it alone. Let’s face it, carnage via CrossFit is a lot more palatable when you’re among friends.
Unfortunately, we don’t all have the luxury of having flexible schedules or a training squad to throw down with, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make progress or “go hard” when you’re going solo.
Here are some tips to help you embrace training alone.
Giving yourself the push that you need to train hard is a hell of a lot easier when you know what you’re doing it for.
- Want to improve your health?
- Is competing your main priority or are you doing it all for fun?
- Is training your way to cope with stress?
Ask yourself why you train and let it be your motivator when your workout gets spicy.
If that’s too profound, at the very least ask yourself:
What can you accomplish in today’s session to make yourself feel satisfied?
Set a goal for the session and smash it!
Commit to doing 20 unbroken wall balls each round, getting through the toes to bar without losing your kip, or maybe just get through it all without quitting.
Even if you don’t feel like you worked as hard as you could have, you’ll still make yourself proud.
As humans, we love to compare.
Even if we’re not directly competing with our training partners or classmates, using others as reference points can be useful to help us realize our own strengths and weaknesses.
Not to mention, those of us who are more competitive probably work just a bit harder so that they can edge out the “competition”.
The pressure of finishing last (or even finishing second) sometimes gives you that extra shot of adrenaline to make sure that you come out on top.
That aside, just because you don’t have anyone to chase in real time doesn’t mean you can’t compare your performance with that of your peers.
Combat workout loneliness by starting a forum or group chat among those in your training group.
It’s a great way to create an environment that keeps you all connected by sharing scores, strategies, and tips (or more realistically, sending memes and complaining about the WODs).
Don’t have a training group? No problem.
Our online training program already has a Facebook group where you can start discussions or post comments and videos.
Being able to interact with your fellow athletes can help to keep your motivation high even when you’re busting out WODs alone.
You Against Time
A large part of learning to train alone is leaning how to train against the clock.
So how do you get fired up enough to give your best effort?
Intervals are great for forcing intensity.
A 25-calorie row might take around a minute and a half under normal circumstances, but when there’s the pressure of being in an EMOM, suddenly you’re able to do it within 50 seconds.
Completing a fixed amount of work within a fixed timeframe assures that you’re putting in the effort needed to get the work done in time.
Change it up with EMOMs, short AMRAPs (for example 3 x 4’ AMRAP), and mixed modalities to keep things interesting.
You vs. You
If you have no one to compete with in real time, no worries!
You can always compete with yourself..that is, your past self.
Unless you’re a professional athlete, your main reason to train probably has something to do with being the best version of yourself.
So how do we know if we’re making gains? Log it!
Jot down all your scores, personal records, and benchmark WOD results so that you have a score to beat the next time they come around.
Keeping a workout journal is one of the best ways to assess of your progress, analyze trends, and reflect on how far you’ve come.
This is important for keeping your “why” burning on mind the next time the chance to give up mid-WOD presents itself.
The practice of keeping a workout journal goes beyond feeling alone in your training.
You can’t improve what you don’t measure.
Make yourself your #1 Priority
The silver lining of training alone is that you decide how to spend the session without having to wait on or agree with anyone else.
You are 100 percent within your rights to be totally selfish with your training.
Take advantage of working out solo by spending more time improving your weaknesses.
Practice your double-unders, throw in accessory work, play with your handstand skills, or cool down with a mobility routine.
Consider it your reward for getting through a demanding workout on your own.
Getting through a tough WOD or training with your best effort, both require a certain amount of grit that best comes to surface when someone is training by your side.
While most of us would love to be able to link up and train with friends or be able to coordinate our lives with the class schedule, sometimes it just isn’t possible.
Working out alone can make going into the pain cave especially challenging and unpleasant, however there are ways to keep your motivation and intensity high rather than simply ”going through the motions”.
By being creative with how we train, and by staying connected to your peers, you’ll see that going solo isn’t so bad.
Besides, there’s a lot to be said about the mental fortitude of someone who can train alone.
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