Life can be demanding. Most of the population of this world has jobs, family, friends, and a multitude of other obligations that keep us generally busy. Strangely enough, we are not just people who get to spend twenty hours a week at the gym perfecting our movements. We get it. You had to take some time off from CrossFit. Maybe you were injured. Maybe you were tired. Maybe you were on a month long trip to Europe (if that’s the case, we are a little bitter). Whatever the reason for your absence in the gym, it happens. We do, and should, have other things to do besides CrossFit, right? So, now you’ve recovered, rested, or returned from your trip. Great! Now what? Jumping back in can be a little scary, and a little frustrating. Here are some tips on how to jump in with both feet, without breaking your ankles.
Take it Slowly
You do not want to return, only to be sidelined again. Sure, our bodies are pretty capable machines; however, depending on the length of your absences, your endurance, strength, flexibility, or agility may not be at the level it once was. You do not want to walk in to the box on your first day back and attempt to PR Murph. Your coaches don’t want that either. It will take a little bit of time for your body to remember what this CrossFit stuff is all about. Don’t jump on the rig and try to knock out 50 unbroken pull-ups. That’s the quickest way to land you on another month long break, or worse. I’m not saying you have to go all the way to zero on your level of ability, but you need to take it slowly. Knock down the weight on your bar, shorten the number of pull-ups, maybe even knock a round off (make sure you talk to your coaches about this… you don’t want to be a cheater!). Muscle atrophy can occur rather quickly. It’s important to remember that while your mind may be ready, your body is not. Be smart.
Don’t Get Frustrated
When you left, you were killing it. Every workout was great. You were smoking the competition left and right. Now you are back, and taking it slowly, and trying to breathe, and that new kid in the corner is running laps around you, sometimes literally. It can be frustrating. Here’s where that whole mental focus thing comes in. It won’t take years to get your muscle mass back, or your aerobic ability, so just be patient. So, maybe the new people are faster than you. Does it really matter? Nope. We go to the gym to be the best that WE can be, right? Don’t lose your mind, or your focus, on the fact that other’s are faster than you. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are improving your ability, doing it safely, doing it the right way, and taking care of you. Injuries happen. Life happens. Just walk back in and don’t worry about the “competition.” There will always be someone faster than you. It’s CrossFit.
Celebrate Your Success
When we are reconditioning ourselves to the gym, we can quickly forget that we are hitting milestones along the way. Maybe you are not at the level you were when you left, but you are making strides. We love to celebrate our successes when we are starting out. Coming back is no different. No matter what life circumstance took you out of the gym, there are always moments for celebration. Reaching your previous lifting weights, or getting that muscle-up back, or completing unbroken double unders are all causes for excitement. Don’t get bogged down in what you use to be able to accomplish. Enjoy the ride back up.
Life gets in the way. Things cause us to not be the gym rats we once were. It happens. The most important thing is that your walked back into the gym That you reclaimed what was once yours. Now is the time to focus not on what your once had, but what you can be. Take it slowly. You are not going to PR the first day (or week) back, nor should you. Focus on the journey. Focus on improvement. Focus on accomplishments. The rest of the stuff will come on its own.