1. Make the COMMITMENT
Decide that you are going to get stronger and make the commitment to whatever program and duration you want to do. If you commit to 6 weeks, then do everything in your power to do ALL 6 weeks. Don’t quit or fall off because of other commitments you have. You need TO plan and A plan to get stronger so clear your schedule during your lifting times and make no excuses.
2. Make CONSISTENCY a priority
You need to be consistent if you are going to build muscle. That means making it to the right days each week, sticking with the lifts and not skipping vital movements or accessory work, working the correct movement patterns, progressively adding weight, reps and/or sets and getting all your work in. If you are jumping all over and not sticking to the plan, it will be very difficult to build muscle and strength.
3. Build CAMARADERIE
Make friends with the people you are lifting with, or even bring your friends in to join you. Encourage each other, spot each other, watch each other’s technique. It amazing how much you can learn just by watching others do the same lifts you are doing. Maybe they are pushing their knees out in such a way that you can finally see that you are not activating your hips enough. Or perhaps they are rounding their back on the deadlift and just by seeing that in action, you can make the change in your lift to better technique. Never underestimate the value of lifting with other people.
4. Bring the CRAZY
If you want to get stronger, you have to get mentally tougher as well. Sometimes you need to dig deep and get pissed off at the bar. Or channel the anger and frustration from work or a relationship into your lifts. You can learn to lift more than you think you are capable of if you can increase your intensity. If music helps, find a song during your heavy sets that will push you. Maybe a nice smack on the back gets you angry and tightens you up. Being intense with a purpose will serve you well as you start lifting heavier weights; but don’t slack on the warm-up sets either, approach each set like it’s a new 1 rep max attempt.
5. Be open to CHANGE
Building muscle takes repetition and consistency, but it also takes make adjustments when and where necessary. Perhaps you have a limitation due to mobility or flexibility. Maybe you are plateauing. Or you may be lacking the strength in a specific muscle that is limiting your ability to make a certain lift. Your program should have designate exercise, set and rep changes in order to keep your muscles adapting but you need to be open to on the fly alterations made by your coach, lifting partners or even yourself in order to continue to make progress. Sometimes one step back is all you need to take three (or more) steps forward.
6. CONSUME more food
When you put a significantly larger load or volume on your muscles, you need added calories to recover. But you also need the added calories to fuel your tough workouts. Make sure you are eating low glycemic carbs and protein 45 min- 1.5 hours BEFORE you workout and high glycemic carbs and protein AFTER you workout. You may also benefit from consuming a small amount of carbs and protein during your workout so long as it doesn’t fill you up and slow you down. You can’t out-train a bad diet and that includes not fueling your body for harder, heavier and more intense lifting.
7. Don’t forget to CHILL
Rest is vital to recovering from the heavier loads that you will be lifting in order to gain strength. Getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night is important, but there are other ways you need to rest as well. Each of our programs has built in de-load weeks or certain days in order to allow your muscles to recover. Our max week is programmed to allow you to fully recover before attempting new PR’s too. Take advantage of the planned rest and don’t forget that it’s OK to WOD a couple days per week too, but don’t over do it or you will not see the gains you are anticipating.
-COACH TRAVIS ANDERSON
Crossfit Level One, CrossFit Judges Course, ISSA Certification, CPR/First Aid Certified,USASF Certified, AACCA Certified