11 Tips to Bust Your CrossFit Rut!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA You think you’ve got this CrossFit thing down. You’re going to the gym three or four times per week and you’ve got the diet thing right most of the time. And yet you still are not making progress. What gives? Here are 11 mistakes you might be making and how to fix them.


1. You are not eating enough quality food. It really doesn’t matter whether you eat three meals a day or six; what matters is the quality of your food. You need to eat a whole food diet that is based on lean protein, vegetables and fruit and healthy fats. Regardless of how many times you eat, you need to make sure you are eating enough. Your body needs a minimum number of calories in order to function. This is your basal metabolic rate (BMR). A quick way to calculate your BMR is to add 1000 calories to your weight. A sedentary person will only require an additional 300 to 500 calories per day. The more active you are the more calories you need. A food diary is an excellent way to track how many calories you are consuming. There are lots of apps for your smartphone to make tracking your calories easier.


2. You are not eating enough protein. You need protein to build, repair and maintain everything from hair to nails to muscle. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams of protein for every 1 kilogram of weight. According to this a 143lb or 65kg woman would only need 52 grams of protein. This is too little for an active person, especially one who strength trains or does CrossFit. A better formula is 1.2 – 1.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. In this case this athlete would consume between 78 and 117 grams of protein. Again, you can use your smartphone to keep track of your protein intake.


3. You are going overboard on a diet “free day.” Having pizza once in a while is a nice treat and a piece of birthday cake at your daughter’s party tastes delicious. Going all out on a fast food gorge fest is unhealthy. A weekend of overindulging can pack on unwanted pounds. Many fitness experts advocate the “80/20” rule, but this allows too much latitude for crappy eating. Treats should be special. There is nothing special about chicken wings and beer every Friday night or a doughnut with your coffee every morning.


4. You are wimping out on intensity. If you want a strong, lean body you have to get out of your workout comfort zone on a regular basis. Sure you’re getting your CrossFit workouts in three times a week, but are you really pushing yourself that hard? A challenging workout is good for you. It is okay to feel a little queasy after a high intensity workout. This feeling fades and as you work out at high intensity it takes even more effort to reach that sick feeling. That means you are getting stronger.


5. You have poor technique. Everyone needs to brush up on proper exercise technique. Learning proper technique allows you to perform exercise effectively and efficiently. You’ll also avoid injury. Multi-joint exercises like squats, deadlifts and shoulder presses take some time to master. It is best to have a coach watch your technique and make corrections.


6. You don’t strength train. Your CrossFit performance will never improve without time dedicated to squats, presses, deadlifts and Olympic lifts like the snatch and clean and jerk. If fat loss is your goal you need to leave the Barbie weights behind and lift heavy. Work heavy sets of five reps, three reps or heavy singles with proper form.



7. You don’t practice your skills. This is the least exciting part of CrossFit. If you want to do a pull-up or pistol squat RX’d in a workout you have to dedicate time to practicing them. You don’t get these skills by watching YouTube! You get them by dedicating five to ten minutes a day working skill progressions.


8. You are resisting recovery. Your body needs rest. Over-training happens to everyone, from beginners to elite athletes and everyone in between. In your quest for weight loss or strength gains you may be doing far more harm than good by exercising every day. Watch for signs of fatigue, sore muscles and lack of motivation. Alternate hard workouts with easy ones and avoid exercising sore muscles. Take at least one or two days off from exercising each week. A week away from the gym will restore your motivation and give your body maximum recovery.



9. You don’t scale workouts when you need to. It is great to RX a workout, but when you’re taking three times as long to complete a workout than everyone else, you should have scaled it. You need to scale a workout when you are not proficient at the skill or load (see points above), you are sore or injured, or fatigued. Scaling isn’t for beginners. A smart CrossFit athlete respects her limitations and modifies a workout so that she maintains the intensity and integrity of the workout.


10. You have no goals. What are you working out for? You need a fitness goal to keep you motivated. It doesn’t matter how big or small your fitness goal is. It could be running a 5K or performing 10 strict pull-ups. No matter what the goal you need to create a plan of action and set a time for completion. Your goal must also be realistic and specific. It isn’t enough to say you want to lose 20 pounds. Instead your goal may be to lose 5 pounds per month for the next four months. This is both specific and realistic.


11. You don’t use a workout log. When you write down your workout you don’t waste time in the gym and you keep focused on your goals. See number 10! You can plan your workouts so that you are moving toward your fitness goals. A workout log is also an important way to track your progress. Perhaps you started using 15lbs for a shoulder press but over the course of several weeks increased the load to 45lbs. If this information was noted in your log you would see the progression. Logging your workouts provides instant motivation as your runs get longer and faster and as you lift heavier and heavier weights.


Make 2014 your year to get in the best shape of your life. Fine tune your training and diet and you will be on your way!


5 Responses to “11 Tips to Bust Your CrossFit Rut!”
  1. nbuchan says:

    All great tips for training progress! Good stuff!

  2. It’s actually a great and helpful piece of information. I am satisfied that you simply shared
    this helpful info with us. Please keep us informed like this.
    Thank you for sharing.

  3. Hello! I know this is kinda off topic nevertheless I’d figured I’d ask.
    Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest writing a blog article or vice-versa?
    My site addresses a lot of the same topics as yours and I feel we could greatly benefit from each
    other. If you might be interested feel free to send me an email.

    I look forward to hearing from you! Excellent blog by the way!

    • Nyree says:


      Thanks for the compliment! I checked out your blog and it looks like you’re just getting started, although I couldn’t find an “About” page. Could you please send me some information about you, your fitness background, education and where you are located. If our backgrounds and fitness values are compatible then link-sharing and guest blogging is a definite possibility.

      Best regards,

      Nyree Segui

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