False expectations in training

Gepubliceerd op 3 december 2021 om 11:47

Most people notice a lot of progress in the first year of doing CrossFit. This is what a lot of coaches call ‘’newbie gains’’. It’s when an individual that is new to the sport rapidly makes progress. This is a pretty common phenomenon. 


The issue in my opinion is that individuals (unconsciously) believe this rate of progression is linear and is going to continue if they just ¨put in the work¨. While it’s not a realistic belief. Let me explain:


Let’s say an individual starts with a back squat of 50 kg, they train for 2 months and are now able to squat 60 kg. If this rate of progression continues, they will be at 110 kgs after one year, 170 kg after two years and at 260 kg after 3 years of training. 


That would mean that you are able to squat more than Mathew Fraser, ‘’the fittest man on earth’’, after 3 years of training. These numbers are not realistic, because the body is just not able to build muscle at such a high speed. But why does it happen in the first few months at such a high speed? Because beginners are building their neuromuscular efficiency. They are learning how to send signals to their muscles and build certain motor pathways that enable them to lift more weights quite fast.


It’s a pretty common belief that individuals new to the sport of CrossFit are making gains rapidly, however sometimes people get a certain unrealistic optimistic view about it and think that this will not apply to them.


I’ve encountered quite a few people like this and the problem emerges when their expectations don’t match the reality. So when they are not continuing to grow with the same speed as last year and their personal goals are not being achieved. Again, in my experience, people tend to blame themselves for this. Instead of thinking like: ‘’well I am more experienced now, so the rate of adaptation must have slowed down a bit’’ they tend to think like: ‘’I need to work harder, I need to lift more weights, I need to train with more intensity’’. Then what happened was that, due to the sudden increase of intensity, they would hurt themselves in training. Eventually getting caught in this vicious circle of getting injured, recover from the injury and try to get back to their pre-injury capabilities without giving their body the time to adapt properly.


So in my opinion, clear expectations and realistic goal setting could help out a lot in long term progress. It’s not realistic to think that the rate of adaptation will stay the same throughout a lifetime. If you are aware of this then I believe you’re going to be just fine. :)

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