Planning Ahead: Preparing Yourself For A Successful Class Experience

Coach Leah
August 27, 2021
Athlete Photo

After seeing the workout posted on the website, are you taking the right steps to prepare yourself both mentally and physically for an efficient hour spent in the gym? Yes, it's only an hour class, but doing a little bit of preparation ahead of time can make your overall experience at the gym that much better. Below are a few recommendations that may help you start devising a game plan RIGHT NOW! They are in no particular order.

1. Check the workout ahead of time:

If you know you are that person that needs to see a workout ahead of time in order to be prepared, be sure to read and think about the workout BEFORE you walk in the gym and see it written on the whiteboard. For instance, this may include thinking about the weights you want to use ahead of time. If it's a strength day and you are building up in sets, know what is a good starting weight and what is a realistic finishing weight. Should you have 5-10 lbs extra nearby just in case it's needed as you build throughout? If there is other equipment in your workout like dumbbells, kettle bells, plyometric boxes or barbell movements, have a good feel of what weight/height you'll use. Ask yourself these types of questions prior to getting to the gym so that you can have a good blueprint of what you want to do and where you want to go with your workout! Don't show up surprised with something in the workout, it is helpful to know what is going on before it happens.

2. Pack a bag

It's pretty important to have a handful of things if you are an avid crossfitter. If you are one who likes to have all of the accessories CrossFit has to offer, be sure to have the right bag packed and bring it with you every day! Having an equipment bag with all of the essentials is pretty important considering the variance of the movements and lifts that could be seen in a Crossfit workout. Whether its knee sleeves, wrist wraps, oly shoes or even a change of clothes, keep it all in a bag and bring it with you every day you show up! Come prepared so that you can be READY for anything.

3. Make arrangements to show up early

Though we do our best to warm everyone up and mobilize specific to what we have programmed for the day, you may need a little extra attention to YOUR own issues. For example, if you know that you have poor front rack mobility and you see heavy cleans in the workout, do not walk in 1 minute before class begins, this is poor preparation. Instead, allow yourself 15 extra minutes to show up early and work on opening up your t-spine, un-gluing your lats and maybe even addressing those tight ankles of yours, it certainly won't hurt! These problems aren't always a quick fix, sometimes it means it will take an extra 10-15 minutes every time you are at the gym, but don't get frustrated, the more consistent you are the more progress you will see. Show up early and handle your business, but don't expect much results with your mobility if you aren't willing to work to fix it!

4. Relieving yourself

*Disclaimer: Please excuse if this is a touchy subject, but we believe its discussion is of utmost importance. (Coaches and gym owners can relate with us on this one.)*

If you are an individual that finds themselves "blessing" the gym's bathroom 10 seconds before the coach yells "3,2,1", then maybe consider handling this issue either before class begins or before you decide to head to the gym. We get it, sometimes there's no controlling the sensation, but for those who are habitual squatters, consider the time you lose in the gym doing this along with the inconvenience you place on your coach when you decide to "go" right before a workout. Its understandable if it happens once in a while, I mean when you gotta’ go, you gotta’ go, but this is something that can be avoided ahead of time by taking care of business at home/work or before class begins. Plan ahead and do what’s necessary to eliminate this problem, your coaches, classmates and bowels will thank you.

5. Be courteous of your coaches time

At times, with everything going on in a 60-minute class period, classes can run over and the transition time from cooling down the previous class to warming up the next class can be a sticky situation. We are on a tight schedule, especially with everything we'd like to do with you guys. So, instead of chatting your coaches ear off 10 minutes into the next class, consider scheduling a time to chat with them another time if it’s of importance to you. Get with your coach and make some time to discuss what’s on your mind. We care and we want to help you all out, just choosing to do so while the coach is trying to run a class can be difficult and at times irritating! Trust me, if we could have 90 minutes to work you guys out and another 60 minutes to answer all questions and talk to you about the anatomy of the body, the breakdowns of the lifts, nutrition and lifestyle, we would, but unfortunately we can't, so lets chat when time will allow us to do so!

6. Consider any modifications that may be necessary

Let's say you see a component of the workout that might cause you discomfort due to your current situation or simply something you just can't do because you're injured, start thinking through what needs to happen in order for you to perform this movement safely or without causing further pain and discomfort. The coach on hand can certainly help you with your current situation, but be prepared to have a conversation with them ahead of time and let them know you have thought of a few options that you think might be a good substitution or modification. Don't rely on your coach to hold your hand through the workout, that’s tough to do with 15 other athletes in the class with you. We will certainly help you find a safer option, but it's always nice to know that the athlete has already thought through the situation ahead of time :)

7. Show up with a positive mindset

Too many times we hear things like "This workout is going to suck" or "I'm so tired I don't even want to be here" and sometimes, our favorite "Burpees?!? I should just go home now." It's painful to hear these types of remarks because we know the exact effect it's going to have on your current state of mind and it’s not good. If these words are coming out of your mouth, you have immediately put yourself in a mental disadvantage. Your thoughts become your words and your words become your actions. I hope you don't plan on a stellar performance the day you show up with that type of mindset. Instead, show up with an attitude excited to attack whatever awaits you on that whiteboard. Visualize yourself going through the movements ahead of time and finishing the workout successfully, proud of your efforts rather than your end results. Every time you step inside the gym, it's an opportunity to become a better version of yourself. Don't waste that opportunity by simply having a poor mindset. There will be both good days and bad days, but if we can control what’s going on in our head, the good will show up much more frequently than the bad.

Having a plan is critical for full utilization of the hour spent at your box. If you are failing to plan, you’re planning to fail. Plan ahead and take full advantage of your time spent at the gym today!

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