How To Train Like An Athlete

Updated: Dec 30, 2020



CrossFit is a great training program to become your healthiest and fittest self.

If your goal is to perform better, move faster, lift heavier and be the fittest you can be in order to compete in competitions, you need to take control over different aspects of your daily life and training.


With the CrossFit Open right around the corner, some of us might use the next few weeks to become the best athlete we can be. But these actions can be done year-round and become a lifestyle

Here are a few things you can do to train like an athlete:

1. ) Address Weaknesses

If you are newer to CrossFit, there’s so much we can improve on that it might feel overwhelming. Your first goal should be to have a fair understanding of the movements and perform them well. Have a “learning” mindset and focus on getting one percent better each day.

If you have some experience under your belt, you know what movements you’re really good at and the movements that need some work. For example, you might be a good lifter but struggle with stringing gymnastic movements like pull ups and bar muscle ups. Or you’re a great endurance athlete but struggle with weightlifting movements.

Seek additional training and coaching

2.) Respect Recovery

When we go to the gym, we are breaking down muscle fibers. Our body actually gets stronger outside the gym. Every good athlete works hard in the gym but great athletes understand the importance of taking care of your body. The faster your body can recharge and the longer your body can hold up, the better athlete you’ll be.

Here’s what you need to do in order for your body and mind to recover:

  • Get good quality sleep (daily)

  • Stretch & work on mobility (daily)

  • Take time off and/or take it easy

  • Move. Go for an easy walk, hike, bike, etc.

  • Get professional body work done. (weekly or monthly)

Examples: massage, dry needling, chiropractor, physical therapist, etc.

3.) Eat Well

On top of the proper recovery protocols, we need to be eating enough of the right stuff to support our activity level. We need to know how many calories our body burns during training days and rest days. If you’re rather new to tracking your food, you don’t need to do this right now. Your focus should just be to eat balanced meals of lean protein, veggies, fruits, healthy fat, etc.

No matter what training program you do, you can’t out-train a bad diet.

You want to build lean muscle?

  • Make sure to eat enough protein to support muscle growth

Want to lean out?

  • Cut out the junk in your current diet

Want to improve your performance in the gym?

  • Eat the right amount of carbs, fat, and protein to support your training

4.) Train With Purpose

Don’t zone out when you workout. You don’t randomly get better. You’ll always be rewarded for your dedication regarding your fitness. When you’re training, you should be very aware of what you’re doing.

  • What cues are you thinking about?

  • What is your body (or specific muscle groups) doing during a movement?

  • What should they be doing?

  • What pace can I sustain versus what pace would make me burn out?

  • Am I modifying the movements properly to address my goal(s) or is my ego in the way?

  • Am I using the right weight to give me the proper stimulus?

  • Am I sticking to the rep scheme/time domain agreed upon with my coach?

  • Etc

5.) Be Coachable

No matter how much experience you have, continue learning. All professional athletes have coaches. Why? It can be very difficult to program, correct movements and keep yourself accountable. You might bias your training to what you like versus what you need.

A coach is a valuable resource. A person who has your best interest in mind. They are able to see the bigger picture for you and guide you towards the finish line of your goals. Trust them, trust the process.

In a class setting, you want to be attentive to what’s being asked of you. Ask questions so you have a better understanding of the movements and workout.

Be receptive to what your coach is asking you to do. Don’t let your ego get in the way. A coach is trying to help you with your movement patterns so you do them safely and so you can progress to more advanced movements.

How to be coachable:

  • Take in feedback

  • Be patient

  • Be willing to “fail”

  • Be open-minded

  • Be welcoming

  • Leave ego at the door

“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”

6.) Find Positives

There will always be something to improve on. Don’t allow negative self-talk.

For example, there might be a time when you get injured. Instead of viewing it as “I can’t do x, y, z”, view it as an opportunity. Focus on things you can do and address areas in your training you’ve been neglecting, whether that’s doing physical therapy, practicing the basics, etc.

Let your injury heal properly.

  • Is your elbow bothering you? Work on your squat

  • Your ankle is sprained? Work on your upper body gymnastics

  • Etc

You can also find positives in your performance. For example, instead of thinking, “I’m always last in the group workouts”, how about we think about the positives!

Examples of some positives can be:

  • My shoulder hasn’t bothered me in several weeks

  • I can now hold onto the bar for 20 seconds instead of 5

  • I can now string 3 toes to bar without swinging out of control

  • etc

7.) Perseverance & Consistency

You can’t do this for a few days and expect great results. You need to be committed and dedicated. You need to wash, rinse, repeat every single day.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t take breaks or take it easy some days. You absolutely can. But you should be consistent with your plan 90% of the time.

If you want to take the next step in your training, feel free to talk to us. We can help you come up with a plan that is right for you.