Marginal Gains | How I’m Working To Get Better At CrossFit In 2016

January 1, 2016

better at crossfit

Since starting CrossFit in July, I’ve made a lot of progress and have really fallen in love with the sport. I’ve learned how to snatch and climb a rope, my clean has improved no end (too bad I still can’t clean my flat) and my mental attitude to both fitness and my own body has improved too. Now I’ve reached a point where I want to get better – to compete, maybe – but simply doing what I’ve been doing isn’t bringing me any more progress.

In a nutshell, I need to get leaner, faster, and better to be CrossFitting at the level I want to be at. It’s easy enough to say that, but how exactly am I going to go about it? By breaking my needs into different areas I can establish marginal areas I can work on, and get valuable gains that I wouldn’t have managed otherwise, had I simply attacked the bigger picture.

It goes without saying that consistency is key, which I’m going to strive for in 2016, but I’ll also be making plans to hit the following marginal goals..

better at crossfit

Lose some fat

I hate this one as I feel good in myself and think I look alright, but the sad fact of the matter is that I’m pretty heavy and this is really slowing down bodyweight movements like burpees, and hindering my pull-up progress – before I started CrossFit I could do three or so in a row unaided, but now I can’t do any! Plus.. I guess I do miss seeing delt and ab definition, though of course that’s not the be-all and end-all.

The thought of eating less food fills me with dread, so instead I’m going to add in some extra 30 minute runs, three mornings a week. These will have the added bonus of improving my overall fitness and stamina too. I’m finding I’m sat down too much in work so I will also be aiming to move around more, at least every hour, and be tracking this using my Fitbit*.

Improve mobility

I’ve been talking about my mobility issues for a long time, and whilst over the past six months I’ve worked on mobilising my hips, ankles and shoulders, my lack of mobility is still causing me problems. The more I read of Supple Leopard the more I realise that training with bad movement patterns could cause me problems a long way along the line, too, rather than just the superficial injuries, like pulled hamstrings, I’m getting right now.

Every day I will spend 10-15 minutes working on my mobility, as well as learning more about the body and how it works. I’m going to see a chiropractor to ensure there’s no underlying alignment issues – my sports masseuse is always telling me my sacro-iliac joints are misaligned, so it’d be good to clear that up once and for all. I’ll also be taking glucosamine and Omega-3 to look after my joints, too.

better at crossfit

Be able to do all CrossFit movements

There’s some movements I can do okay, there’s some I can do badly, and there’s some I can’t do at all. By the end of this year I’m aiming to be able to do everything, even if I can’t do it for countless reps with perfect form. I want to be able to at least give everything in a given WOD a try.

To do this, I’m going to dedicate each month to a different movement, and spend my spare time in the box learning how to do it. Let’s say January is double-unders – every time I’m in the box and sometimes when I’m not spending just five minutes working on my double-unders.

Eat better

I love food. Healthy food, junk food, all food, I’m not fussy. Junk food before a WOD even helps you train harder and junk food after a WOD can help refuel better. However, all the crap I eat is really not helping my body. The more demand I put on it, the more nutrients it needs, and a large bar of chocolate isn’t going to cut it.

More vegetables, leaner protein sources, and less sugar. This one seems simple but it’s going to be the hardest for me.

better at crossfit

Realise I can’t do all this on my own

I’m surrounded by so many people with a lot of knowledge – coaches, nutritionists, athletes, and physios, both at work and at the box – whose knowledge I don’t tap into nearly enough. Even if I can’t afford them regularly, when I’m privately coached I benefit from it so much, so I’ll be investing in some sessions over the next year.

Work on my game face!

I was pretty mortified when I saw these pictures from the QDos Fitness Christmas comp – I look like I’m going to cry in every one, and I’m slumped right over like I’ve got a hunchback. That can’t be any good for my lifting form or for my mobility, plus it looks terrible.

So, finally, I’ll be working on looking happier as I WOD and standing up a lot straighter. I might even try to smile every so often..!


6 comments so far.

6 responses to “Marginal Gains | How I’m Working To Get Better At CrossFit In 2016”

  1. Georgina says:

    I love this! Every single one of your points I was going “yup, I need to do that too”! I was saying to my coach only the other day that I’ve been going two years now and there are some things that I just should be able to do by now – for me it can only come down to a lack of effort. So this year I’m really going to have to work for it! Looking forward to seeing how you get on.

    • Sarah Harradine says:

      We should probably be checking up on each other this year. Just having someone ask me “how’s your mobility work going?” tends to embarrass me into getting some stuff done..! X

  2. To be able to do ALL Crossfit movements??? Big goals! I have been doing Crossfit for 3 years and I cannot do muscle ups – rings or bar, I cannot do butterfly pull ups, I cannot do handstand push ups or handstand walks, I cannot do L-sits or linked toes to bar, I cannot do legless rope climbs… and probably many more 🙂

  3. Will says:

    I’ve started powerlifting & sprint sessions and I find so much crosses over with CrossFit – I too am working to round my lifting capabilities but things like the snatch & muscle ups feel like they’re going to snap all my ligaments up – it certainly feels like it’ll be a long journey. Well here’s to it! I’ll let you know how I get on!

    • Sarah Harradine says:

      The long journey is the safest and best for sure, though it’s not the best for the ego of course. Now following your blog to see how you progress!

  4. […] more stable in lifts, they won’t do the work for you. They’re a part of working towards getting better at weightlifting and CrossFit […]

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Sarah fitness blog Manchester


Welcome to That Squat Bot! I'm Sarah, a Personal Trainer based in Manchester, UK.

I love strength and functional training, but I also love trying different types of movement and using my fitness outside of the gym. I'm vegan who loves avocados and vegetables as much as I love a great veggie burger. I'm also a massive Marvel nerd!

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