5 reasons you still suck at Crossfit

by ~jenniferlynn on October 24, 2014

in CrossFit

Originally titled “5 reasons you’re not getting better at Crossfit” or “5 reasons your progress with Crossfit has stalled,” I feel Crossfitters are more drawn to the use of the word “suck” when referring to bouts of negativity in the sport, though really this post can be relevant to any sport outside of Crossfit, too.

“Do more, suck less.”

“Wall balls are in my suck bucket.”

“Sucks to suck.”

“Embrace the suck.”

“Train not to suck at life.”

I will be the first to admit that despite my almost two-year commitment to Crossfit thus far, there are few movements that I can execute perfectly, and quite a few that I would say I legit suck at. Shocker, I know. Every one of my barbell lifts has gone up and I can do double-unders and handstand push-ups and pull-ups, but there is still plenty of room to improve on these skills.

When you are new to Crossfit, you are hitting PRs all day long, mastering skills that were once foreign to you, and lifting weights you never thought possible. But as time lapses, three months, six months, maybe even a year, you may hit a grand plateau, and no amount of ambition, drive, or will-power is going to push you past that point. Or maybe you haven’t plateaued by the numbers, but you are feeling stagnant in your performance.

5 Reasons Why You Still Suck at #Crossfit: The days of PRs are over and you have hit a plateau. Are you guilty of these 5 things? #embracethesuck For more Crossfit-related posts, check out @Jennifer ~ Wine to Weightlifting blog at winetoweightlfting.com/category/crossfit

What gives? You put in the time and effort and.. nothing. Below are five reasons that progress may be stalled, reasons why even though you feel you are giving it your all when you inside the box, you still suck at Crossfit.

Reason you suck at crossfit: consistency


You don’t have a plan.

Crossfit is intentionally constantly varied, so it is quite possible within any given week you will work on numerous lifts and skills. Even if those same skills are repeated the next week, if you are only attending class a few days a week, you could be missing out on the instruction and coaching on your suck-bucket skills or the skills that need the most attention.

For some, this is perfectly fine and you are not derailing your own efforts by putting in less gym time compared to someone else. But if you are trying to get better at one particular skill, such as double-unders, it is important to consistently practice that skill. Double-unders everyday.

If your goal is a pull-up, working on them once every two weeks is going to delay your progress compared to if you worked on them every other day.

Many can go to the box often and get a good sweat on and go home and feel awesome, repeat. But as someone hoping for improvement and endurance or strength gains, a well thought out plan should be made. Set one-month, three-month, six-months “SMART” goals and how you are going to achieve them. This could require additional personal training sessions or working with a coach to come up with a game plan. Or maybe involves getting to class 15 minutes early or staying 15 minutes later to work on extra skills.

If you are not actively trying to get better at something, there is a small likelihood that you will become better.

reason you suck at crossfit: mobility


You are tight. And inflexible. And not working on rectifying this.

Crossfit movements and weightlifting recruit so many muscles that you may not use during your day-life. How many of you sit at a desk all day hunched over the keyboard? Or have a long commute to and from work or school, sitting, hands clenched on the steering wheel? Or go home after a long day at the gym or work and the first thing you do is seat yourself on the couch right in front of TV?

The body needs to move! Try a standing desk, get up and walk around every hour, go for a walk, stretch at home, do mobility work around your workouts. Try yoga. Become a Supple Leopard.

Invest in a lacrosse ball, foam roller, a mobility band, and other tools to use when you are outside of the box. Make an appointment with your local chiropractor and ART specialist. Get frequent massages.

reason you suck at crossfit: fueling


You eat like garbage. Or don’t eat enough.

Or maybe you are eating enough but you aren’t eating enough of the right things. Are you effectively using the macro-nutrients of protein, fats, and carbs? Have you considered supplements?

How do you feel during your workouts? Is your weight or waist size increasing or decreasing? If these are trending downwards, you may wish to experiment with an alternative way of eating. Greatist put out an excellent chart to measure progress vs weight if you are concerned about where the scale is going.

While every body is going to react differently to different foods, I have found a happy place with Eat to Perform, where I load the majority of my carbohydrates around my workouts and the remainder in the evening post workout.

Many others have significant success switching to strict paleo, though it may take your body some time to adapt. Some others like IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) or balancing doughnuts or Zone, which require a bit more planning and preparation.

Make small changes to your diet and see how it affects your workout, then continue to make tweaks until you find the best strategy for your body. I suggest tracking using a site like MyFitnessPal, but you can also just use intuitive eating if tracking is not feasible.



You are over-training– or under-recovering.

Combining mobility, fueling, and other things, recovery is so important to a successful sport. Our bodies can do some pretty amazing things, but when your body is constantly under stress, it is going to one day just tell you, “no.” You have to treat your body properly, give the muscles the time and energy that they need to be restored and grow, while also letting the mind and central nervous system just relax.

My personal plan includes two full rest days a week (no more than 3 days in a row of training) and frequent epsom salt baths post workout. I am for 8+ hours of sleep, and often use a sleep mask and a faux-humidifier I made from an old crockpot. Compression gear can also be helpful to soothe achy muscles post-workout.

If your body is begging for a rest day, take it. If you are fatigued during the day and cannot focus on your day-to-day tasks, evaluate your training plan. Ask yourself these questions often if you are in a funk or getting discouraged: Are you sleeping 8+ hours a night? How is the quality of your sleep? Are you shutting down the electronics before you to bed to allow your brain to relax? How are your stress levels?



You want it all- yesterday. Or you want it all- now. Or you want it all- way sooner than you are going to get it.

Learn what you should know in your first three months of Crossfit, and remember these forever.

Who doesn’t? But chances are, you are not going to get double-unders in a day. And you will not get a muscle-up in a month. Heck, many Crossfitters don’t get one for years! Your snatch may increase 5# every month for six months or even a year, and then stall for six months. Your fear of kicking up on the wall to do a handstand may take weeks to overcome. You may get one kipping pull-up but it will take you four more months until you get another. Or you may be able to do a million single toes to bar but still struggle linking them after two years.

You will feel awesome and on top of the world and constantly progressing upwards, but then you’ll have a down day.

Everybody does.

Despite the ups and downs, over time, you will see positive trends. And if you’re not, then revisit the other items above. Log your workouts. Sometimes we do not realize what significant progress has been made until you take a minute and look back to where you were before.

#tbt Left, July 2012. Right, March, 2015. #crossfit #gainz #growlegsgrow

A post shared by Jennifer Hudy (@winetoweights) on


Crossfit is not the equivalent of a “get rich quick” scheme in the real of fitness, but you will likely see significant changes in the beginning and they will taper off as you go along. But anytime you do struggle physically or mentally, revisit the items above and ask yourself if you are really doing everything that you can do to keep the suck out.

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Your turn..
Do you feel your progress has stalled?
Which of the tips above could help you out the most?
What’s your biggest recommendation to someone feeling “stuck”?

5 Reasons Why You Still Suck at #Crossfit: The days of PRs are over and you have hit a plateau. Are you guilty of these 5 things? #embracethesuck

Disclaimer: Some of the links above may be affiliate links in which I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase using them. I encourage you to do so as it helps to support my blogging efforts. 🙂

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Tina Muir October 24, 2014 at 6:56 am

Okay, I have never done cross fit….so this definitely applies to me 😛 But, I wanted to say that I found it interesting as I could definitely apply it to running. I think I have stalled in my training, and even though I did PR at Chicago, and the time I run is one that most would kill for, it was not where I should be going. I am looking for ways to jump start out of that, and I think yours help!
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~jenniferlynn October 24, 2014 at 7:58 am

Yes! Definitely can be applied to any sport, I suppose! If something isn’t getting better.. what else can you do to improve it? Thanks for always reading my CF posts even when they aren’t seemingly relevant to runners 😉

jill conyers October 24, 2014 at 7:48 am

Every time I read your blog it makes me want to try Crossfit even more. One day.
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~jenniferlynn October 24, 2014 at 7:58 am

Girl…. do it!!!! 🙂

I promise you there is NOTHING to be hesitant about!

Ree October 24, 2014 at 9:10 am

The opening of your post literally made me lol! 🙂 I don’t do Crossfit, but my blogging partner does! I’ve always wanted to try it, and it’s officially on my list.
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Sky @ Blonde Freedom October 24, 2014 at 9:11 am

CrossFit has been a humbling experience in my short 5 months. Yes, I have done things that I had no idea that my body could do, but at the same time I still suck. Every point you made is something I need to work on. I want to focus next month on my diet. I do eat healthy, but I know I can eat more for what my body needs. Love this blog post!
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Lauren October 24, 2014 at 9:43 am

Great post. I’m sticking with Crossfit for a few more months before I reevaluate my expenses and goals but I definitely need to make a plan to work on pullups! I want to move down a colored band assist!

Chris October 24, 2014 at 10:44 am

Mobility and patience are my top suck reasons. I’m a desk jockey and years of neglect have left my hips and back and shoulders with rigor mortis. I think when you get stuck, it’s best to make a new, short term/immediant goal and aim for that. Perhaps you’re trying to add 10#s to your clean. Well, go for adding 2.5 or 5 pounds and then repeat. That way instead of one goal that you are not reaching, break it up so you still can get to that goal, just have more milestones along the way. More milestones gives more opportunity for success along the way!
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Jen @ Chase the Red Grape October 24, 2014 at 11:04 am

Great post! Sometimes I feel like I am getting no where and then I look back at my log book and my amazing progress is as clear as day! always makes me feel better and motivates me to stay strong!
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Jennifer October 24, 2014 at 12:22 pm

I remember my first week after On Ramp and the WOD called for snatches. I had no idea that it takes years (if ever) to do a beautiful Oly lift. I was so frustrated after that WOD. (it would have helped if someone had said, “Hey, Chuck. You’re doing just fine for your first freakin’ snatch.” But no one did so I went home feeling like a total nincompoop.) Patience is so important, but having a plan can definitely help the time pass faster. When I look back at where I was a year ago, it seems my progress has been incredible. But when I think of where I am now, I’m impatient to be better. CrossFit is never easy – on the body or the mind.
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Renee @ Bendiful Blog October 24, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Hahaha nice use of the word SUCK! I would imagine I suck at crossfit because I don’t do it. I’m always happy to see your progress though, inspiring the masses! Great job!
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Shelly October 24, 2014 at 2:41 pm

In mid-January I will have been doing CrossFit for one year. I’ve made lots of progress and am excited to continue learning new skills and increasing my strength and endurance, but I have noticed a plateau over the last month or two. This has definitely been bothering me lately, but I think that you’re right that significant changes will taper off. These are all such great reminders and I could surely stand to incorporate a few of them into my life. 🙂
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Charlotte October 24, 2014 at 6:30 pm

Fuel as food is huge for me. I was not building any muscle from under eating. Once I increased carbs, fat and a lot of protein, I really began to see results and feel energized. One cannot eat just vegetables all day and expect to perform well.

Such great tips you have herd.
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Charlotte October 24, 2014 at 6:30 pm

* here (last word typo)
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GiGi Eats
Twitter: dubagee
October 25, 2014 at 12:36 am

Want to know why I still suck at Crossfit? Because I’ve never tried it! HA HA AHA HA!
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Danielle @ It's a Harleyyy Life
Twitter: itsaharleyylife
October 25, 2014 at 7:48 am

great post lady!
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Michelle @ Vitamin Sunshine October 25, 2014 at 9:49 am

I’d love to try cross fit, but there aren’t places to go where I’m living (over in Asia now!).

A lot of these hit home for me in yoga though- I’ve been going pretty consistently for 4 years, and the first year was awesome- always felt like I was progressing and learning new things. Now I feel like I’m just stalled. All of your reasons could really relate to a lot of different sports or exercises!
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Em Todd October 25, 2014 at 11:46 am

This is a great list. I especially think it’s important to have a plan. Personally, I’ve found that the best way for me to really improve on something or acquire a new skill is to hit open gym and focus strictly on what I want to work on. I love those days to really dedicate a lot of time to something that I’m not getting during regular group crossfit classes. Pull-ups? Piece of cake now.
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Christa @ Living Unbalanced October 28, 2014 at 4:26 pm

I can definitely relate to this! Something I would add is not pushing yourself enough, or simply not trying.

For the longest time I struggled with double unders. I could do about 10 reps of double-single-double-single until I would mess up, get frustrated, and mess up some more. I never really tried stringing together double unders since I could barely do the double-single pattern. Well, last week I decided to just give it an honest try and I strung 15 double unders together! For me, I usually don’t progress because of my own self-doubt.
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Cara December 14, 2014 at 9:41 pm

This was such a great reminder of how I can suck a little less… with patience probably being the most important ha!
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~jenniferlynn December 14, 2014 at 9:43 pm

Yesss! I still have to remind myself almost daily!

Sarah January 16, 2015 at 9:34 am

Great post! I can incorporate all these tips into my training. Thank you for the tips!
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~jenniferlynn January 16, 2015 at 9:46 am

Thanks for reading, Sarah! 🙂

Mike December 28, 2015 at 4:50 pm

Great read, thank you. I’d add that the better you get at Crossfit, the harder it gets. Essentially a constant cycle of suck. You master the push press and then a suckfest begins anew with grotesque thrusters.

Whine to Crossfit,

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~jenniferlynn April 7, 2016 at 10:55 am

Haha, thanks for the comment, Mike! I never heard it put that way but man is it true that the better you get, the harder it gets!!

Trealla March 23, 2016 at 12:03 pm

These facts could not be anymore truer than what is stated! I have a desk job, and am guilty for ‘chillin’ at home – meal prepping for my 3-days-a-week crossfit training program. It’s a 6 week challenge – I’m in week 3 and have lost maybe 5lbs? I have a long way to go, and often wonder ‘why the hell am I not losing more?!’ I follow a Paleo diet as recommended from my Crossfit gym, eating nothing but natural, healthy foods, lean meats, etc. – but have an office job – sitting 8 hours a day. I have only worked out once, outside of my crossfit days, to help keep up. My muscles are always sore, or I’m always pulling something in class, which makes it harder to be motivated, when I just want to ‘rest’ my sore muscles….. I need to ‘suck it up’ and just go! It’s a slow process, but just changing my diet has helped my feel so much better! Patience is what I have gained in this process – so that’s my positive! xx

Anonymous October 29, 2016 at 8:48 pm

I have been doing crossfit for 2 years and I absolutely love it. I have not made a lot of progress but I learned a lot in this article. I will work on my goals and my nutrition part

~jenniferlynn April 21, 2017 at 11:58 am

Thanks for visiting! 😀

~jenniferlynn April 7, 2016 at 10:50 am

Thanks so much for sharing!!! 😀

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