CrossFit legend Ben Smith shares tips to help you reach your training goals

CrossFit legend Ben Smith shares tips to help you reach your training goals

CROSSFIT GAMES is considered one of the toughest fitness challenges in the world. So winning this competition puts you in an elite company – in the Games’ 16-year history, only eight men have won. Ben Smith is one of them, having won the title of Fittest Man on Earth in 2015.

Prior to that victory and in the years since, Smith has been an advocate for his sport and his fitness more generally. Despite becoming a father and trainer at a successful gym, CrossFit Krypton in Virginia, Smith relies on what he calls his training and nutrition “pillars” to stay in top shape for his sport. and his life.

“It can help you be a better husband, father, and businessman,” Smith said. men’s health. He doesn’t just say that as an athlete. Smith has been coaching since 2014 and continues to work on programming for people of all fitness levels through Krypton Athletics. It’s also an open book with tips that can help others pursue their own fitness journeys.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity..

As we speak, the holiday season begins. Many people find it difficult to stay focused and committed to their fitness goals. What suggestions can you share to help make it easier to stay on track?

I’ve preached this for my entire career, and I tell people who ask similar questions like this the same thing. Consistency is the most important thing. It’s hard because you don’t see the results of that consistency right away. If you can consistently do something for 15 minutes in the morning, it can add up over time. Then, if you can manage to stay away from those things you know you shouldn’t be eating, that can make a profound difference as well.

This is something many people find easier said than done. What do you think is the most difficult barrier for so many people?

Unfortunately, many people want the quick fix or the easy answer. However, the correct answer is not the easiest. We both know that the correct answer is usually the most difficult.

Do you think being consistent is harder physically or mentally?

There’s definitely a physical component to it, but I also think people have to look for those mental challenges or look for the hard stuff. If you really want to make a serious change, it’s going to be hard, and you definitely want that change to happen and be willing to seek out the hard stuff to do it.

What tips can you share for people looking to start CrossFit?

There are a lot of stigmas and stereotypes about CrossFit that aren’t true. The first thing you need to do is find the right gym for you. Finding the right CrossFit gym is like finding the right doctor. Everyone is different and has different needs. Regardless of which one you choose, they should all preach the same overall methodology. Once you’ve found the right gym and community for you, keep your mind as open as possible. Find people who can see things from your perspective and make sure they can help you move forward on your journey.

Would you say the right environment is just as important as the right equipment?

Absolutely! You should want to be with the people at this gym. They shouldn’t have serious egos or be full of themselves. This can make it harder to learn from them. Finding the right community is the most important thing because if you are around the right people with similar goals, you can learn and achieve a lot. Conversely, if you’re surrounded by people who don’t build you up, it can be very difficult to stay consistent.

If you had to choose a favorite exercise that you can or always do, what would it be and why?

I would say the squat for sure, 100%. I think it’s a whole body movement. It stresses your central nervous system appropriately. Yes you might have delayed onset muscle soreness but you can get stronger and you can do different rep ranges such as heavier weight for low reps or lower weight for high reps for endurance or the cardio benefits.

What are the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to dieting? What do you suggest to avoid these errors?

There are a lot of answers to that one. Diet is so difficult because there are so many people on the internet who think they know what they’re talking about, and they have very strong opinions one way or the other. The thing is, a diet has to be very personalized for the individual, and honestly, it would be hard for me to give good advice on that. What I do know is that people who try to make a lot of drastic changes at once make it very hard to stick with them. Some people can do this, but for many others, a good diet or nutrition plan is the one you’re most likely to follow, and it should include small, incremental changes over time.

Would dedicating that time up front to transition from one way of eating to another before the diet be a better way to stay consistent?

Exactly. If they try to do everything at once, they might burn out, then be disappointed, then sink into a negative dynamic. The objective is to create a positive dynamic. Start building that momentum by making small, achievable changes. Over time, you will see yourself growing and improving, which will make you want to succeed even more. When done right, it can be very easy.

Are you a proponent of macro counting or other ways to track what you eat?

I think how you control it depends on your personality. I know people who like to keep track of details. I do not do it. I’ve done this before just to get an idea. It can certainly be useful, and I think it would be a good idea to give it a try. But it might not be for everyone, which is fine.

Protein shakes have been a quick way for people to add calories to their plans. Do you have a favorite protein shake recipe?

I’m pretty straightforward when it comes to this. I like to make chocolate protein powder with water. I don’t need it to be all fancy. Sometimes I can add a little milk, but that’s not very often. Powder, water, mix and go.

Recovery after training is very important, and that includes sleep. What routine or practices do you follow when it’s time to go to bed?

I didn’t pay as much attention to it myself when I was younger, but as I got older I noticed that what really matters is recovery and sleep. Quality sleep is so important, and I noticed it after my wife and I had our first child. It was really difficult because I woke up in the middle of the night anxious and stressed. It may seem simple, but I wait until I’m tired to go to bed. I don’t go there at a certain time just for that. If I’m not tired, I don’t force. I also like to read before going to bed. I pray, then I read to calm my mind a bit, even if it’s only for ten minutes. As for the room itself, I make it as dark as possible and as cool as possible. It also helps.

Beyond sleep, what other forms of recovery do you suggest for people who want to progress with fitness goals?

Surprisingly, one of my favorite things to do for recovery is to get moving. I will choose the rehabilitation or pre-education movements that I need to do, and I will work on these before and after training. For example, I have tendonitis in my knee or if my elbow hurts a little. I will find things I can do to just move or get the blood flowing. I like to keep moving. I find that if I stop moving, I stop recovering. That’s when I get more sore and tired. If I start to feel this, I will get up and walk or do some of my stretches. It actually helps my training if I keep moving throughout the day.

You are a father now, and many people reading this are parents who want to do the best they can for their children. What tips can you share for people trying to balance fitness, business, and their most important role: parenting?

I would say it is difficult. I train when I can, so whenever the opportunity arises, I do. Sometimes it can be later in the day or in the evening. Even if it’s 20 minutes, I take advantage of it. I’ve been doing the nutrition part for so long now that I still do. The longer you do it, the easier it is to follow. Sticking with them from the start will serve as pillars. So when life changes happen, like having a child or opening a business, those pillars will be there and they will be easier to maintain. The hardest part is the forward effort. Once you get past that and find a good routine, it makes everything easier.

One goal some readers may have is to one day succeed in a CrossFit competition. You’ve been the fittest man alive in your career, so what advice can you give to this rookie who wants to challenge himself?

I like that you call it a fitness discipline earlier because I see it as a journey. Everyone reading this is on their own journey and it’s good to remember that long-term perspective if you’re ever going to compete. There are times when you want to push yourself and test yourself, but keep in mind that one competition is not going to make or break your fitness journey. Think of it as a learning experience, and it will help you in the long run. You go from your A to your B. This is your path. I think having that perspective is very important.

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