Jason Khalipa, the 2008 CrossFit Games champion, Gillette-sponsored athlete, and owner of NorCal CrossFit, offers 7 secrets to his fitness successes.
1. Focus on two moves
CrossFit is all about specializing in not specializing. But if you're training on your own or want to tack on work outside the gym, the best exercises you can do are thrusters and burpees. In both you're moving large loads – a barbell or weights for the thruster, your bodyweight for the burpee – over a long distance, and using your entire body. If I could only do two moves for the rest of my life, it'd be these.
2. Take care of your calluses
People think if their hands bleed, it's a sign of a good workout. It's not. It's a liability, and it inhibits your ability to perform. For the last seven years I've been shaving down the calluses on my palms with a razor to help keep my hands from ripping. If you don't allow the calluses to build up, they're less likely to tear open during a WOD.
3. Slow down
It's part of my go-to mantra: "Move fast, breathe slow." I'll repeat it during a workout to stay calm. In CrossFit you can be doing moves at warp speed and your heart rate's jacked, so you need to be able to make your breathing slow and smooth to maintain that intensity.
4. Do more yoga
Instead of rushing through stretches after a workout when you're not really focused, in yoga, you're spending a full hour focusing on your breathing, your mobility, and just relaxing. I'll go once or twice a week, minimum.
5. Use less weight
The guys at the CrossFit Games make deadlifting 400 pounds look effortless. Why? Because they've done it a thousand times with a quarter of that weight. For any exercise, you have to first perfect your technique and movement, then increase the load. Going back to just the barbell for a set is sometimes the smartest thing you can do.
6. Don't obsess over your diet
Generally, I try to eat meat, veggies, seeds and nuts, and no sugar. But if my wife wants to go out to dinner, I'm not going to bring my Tupperware meal – I don't want to be that guy. If you want to be able to stick to a decent diet, you have to allow yourself a balance like that.
7. Take pride in second place
Every workout is about what you put into it, not what anyone else is doing. When I won the Games in 2008, that was amazing. But I put so much more hard work and dedication into 2013 [Khalipa came in second to Rich Froning] that it meant way more to me. It's my greatest accomplishment.