People often wonder what a Games Athlete or someone that performs at a very high level in this sport do all day! Literally you now hear and see that athletes that compete in our sport train all day long. It is no exaggeration for me to know that a competitive Games level CF athlete often trains 4-6 hours a day. During this time they aren't just doing heavy lift after heavy lift, or even metcon after metcon.
To understand how to train for this sport forces one to step back and understand what CrossFit IS and why IT IS to begin with. You see CrossFit is "constantly varied, functional movements executed at HIGH INTENSITY". High intensity is the big take away here. We know from study and time that the best results of EVERYTHING in life is accomplished when done at high intensity. This also works with most of our lifestyles right? 1 hour a day is plenty for most of us who train and high intensity, and when done right, for quality of life and ability and maybe looking better naked.....IT'S PLENTY! BUT for an athlete that views this as a competitive sport and wants to be top tier in the world the difference is PRACTICE.
Some people are mislead, even actual athletes are mislead and think in order to be "good" at this sport you must suffer all day long. Some people think you must conditions and do high intensity training all day everyday. The truth is that competitors to be good and have long careers this isn't the case! They must do high intensity training but almost only to the same degree of you guys out there doing it for longevity and day to day fitness and health. The other hours a competitor spends training should be on long endurance work building their base of stamina and aerobic capacity. They should spend adequate time with light loads practicing to master olympic lifts and basic barbell and DB functions. They should spend A LOT of time practicing spacial awareness, and learning how to control their body in space by means of gymnastic work. In fact most of the body weight work should be very very basic, revisiting mechanics often skipped over in a day to day CrossFit class where we are forced to rush through basics that are learned at a young age in a child gymnasts career. Then a lot of their time must be spent actually recovering! Athletes must spend time stretching, spending money at the chiropractor, massage therapist (each of these likely 1x a week minimally) and also breathing and meditating preparing and practicing for future events and scenario's in both training and competition.
While there are many things a competitive crossfit athlete does with their time, the number one thing they do more than the average day to day athlete is PRACTICE. When done with purpose this separates the recreation athlete from the professional just like in any other sport. In the NBA due to the nature of the sport the athletes are often more athletic, taller, faster, but in CrossFit due to the nature of this sport the ELITE athletes are often unidentifiable when in street clothes. They look like "fit" but almost average folks. The difference is the skill set they develop over time, and the efficiency that is a result of that skill set. And well....they may have some natural talent....mainly, they have to be very good at suffering and be slightly masochistic! : )