How do we write our workouts?

The Workout of the Day 

Every morning when I open the gym, I brew up a fresh pot of Van Zandt Coffee and write the “workout of the day” on the whiteboard.  We get most of our workouts from using their archives from almost exactly a year ago.  We do this for many reasons.  

First of all, I used to write my own workouts and found that after many hours spent on a Sunday night that I was merely reinventing the wheel.  The CrossFit HQ staff spends many hours a day ensuring their programming is up to par and does it right (ensuring progressiveness and variance).  Should I write a workout with 22-16-10 thrusters and pull-ups and call it Frank instead of Fran?  Well, maybe I should if my plan is to publish a workout DVD called “SamFit.” I could then sell my DVD to the masses, but I am a CrossFit Affiliate owner and have learned so much from Coach Glassman.  “SamFit” would be a direct rip off and morally wrong.  I realize that without learning the CrossFit methodology and defining fitness, I would be a heck of a lot worse off than I am today.  Thanks CrossFit.  You guys actually know what you are doing.  You have a pretty successful track record.  If the early followers of WODs didn’t see results, then CrossFit would not have been the success it is today.  So to all of you out there trying to rip off what Glassman has created, just stop and give credit to where credit is due. 

Secondly, we follow the Workout of the Day archives roughly a year in the past.  This allows the programming to shift to prepare for things like the Open around the right times.  And looking back allows our coaches to plan and to know what is coming.  Remember, CrossFit should be constantly varied: so our workouts we get from .com are varied correctly to increase each of the 10 general physical skills evenly.  If athletes lack in a certain skill, then they have the option to get extra training outside the WOD to increase that faster or they can do nothing and still increase that skill. The point is, they still get better because of the constantly varied programming.  Athletes can work on extra skills after class during personal training or on their own.  

Lastly, we run seven classes a day at each of our locations.  Classes last an hour.  One hour only gives a coach time to effectively teach one workout.  Many gyms make the mistake of programming too many portions into a one hour class.  Our clients pay for coaching.  If you have too much on the plate for that day, the coaching is cut short and the athletes must get to work quickly to finish.  This is a slippery slope of letting your athletes coach themselves, which quickly evolves into “what are we paying you guys for?  The equipment?”  Then you find ourselves competing with Anytime Fitness on price and you cannot win that fight.  You will have to close your doors.  Who then wins when you go out of business?  You no longer own a gym and your athletes have to find somewhere else to go.  Remember, CrossFit should be performed at a high intensity.  The more volume you write for your athletes, the more intensity they will lose.  When you have to do a strength portion then a metcon in one hour, they both become watered down versions of their former selves and athletes will produce less and less power.  “Be impressed by intensity, not volume.” -Greg Glassman 

Every athlete needs a coach and every athletes needs coaching.  We can all remember what it was like to workout at your house was terrible.  Then you started working out with a got better.   Then you started working out with a got even better.  Then you started working out alongside peers and you had a trainer motivating you to go faster and move better and that is where the magic happens.  Just pick any workout of the day and try to do it at home alone.  If you finish it, which I probably wouldn’t, I would not finish it as fast or move as well as if I were in a class at CFVZ where I was working out with others and under the watchful eye of a coach.  

Our Workouts of the Day are not biased.  Sure, we all love to do the things we are good at.  We all love to look good.  But when the workout calls for something we are weak at or will look clumsy doing, we must check our ego at the door and really work on it.  This is where we get better.  Glassman says that the fastest way to increase your fitness is to hit your weaknesses head on until they become your strengths.  A proper variance in programming will ensure that you don’t love every movement and you will hit your weaknesses as many times as your strengths.  So please, do not cherry pick your workouts.  We can all agree that we should exercise every day.  I want my athletes to treat CrossFit like personal hygiene.  Do it once a day, just like putting on deodorant.   You will stink less and be in the best shape of your life!   

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Sam Deen

Sam Deen