What’s in a Name (CFHR’s programming and your goals).
It was a DAMN fine pleasure calculating and posting the results from the Biggest Loser competition. It is a DAMN fine pleasure posting athlete updates that include weight loss numbers and PRs. It is a DAMN fine pleasure working with all of you on a daily basis. I love gazing at our non-so pristine walls and taking in everyone’s goals. Meegs did a great post for us a few months back that outlined how his true progress in fitness did not takeoff until he had set definitive goals and held himself accountable; how true. The importance of setting SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE and ACHIEVABLE goals in the box cannot be overstated. However, what else cannot be overstated is that there is NOT a one-size fits all process of workouts and nutrition to meet all possible goals. There are some foundational elements of nutrition and fitness that apply to nearly everyone’s goals (with very few exceptions—exceptions that are generally tied to a pre-existing medical condition). Those are the nutrition principles you hear us preaching. But beyond those introductory principles of nutrition, there is a whole slew of paths to get lost in when addressing specific goals. The same goes for conditioning. Everyone has their favorite type of workout…and their least favorites. I must program a conditioning program that, in the words of Greg Glassman, is “broad, general and inclusive,” and provides optimal fitness for success in life, and general competitive social endeavors (to include chest bumping…apparently).
As CFHR gets larger, it becomes it is essential that I define CrossFit Hampton Road’s goals and our subsequent programming, and that our athletes are aware of our methodology.
Our Goals for CrossFit Hampton Roads:
1. Longevity and Health in our Athletes
2. Foster a FUN environment with strong CAMERADERIE and a COMMUNITY mindset
3. Train every Athlete as though were going to compete on our Affiliate Team (credit for framing that goal goes to Justin Miser of Windy City CrossFit. I had a 30 minute conversation with him in the midst of writing this treatise, and his words truly helped focused my direction).
4. Allowing Trainers ample opportunity to monitor and interact with each Athlete – too much, too often, with too many = people get lost in the mix.
5. Maintain personal contact with all Athletes and their progress.
Here is the Coaching mindset I use in creating the daily workouts for CFHR to meet the above goals:
1. Develop Strength—in 15 years of athletics, I spent the first 2/3 in the distance world (marathons, triathlons). In the past 5 years of CrossFit, and more specifically the past 3 yrs since I have focused on developing a baseline of strength and since I have delved into the academic world of conditioning and coaching, I have never believed more strongly in the benefits of baseline strength to the majority of life’s endeavors, including competition.
2. Increase Work Capacity without constantly living in the Oxidative (Aerobic) pathway. Exercise is a stressor. Some stress on our body is essential and beneficial. However, beyond a certain point, we do not adapt to stress, we suffer from its effects. Mark Sisson terms it “chronic cardio.” Whatever you call it, persistent bouts with long duration exercise are counterproductive to our goals. This goal covers most of Jim Crawley’s 10 General Physical Skills that we have posted on our
3. Rest and Recover! In a recent discussion with one of my mentors, James “OPT” Fitzgerald, he reminded me that to have anabolism (growth and gains) we must have Catabolism (breakdown…specifically muscle breakdown). Workouts cause catabolism. Anabolism occurs during rest. He related a great observation about the professional Hockey players he trains: they play months of intense, hardcore hockey. They hammer themselves physically and mentally during the season. Then, in the offseason prior to training again, they go on a 2 month bender of drinking and partying…but relative physical rest compared to the season. Yet they come back to their training and make rapid increases and gains in strength and conditioning. The constant catabolism of the season gave way to marked anabolism in the offseason prior to pre-season training. Our workouts are programmed based on a shorter cycle of anabolism and catabolism, but the principle is the same.
4. Maintain Variety. It is essential to both body AND mind.
5. Allow ample opportunity for Skill refinement and Exploration. In order to meet personal goals, we need to give people the time and space to work on them. Friday’s are a skill day. You now have the opportunity to work on a skill with a trainer there to help guide you. Any makeup WODs done on Friday will primarily be setup and started on your own.
With that being said, here is what to expect from our programming.
1. Strength Emphasis-we will cycle heavy lifts over 3 week periods. Right now, I am using the MEBB principle. We’ll generally have 2-3 days of max effort lifting. For a 3 week period, we’ll cycle between 2 or 3 specific lifts building to 1 Rep Max Efforts in those lifts. At the end of those 3 weeks, we will revisit those lifts in maintenance efforts. The primary strength base lifts we use are: Back Squat, Front Squat, Power Clean, Power Snatch, Shoulder Press, Deadlift and rack Jerks.
2. Shorter Metcons with occasional long efforts. Generally, you’ll find our metcons in the 7-15 minute realm. 1 day of the week (usually Saturday), we’ll dip into the longer chipper range. CF Windy City uses Saturday’s as Team Chippers…I really like that idea and you may very well be seeing that from us soon.
3. Frequent incorporation of gymnastics and Olympic lifting. Gymnastics elements generally foster long-term goal setting, balance, coordination and mental fortitude. Olympic Lifting does all of those, while building stamina, speed and strength. Gymnastics and Oly elements are lifelong pursuits. It’s hard to get bored pursuing virtuosity in these endeavors.
4. Named Benchmark CF WODs. We still do named benchmark WODs. They do not make up the bulk (nor even a modest percentage) of our programming, but you will see them on a periodic basis. It’s fun to fill the whiteboard up…but it’s more fun to see massive improvement each time you do a named WOD.
I hope this frames your daily experience. If you have questions or would like to seek private training to hone in specific skills or training for competitions, please let us know.