First and foremost, there is no “right” way to do CrossFit…. Just as there is no one-size-fits-all approach to programming.
Often, we have had people tell us, directly and indirectly, the following …
They are not good workout in during an hour class
The volume isn’t high enough
The workouts are too short
Ask why we aren’t doing a strength + metcon.
The daily class programming is not enough
Why are doing a 5k, 10k run, row or bike
…you get the idea. I can keep going but I’ll stop here…
GPP and Training for Life
CrossFit prides itself on the fact that its athletes train and prepare for the unexpected. And we believe, for our CrossFit classes, that a GPP program is the best way to accomplish that. GPP is short for general physical preparedness, and it is used to improve your ability across all areas of fitness — speed, strength, endurance, flexibility, power, coordination, and so on. GPP is non-biased, meaning not biased toward one skill or area of fitness, such as strength or gymnastics. We believe the aim of a good GPP program should be to get people fit without wearing down their bodies or over stressing any one area. And, of course, to physically prepare them for whatever the world throws their way.
You can lift heavier or you can move faster but to see the best results, you need to do both. Remember that when you go heavier, it causes you to rest more, and when you’re resting, your intensity is 0 because, well… you are resting.
The Sport of CrossFit vs. CrossFit for Longevity
From the beginning CrossFit was one WOD a day. Either a strength workout or a metcon, rarely both. Not until the Sport of CrossFit came along and money was involved, people really started adding volume to handle the stressors of elite levels of competition.
At IFA, we are a Quality over Quantity facility. Less is more. We believe in Mechanics, Consistency and Intensity. Intensity is simply doing more work in less time but not at the expense of mechanics. GPP is a Non-biased programming that will get you just as strong, without sacrificing capacities in other areas of fitness.
There are three type of people that need a strength-biased program or extra volume.
- People who want to lift more often regardless of what it does to their fitness simply because they enjoy lifting
- Power/Olympic lifters
For the general public, who do not compete in any sport, GPP is by far the best option because the goal is to be more fit for life, meaning the focus is on decades of fitness, not just this year or next year …
… The truth is…. 99% of you, our IFA family, are not competitors and that is okay! Every day people come to CrossFit to be better at activities they enjoy, to look better naked, to get healthier, to have a positive outlet for stress.
Most people come from sedentary lifestyles, they are new to CrossFit, simply life happens, or schedules are jam packed. These are all reasons why results will happen at a slower rate. Progress will be inconsistent and that’s okay. It is our job as coaches to educate you, modify workouts for your skill level and to help guide you along the way.
We understand for some people lifting is fun. Lifting makes people happy. People gain confidence. There is a psychological benefit in lifting heavy. And most people, who come infrequently, just want to lift. We agree with all these, however, strength + metcon is not CrossFit.
Strength + Metcon Formula
The strength + metcon formula makes it much harder for coaches to give people proper instruction and attention. It is super difficult to effectively coach a 1-hour class where you truly hit a strength portion and then a metcon. Strength days are for strength only because we believe that when you do a genuine strength workout, you need to give it the respect that it deserves. The same is true for endurance only days (i.e. 5k, 10k, 400m repeats).
When you program both strength + metcon pieces into every session, you are doubling or tripling the complexity of focuses for the day, week and month. When there are multiple workouts every day, there is little to no time to learn, practice, rest or coach.
Most people — the 99% of our gym or potential gym members — just need to get to the gym and workout hard, with good coaching. They need mechanics a bit of consistency and intensity, not a strength cycle.
Most people… cherry pick. Yes, I said it. Most people choose to come to workouts they need the least. Limited attendance = Limited results. Don’t like to run, you should be running. Afraid of a barbell, you should be lifting. Simply put, most only like doing things that are comfortable for them, not things that are uncomfortable. Rarely do people love chasing and attacking what they are not very good at.
Elite competitors know that extra training volume comes at a cost to their longevity. They understand that working out twice a day is not as sustainable for decades. But they’re not concerned about the long game quite as much. They are focused on what they must do right now, today, to prepare for the 3-day storm that is the CrossFit Games or Regionals or next competition on their horizon. Their goals and their time frame for attaining these goals are entirely different than the typical person who wants to get fit, look better naked and be healthy well into their 90s. The art of being a competitor is to manage volume, injury and adaptation. GPP athletes must understand that the training progression that they are following aligns with their goals.
Perceived Slow Gains
The biggest problem with having only one focus for an hour session, is not in the results of the program, it’s in the psychology of change.
There is one big problem that occurs when you move to a GPP program, because there are no longer two workouts athletes will conserve energy on either the strength piece or the metcon piece. It is important, as coaches, to teach you intensity. We want to increase the proficiency of movement and mechanics while pushing for speed/intensity.
Most people use their weaknesses as a time to lower the intensity. It is easy to pull back on the gas a little because you know it is going to be harder for you. We need to switch up the mentality and work harder when it comes to your weakness. Your times will probably be slower in the short term. But there is a psychological benefit to pushing that threshold and building capacity in the area, especially if it is an area of weakness, which is going to carry over into everything else you do.
“If they love lifting, they’ll give the strength piece all they have. If they’re more into cardio, they’ll hold back in the strength piece, and then give everything they have to the metcon. “
“Be impressed with intensity, not volume” – Glassman, Greg.
We believe in longevity over quick, short-term gains. We believe in a sensical approach to risk and reward. Our mission as a coach and as a business is to teach, develop and inspire you to live a longer, healthier life. If you are still looking for more, IFA offers personal training and personalized training plans. This article is to hopefully spark interest, help you understand that we hear you, appreciate you and want the best for each member. My office is always open, and I would love to hear from you. Please meet with a coach and discuss your goals. Let us help you in 2020.