Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘wod’

Choosing a CrossFit Gym: An Affiliate’s Role

Back in the day, before the astronomic growth of the CrossFit Affiliate program and before there were jokes about the number of CrossFit gyms vs. Starbucks, a CrossFit program was really a much more personal endeavor. Unless you were one of those very fortunate souls to belong to the first 100 or 200 gyms you did CrossFit alone, or in a very tiny group. Everything about CF was really “you vs. you” because the three people in your gym were “me, myself, and I”. We could truly say that the omnibus CrossFit really was for everyone, at least everyone who was willing to learn enough to adapt and scale the WOD. Only those given to self-loathing had any problems with the community aspect of their gyms.

Now? People new to CrossFit are often unaware that an online version even exists; they are clueless when you ask them about anything that might be on CrossFit.com. Some large percentage of people only know the CrossFit Affiliate model and are introduced to CrossFit by someone who knows someone at some CrossFit Somewhere. Their first exposure to CrossFit and the CrossFit community occurs when they walk through the front door of the Affiliate. This changes the conversation. With a very few, really unique exceptions CrossFit is STILL for everyone. However, every CrossFit Affiliate may not be for everyone.

In my son Lil’bingo’s Affiliate on Saturday I listened to one of the members who quite sadly related the tale of a good friend who was turned off by the vibe at the Affiliate he visited. He felt right away that he didn’t fit. Didn’t feel welcomed. Why he felt this way is probably not all that important because someone else surely walked in the next day and felt right at home. It is a bummer, though, because he has extrapolated his initial experience in this particular Box to ALL Boxes and to CrossFit itself. That’s really a shame because from all accounts he’s a guy who would not only benefit from CrossFit, he’s a guy who would really enjoy a CrossFit community.

What went wrong? No idea. Could have been any number of things, really. Maybe no one greeted him, or said hi. Maybe he’s a little far from his prior athletic peak and he was intimidated by an advanced class, or worse made to feel that he didn’t measure up. Might have been something as easy to understand as he showed up on a day when the Open was being judged and all of the trainers and member-ambassadors were just tightly focused on 13.5. Older than the group, younger than the group. Whatever.

I certainly don’t mean this to be a critique of this particular Affiliate, or even the vibe given off there. The beauty of the explosive growth to the CrossFit Affiliate model is precisely that you can find a Box that fits both your fitness goals and your “community comfort zone.” Each one of us should go out of our way to counsel newcomers to explore the various Affiliates in a community, go out of our way to tell them that how a place feels can be different for different people, and that they shouldn’t walk away from CrossFit if the first Box doesn’t feel right. Trust me, it’s a blast when a friend hits up the Affiliate you suggest and falls instantly in love with everything, so much so that they get a bit angry when you remind them to check out other Boxes! Your gym becomes your “third space” and we should all remember to include comfort in the community when we are making  CrossFit suggestions to our friends.

And that Affiliate? In my opinion an Affiliate does have a responsibility to be an ambassador for CrossFit “the fitness program” and the CrossFit community at large. Welcoming the newcomer to your gym might be welcoming them to CrossFit itself. Very little is actually asked of Affiliates in the way of CrossFit as a whole. No purchasing agreements or requirements, no mandatory programming or equipment. An annual check to mail in and an informal understanding not to disparage Crossfit. That’s pretty much it. My call is that there should be just a little more, a tiny bit of ambassadorship for the program and the community, and all that both can do for all of our friends and family, each time someone new graces your doorway. Greet them with a smile and answer a couple of questions. If you’re really busy ask them to come back when you both have a little time. Tell them about your particular version of CrossFit and your very particular CrossFit community.

Each Affiliate may not be for everyone, and that’s really OK. But CrossFit itself, with few exceptions, is STILL for everyone.

 

CrossFit and Routine

“Constantly varied…” So, routine is the enemy, right? Well, yes and no. Routine is one of those multi-layered words that applies in many ways in many situations.

Routine is the enemy when we train, and I think this is true for almost all athletes, almost everyone who trains. We risk acclimation to the stimulus if we have a strict routine in the gym, if our workouts are substantially the same day after day. We further risk the numbing effects of boredom, a slow ebbing of our enthusiasm and our resolve. Routine is the major building block, the cornerstone in the brick wall that often stands between athlete/trainee and training.

Routine is our ally when “routine” is synonymous with “consistency”. Remember “Form, then consistency, and only then intensity.” The establishment of a routine, a schedule, a commitment of time and spirit to the quest for fitness, health, and athletic achievement is the first paving stone on the highway of living.

Routine, the yin and yang, push and pull, up and down, enemy and ally.

 

Bingo Does the Open II

How am I going to approach the 2012 CrossFit Open? I’m a realist. I will not qualify for the CrossFit Games. I’m in the Masters age 50-54 division and even here I am simply too small and weak as a kitten (at least in comparison with my competitors). We will be required to use the same loads and do the same exact WOD’s as the 20-something firebreathers. Last year the weights were simply too much form me; I don’t see ‘em getting any lighter this year.

So what will I do? Well, I’m certainly going to make the effort to get a legit score on each workout. Like the 2011 Open it’s exciting to be a part of the conversation. I have every expectation that the loads will be on the very edge of my abilities, but so what? It’ll be a worthy test.

However, I did learn a very important lesson last year. The Open totally messed up my training. Wrecked it in fact. Five weeks of inconsistency. I altered my WOD’s early in each week, and I rushed to CrossFit Cleveland every Thursday to get the Open WOD done at a registered Affiliate. Remember the mantra “form then consistency then intensity”? Consistency got the shaft.

This year my approach will be a bit different. My CrossFit program is designed to fit around my life, specifically my OR schedule. Some of those Open workouts were so beyond my reasonable ability that they were essentially worthless as training, and that made me lose one workout each week. One of four. My Open experience this year will fit my schedule and my training program. I train for tomorrow…for life. I’m pumped for the Open, excited to be part of the conversation, but my competition still needs to be “you vs. you.” After I give my all to the Open WOD as Rx’d my plan is to do a scaled version adjusted so that I get the same TRAINING  stimulus from the WOD as the better CrossFitters are getting.

Will it work? Heck, I dunno. Might be the best of both worlds, but then again I might crash and burn, too. I like the idea that I’ll be testing myself not only against the rest of the CrossFit community but also against myself. Last year I allowed the Games to occupy me.

This year I occupy the CrossFit Games!

Approaching The CrossFit Open

The first workout for the Open, the gateway to the CrossFit Games, will be announced Wednesday, February 22. You’re in, right? Registered and ready for the first WOD? Maybe you didn’t register but you’re gonna do the workouts anyway. Great! What are your goals? What’s your strategy? You thought about this, right? Re-visited your CrossFit goals, your life goals, and how the Open fits in? Right?

Like I told you last week, you are I aren’t going to the Games. Not gonna happen. Sorry to be the one to break it to you. Only ~1000 of us will go to Regionals as individuals, and maybe another ~2000 or so as team members. Probably not you and me, though. We’re doing the Open for all the reasons I mentioned last week. We’re part of a community and this is how we take part. We’re fortunate enough to be able to do pretty much exactly what the best CrossFitters will do, just like we’re playing Pebble Beach after Phil and Tiger. We’re gonna do this because we own it. We’re CrossFitters; registered or not we do the Open.

But how? Think about this a bit. This is important. No going on cruise control here. What are we going to do?

The Open WOD’s will arrive during our training. We can simply apply them as such, another training tool, and just do them in the course of the week as another WOD in our program whether we send in our score or not. If memory serves, the Open WOD shows up as one of the Main Page CrossFit.com WOD’s as part of the flagship’s programming. Perfectly legit way for us to be a part of this gig. We can also work them into our training as a test, use them as a little measuring stick of our own personal fitness. You know, my whole “you vs. you” thing. Another perfectly reasonable application.

Or we can ramp it up a bit and compete. After all, The Open is a part of the CrossFit Games season, and this is the Sport of Fitness. There will doubtless be scads of local competitions using these WOD’s, some within individual Affiliates, some just among friends. Any place there’s a clock or a scoreboard (or both) and more than one athlete you’ve got a contest. We don’t need $250,000 on the line. Bragging rights, a new tee-shirt, last one to buy a round at the next Affiliate gathering? The prize isn’t the prize. Why the heck not?

Maybe you’ve been aiming for this for months, ramping up your training, tightening your nutrition, clearing your schedule. For you this is serious. Each week is about planning your attempt, the timing, pre-WOD rest, maybe a dry run on Thursday and a redline effort on Saturday. Maybe you’ve got a real chance and maybe not. Who cares? The point is that YOU care! In your mind you are not like me and most of us, and you’ve been just itching for these five weeks since, well, LAST year’s Open.

The point is simple: this is your CrossFit Open. Think it out before you start the journey. Drive the Open, don’t let it drive you. Pop the clutch. Grab the wheel. Decide what it means to you,where and how you’re traveling. Three more days to set your course.

Occupy the CrossFit Games!