The Three Things You Absolutely Need To Be Good At This Game…

  1. 7% body fat
  2. 450 lb deadlift (325 for girls)
  3. 2:45 Fran time.

It seems that people tend to think things like those three are the necessary requirements for being a good crossfitter.  Don’t get me wrong, I’d love all three of those.  Hell, I’d like one of those.  But are things like a super lean frame, super powerful posterior chain and a highly developed anaerobic system necessary for crossfitters?   No.  But the three things that are absolutely necessary my be much, much harder.

The first crucial component is power. Power is the end goal of being strong and fast, the holy grail of everything that we do, because all things being equal, everything is better when you’re more powerful! For the WOD geeks out there, the simple equation for determining power is (Force x Distance)/Time.  We may not always be able to calculate the exact power output of a particular WOD, but we can see if you are creating more or less power than before.  For example, the first time you did Cindy you were able to get 14 rounds in the 20 minutes allotted, and the last time you did 29 rounds it is clear that your power output has increased dramatically. You moved just about the same weight (your body) in the same 20 minutes more than twice as far.   So for you to create power you need to bring the intensity.  That means that you need to go as heavy as you can and go as fast as you can.  To do that you need to work hard at this, as hard as you possibly can every single time you WOD.  The good  news is that there isn’t a magic number that you need to shoot for, there’s no appropriate percentage of max heart rate, no liters of sweat on the floor or perfect combination of curses and epithets that can be measured to determine what your max power is. All you need to do is make yourself as uncomfortable as you can handle.  Piece of cake, right? (mmmmm, cake….)

The second crucial component is Love;  love of what we do in the box, and more importantly love of what you’re putting your self through all of this for.  In the box, this has to be something that you really love doing because it is really hard work, you are challenged to go beyond your normal operating capacity, and you are going to fail often.  Failing at something you love doing has a tendency to make you want to do it better.  Failing at something you hate, on the other hand, tends to make people want to quit.  But really, what’s not to love here? Fun, challenging workouts lead by awesome trainers and surrounded by an incredible community!  It’s hard not to love this place and this sport!

But if all you are is getting better at doing stuff in here, what’s the point?  You should be improving in everything here, but our goal has always been to make you better. Period. Better at what you do the rest of your day, better at your job, at being a spouse or parent or friend or uncle or aunt or runner or baseball player or firefighter or police officer or whatever it is that you define as better.  All the work we do here translates over to what we do when we’re not here, not just the squats and pull ups, but the mental capacity to suffer through, work hard and not cheat.   Those lessons learned here will manifest themselves at work and home and everywhere else that you go, everything else that you do. So hopefully you really love what you do, and that love and desire to improve at your outside stuff drives you to improve here, which then drives you to improve at your outside stuff, which then drives you to improve here… see where this is going?

The third crucial component is Self-Control.  This is the glue that holds it all together, and if it is missing, this awesome thing we have gets taken down a path of obsession and injury.  Crossfit with self-control is like a great romance: Boy meets girl, both get along well with each other, go out, boy frets about when to call (is the next day too soon, is thursday to late??), girl tries to interpret every action (and inaction) and get inside the boy’s head, but eventually they figure out they’re just right for each other and live happily ever after.  Crossfit without self-control takes this nice boy and nice girl and turns him into a stalker and her (for good reason) into a paranoid basket case. Then instead of a marriage certificate there is a restraining order and no one is happy.

Here in the box, as much as we say to keep the egos outside, self-control is difficult.  If you want to Rx a WOD and you just can’t, it hurts a bit in the pride.  The good news is that we make your exercise of self-control really easy.  All it takes is for you to LISTEN TO THE COACH!  All the WODs are created with a specific goal in mind; some are slow slogs with heavy weight, some are light and fast, some are heavy and fast, but they are all what they are on purpose.  Fran, for example, should be for the average person, a 7-9 minute or so WOD.  If you can’t get the time below that scaled, you have no business doing it as Rx’d because it misses the point of the WOD.  If Fran was supposed to be heavy and slow it would be something else. Not that taking 20 minutes to do Fran isn’t a brutal WOD (I’ve been there, it sucked) but that isn’t what Fran was designed to be.  Remember that we’re after power, and the bigger that Time number is, the lower you’re power output is.  So, a 6 minute Fran with 55lbs is a much more efficient WOD than a 15 minute Fran with 95lbs. You’ll also get better faster that way.

We also are pretty good at knowing how far to push you, and avoiding what will get you hurt.  If you’re sandbagging, we’ll let you know.  If you’re just lifting too much, we’ll tell you that as well.  Listen to us!!!  You’ll get better faster if you do, I promise.

So that’s what you need to be good here: Power, Love and Self-Control.  Master those, and everything else will fall into place all on its own.

– Tim

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