…and really, that’s OK!
Not every single WOD is supposed to leave you that way. Actually, if every WOD left you begging for mercy at the end, we wouldn’t be doing you any favors.
Yes, it’s fun to do some crazy, long, hard, intense met-con’s, and there is a time and a place for them. I mean, sure, Murph is great, we all love to hate Fran, and Barbara a blast on Monday. The danger lies in thinking that sexy met-con=crossfit. It doesn’t.
At the end of the day, what Crossfit is all about is increasing your power output. It’s moving large loads longs distances quickly. It’s Constantly Varied Functional Movement performed at High Intensity. It’s NOT always ending up in a sweaty puddle of your own fluids on the floor, barely able to breath or keep your last meal down. It’s not not that, but crossfit most surely isn’t only that.
If increasing your power output is the name of the game, then the two really important thing about being good at Crossfit, more than weights or times or reps, are the consistency and the intensity you bring to your WOD.
First let’s chat about consistency. If you want this to work, I mean really work, you first of all need to consistently show up and you need to mindfully rest! (I know that Barbara was rough, but really, let’s try to make the rest of the week a bit more crowded, shall we?!?!?) An ideal schedule for most people is a 3 days on/1 day off/2 days on/1 day off schedule. So, Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday’s on, Thursday off, Friday-Saturday’s on, Sunday off. That is an ideal schedule. Three days in a row is about as much as most people can handle and still bring some type of intensity to the WOD, and by Thursday your body should be screaming, or at least quietly whimpering, for a rest day. But we crossfitters are all cut from the same cloth, and I know that when I have scheduled myself a rest day, half way through the day, I start looking at the WOD and second guessing my very good decision to take a rest day. I imagine that you probably do, too. If you are going to follow a 3/1/2/1 schedule, DON’T GIVE IN! You need to rest and recover so that Friday and Saturday you’ll be able to bring it again. Not that you should just sit on the couch all day Thursday and Sunday, but do something light. Go for a run or a bike ride, spend 20 minutes working on mobility stuff, play outside, things like that. Just don’t WOD.
Another good but less than ideal schedule would be to come Monday-Friday. The problem there is that while it’s consistent, it’s tough to keep your intensity up 5 days in a row and your body is just gonna ache come Friday. Finally, just making the decision to get here at least 3-4 times a week, regardless of the day, also an acceptable but less than ideal situation. But that’s why we’re open 6 days a week. I understand that life gets in the way and sometimes you can only get here when you can get here. The point is to not let the ideal become the enemy of the good. Just because you can’t do a 3/1/2/1 schedule doesn’t mean that you should just give up. The point here is to give you a roadmap to follow, to have a goal of consistency to shoot for.
So we’ve got the get here often base covered, let’s move onto the intensity that we bring to our WODs. Intensity is vitally important because the greater intensity you bring to your WOD, the faster you can move more weight, and the higher your power output will be, and that’s the end goal. Power is nothing more complicated than (Force x Distance)/Time, and the best, easiest and most effective way to increase your power output is to MOVE FASTER! That time number has a huge effect on the overall equation. So even if it means moving less weight, moving significantly faster will increase your power output much more than moving a bit more weight less quickly.
Really, it’s true! But since I’m not really mathy, I found a great calculator for WOD power output here… Let’s play with Fran as an example to show you what I’m talking about. If someone who weighs 172 lbs does Fran as Rx’d with 95lbs and pull ups, and it takes him 15 minutes to get it done, his total power output would be 56.3 watts. Now if the same guy in 6 months does the same WOD and it only takes him 6 minutes to get er’ done, he’s put out 140 watts! See!!! Less time and viola! your power has increased. But check this out… if he scaled the weight to 65lbs right off the bat, and did Fran in 6 minutes, his power output would still be 122 watts at 6 minutes as opposed to the 56 watts at 95lbs at 15 minutes! I mean, WOW!!! That’s huge! Scaling the weight down and going FASTER makes a for a DRAMATIC increase in our hypothetical athlete’s power!
While clearly moving faster, even at a significant decrease in weight will improve your power output, the other side of increasing your power is to increase STRENGTH. So while moving less weight faster than more weight slower increases your power dramatically, moving more weight faster increases your power even more substantially! Going back to our hypothetical athlete, say he manages to get Fran Rx’d in 5 minutes. His power then would be 168 watts. 4 minutes? 211 watts. Chad-like time of 2:26? 347 watts!
I know…what does all this geekieness have to do with non-sexy WODs? First, the programming we put together is designed very deliberately to make you both stronger AND faster. The tricky part is putting together a block of training that covers all the bases pretty well, but does it for people who are here 3 days a week almost as well as it does for people who come 5 or 6 days a week. Lately, and for the remainder of the year, we are in a definite strength building cycle, with 2 days a week of squats, a day of deadlift or cleans, and a day of press variations and an Oly day. The WODs have typically been in the sub-15 minute range for most of you. The reason we keep the WODs on the shorter side is two fold. On one hand, I want to make sure we have enough time to get the barbell work done well, and second, honestly how many of us can keep the intensity red-lined for much longer than 15 minutes? Probably not many, simply because it’s almost impossible to do so. Take Murph for example: It’s definitely a hard WOD, but it is much more of a grind than a really intense WOD, right? Then Fran is the complete opposite, she’s all intensity but definitely not a long, slow grind by any stretch. Sure you should be familiar with both extremes of the curve, but remember the power output! Longer time almost always = lower power.
Now that you have a better understanding of what we’re up to, what are you going to do with all that information? It seems that all of you leave it all hanging out almost every time you come, your intensity is red-lined, your lifts are getting bigger and bigger, and you’re all getting faster! That being said, it seems like most of you need to come at least one more time each week. I’d suggest that you try to get here at lest 3 times/week. If you’re already doing that, shoot for 4, and really shoot for 5 if you can do it. Not that You all have the potential to be phenomenal athletes if you put in the time and the effort, so don’t let the chance pass you by!!!
See you tonight!