I CrossFit because I find joy in the movements.
So, I’m new to the DC area (if you didn’t know that and you follow my blog. well. shame on you.).
I am also 2 years deep into having draaaankkk the CrossFit koolaid.
This post is to air some things out.
I was, at one point, the person who constantly posted about it on FB. I stopped doing that a while ago, and now have someone on my feed who does it constantly. She posts about being hungry all the time, not seeing enough progress, how much she’s in love with everyone there at the box… the whole bit. It just frustrates me because I don’t think I was that bad, but man, if I was, I need to apologize to some people.
It’s fucking cold as goddamn hell here. I’m sorry, 29 degrees in March is unacceptable. FUCK THE LIVING SHIT OUT OF THAT. You want me to go wod in the goddamn open air? FUCK THAT. FUCK THE LIVING SHIT OUT OF THAT. My eyes burn and my teeth go numb with the wind blowing in my face. No. I’m sorry. No. I will not. NOPE.
I’ve carefully looked at the programming of THIS box and THIS box, as well as THIS box. These are the three boxes within 20 minutes of me. District CrossFit is the one that came recommended, but that box is 45+ minutes away from me (that’s a one way trip, btw). So, as much as I would love to say I can handle the commute, I can’t.
I come from CrossFit 858 in San Diego, and before that, basically was one of 4 people regularly trained (sometimes one on one) by one of SoCal’s best athletes (he came in 17th at regionals last year). 858 is programmed by another one of SoCal’s best athletes (he came in 23rd at the Regionals), and the head coach is someone who has literally dedicated his life (and left his cushy 6 figure corporate gig) to learning, growing, and developing himself as an athlete and coach in order to better train the athletes in his own gym.
Too Long, didn’t read?
I have two years of amazing experience with EXCELLENT coaches. Coaches that are part of the HQ training staff now. Coaches who better themselves for the sake of their athletes.
So, if you bother, those three links will take you to the WOD archives of the three different boxes.
Russell, if you want the lulz, read and shake your head in dismay.
Each box programs a met con (sometimes two, back to back) a day. In a month of programming in the third box, there was one strictly lifting day (deadlifts). All three boxes have met cons that are 20+ minutes more than twice a week. Only one box (the middle link) has programmed mobility. The first box didn’t have a ANY (went back 3 months to see) rhyme or reason to their strength programming. One day (randomly) it was 3 position clean practice (but in a met con style, 1 set of 3 pulls, OMEM), four days later, 5/5/5/3/3 deadlifts @70%. The next day was RUN 6 MILES FOR TIME.
One of the things I love about CrossFit is unknown and unknowable. I love being able to walk into the box and feel the butterflies; preparing for the unforeseen is exactly why I like CrossFit. My life isn’t predictable, but my body should be ready for whatever life throws at it.
But here’s the thing: there’s unknown and unknowable, and then there is being stupid as fuck.
Metabolic conditioning is great: in fact, I’m a met con bunny. I’ll bang out body weight stuff till the cows come home; I’ll string together more pull ups than some of the guys in the gym (hey, PR of 32). I can row my mile faster than I can run it. That’s saying something. And it’s not a 5 second difference, it’s a 30 second difference. My oly lifts are decent for my size. I’ve got a bodyweight CnJ; I can manhandle 105/110/115 in met cons (heavy and slow, but I can do it).
But here’s where I get off the boat with the programming of those three gyms:
if I met con EVERY DAY, my adrenals burn out.
if I met con EVERY DAY, I do not get stronger.
if I met con EVERY DAY, I loose technique.
if I met con EVERY DAY, I loose mobility.
if I met con EVERY DAY, my calories have to triple (for those of you who know, it sucks ass).
if I met con EVERY DAY, my hands get torn the fuck up.
But let’s go back to that first one: MY ADRENALS BURN OUT.
The first thing my coach at 858 did after joining was say: “Ok, if you are going to train with me, you’re going to take a week off immediately. You’re burned out. You need a reset.” Note the languaging: not a REST, but a RESET. I came in and mobilized every day, I did a 1k row, messed around with gymnastic stuff… but no heavy lifting, no met cons. A reset. We would go on to further tailor my training from my 5/2 split to a 3/1, sometimes a 3/2 split.
It’s not about needing good recovery, although any athlete worth their salt in any sport will tell you that sleep is as important as training, and to take it as seriously.
This is about stupid programming.
Programming that will have their athletes burned out.
Programming that will have their athletes failing lifts due to improper/lack of mobilizing. Face it: you have to be into CF 6+ months (typically) before realizing that mobilizing will save you.
Programming like that will have over stressed joints (like the first link, imagine your shoulders after that 3 position clean drill, going into a Fran-style wod).
Programming like THOSE THREE BOXES is why anyone in the Oly world or BB or WL world looks at CrossFit and LAUGHS.
Programming like that is what INJURES athletes: torn shoulder girdles, knee issues, Psoas strains, rotator cuffs that are shredded.
Programming like that is what makes an athlete who’s experienced go: “Well, fuck, maybe I should just Oly lift.”
Now… I have been harsh here. (But was I?) Part of this is the fact I did LEAVE an excellent box. My standards are really high. My level of investment in my health is also very high. My love for this sport is very high. I came from a place of consistent strength training, planned mobility, yoga if you wanted it to help, ART practitioners on hand for extra help, staff that had multiple certifications (and not just CrossFit certs either). I came from a place where there would be usually at least one day of just skill training a week (like, just ring dips and planks, programmed like a strength wod). I came from a place where if you had overtrained, you were sent home, or at least forced to scale.
I’m not asking for too much: I’m asking for my trainers to be better than I am.
I’m expecting them to be more educated than I am. I’m asking them to be more proficient at skills than I am. I’m expecting them to program for an athlete who KNOWS what a diverse and balanced experience is. I’m expecting them to know what will injure an athlete. I’m expecting them to look at a wod and know when it’s too heavy for their general community (I’m sorry, programming 85lb snatches for 5x12 in a met con? FUCK YOU SIDEWAYS).
So, DC’s CrossFit community, are you able to be better than me?
The odds are not stacked in your favor.