The feedback we get when we run the CrossFit mainsite workouts for a week is great. We typically hear that the workouts were really challenging and they were something different, a good change. Yes, CrossFit is supposed to be constantly varied and always challenging! If you look back and compare the CFJ programming to crossfit.com, you’ll see some very strong similarities. We spend most of our conditioning time in couplets and triplets, go long every now and then, lift heavy often, and practice gymnastics skills regularly. The main differences are that we have two streams of programming for the different levels of fitness, and that we often have two components to the day – strength or skill work and conditioning work.
Although crossfit.com typically has only one piece to their workout of the day, and we base our programming heavily off the CrossFit methods (it works), our programming often gets the “Is that all?” question from those who have been experienced to other programming before us. That’s because what still seems to be a trend in many facilities is what I like to call “MetCon Aerobics.” It’s where the workout of the day is comprised of many metcons, one after the other.
Now, the intensity is certainly higher than what you might be exposed to in an aerobics class, but because of the volume of work, intensity ultimately diminishes as the session goes on. Participants typically feel smashed because they’ve worked almost non-stop for 60 minutes. It’s that more is more mindset. Or maybe it’s because that’s what they see full-time athletes doing? In my opinion, which is heavily based on experience, intensity (power output) is heavily diminished in those sorts of sessions compared to hitting one or two pieces in a workout with everything you have. People will say their intensity is higher, but they’re probably referring to intensity as a feeling, not as power output. Funny thing is, I think that if they hit one well programmed workout with everything they have, they’d be feeling a lot more ‘intense’ than they would with some MetCon aerobics!
You don’t need more for better results, athletes. Nor do you need harder workouts, you need to go harder in your workouts. And that’s why I program the way I do for the CFJ facilities. We’re impressed with intensity, not volume. But here is why else the program looks the way it does.
Whiteboard time is important. It gives us an opportunity to sometimes explain the why’s of a workout, talk about some approaches to the session and what you should be looking to achieve, and give you some direction on how best to modify it to meet your abilities.
We program AND coach the warm-ups and cool-downs, even when you’re being rowdy 😉 Those components keep you injury free, prepare you for the workout, and help you along the recovery road before the next session. And what we do isn’t even enough in my opinion! It’s simply all we have time for.
It’s to be important to work on positions for all or some of the movements every session, regardless of how often that movement is programmed. It forms part of your warming up, refreshes technique and reinforces good range of motion. Everyone, including the most experienced athletes, need it.
Gymnastics skill work is fundamental to fitness. If all we did was MetCon Aerobics you’d never have time to practice or develop handstand walks, pistols, rope climbs, muscle-ups, handstands, pull-ups, toes to bar, and all the other less common bodyweight movements. Practice, skill and play time is essential.
Likewise, strength work is essential. The better your strength the more overall work your body can cope with, the less you break under fatigue, and the better your efficiency in lighter conditioning workouts. I.e, bigger intensity in your conditioning pieces!
Okay, so some of you don’t actually want to do strength or gymnastics work. Fair enough. That’s exactly why we have the GI Jozi sessions now. You still warm-up and cool-down properly, work on technique, practice new skills, and get a good sweat on, without the heavy stuff!
So although all you’ll see on the whiteboard and in the blog are one to two pieces to the workout, a lot more goes into the 60-minute session. You’re almost moving consistently, but the quality of the work is high. There’s a big picture – one with lifelong fitness. You’ll never develop endurance, stamina, strength, power, speed, balance, agility, accuracy, coordination and flexibility – all the components of fitness required to lead a fit and healthy life – with just MetCon Aerobics 😉