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The reasons people have looked up a CrossFit affiliate to train at has changed over the years. We had the early adopters to jumped on because it was the new and different thing to do, but ended up staying because of the friends and ongoing results. And now we have the late majority who may still not have heard about CrossFit but are looking for that thing that’s going to help them achieve their health and fitness goals. What hasn’t changed, however, are some of the perceptions of what goes on in a CrossFit gym, especially with regards to the workout of the day (WoD). Let’s look at some of the most common misconceptions about the WoD.

The MetCon IS the WoD

For those readers new to or still learning about CrossFit, MetCon is short for metabolic conditioning. It’s a type of workout conducted almost in a circuit style, and designed to improve the conditioning of the body’s energy systems. What we use to improve stamina and endurance. It’s what is most popularised about CrossFit, probably because it’s what sets it as different from other training methods. However, the WoD isn’t just the metcon.

The WoD is the entire workout of the day. That is, everything that goes into that hour of training. The whiteboard education, the warm-up, your technique/skills piece, the metcon (if you’re doing one on that day), the strength work (if you’re doing it on that day), the cool-down, and whatever might be added on a particular day such as practice and “play” time. So if you are doing a metcon on a particular day, it’s just a piece of the WoD.

You Only Do MetCons

Again, this misconception probably came about because the metcon is what is most broadcast about CrossFit. That’s not all we do, though. If we did, we wouldn’t be addressing all your other components of fitness like strength, balance, agility and coordination. We’d just be running you into the ground, and we certainly wouldn’t be adhering to CrossFit’s ideal fitness which states that you should:

Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, and presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc., hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports.

There’s much more to the WoD than just the metcon!

The WoD is Programmed on the Day

“Constantly varied” forms part of the definition of CrossFit. But variance does not mean random. Much thought, planning and structure goes into the programming of our WoD, including the warm-up and cool-down pieces. At times we do certainly need to make changes on the fly, but that’s a rarity. All coaches know what the workout is well in advance and prepare for it accordingly. What goes into the WoD is not an afterthought.

You’re Competing with Others in the Class

The environment of the gym during a WoD drives a competitive spirit, and we certainly tap into it deliberately. But the purpose of the WoD is not to better someone else. It’s to do the best you can do on that day. So you’re ultimately competing with yourself. Having people just ahead or behind you is simply a source of motivation for you to work harder. If you finishing ahead of or doing more than someone else is what drives you to work harder, then the group environment is a win. How far ahead or how much more you do means nothing. It’s just you versus you.

You Do What they do at The CrossFit Games

The growth of The CrossFit Games have been both hugely beneficial and detrimental to the affiliate community. Thanks to it being broadcast globally, more people than ever would have are being introduced to an aspect of CrossFit, and that’s beneficial. What the athletes do and accomplish at the Games, however, is a pinnacle of human performance and most people, CrossFitters included, inevitably think “I could never do that!” While it’s not impossible, it is true that you will never do what they do in a regular CrossFit class.

You’ll do some of the same movements but the load and volume will be different. You’ll perform similar workouts but the pace will be different. You may even eat similarly to some of them, but your body will never look like that. CrossFit the training program – what happens during the WoD – and The CrossFit Games are two different aspects of CrossFit. The WoD is there to get you healthier and fitter, enable you to try different sports or compete in local CrossFit-style events, and it’s programmed for all levels of fitness and experience. It will challenge and test you, but only relative to your abilities.

On a side note to all you CrossFitters out there, there’s no such thing as “WODing.” It’s training, what you do during the WoD 😛

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