We get a lot of questions about our workouts. One of the hardest things about going to the gym is knowing what to do. Although there is a wealth of resources out there offering training plans, workout ideas and suggestions it is still difficult to walk into a gym and know exactly what you want to do. It’s one of the main reasons people tend to walk in to a gym and ultimately achieve very little.
The joy of a good CrossFit box is that knowing what to do is easy – it’s whatever the coaches have programmed for you. You turn up, follow the ‘whiteboard’ for an hour and then you rock and roll. Simple.
But where do the workouts come from? Are they sourced from CrossFit HQ and every box around the world does the same ones? Are they made up on the spot, completely random and without purpose? Are they copied off another generic blog somewhere?
At Saxon the workouts are written by the coaches. We take it in turns to write a block of workouts after agreeing a goal or purpose for that particularly period of training.
We write the workouts about 6 weeks in advance so we have the chance to review, test and edit them before we let them loose on the membership.
When we look at programming workouts, we have to take multiple things into consideration:
We have to think about the purpose of the workout – what is the desired result of that particular workout and what stimulus are we trying to achieve. A workout could have many goals. To improve maximal strength or strength endurance. To increase our aerobic or anaerobic capacity. The learn a skill or increase our proficiency at a skill under fatigue. To work using a particular energy system or not.
Throughout the year we will have goals of increasing our strength, nailing a skill or improving our aerobic capacity. It is very hard to do all of the above at once!
Once we have the workout, we have to make sure it fits in with the rest of the years goals in programming. Is it inline with what we want the membership to achieve through the year.
We then have to assess the workout and make sure its usable. A workout might have a clear purpose and goal but be completely unrealistic in its ability to work in a class environment for a membership that is made up of what we call general population. (Most boxes are made up of normal people like you or I who have other shit to get done day to day and have 5-6 hours a week to get our training in.)
We also have to consider how we can scale and adjust the workout to suit the needs of our members. Our needs differ by degree not kind so it is important that the workouts can be adjusted for any level of athlete and to accommodate all manner of people. This is one of the main reasons I think it is so important that the coaches do the programming themselves rather than outsource to a generic programming company like lots of boxes do. The coaches know their membership, the abilities and their goals and can therefore programme accordingly.
Another big influencer on what we programme for the classes is kit, space and time. Once we know what the goal of the workout is, we have to workout how to achieve that with the space, kit and time restrictions we have. We could think of the most epic, space intensive workout that uses every piece if equipment going but it would make each and every class a cluster fuck. Our job is to achieve the goal of the workout with the resources we have in the time frame we are given.
Lastly and to me most importantly we have to think about if people will enjoy the workout. Now every workout is going to be fun and a laugh a minute, if that were true everyone would be fit as hell. But the workouts should be enjoyable on some level. They should build you up, inspire you, bring you closer to your class mates, make you see what is achievable and give you a purpose to your training.
We want you to feel empowered to train, excited to train and just a little nervous to train. My absolute favourite moment as an athlete and a coach is when someone turns to me and says ‘This is going to suck’ with a big ol’ smile on their face.