The start of every year is characterised by New Year’s resolutions and the start of the CrossFit competitive season as we gear up for the worldwide CrossFit Open. That means people are either starting a new fitness regimen or they’re trying to improve or modify their existing routines to take their training to the next level.
This delivers an interesting dynamic in the box as the newcomers to CrossFit bring a great deal of enthusiasm and an air of anticipation into the box environment. In contract, existing members can often lose site of where they are and where they want to be with regard to their CrossFit training at this time. Each CrossFit box the world over has a different variation on how they programme the routines offered to the public. That means that with over 14 000 affiliates worldwide, there is potentially over 14 000 different combinations of CrossFit that one can choose from. Some confusion can therefore arise among those that adopt CrossFit training for general physical preparedness (GPP), especially at the start of the year when many competitive CrossFitters are already in the preparation phase for the CrossFit Open. Many new CrossFitters think they need to train in the same way
as the Games athletes train by following the same training regimens adopted by those competing in the sport of fitness. This is where things can get blurry and issues can arise.
The average CrossFitter doesn’t and shouldn’t need to train in the same way that the elite competitive CrossFit athletes train. Athletes who hope to make it to Regionals or the Games have vastly different training requirements to those of the average athlete training to be better at everyday life. Games athletes benchmark themselves against stringent physical requirements such as strength, gymnastics abilities and cardiovascular fitness. Their training plans and periodisation requirements are therefore vastly different. They know when they need to peak in their training cycles, which leaves little guesswork
in planning their training routines. The average CrossFit member, on the other hand, has very different requirements. They may be supplementing an existing routine or sport, or looking to better themselves by boosting fitness to levels never experienced before. Whatever the goal, be it functional strength and fitness or sport-specific performance enhancement, CrossFit becomes their springboard for their new fitness journey.
In essence, this is what CrossFit for GPP is all about.
Many competitive CrossFitters will follow various strength routines and programmes designed and written
by other competitive athletes or their coaches. These programmes are dominated by strength work and are readily available to the public on the Internet. That means anyone can sign up to any number of these routines by paying a monthly fee. This has led to
an increase in the number of average CrossFitters engaging in competitive CrossFit-type training. However, this is unnecessary and is proving to be problematic. A true-to-form CrossFit box should offer a GPP routine that incorporates numerous other elements, in addition to basic strength work to help members get stronger. The only athletes who need a strength-biased routine are competitive CrossFitters, or power- and weight-lifters.
A mantra I learned from one of the most inspiring adventures I’ve ever experienced, namely SealFit and the Unbeatable Mind, created by retired Navy Seal Commander Mark Divine, is that of “what is your why?” It’s important to be aware of and understand the reasons a CrossFit journey and what you’re looking to achieve training.
Do you intend on competing in a local CrossFit throwdown or competition, or is your aim to make it to Regionals or even the Games? Do you want to use the CrossFit to supplement your current sport of choice to make you a better athlete? Only once these questions
have been answered by CrossFit box owners and head coaches adequately advise clients on the right path to follow. They also need to be firm and clear as to which athletes should be doing the competitive training required for the Sport of Fitness and which athletes should just follow GPP-type training. When this happens then clients can progress on their chosen fitness and CrossFit journey with the peace of mind that they are in fact on the correct and most beneficial path to achieving any and all goals.