Monday
Apr072014

What's Your Favorite Taco: Questions of the Day for CrossFit Affiliates

As mentioned in one of our most popular articles “Starting Class with Introductions,” a longstanding tradition at CFSBK has been to start classes with introductions and a short Question of the Day (QOD) while we do our movement preparation. Many of you wrote to tell us you implemented the QOD and it quickly amped up the sense of community at your affiliate by setting an inclusive, fun tone for your group classes. We loved hearing that, and in the interest of keeping your game fresh, we’ve included a list of more potential QODs for you below. Let us know how it goes and post any other ideas to the Comments section.

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Monday
Mar312014

Six Types of Equipment CrossFit Affiliates Might Not Know They Need


There are certain pieces of equipment that are essential for every affiliate—barbells, bumper plates, pull-up bars, kettlebells, etcetera. But there are other pieces CFSBK has found extremely useful, though they weren’t as obvious and probably wouldn’t make the top of most affiliates’ shopping lists. Some are ancillary while others are basic, but even the basic pieces are absent from many gyms. Below, I’ll discuss the benefits of each and address why I think they serve significant value for us—and hopefully convince you to make the investments if you haven’t already.

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Monday
Mar242014

Free Intro Classes at CrossFit Affiliates


CFSBK has always offered a free introductory class every week, open to the public. This class occurs after our normal classes have ended on Sundays at 2:15pm and is a great way to introduce interested people to both CrossFit and the general culture of our gym, before they sign up for Foundations. From what I can tell, it seems that most affiliates offer a class like this, so you probably agree that it’s a critical space to create given the kinds of gyms we run and the buy-in for most Foundations programs (usually a significant monetary and time investment). Particular affiliates and CrossFit in general won’t be right for everyone, so it’s important to let people test the proverbial waters to assess whether your gym is a good fit. While many of our participants in Foundations take the plunge without attending our “Teaser” class, it’s still a service to the CrossFit-Curious who may one day become integral members of our communities.

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Monday
Mar172014

A Letter to New CrossFitters: Good Training Habits


Below is a short article we ask all our new members to read when they graduate from our Foundations program. As mentioned in a few of our articles (including “The Benefits of Introductory Programs at Affiliates” and “Failing, Bailing, and Training Culture at Affiliates”), it's important to guide your members’ training perspectives early on. The sooner you can get folks thinking about how to make proactive, intelligent training decisions, the more likely they'll optimize their time under your roof.

While it's our responsibility as coaches to teach movement, program wisely, and generally take care of folks, it's the athlete’s job to listen to their bodies, track their workouts, and maintain a mature perspective about why they're doing CrossFit in the first place. For some athletes, this may be completely intuitive, but most folks walking through your doors will need to be taught even the most basic components of serious physical training. Many people pursue CrossFit because they want to lose some weight or a friend does it and it sounds fun—not necessarily because they've suddenly decided to eat, sleep, and breath CrossFit. (The obsession part happens organically, after they’ve been exposed to its benefits.) With that in mind, the commercial fitness industry’s claims of quick fixes and supposed “secrets” to success may have influenced new athletes’ perspectives and expectations when they arrive at your gym, and it behooves you to disabuse them of such false messaging. Messages such as the one below are part of a larger dialogue that CFSBK is constantly facilitating, with the aim of giving our members the most accurate and honest advice about what it takes to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

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Monday
Mar102014

Failing, Bailing, and Training Culture at CrossFit Affiliates 


At CFSBK, we discourage members from failing slow lifts—squats, presses, and deadlifts—on a regular basis. Of course, failing is an inevitable part of training for experienced CrossFitters, since we want to push our limits and really discern our capacity. But the key is that it’s inevitable for experienced CrossFitters. We particularly encourage new members at CFSBK not to hit failure on their lifts for at least four to six months of consistent training, since they don’t have a solid enough foundation to be working with training maxes. In this week’s article, we'll talk about hitting failure on lifts and how it relates to gym culture, safety, and training appropriateness. 

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Monday
Mar032014

The Benefits of Open Gym Sessions at CrossFit Affiliates

CFSBK has been offering Open Gym (OG) hours twice per week for a few years now. OG is an opportunity for your members to perform some independent programming, while a coach monitors their training, in an environment that doesn't interfere with normal group classes. This class style is hugely successful and very appreciated, especially by our most senior members. In this article, I’ll discuss more of our rationale behind creating OG hours for our members, and explain how to execute these sessions well.

Why Open Gym?
If it hasn't happened at your affiliate already, you will encounter athletes who want to do their own programming. From an affiliate owner’s and coach’s perspective, allowing anyone to freelance their own programming, especially during normal group class hours, is a recipe for disaster on numerous levels. One, the coach will be unable to monitor what that person is doing, which could lead to safety issues. Two, the space and equipment needs of said people could interfere with what the group class is doing, especially in smaller gyms. Third, this becomes a slippery slope for other members—perhaps even inexperienced members—who will start asking to do their own programming because they see other people doing it. As coaches, its our job to teach movement and facilitate intelligent training at our affiliates, so letting people program for themselves impairs not only our ability to do our jobs well, but also our ability to control the movement quality and overall training culture at the gym.

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Thursday
Feb272014

CFSBK's Diary: Hosting Workout 13.2 for the 2013 CrossFit Open

Last year, CFSBK hosted the live announcement, demonstration, and after party for Workout 13.2 of the 2013 CrossFit Open. With the 14.1 announcement happening today, we'd thought we'd offer a sneak peak about our experience hosting last year.

It all started with a rather cryptic email from Dave Castro, asking if our gym would be available on a particular day for HQ to use. I called Adrian Bozman (an honorary member of CFSBK’s motorcycle crew) to see if he knew anything about it and he suggested it was regarding the upcoming Open announcements. Naturally, I was stoked. Dave confirmed that was the case when we finally spoke, and as we started making arrangements, he told me to keep it a secret until he would announce the venues on the Games site. That part wasn’t awesome, since I wanted to tell everyone.

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Monday
Feb242014

Effective Programming Strategies for CrossFit Affiliates


In our popular article "The Benefits of Leveled Programming," we discussed how CFSBK offers two different levels of programming to accommodate the varied needs and goals of our athletes. Fitness programming is a more basic version of the day’s WOD, while Performance caters to our more advanced athletes. Regardless of their differences, both levels of programming happen within a planned eight-week training cycle. In today's article, I’ll discuss this programming template and its benefits.

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Monday
Feb172014

Olympic Lifting Coaching Strategies for CrossFit Group Classes

Above is a three-and-a-half minute clip taken from a 20-minute lifting segment we shot. We focused the video on just my talking points to demonstrate how we break down group instruction during Olympic lifting segments in group classes. As discussed in our article "Using Time Stamps to Manage Group Classes," you need to have consistent and effective time management strategies to get large volumes of people through each class in a clear and practical way. That article addressed our time stamps in general, but leading lifting segments for Olympic lifts is a bit more nuanced. You need to take classes through synchronized skill work as a group in order to effectively communicate points of performance.

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Thursday
Feb132014

CFSBK's Diary: Mario Kart 64 Tournament and our Big Screen

We guess it's cool if you didn't waste hours upon hours of your life playing Mario Kart 64 during the late 90's... but we sure did. Revisiting the obsessions of one's past can sometimes be disappointing, but not in this case. Last Sunday evening, CFSBK hosted our first Mario Kart 64 Tournament (maybe the first Mario Kart 64 tournament ever hosted at a CrossFit affiliate?). We were able to pull off this event because we purchased a 180" screen and projector a couple years ago for the gym. 

As you can see in the photos, we hung the projector on some bare wall space next to our racks for wall balls and above a few lifting platforms. The projector and its installation weren’t cheap, but it was an investment that has paid for itself time and again in rewarding community-building events for our membership. We screen the CrossFit Games every year, and we also host semi-regular movie nights (my favorite of which was The Big Lebowski, when we also provided White Russians for attendees). The screen comes in handy for our in-house Erg races for our CRASH B team, for displaying heats and scores during competitions and events we host, and for screening sporting events like the USAW Nationals or an upcoming UFC PPV event. 

The most recent event was our Mario Kart tourney, inducing serious '90s nostalgia. One of our members organized brackets, which led to a final championship match, and all the courses were selected at random (by scrolling blindly).

The basic key to running these events is to find common interests among your membership, pick an ideal time, and then, really—just have a lot of fun. This event happened at the end of our usual Sunday night Open Gym session from 6-8 pm, which is usually a pretty social crowd.  We had about 20 people show up to play and hang out. Participants got a WOD in or did some Active Recovery beforehand (and during). We also had plenty of beer, which obviously helped improve all of our driving skills.