Archive | January 2013

Don’t get covered in moss.


A number of conversations have inspired this post and essentially I want to share some wisdom from my time teaching Combat Fitness Leaders in the Australian Army.

One message I remember receiving and then passing on many times was regarding assessment:

“You will always be assessed by yourself, your peers and your class”

It is easy to get caught up in the hype of the class – everyone gets a good workout, nobody dies and there are high fives going around like there is no tomorrow. Do not get me wrong, your clients must be happy with the service you provide else they will stop training with you.

It can be easy to fall into the trap of “my class thinks I am a superstar so I must actually be a superstar”.

Remember your class or audience is a variable group. Some will be new and easily impressed while others might be a little more jaded and harder to bring around.

Are you getting feedback from other trainers where you work? People with a similar knowledge or experience base. Your peers can keep you from growing complacent when you cut corners that the class may not realise.

Lastly are you proud of the effort you put into the class you just took, the bathroom you cleaned, the program you wrote and the PT you are doing right now? or have you already identified some ways you can improve upon it the next time.

You know best what things you want to be better at as a coach so get after it every time.

Regardless of how good you are you can be better you just have to keep working at it.

Keep on rollin !


RHIP (Rank Has Its Privileges)

rankI used to hate the rank structure when I was in the military, “What makes them better than us”?
What I was missing was that it is about the greater machine not about the happiness of the individual cogs.
If we think about a CrossFit Affiliate as a military unit then there are only really three ranks – Affiliate Owners, Coaches and Athletes. Humour me and this concept as I try to unravel why your coaches and “senior” athletes are all chasing extra work, following OPT or Outlaw Way instead of the program you have slaved over your keyboard to create.

As the Tag line states Rank Has Its Privileges – The affiliate owner and the coaches don’t necessarily have to follow the same programming as the athletes but there better be a good reason.

If the big cogs turn one way and the little cogs another then it MUST be so the machine keeps operating at its best. The choice to pursue something different in ones own training as a big cog can send the message that there is better programming than what is being provided to the smaller cogs.
I have found ,when talking to affiliate owners who don’t follow their own program, that they are not programming or planning much more than a week in advance or that they let their coaches do a week each on some sort of a roster. I fully understand why that affiliate owner might be interested in following a program from a known good coach like Ben Bergeron who stakes his reputation with every post on the internet but can you smell the hypocrisy?

What also becomes apparent is that there is an inner circle of coaches and ‘senior” athletes that are aware of the programming dilemma and these are the individuals who I would imagine are seeking out a reliable program on the internet – they are not following their affiliates program.They are loyal and don’t want to leave but conflicted because they know what happens out the back.

I went to uni and did my fair share of all nighters the day before an assignment was due – I get it, but I sure as hell didn’t brag to the lecturers as I was handing it in that I slapped it together in 14 hours because that is not how that game is played. If you want your programming to be respected and followed then treat it like an assignment that you need a High Distinction for i.e.. Finish it in time to get some feedback or look it over a few more times before it is released, apply the lessons learned in previous months and endeavour to evolve it. Most of all don’t be lazy.

You can get by on good Athlete/Coach or Client /Trainer relationships up until the point that your affiliate community gets wind of the fact that programming isn’t a high priority for you and then my fear is that it unravels. What sometimes transpires then is a following of the latest trend hoping to give the masses what they want when really all that is needed is that the programmer puts some effort into the programming.

I get it that sometimes you are dealing with a newly converted bootcamp, circuit class, boxercise client base but in that instance perhaps you could provide options. CrossFit Brisbane has an intro process, the WOD, extra weightlifting work and extra competitor specific work available for that CrossFitter that wants a little more, Schwartz CrossFit Melbourne has a Group 1 and Group 2 program, so there is something for everyone.

As a takeaway from this post I would suggest to new affiliate owners:

1 – to prioritise programming – Coaching and running classes are your bread and butter, programming is up there with those tasks. Ask yourself what are the results you want for your affiliate? Increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains for the rest of their lives or do you want a team in the games at all costs. Programming must be goal oriented.

2- ┬áto be prepared – start next months programming the first week of this month make sure it is ready a week early so you can look over it a few times.

3- to be consistent – let the program you wrote run for 4-6 weeks and look at all available data – attendance, performance, enjoyment, adherence. Be careful not to change your focus before you have seen what this program can do.


4- to learn from those more experienced than yourself – If you are new to this then stalk the good coaches on the internet or better yet get a mentor who has time to help you out and teach you some things before you rush into the process of promoting yourself to the lofty rank of Affiliate Owner.