Imagine you are a doctor and you have a proven cure for a common ailment.  Patient A represents the group of patients who diligently follow your directive of 3 pills daily and get the desired results.  This makes you very satisfied.

Where you struggle is with the group of patients characterized by Patient B.  Patient B takes the medication but does not follow your dosing recommendations.  Patient B some days only takes one pill.  Other times B will forget to take the pills for many days at a time.  And then, to make up for missed days, Patient B will take 9 pills or more all in the same day.  Patient B complains the medication is not working for her.  Most days she feels the same or worse and some days the medication makes her violently ill.  Patient B begins to doubt your medical advice and the effectiveness of the medicine you have prescribed.  You’re frustrated because you know you could help Patient B, that the medicine really will work, if B would just follow your dosing instructions.

As a CrossFit Coach I often feel like the frustrated doctor above.  In CrossFit I have found a methodology that consistently produces great health and fitness results for anyone who follows the prescribed dosing.  CFHQ programming really works.  I’ve followed it consistently since 2013 and have in fact done every programmed workout since 2014 and am still getting great results.  So are many of our athletes.  Unfortunately, not everyone follows the suggested dosing.  And right now in these days of open gyms when coaches cannot direct classes, members are even more vulnerable as they are left to decide their own dosing.

For those of you struggling with less coaching direction during these strange times, I hope I can help by sharing my prescription:

Do CrossFit 3 to 6 times per week, not more or less.  Prioritize form over intensity (speed or load).  Keep the intensity at 70-80%, do not go to 90% intensity more than once or twice per month.  Always strive for your greatest pain-free range of motion but do not push through pain, modify movements as required.  Don’t pick and choose your workouts, the ones you hate are the ones you will derive the most fitness benefit from.  Substitute movements when needed.  All scaling and substitution should be done under the direction of your coach who is trained and experienced in adapting each workout to various needs.  Ask.  It’s what we’re here for.

Outside of the gym make certain you are getting adequate nutrition in the form of meat, eggs, fish, nuts & seeds, vegetables, fruit, little starch and no sugar.  Base your eating on whole, unprocessed foods.  Make sure you are getting adequate protein to support tissue repair. 

Dosing Error #1: Infrequency
Training infrequently, is probably the cause of more CrossFit injuries than anything else.  This is the weekend warrior syndrome, only it doesn’t just happen on weekends.  The problem is, especially once you’ve developed some strength and skill, when you only hit a WOD a week or every couple of weeks, your body remembers the intensity, you still have your strength, but you are not conditioned for the work capacity.  Just because you’ve been running or cycling frequently does not mean your body is conditioned to do the thrusters Rx’d.  You may have Rx’d them before but if you haven’t been doing so regularly, something is going to give.  The right to Rx is earned by attending consistently, no less than 3 times per week.  If you haven’t put in at least a few weeks of consistent attendance, you need to slow down and back it off.  Do some ring rows instead of trying to Rx all 45 pull ups.  All CrossFit movements are effective rehab movements when done at the appropriate load and speed. 

Dosing Error #2: Intensity
The other common error is trying to go 90% every day.  If you don’t injure yourself this way, you will burn out.  One way or another your training will stop being fun and will eventually get derailed.  Try not to chase the personal best or the Rx all the time. Instead use the workouts for skill development.  70-80% is still going to leave you feeling exhausted but not injured or burnt out.  Save your top gear for competition.

Dosing Error #3: Too Much of a Good Thing
Don’t overdo it.  Don’t train CrossFit more than 6 times per week.  If you are doing other high-intensity training, do fewer CrossFit sessions.  Make sure you get adequate recovery.  Training is the stimulus but the adaptation happens at rest, you need days off!  Two-a-day workouts can destroy you.  Don’t repeat the same movements or the same types of workouts too often. Variety keeps you safe. 

Dosing Error #4: Modify, Don’t Avoid
Don’t skip the workout because you “can’t do it”.  Ask your coach how to modify it to meet your needs.  Yes, there are times you will not be able to do a pull up or a squat or a run.  We have a variety of great solutions for you that will still help you get fitter and stronger.  The workout does not need to be done exactly as written to be effective.  In fact, as I develop new athletic goals I am more frequently departing from the Rx in my own training though I preserve the stimulus intent and movement pattern.  Just because you don’t know how, does not mean your coach doesn’t.  Ask us, sometimes we have some great ideas.

CrossFit is the most effective fitness program I have encountered and the results are measurable and observable.  But it’s safety and efficacy are dependent on the correct dosing.  If you are not following the prescribed training, you will not get the desired results.  Want to make CrossFit work for you?  Don’t be shy to ask your coach.  We can have a chat in an open gym.  Or, if you need more personalized attention, my new schedule is designed to make me more available to serve you.  I am happy to book a $60 30-minute session to discuss with you how we can help you effectively dose CrossFit in order to achieve your desired results!

Monday WOD

Equipment: PVC pipe or equivalent, Barbell or Substitute

Warm Up
8 min AMRAP
10 Lat Pull Ups
10 Squats
10 Ring Rows
10 Squat Cleans

Squat Clean
Strict C2B

12 min AMRAP
Squat Cleans
Strict C2B Pull Ups

Cool Down
Lat Stretch
Quad Stretch
Forearm Stretch
Pigeon Pose
Upper/Lower Body Rolls