Let me preface this blog with the reminder that high performance and fitness are two separate, mutually exclusive, goals. 90% of our Empower members are training for fitness and that is our focus as coaches in the daily WODs. Smokey is the poster boy for the effectiveness of CrossFit for fitness. He has trained consistently 3-5 days per week since 2005. He looks great, is healthy, can perform high-skill movements like muscle ups, double unders and handstand push ups with ease, and he is injury-free. Because he doesn’t compete. If you want to be fit and healthy for the long haul, follow Smokey’s example.
But some of us love to compete. For me, competition is when I feel most alive. One weekend of competition inspires my entire year of training. In fact, without the promise of competition, I’m not sure I could find the motivation to train. But training for high performance in any sport comes at a price. The extra wear and tear on the body puts you at risk of injury and may even shorten your life span. This is the opposite of fitness. I’ve wrecked my body for the love of sport for most of my life so it is a trade-off I am willing to make but not one I recommend to anyone whose primary goal is simply to be healthy. In fact, if you do CrossFit primarily for health and fitness, just attend class 3-5 classes per week and eat well. Stop reading here.
The rest of this blog is for people like me who simply crave competition.
In 1998 I became a nationally certified Judo coach. I already had 18 years competition experience. As part of my training I attended annual coaching conferences. We were trained in performance fueling, recovery protocols, periodization, performance mindset, tapering, peaking, etc. All these pieces became part of my coaching practice and my Judo training regimen but, when I transitioned into coaching CrossFit with a focus on fitness, all this knowledge and experience was without an outlet.
Until I started competing. 2019 CanWest men’s 45-49 silver medalist Paul Tylla yesterday spoke to me about how beat up competitors feel on the third day of competition. I couldn’t relate. I feel great on day 3. In fact, in 2018 and 2019 my best performances came on day 3 when the rest of the field was exhausted. This is because I am good at game day fueling and recovery. I’m also good at peaking for game day so that I am at my best when it counts. I am good at strategizing workouts and effective pacing. And I’m good at using past performances to analyze my relative strengths and weaknesses and creating training protocols through the year to address these. I know how to best use the daily WODs to develop my strengths and work on my weaknesses. All of this comes from my prior experience coaching and competing in Judo. And it is something I really enjoy.
What I really want to do is to put this knowledge and experience to work for other athletes and to this end I am launching a little passion project that I’m calling High-Performance Training. This is not for members who just want to get fit. This is for members who, like me, live for competition and are fully prepared to accept the risks associated with training for high performance.
The High-Performance Training 2019-2020 competition year will be split into 3 distinct periods with separate enrollment and billing for each:
Period 1: September 1 – November 18 2019 CrossFit Open prep
Period 2: December 1 2019 – April/May 2020 2020 CanWest Qualifier prep
Period 3: May 2020 – June 7 2020 – 2020 CanWest Games prep
Period 1 Outline: CrossFit Open Prep $100/person includes period of Sep 1-Nov 18
1. We will generate an athlete profile that assesses your individual goals, strengths, weaknesses and identify what area of focus will yield for you the greatest competitive results. With this information we will develop an action plan outlining how you should be approaching and tailoring daily WODs as well as planning your supplemental training.
2. We will schedule a weekly High-Performance training session Saturday afternoons September 7th through October 5th. In this session Coaches WOD Father and The Truth will work with you on specific skill development. At the end of the session we will test a CrossFit Open WOD from years past, practicing strategy and pacing and provide feedback on your form and execution. Our week 1 focus will be developing a more efficient beat swing for C2B pull ups, muscle ups and T2B.
3. During the weeks of the Open we will correspond with you to support you in developing an effective strategy for each event.
The Truth will also offer, at additional charge, 30-minute private or semi-private training immediately following the Saturday training sessions for athletes interested in more individualized coaching and refining concepts covered during the training session.
Period 1 will serve as an opportunity to test the concept, tweak the design and assess the coaching workload to inform our approach to periods 2 and 3. For this first period we will limit enrollment to the first 6 interested athletes. When we’ve refined our systems and perhaps trained up additional coaches, we will expand to accept more athletes for periods 2 and 3.
What we need from you:
Candidates for the High-Performance Training Program must have:
1) Minimum 12-months CrossFit experience
2) A documented nutritional program to support the supplementary training
3) An injury management protocol
4) $100 enrollment fee