No really, I know you hate to click on links but this one is an important read!  It’s foundational to the CrossFit methodology.  And yet it is too often ignored or forgotten.

When asked about CrossFit “intensity” is the description of the program we hear most often from the uninitiated.  They know nearly nothing about CrossFit except that it’s intense.  And intensity is one goal of CrossFit training.

But intensity is relative to your skill and fitness level and is a tertiary goal built upon the prioritized foundations of mechanical excellence first and consistency second.  Yes, I have heard stories of CrossFit newcomers being pushed straight into intensity and being injured.  No, this is not how the program is supposed to be delivered.

This is why it is critical to have a well-defined and constructed beginner curriculum that members must complete before graduating into general CrossFit group classes.  Newcomers eager to get into action often fail to value the importance of this program.  Sometimes they erroneously opt for the gym with the shortest, cheapest route into group classes.  The results can be damaging!

And once you’ve graduated to group classes?  According to the CrossFit training methodology, someone in their first 12-months of CrossFit training is considered a beginner and a beginner should prioritize mechanics and consistency with no mind to intensity.

At 12-24 months of CrossFit training, we can consider the athlete a novice and novices should focus on mechanics and consistency with little emphasis on intensity.

After 24-36 months of consistent CrossFit training, if the athlete demonstrates excellent mechanics, trains consistently and is free of underlying injury, then it is time for the coach to begin introducing some intensity.

So remember, when you walk through our doors and see Doc Disc handstand walking or FeProf clean & jerking 100+ pounds, these athletes are neither beginners nor novices, both have been training CrossFit more than 4 years!  They have earned the right to higher intensity and higher-skilled movements through long, diligent practice.

I know you want to do the cool stuff too.  And we’ll get there eventually.  But before you start heaving heavy loads overhead or performing circus skills, you need to earn your way with a rock-solid foundation in the basics!  New members want to go hard, they want to collapse at the finish line like the pros, they want to hurt all over because they want to feel like they’re doing something and coaches who need to make a living feel pressured to deliver on customer expectations.

But I’ve been coaching CrossFit for 12+ years now and I’ve learned (sometimes the hard way) that giving people what they want (intensity) before giving them what they need (mechanics & consistency) might bring them in the door faster but it will result in casualties and casualties will result in impaired progress.

If you want to be in this business for the long haul, it is better to put less emphasis on bringing new members in through the door and more on keeping your current members healthy and engaged!  As legendary coach John Wooden said: “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it again?”