At CFSBK, we love to answer your questions! We encourage you to think of your training here as both a fitness and an educational experience. Our knowledgable coaching staff and their collective decades of heath and fitness experience are among your richest resources. Here are some common questions we get from both new and experienced CFSBK members:
How many times per week should I train?
A good recommendation is to aim for a minimum of 5 hours (consisting of a mix of strength training, interval cardio, and low intensity cardio) of exercise per week, but where you start depends on who you are. If you’re coming in with current experience in high intensity training, then you may be able to jump right into CrossFit 5-6 days/week. If you’ve never trained this way before or if it’s been a while, we suggest beginning with 3 days a week of CrossFit and working your way up. Any more might be too much to handle to start out, and any less will likely leave you in a “soreness loop” where you’re training too infrequently and will be consistently more sore than if you’d trained, even lightly, another day. If you do another activity outside of CrossFit a few days a week then training at CFSBK only 2 days a week may be enough to reap some benefits as well.
What’s the underlying programming philosophy at CFSBK?
Will CrossFit make me sore?
At the beginning and then from time to time, yes. Soreness is part of a normal physiological response to training in ways your body isn’t yet used to. When you train with sufficient intensity to cause an adaptation response, you “break down” your body’s tissues a bit. That’s a good thing since now your body has a reason to lay down some new tissue that is able to handle the stress of the previous training session. This is what is meant by “eliciting a training effect.” You shouldn’t be very sore all the time, but a little bit on a regular basis is to be expected. You can still come in and train on days when you’re sore, and you’ll most likely feel better for having done so.
What can I do to be less sore?
We’ve got an article about that right here.
What if I want to come in and do something other than CrossFit on a rest day?
That’s great! We have lots of other options to choose from: Active Recovery, Yoga, Anti-Gravity, Strong Fit, Short Circuit, Pilates, and Open Gym are all ways you can fill up the week with an additional day of training. Depending on your membership, they may even already be included in your monthly membership. We do, however, strongly advise that you take at least a day each week to enjoy some kind of fitness outside of the gym. Play a new sport, go for a hike, bike around a new neighborhood… make it a relaxing and fun day!
What is the difference between “Fitness” and “Performance” programming?
Instead of having “Beginner,” “Intermediate,” and “Advanced” classes held separately, we program every class to accommodate the full range of members from novices to competitive CrossFitters alike. Member feedback on removing obstacles from coming to the gym led us to this approach years ago, and now there’s no longer a schedule barrier (on our end at least) for when you can take a class.
All of our new Foundations graduates begin their CFSBK career by following “Fitness” programming for a recommended period of 6 months (or about two cycles). “Fitness” and “Performance” programming happens within the same class and are usually more similar than different. For example, Performance Back Squat programming might read: “Work up to a max effort set of 3 for the day,” a very high intensity effort that is appropriate for a more experienced athlete. On the same day, Fitness Back Squat programming might read: “3 sets of 5 repetitions performed at a moderate load,” allowing a newer or de-conditioned athlete to get in some volume and practice with the lift at much more approachable loads without coming near failure. Similarly, we may program higher-skill versions of gymnastics movements for “Performance” than we would for “Fitness.” As an example, if “Performance” programming calls for Ring Muscle-Ups, the “Fitness” version might call for Pull-Ups and Dips, and have some further scaling option for those movements as well. Again, both versions of programming happen within the same class, use the same time stamps, and are more similar than different. Not sure which you should do? Ask a coach!
How do I decide whether to do Fitness or Performance programming?
All of our new Foundations graduates follow Fitness programming for at least 2 cycles (3-6 months) and some will follow it indefinitely depending on goals and training consistency. If your goals are simply to be pretty fit and you don’t necessarily have any performance goals in CrossFit, then you may just be fine doing the Fitness workouts for the long haul. They’re quite potent in their own right and coupled with sound nutrition and recovery practices (sleep and relaxation techniques), they can likely get you where you want to go. This is especially true if you tend to fall in and out of a consistent gym schedule.
If you’re starting to nerd out on CrossFit and have some performance related goals, or maybe want to up your skill set and possibly compete, then you might benefit from our Performance programming. If you’ve been training consistently for at least 6 months and have “hit a plateau” that isn’t related to other factors like poor nutrition and recovery practices mentioned above, then ask a coach if you should give Performance a shot. The switch may not be 100% at first, though. Say you’ve made all of the Fitness squat exposures for 3 cycles and are maxed out on that lift, you should probably progress to Performance on the squat. If during the same time period you weren’t as consistent with another movement, say the Snatch, then you might hang back and follow the Fitness programming for that lift. Furthermore, from day to day, the Performance metcon might have a skill component that you don’t possess yet. On those days you might choose to do Performance during the lifting segment, then do the Fitness version of the metcon. Again, if you’re not sure then ask a coach.
Should I keep a training journal?
Yes. One of the most important parts of CrossFit as a training methodology is that it’s quantifiable. That aspect keeps everyone involved (the athletes and the coaches) honest and helps us to see what’s working and what’s not over the course of time. Plainly, your journal measures your progress (or lack thereof). Your training journal should have both some quantitative and qualitative data in it. You can use your favorite electronic device, a plain old notebook and a pen, or one of the fancy schmancy ones that we sell at the front desk. Your journal will provide you with important information that will be both informative and affirmative. What you were able to lift last week (quantitative) and how it went (qualitative) are pretty telling about what you should be able to lift this week. Also, it’s a nice affirmation that things are going in the right direction when you look back 6 weeks, months, or years into your journals and see the progress you’ve made. Keep a journal!
Why don't I see a warm up posted daily?
We always dedicate class time (usually around 8-10 minutes) for a warm up. The warm up may be general and largely DIY, as in Standardized Warm Ups (SWUs), or very specific as in coach led barbell drills on a day when there is a dedicated Olympic Lift or a higher-skill gymnastics element. Warm ups serve a few purposes: they increase overall body temperature, increase muscle and tendon elasticity, and lubricate joints, which all help to prepare you for exercise and prevent injury. Coach-led warm ups additionally serve as a review of the more complex movements that CFSBK programs, allowing newer athletes to receive consistent cueing and instruction on them. More experienced athletes are encouraged to follow along or DIY their warm ups as appropriate.
Why don’t I see a cool down posted, either?
The cool down is usually left up to you after class. We don’t feel like our members need a coach to babysit while you foam roll a few bit and pieces, do some light stretching, or simply lay in savasana (which happens to be Coach Fox’s favorite cool down, hands down) and your cool down might even be your walk home. We just don’t recommend leaving the gym amped up from a “Fran” PR and rushing to begin or end your day without some mindful cool down. While the physical benefits of a cool down are up for debate (read this New York Times article on the subject), we still believe in doing something to cool down post class. A light cool down will allow your heart and respiratory rates to return to normal, and, importantly, encourage your nervous system to return to a more parasympathetic state (geek out a little bit here), essentially lowering the systemic stress of the training session and returning your body to homeostasis.
What should I do before and after class if I have time?
Sometimes you’re close to that first X, Y, or Z but we haven’t been doing them when you’re in class. We encourage members (as they desire) to spend 10-15 minutes before or after a class working on a thing or two that they particularly want to improve on. While the options are endless, the key aforementioned words are “a thing or two.” Don’t bog yourself down with a grocery list of things you want to get better at, as you’ll likely be setting yourself up for failure at worst, and mediocre success at best. Some options below:
For Olympic lifting, both for skill and mobility, try a few rounds of:
- Catalyst Barbell Warm Ups (If you can do all of these sequences with 40% of your best lifts you’re in pretty good shape.
- The Burgener Warm Up
- Keep these all light. An empty 15 lb training bar or even a PVC pipe might be where you need to start… and that’s OK!
For gymnastics skills, Gymnastics WOD is a great resource:
There are a multiple ways to learn each of these skills, but more important than the method you follow is to follow one consistently! Dedicate 10-15 minutes, 2-3x/week, on practicing drills and you’ll improve, guaranteed.
Maybe your (lack of) strength and/or stability is the limiting factor. 10-15 minutes spent on a few sets of dumbbell presses, some pulling exercises, some single leg exercises, or some core work, all done at a controlled tempo and emphasizing end range-of-motion stability can work wonders. Plus, you’ll look more swole! 2 birds, one stone…
Still not exactly sure how to approach your weaknesses outside of regular group classes? Ask a coach for some advice. Or take it a step further and schedule a personal training session with a coach to identify weaknesses and develop a program to sure them up safely and efficiently.
Got a question that’s not covered here? Don’t hesitate to ask a coach!