Daily Blog

“CROSSFIT GAMES” VS “CROSSFIT”
(or “Sport” vs. “General Physical Preparedness”)

Coming off the 2017 Open, we thought it was a great opportunity to talk about CrossFit’s evolution over the last 10 years, and specifically what that means for the Cove. While so much has changed, at it’s core it is the same. The underlying approach of “constantly varied, functional movements performed at high intensity” is a philosophy we hold precious to this day. And the belief that “we specialize in not specializing” still holds true. From the layman to the Games athlete, we want to train to be good at EVERYTHING. Not just great at one thing. But HOW you accomplish those things can vary greatly!

If you watch the documentary “Fittest on Earth, you’ll hear the narrators talking about the changes in CrossFit over time and leading up to last year’s games. The film opens with the following voice-over from some of the biggest names in CrossFit:

“In 2007 a small group of friends got together on a secluded ranch to find out who among them was the fittest of the group. The event was known as the CF Games. A decade of fitness later the sport has far outgrown the ranch and has expanded its reach worldwide (almost 500,000 registered for the Open this year!).

The CF Games are fun to watch and freaking cool. But a misconception about Crossfit is that the CrossFit Games ARE CrossFit. That’s not the case. In a typical CF affiliate you’ll walk in and you’ll see people just like you in a local community — you’ll see your soccer mom… your high powered CEOs…working out next to janitors. People from all walks of life all trying to pursue a better version of who they can be.

What we (CrossFit HQ) are trying to accomplish through crossfit.comprogramming and with our affiliates is to get people good at LIFE. CrossFit is really a lifestyle, a philosophy, a belief a way of taking care of your body and preparing yourself for anything the world throws at you.

Fighting chronic disease. Getting people better. It’s life goals. It’s “I want to be a better person. I want to lose some weight. I want to have more discipline. Or I just want to be better period.” We’re mainly regular folks with jobs… with family. We are not trying to be the fittest person in the world, we just want to be in great shape and have a high quality of life and avoid all the metabolic diseases hitting the world.

The CrossFit Games is very different — in that it’s a TEST. To determine the number one man and the number one woman in the entire world — who is the fittest.

A CF Games athlete does one workout. Rests. Does another. Rests. Does another. When a CF games athlete walks in the gym they are doing the same thing those people are doing BUT they are doing so much more. You look at some of the top athletes and they’ve gone beyond controlling every single lifestyle factor — sleep, what passes their lips in to their bellies — some are even talking to sports psychologists just trying to get that one extra edge to visualize performance in order to maximize their abilities on the competition floor.

Our (Games) athletes are now professional athletes who have committed their lives to it. They suffer really hard. Very few people in any sport rarely outwork them. Being a CF games athlete is basically a mental illness.”

So that’s how the film starts. And it PERFECTLY sums up the differences between CrossFit (as a sport) and CrossFit (for general physical preparedness.

Some of you might read this and think “F-yeah! That sounds amazing. Getting to the Games would be insane and I’d love to see if I could really be competitive in the Open or kick some ass at regional competitions.”

Some of you might think “Yes, I love CF because it scratches that competitive itch but it also makes me better at triathlons, biking, soccer or skiing. It’s great training for me to get the most out of the things I love to do.”

And then there are those who think “That narrator is right! They ARE insane! I just want to be fit, live a long healthy life and feel good about myself”.

There’s no “right answer” and ALL of these types live and thrive here at the Cove. And that’s what makes this place so great. It’s that common CrossFit “lifestyle” that we all love and the community that has been built upon it that makes it like none other we’ve seen. As owners and coaches, we want to serve ALL of you and support EACH of your individual goals.

For the last year or so, we’ve had three suggestions for the Workout Of the Day: Fitness, RX and RX+. But as CrossFit evolves, and as we evolve as a gym, we want to be more overt about what these programs are designed to do. So if we were to break down this evolution and think about what it means for us, we see three main pathways:

Explanation of the Three Daily Tracks

“The needs of Olympic athletes and our grandparents differ by degree, not kind.”
– Greg Glassman, founder of CrossFit

We love this notion. And we live it at the Cove. We love to scale athletes based on ability, but also based on their goals.
Is it to lose body fat and look better naked? Is it to become a better skier, and perform better at pickup basketball on Tuesday nights? Is it to compete in local competitions? It is not one size fits all, and neither should the workout be.

We can do that by tailoring each workout into three categories, each with a unique purpose: Fitness, Performance, and Open.
These tracks are entirely designed with the goal of the athlete in mind, and has absolutely no ties to individual ability level. Whether we are a new CrossFitter, or going on our 10th year of CrossFit, it is our individual goals that determine our track and not our abilities.

These subtle, yet important changes to each workout allow us to create the ideal training day for you, while keeping what we know and love, our exciting group classes, together. We actually were doing this before inside classes already (you may or may have not noticed different movements for RX or +), and now it’s just a little more formal.

FITNESS
Those looking to look better naked, lose body fat, maintain lean muscle-mass, and improve our quality of life. Eager to learn and take on new and challenging movements and workouts, but not looking to compete in local or online CrossFit competitions.

PERFORMANCE
Someone who wants to become better mountain climbing, skiing, and pickup basketball (or insert anything you want to get better at outside the box). Excited to be challenged every day inside the workouts, but likely not looking to compete in local or online CrossFit competitions.

OPEN
People looking to train for the CrossFit Games Open or kick some butt in regional competitions. This track is geared towards the goal of improving one’s scores on the competitive stage, training with specific movements and weights that are seen not just in life, but in competition.

To pull back the curtain a bit, here’s how we create our workouts.
We develop long term cycles and overlay those with with our approach to General Physical Preparedness (GPP). Then we attack that week by week, and then day by day. At a granular level, we create the overarching “Workout of the Day”, and from there, we alter this workout just slightly for all three tracks. Again, this is purely based on the goals of the athlete. This is not three separate programs – it’s simply three variations of the “Workout of the Day”, with your goals in mind.

Our programming efficiently combines the most effective training methods of Weightlifting, Gymnastics, and High Intensity Cardio. There isn’t a strength and conditioning program anywhere that works with a greater diversity of tools, modalities, and drills. And the community aspect of CrossFit is our greatest strength. At the Cove there are no egos, and we have no room for bad attitudes. Those types of people just don’t last here. We are supportive, positive, and eager to learn not just how to become fitter, but to become better people. As individuals AND as a collective.
You may not have noticed, but we’ve been playing with some things recently and they seem to be working . These include things like sit ups for RX and GHDs for + and Pull ups vs. Chest-to-Bar Pull Ups vs. Bar Muscle Ups. And you will see some more changes rolling out in the coming weeks and months. Some other examples might include box step ups vs. box jumps and power snatches vs squat snatches.

And today is a perfect example. Does this mean if you are on a Fitness track you should absolutely sub out the HSPU for push presses? No! Just like it’s always been, is about what works for you. But if you’ll never do a competition or NEED to do a handstand push up outside of the box, a push press can provide the same stimulus to get you fit and looking good naked.
We want to give you all the support we can so you can be your best YOU. Don’t worry about the guy or gal next to you.
Our advice: You do you!