Have you ever walked into the gym, looked at the board and said “WHYYYYYYYY?!” You know you have 😉 Well, because it fits into our greater macro calendar for the year (and because that’s what you’re here for, right?!)! You may not know this about CFA, but our programming has 3 seasons to it. We don’t mean “spring, summer, fall” (winter is for states other than Texas)… No, our seasons help to give some focus and intent to your training, keep you from getting bored, and help push you to find new goals and things to train for!
Our programming is meant to help people get fit as quickly as possible, while still keeping things safe and fun with a focus on longevity and overall WELLNESS. That said, we recognized early on that having some general ‘themes’ or ‘seasons’ throughout the year helps keep things interesting while preserving the primary stimulus of building better, stronger, healthier humans.
While some gyms do not focus on the CrossFit Open and many athletes don’t officially register, it is still a great time of year to focus on ‘functional fitness’ as a sport and challenge yourself to put your skills to use! Starting in December, you’ll start to see some additional work sprinkled in to help have a good showing on the leaderboards.
For example, throughout the year, you may only see chest to bar workouts about once per month (in addition to 2-3x kipping pulls, once for weighted pull ups, once for strict pull ups, and 1-2x ring rows). But, going into the Open we start to increase the number of skill practice sessions and metcons with chest to bar in anticipation of seeing them in the Open. There is nothing wrong with chest to bars, but we must keep in mind that they were ‘invented’ for the sport of fitness at the 2008 CrossFit Games as a way to make pull ups easier to judge (they made people do “Fran” with chest to bars to combat the fact that people were starting to do ‘butterfly pull ups’ – confounding the judges).
Other movements that will increase slightly are toes to bar, burpees, double unders, and other movements that aren’t necessarily a critical part of general fitness, but play a large role in the Open.
You’ll also notice the strength focus (and other skill work) flows so that people get the maximum benefit going into the Open (this is especially true for things like muscle ups).
During the December to March months, there is a bit of a ‘de-emphasis’ on running. This is partially due to the fact that running is not likely to play a large role in the Open, and partially due to the fact that it’s colder (and generally wetter) outside during these months which means outdoor running is not as feasible.
To compensate for this, you’ll see running workouts increase a bit after the Open. We’ll see more running workouts, and longer runs in the workouts, from April – July. We encourage our folks to sign up for some sort of running event (like Murph, a 5k, a Spartan/Tough Mudder, or a Triathlon), in May through July or August.
Signing up for these events is a great way to have some focus to your training and to remember we aren’t just trying to get ‘gym fit’, but to be “fit for life.” It’s about SO MUCH MORE than just the hour in the gym, y’all!
Starting in August, we’ll see an uptick in barbell work. A bit more lifting, but a lot more barbell skill work. When you see a skill piece that involves building to a ‘challenging’ weight, DO NOT confuse this for strength work! These sessions are meant to help you practice the movements with additional weight, not see how heavy you can go.
The plan here is to encourage you to sign up for a barbell sport (like an Olympic Weightlifting meet!) or a CrossFit competition in October – December. That’s why we generally run a Night of Champions event in the fall! (Stay tuned for details!) You also usually see Grace as the Barbells for Boobs workout in October as well as a part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Focusing a bit more on the barbell lifts is also a great foundation before going into the next Open season. Progressing in your lifts will give you an easier time when the Open rolls around.
The shifts in the programming are usually pretty subtle unless we announce it. They are ‘shades of grey’ instead of ‘black and white’. We still want to preserve the main goal of getting people generally fit for life, and not be forced into a regimen that isn’t aligned with their goals. While competitions are a great goal to work toward, it shouldn’t be your ONLY goal!
Every part of life goes through ‘seasons’ so it’s only appropriate that your training does as well. We hope this gives you a little insight into what a year with us looks like and can help you to set goals for now and goals for the coming seasons. If you need some guidance as to how to navigate the changing seasons, hit up your coach! We are here to help you!
Happy training, y’all!