As a coach I’ve regularly encountered members who want “extra work” after class or during open gym times. They may even take it upon themselves to take extra classes, sometimes on the same day, or do more work outside of class time. Although this isn’t the worst problem to have, it can be a difficult issue to address. Allow it and an athlete runs a serious risk of either injury and burnout. Say no, and an athlete may get frustrated and sneak in extra workouts anyway when you’re not around (and then injure or burnout). Neither is preferable, but simply preparing yourself can make the conversation smooth and beneficial to everyone.
Athlete: I’m new to CrossFit and think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. Teach me everything now!
Coach: This is a good opportunity to remind your athlete that they’ve just begun their journey toward better health and fitness. Too much too quickly can obviously be dangerous, and it’s your responsibility to teach that. Easy ways to give newbies “more volume” include squat therapy, mobility and position practice, or something like 1 minute on the Assault Bike. These options add almost no actual volume, but can easily make a new athlete feel like they’ve done more work. Another important point is to teach your new members that CrossFit isn’t just restricted to the gym, and their newfound fitness can be enjoyed in other sports such as mountain biking or rock climbing (not to mention trying new sports will make them better during their next CrossFit class). Introduce these sports through other members who play in recreational leagues or through warm ups with creative games. This also reinforces the community aspect of CrossFit which will keep members coming back year after year.
Athlete: “I’m not seeing the results I want, so training more must be the key, right?”
Coach: There are a couple possible issues here. Hopefully as a coach you know the answer, but if not the first thing I would ask is “what is your goal?” We know that improvements in weight loss, body composition, improved bio-markers, work capacity, strength, etc. take commitment, and are largely driven by factors in the other 23 hours of the day. The good news is that as a coach, you have a solution that will almost certainly fall in one or more of these categories: nutrition, sleep, stress, and movement. Pick any desired outcome and I can almost guarantee the answer lies in one of the four categories above. Ask the athlete to describe (or better yet, write) a regular day: What is your food quality and quantity like? Is it heavy with refined carbohydrates or processed foods? Do you consume alcohol regularly? How many hours do you typically sleep at night? How’s work? Do you sit in a desk all day? Why didn’t you want to scale today’s workout? These kinds of questions can give you a much clearer picture of where your client may be coming up short. Now you just need to teach them why cutting out soda and getting 8 hours of sleep will be far more impactful than extra intervals after class.
Written by Hunter Wood