With the 2018 CrossFit Open coming to a close, you may be feeling a renewed motivation for your fitness goals. The CrossFit Open has a remarkable (albeit frustrating) way of exposing all of our weaknesses, regardless of if this was your first Open or a seasoned veteran. If this was your first open, you may have experienced something you have yet to experience during a normal class setting. You know what I’m talking about – that feeling at the end of each Open workout where you’re saying to yourself “What the hell just happened?!” and find yourself lying flat on the floor gasping for air. This is the other beauty of the Open, an increased intensity level pushing everyone to a point they haven’t reached yet or thought was possible.
Intensity in simple terms is doing more work faster. Everyone has probably heard the phrase “Be comfortable with being uncomfortable” – it’s this discomfort during WODs, doing 5 more reps when all you want to do is stop, that makes you fitter.
“Intensity is the independent variable most commonly associated with maximizing favorable adaptation to exercise.” – CrossFit Founder & CEO Greg Glassman
Whether this was your first open or your 5th, the intensity level everyone pushed to during the Open workouts is something we all need to carry over into our everyday training. If you’ve ever found yourself finishing a wod and immediately think to yourself you could have done more, this is because you lacked intensity. Intensity is knowing after each wod you emptied the tank; you picked up the barbell to get in a couple more reps when there was only 10 seconds left on the clock instead of just watching those seconds tick away.
Just as the coaches have a responsibility for teaching the mechanics of the movements we perform, we are also responsible for coaching intensity during classes. This is exactly what we are doing when you hear a coach tell the class they want to see the first 2 rounds unbroken or no more than 3-5 seconds of rest between efforts. The coaches have an understanding of what intensity level we are aiming for for a given workout relative to everyone’s individual fitness level. This is where scaling is so important. Scaling allows each of us to complete a workout with the same level of intensity. For instance, if we are performing Grace (30 C&Js @ 135/95lbs), the goal should be to complete the workout close to 5 mins or less. If we chose to do the workout Rx, but now it took 12 minutes to complete; we may have done the same amount of work, but our intensity was significantly less because it took way more time to complete.
We are all doing CrossFit for the same reasons, we want to become fitter so overall we can enjoy a better quality of life doing the things we love to do outside of the box. Intensity is the key to success; intensity is going to produce the results we are all looking for. The Open exposed a level of intensity many didn’t think they were capable of. Now it’s up to every athlete to perform at this intensity during each and every wod because at the end of the day, CrossFit doesn’t get easier – you get stronger.