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Training Days Versus Testing Days

The early CrossFit days looked a bit different than today. Back then the goal was,How much can we mess you up today?

Not anymore. Yes, sometimes you will feel like you overdosed when you push yourself to the limit, but that feeling shouldnt be the norm; it should be a once-in-a-blue moon occurrenceoften when you accidentally misjudged a workout.

Think about this question for a minute: When you come to workout, are you conscious of whether it's a training day, a test day, or a play day?

You should be!



Training should make up close to 80 percent of your time at the gym. Training includes your long warm-up, your mobility work, your strength and skill work. Usually youre working below your physical capacity here, and its where the gains are made!

Warm-up is there the gains are made?

YES! The often-boring, tedious tinkering to improve your ankle or shoulder flexibility, or the repetitive three-days-a-week squat program that has you asking, Back squats again?are absolutely where the biggest gains are made.

What about the conditioningthe reason 50% of you show up?

Its important, but its not where the gains are made, per se. Think of conditioning as a chance to put your newfound strength and skill work to use. 

What do you mean? Isnt conditioning the place I should ruin myself and end up in a heap of sweat and tears?

Not if youre doing it right. If youre conditioning in a way thats helping you improve your overall fitness, then it should feel controlled and well-paced, just like your strength and skill work. If you feel like you might pass out, chances are you went out too hard, and will likely end up slower in the end.

One of the most well-respected coaches around, James FitzGerald, the owner of Opex Fitness in Arizona, explained that every workout should have an intended stimulus. This means, when you hear 3, 2, 1 Go,it shouldnt be a giant free-for-all chaotic experience, where people devastate their bodies and cant recover for three hours. In fact, most of the time you shouldnt even be going at a 100 percent effort.

What? I shouldnt try my hardest?

Think about this quote for a minute:

CrossFit has been marketed as a sport where everyones so intense all the time, but the best CrossFit athletes in the world are never going that hard,- James FitzGerald. 

The point is simply staying below your threshold on any given multi-modal workout will usually make you faster in the end. The concept is simple to understand when were talking about a single modality, such as running, rowing or swimming. Nobody is going to sprint the first 30 seconds of a 5-km run. But time and time again during multi-modal workouts weve never done before, people do the equivalent of the latter, making you slower in the end.

For those of you who like the pain: Dont worry, you will still feel pain during conditioning workouts, but try to save it for the final quarter of the conditioning workoutthe big sprint finish! If youre in pain in the first half of the workout youre in trouble.

Going back to FitGeralds point: His overarching argument is that sticking with an 80 percent effort in both training and competition will likely lead to the best overall performances. This doesnt mean youre not working at improving your fitness; after all, if your 80 percent effort keeps getting better and better, then so does your 100 percent effort.




Testing should make up about 10 percent of your time in the gym.

Its essentially the sport aspect of what we dothe game day. Everyday cant be a test day, but remembering to test yourself here and there can go a long way in keeping you motivated as an athlete, as well as giving you moments of both fear and satisfaction. Test day is the time its acceptable to flirt with the line of going out too hard and overdosing yourself a bit, as doing this is a great way to learn about where youre fitness level is at.

THAT BEING SAID, even when you put yourself out thereeither in the gym or at a competitionas FitzGerald pointed out, this still doesnt mean youre overdosing yourself to a place that takes its toll on your performance recovery. Its still best off knowing your fitness level, having a plan of attack, and avoiding going out too hard and fading by the third round of a five round workout.

Test days are important, but smart testing, as opposed to blindly jumping in without a plan, is always best.




We don't talk about playing too much, but we think its important to give yourself the license to play from time-to-time. Maybe 5 percent of the time.

Playing might involve working on some gymnastics skills on the monkey bars at the park. Maybe it means picking up a new sport, or going hiking or snowboarding. Playing can be dangerous if you're fooling around with movements you're not ready to do, but if you've been putting in the training work everyday, and testing yourself periodically, you generally will develop a pretty good body awareness, and overall sense of what you're capable of.

Check out our prescription for a great life here: . It talks about the importance of remembering to play new sports, go on adventures. The importance of remembering to play.


Group Class Programming for Wednesday, April 12th:





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