Coaches Should Follow Members Program

Let’s cut to the chase.

CrossFit coaches should be following the same program that they are coaching members on.

This is something we see all the time in so many gyms around the country (and the world). Each gym has a firebreather of an athlete who also happens to be a coach. Or, they have a coach who thinks they are a firebreather of an athlete. At our gym, CrossFit Yellow Rose, our coaches follow the program we give our own clients. Why? The program works. Period. It works for moms, it works for dad, it works for fresh college grads, and it works for people getting into shape for the first time. Our coaches are no different than anyone of our amazing members at the gym, and this program will work for them as well. Unless you are following a totally different program for a totally different sport (weightlifting, strongman, powerlifting, etc), you should be following what your members are doing.

Note: if you’ve been to Regionals for multiple years in a row, you can stop reading. You keep doing you. It’s working. 

If it’s good enough for your members, it’s good enough for you. 

Just think about how this looks for a second. “Hi! Welcome to CrossFit XYZ! We have a general physical preparedness program that we guarantee will give you the results you’re looking for. But not for our coaches… our coaches do a different program than you will. They’re on a completely different level than you.” While these are definitely not the words you use (or at least I hope not), this is the exact perception your members will have when they see their coach doing something totally different than what they are doing. “Well, if Coach isn’t doing this, it probably isn’t that good. I want to do what coach is doing!” Instead of causing unrest, create unity in the community by following the same program. It is SO COOL for me to go up to any member on any day and talk about how we did in the workout, what we could have done better, what we liked, what was tough… anything. Your members will then fully commit and believe in the program if they know you are doing it. And a final point… it’s great for your members to see you get your butt kicked by a workout too. I tell our people all the time that “I’d never make you do anything I wouldn’t do,” and that’s the TRUTH.

Just because you have the extra time doesn’t mean you need the extra volume.

This is the biggest mistake most coaches make with their own training. They have all this extra time, so they think this should be equalized with a ton of extra volume. Double metcons, triple strength pieces, a combination of programs… woof. Zach Greenwald of Strength Ratio has a great question you can ask yourself in regards to your training: “Is there too much “junk” volume in my training? If doing less total volume leads to PRs, then the answer is yes. If doing less total volume does not lead to PRs, then the answer is likely not.” I love this question. It really should bring the heart of our GPP programming into consideration… and that is our intensity levels. More often than not, a coach is adding in extra volume to try and make up for the lack of intensity that is going into their workouts when they are either working out by themselves, or not under the same constraint as a normal, 1 hour CrossFit class. I used to be the biggest culprit of this. I thought since I had all of this time in the gym, I could do a full blown weightlifting program, AND a CrossFit program and be just fine. The truth is, all of the extra volume absolutely crushed me. I couldn’t recover, I couldn’t push intensity levels, and worst of all, I didn’t get better. Instead of focusing your extra time into more training volume, up your intensity in the workouts. It doesn’t need to be more complicated, you just need to go harder. *Note: if you are truly, TRULY maxing out your programs designed intensity levels but still need more work, the extra time would be better spent on accessory movements than full blown strength/conditioning pieces.

Take a class at your gym. Throw down with the members. 

This one more or less goes back to the first paragraph. Actually working out with your members more than just during the Open workouts will do even more to create unity in the community. Not only that, I guarantee that your intensity levels in the workout will increase (which will help that “junk” volume question for you as well). You have to remember that CrossFit is fun, but doing CrossFit with a group of likeminded people is THE BEST. The added level of competition, the encouragement from your friends, the good natured trash talk… all of this is FUN. It will put an extra pep in your step as well and remind you why you are doing this in the first place. It’s all about the people you get to workout with.

Have fun with your fitness, and follow the same program that you preach to your clients. It goes a long way.

-Clark Hibbs

5 down, 26 to go.


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