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Coaching & Programming

By August 29, 2013November 3rd, 2013CrossFit, Jessica

A few of you have asked how coaching and CrossFit are going, so I thought I’d give you sort of an update on both.


I’ve now been coaching for almost 5 months and I love it. Still getting over being naturally shy in front of people, but it’s given me an entirely different perspective and focus on CrossFit than I had before. My goal when getting my Level 1 Certification was to coach and help others, but not lose sight of why I started in the first place — to find my own happy place. And while coaching has definitely not hindered my focus in any way, it’s definitely shifted the beacon of what my happy place actually is.


Jon North said it best when he was in our gym a few weeks ago for the Attitude Nation seminar. He said (verbatim): “I can compete in with the best and brightest and win any award, but there is nothing as rewarding as watching an entire class execute a new movement correctly at the same time.” When you work with someone, and see their improvement unfold in front of you, it is an addictive rush. The thrill and pride you feel for that person is unmatched to anything I’ve ever felt. It drives my own desire to improve not just for myself, but to be better and more capable of teaching others, and to continually strive to be someone they can look up to. I want our athletes to feel comfortable knowing my commitment is constant and evolving, and that I’m always seeking to know more.

As for my training — it too is evolving. Earlier in the summer, I tackled OPT Big Dawgs Programming for a few months, and loved it. Then when we transitioned to CrossFit Fringe, I joined the other classes and did prescribed programming, which follows Outlaw. I did this mostly for convenience, but I did want to try it and see how I fared.

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Now I’m doing this weird hybrid of OPT + Outlaw roughly 4 days a week, depending on how I’m feeling. Outlaw for me could not be any more different than OPT. Workouts are shorter, higher rep, and heavier at Rx (prescribed weight). My body is more fatigued, and I find myself needing more rest than with OPT. OPT by contrast is longer, more strength-based, and varied in the types of skills it utilizes.

What I love about OPT is that I was becoming capable in a variety of skills and getting stronger without breaking myself down too badly. While on OPT, I managed to completely eliminate bands for pull-ups in workouts with less than 70 per round, and max several of my overhead lifts.

What I don’t love is that the workouts are long, sometimes taking more than an hour to do if you take all the prescribed rest between movements. I don’t exactly have the lifestyle to afford more than an hour for workouts — nor do I want to.


Outlaw is an intense program, that takes a brute force approach to fitness in attempting to prepare athletes for both strength and endurance concurrently. Workouts are short, heavy, and high-rep and (for lack of better words) balls to the wall from start to finish — if you can finish. While I love the efficiency of the shorter workouts, the weight and rep patterns leave me feeling so deeply sore I have to constantly scale back my days or weights and question if I’m okay to work out. The lack of variety (in addition to persistent soreness) also makes me sometimes feel like I’m regressing rather than moving forward.

So for now, the answer seems to be a blend of both programs. Outlaw 2-3 days a week, and OPT 1-2 days on a moving scale of how I feel. I’ve also incorporated OPT into Ladies Night.


Ladies night has been one of my favorite parts of CrossFit Fringe in its first 2 months. It’s a chance for the girls to get together, get to know one another better, and work on skills that they might feel apprehensive about doing so around the guys. We have a loose schedule at this point. Typically I prescribe a strength and WOD based on OPT and then once a month we focus on mobility or specific skill progressions. The ladies, including myself, are already seeing the results of this time. This week, I conquered a HUGE fear and finally did a handstand. That’s right, two years in and I still hadn’t done one! I’ve always had a crippling fear of being upside down, the result of a childhood accident that almost left me with a broken neck. I can now even lower myself down, just have to work on kipping back up, and I think I’ll have a handstand push-up.

Got over a major goat today! #CrossFit

So, all good things happening on the CrossFit front. I’m still doing a lot of consulting for CrossFit Fringe, but I don’t know that I’d even call it that since the time is donated, I’m technically an employee, and it never feels like a job. It’s just life with one big happy family!


Note: I know people (particularly in the blogosphere), have mixed opinions of CrossFit, or a lot of questions based on what they’ve read or seen on other blogs. If I can ever answer a question, or clear up any misconceptions, don’t hesitate to drop me an email or message. I’d like to think I take a bit more of a balanced approach when it comes to CrossFit in my life.

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