Coach Corner – June

We are introducing a new feature as part of our blog, “Coach Corner”. It is just going to be a small insight into what is happening behind the scenes at CrossFit GVA, some the issues we are discussing as well as the projects that we are working on.

First up this month is the same problem we have every June/July/August, the heat. This is one of the major drawbacks of the building in the rue de Lyon which turns into a greenhouse once the sun comes out and the temperature climbs to above 20 degrees.


Bonus points for anyone who gets the film reference!

We have had numerous meetings with the owner of the building to try and solve this issue. Last year the glass in the roof was replaced with a material that is supposed to reduce the heat but keep the light. The results were marginal at best..

Ventilators have now been installed in the roof to evacuate the hot air. I was honestly sceptical as to whether this would make a difference but they are now working and they definitely help.

However, we still have the issue of the sun so the next step will be to cover the roof with a plastic sheet to create some shade. This will reduce the light in the building, but will be worth it just to reduce the heat.

We will never have a cool, airy space in the summer months at the rue de Lyon, but we hope these new measures can improve the conditions.

Athlete Testing

One of the speeches I give to everyone doing fundamentals is to equate fitness to skill acquisition. Forgive me if you have heard this before, but I feel it is absolutely crucial to understanding your fitness journey so I am going to repeat it!

Fitness is like learning a language or how to cook. Nobody turns up on the first day of learning Chinese and insists they need to be put into advanced classes despite not speaking 1 word of Chinese.

CrossFit is the same. It doesn’t matter if you can run a marathon or do a few pull ups. If you have never done CrossFit then you are a beginner and need an appropriate level of movement and intensity to progress.

Just like learning a language, beginners need to build a base of competency of movement. Can you execute a proper air squat or push-up, can you hinge your hips in the swing? Do you have full range of motion in the shoulders to press overhead, have you mastered the basic kipping motion? CrossFit requires mastery of these movements as well as many others. As all of these movement pieces fall into place, athletes can start to add load, volume, intensity and all that other fun stuff.

If you turned up on day 1 of Chinese classes and asked “when will I be able to speak Chinese”, you would not get a precise answer as it is impossible to say. CrossFit is the same. When will I be fit, or when will I be able to do a muscle-up are tough questions to answer.

A better approach is focus on small goals with consistent progressions. If you want to do a muscle-up but can’t do a push up, working on the push up should be the first goal. That is the same for any big picture goal – it can be broken down into a series of smaller goals. Add is some consistency and diligence and over the course of months and years massive progress can be mde.

An absolute beginner can’t be expected to learn Chinese in 6 months and CrossFit is the same. And that’s ok! Fitness should be a lifelong journey where you plan for the next 12-24 months, not the next training session.

Regular testing is a great way to continually assess progress and to work on strengths and weaknesses. If you know where your weaknesses like, as coaches we can come up with a plan to help you overcome deficiencies. We are working on this idea to bring in a much more integrative system of assessing and testing. This will give athletes a precise overview of current abilities and a very clear path to progression.

In the past we experimented with some testing of different movements but we found it hard to implement. We also struggled to come up with valid tests which offered chances for incremental improvement. The differences between the tests were just too big and people often fell in between the gaps of each level.

Right now we are discussing a much more integrative system of assessing and testing. We will be releasing more information on this system in the next few weeks, but we are excited that it will help all members take the next step in their athletic development.

What I am listening to/watching

I am a huge fan of all strength sports, but particularly powerlifting and strongman. The International Powerlifting Federation just finished their World Championships in Canada. If you want to check out the strongest men and women in the world putting up unbelievable numbers in the squat, bench press and deadlift, check it out on Youtube.

I am a huge fan of podcasts and listen to them on my commute to and from the gym. I just finished episode 55 of the Iraki Nutrition Podcast featuring Dr Mike Israetel. The episode focuses primarily on bodybuilding, which can be a bit of dirty word in the world of CrossFit. However, if you are interested in gaining muscle mass and losing fat (and let’s face it, who isnn’t?), then the world of bodybuilding is a fantastic resource.

Mike Israetal is a very prominent figure in the fitness world as a bodybuilder and powerlifter. His is a PHD in sports physiology and puts out lots of awesome info on everything to do with strength training and nutrition. I would highly recommend this podcast episode if you want to learn something about nutrition and training!

Jon Ingram