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CrossFit – Perspectives on Coaching

by Adam Farrah » on Dec 22, 2011 6

Editors Note:  This is part 3 in a series on CrossFit by Adam Farrah, a Crossfit expert and Paleo Diet Author.  You can see part 1 (What is CrossFit?) here and part 2 (Getting Started & Maximizing Results) here.  You can also checkout Adam’s series on the Paleo Diet Basics here.

Enter Adam…

CrossFit gyms are unique in that they’re not very “equipment-centric.” Sure, there’s plenty of stuff in most CrossFit gyms – rowers, barbells, bumper plates, kettlebells, medballs, etc – but this is pretty barebones compared to a commercial gym chain. To do CrossFit, you really only need a decent-sized warehouse space, minimal equipment and good coaching and programming. The last part – good coaching and programming – is the focus of this third part in my series for

For this post, I went to CrossFit 203 in Danbury, CT and spent the morning with the owners, Melissa and Kirk, and one of their coaches, Michelle. I figured the best way to show the MyFiveFingers readers what CrossFit was like and what was important to keep in mind when considering CrossFit training was to go to a great CrossFit gym and talk to the coaches.

It’s ALL About the Coaching…

As I started saying above, CrossFit training is all about having great coaches. Regular chain or franchise gyms – Globo Gyms in CrossFit speak – are all about the equipment. A good sized Globo has millions of dollars in equipment and the trainers make almost nothing in wages. The purpose of a Globo Gym is to be as self-serve as possible and maximize membership and profits. CrossFit gyms tend to be run by “artisans” who love training and love to teach and coach. You’re not paying for the equipment or the amenities in a CrossFit as much as you’re paying for the human element – the coaches.

This video shows Melissa Reed at CrossFit 203 coaching Deadlifts. She’s coaching the basics of the movement. Is she coaching CrossFit newbies? Nope! She’s reviewing form for a class full of people with a wide range of CrossFit experience. There’s ALWAYS room for improvement with CrossFit fundamentals!

CrossFit Basics and Finding a Good Gym…

There’s more to getting into CrossFit than looking for a building with a “CrossFit” sign over the door. CrossFits vary widely in their culture, quality of coaches and many other factors. It’s best to look at the CrossFit brand as an indicator that there could be good, safe, high quality training going on inside and investigate further to confirm.

I know many CrossFitters who drive past two or three CrossFit gyms closer to them to get to one that suits them and their training goals and values.

I recently had the great opportunity to sit down with CrossFit 203 and discuss some of the details of finding a good CrossFit gym that fits you well and other CrossFit coaching and training topics. Here’s a video of that discussion:

Scaling CrossFit and Movement Variations…

Finally, I wanted to include some video of an actual CrossFit workout. This video was shot at CrossFit 203 and is a good illustration of the different types of people and skill and athletic levels that can participate in CrossFit training. It’s also a great illustration of great CrossFit coaching as Melissa spends the entire workout coaching, encouraging and generally making sure everyone gets the most they can from the workout.

Where do we go from here?

The bottom line is that CrossFit can be an awesome thing to be a part of. I’ve personally seen the training and the gym camaraderie literally transform people’s lives. Like many things in life, getting into CrossFit can be a great experience if it’s approached with complete information, the right attitude, and it’s done in the right environment for the individual. My purpose in putting this video blog together was to help make your information a little more complete.

BIG Thanks…

BIG thanks to Melissa, Kirk and Michelle from CrossFit 203 for taking the time out on a busy Sunday morning to talk with me and help me put these videos together. Thanks, guys! You ROCK!

If you want to contact CrossFit 203 you can find them here: And, you can find Michelle Connelly at CrossFit 203 or on her blog



Submitted Comments

  1. Sarah says:

    Quick question – how many days a week should you do crossfit? Is two sufficient? I have a very athletic background, now have two small kids, work full time, and just got in a rut. So I am now working with a trainer and we do crossfit like workouts. I don’t live conveniently close enough to a crossfit facility in my area. And just discovered your site – really like it!

  2. Karen says:

    At our box, Crossfit New England, it is suggested that we do 3 days on, 1 day off. But, each person is different so it is really important to listen to your body :). Hope this helps.

  3. Adam Farrah says:

    3 on, 1 off is definitely one way to go. Some people will over train on that kind of schedule though if they go 100% at each workout.

    If you can only do two days a week – hopefully not in a row – you can go hard those two days without as much risk of over training.

    There are plenty of ways to schedule your workouts and a lot depends on what your body can take (as Karen said) and on your overall stress level as well…


  4. mdingo98 says:

    @Sara: your crossfit coach can give you some movements to do on alt days when you can’t drive in to the box. Or you can look at the website or the CF Mainsite and construct your own garage workout. Keep moving!

  5. Shadi says:

    I go to Judo Mon/Wed and its a pretty intense 45 min. to 1 hr workout with 45 sec breaks, max before actual technique begins. There’s one CrossFit gym in my town. Its 50 bucks a month for 2 days a week. Would that be good to replace my regular workout routine that I do outside of Judo? My only options are Mon/Wed/Fri at 6am due to my work schedule so one day I would have CrossFit in the morning followed by Judo in the evening. Would this be overkill?

  6. Adam Farrah says:

    If it’s a GOOD CrossFit with the attributes we talked about above, it might be worth a go. Discuss your other training modes with the owner/head coach and see what kind of response/advice you get.

    Let us know!


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