Each class always begins with the coach at the whiteboard where they give what is called the ‘WOD Brief’. In the WOD Brief the coach will convey what the desired feeling should be at the end of the workout. Before, you say ‘the goal is to be dead tired on the floor’, no, that is not the exact goal of why you do a certain workout. Each day has a different workout, and therefore a different outcome in mind. This outcome is what we call the stimulus.
One day you could be asked to lift heavy weights to push your muscles to their absolute strength limits (CrossFit Total). Another day may be doing a single exercise for a long period of time that is meant to challenge your heart and lungs (5K Row). With other days meant to challenge the tolerance of your muscles to failure (JT) or your ability to tolerate short bouts of VERY intense exercise (Fran). Knowing the desired outcome can then help make decisions throughout the hour-long class prior to ‘3…2…1…Go’!
When making choices about the exercise to do, number of reps, or weight to use, it is important to draw on the coach’s experience with previous workouts, as well as each athlete’s own experience. In the case of a 5K Row, it may be ideal for some to row 4000 meters instead of 5000 due to the average 500-meter time of this athlete in previous workouts. If performing the workout ‘Fran’ and the athlete’s 1 rep max thruster is 115 pounds, completing 45 reps with 95 pounds will take much longer than the intended 2-4 minutes that Fran is to take. Whether it’s early or you’re surrounded by friends in good conversation when the coach is giving their WOD Brief make sure to listen to the most important piece of information all hour.