The Game of CrossFit Telephone

Pat Barber Coaching, GPP


My thoughts on why there’s so much confusion about what CrossFit is, and what it all means for coaches and programmers.

CrossFit has changed so much in the past decade that it can be helpful to consider our history, remember how things have evolved within and alongside CrossFit, and think about the full context of what happens to anything when it moves from the fringes to the masses.

Additional Reading

Why We’re a Fitness-Biased Program

What are you selling, really?


30-Minute CrossFit Classes

Pat Barber GPP, WUWO

We’ve received a lot of questions about 30-minute CrossFit classes — bootcamps, low-gear workouts, etc. — and we’d like to share our thoughts on where they fit in an affiliate space. Then, if you’ve stuck around, we’d like to tell you a little about our new program.


The highlights:

  • Ask yourself why you want to start a 30-minute CrossFit class. What’s its purpose or end state?
    • Is it a stepping stone to a regular class membership? Are you trying to lower barriers and make your gym more welcoming to outsiders? Are you trying to build trust and get people to buy-in?
      • These classes are not long-term solutions. People don’t stay with these programs for years and years. So how will you move them up? Can you run 30-min classes alongside normal classes so people can see what those sessions are like?
    • Do you need this program to create significant revenue?
      • Will you use it as a funnel to get more people through the door and then convert them to a regular membership? What does that funnel look like, and what systems will you put in place to track members and help them graduate?
      • And, if you plan to use these classes for retention (that is, to keep people around who might not have the time to work out for a full hour right now), how does this program deliver what they need? If you want to offer a solution for people who love your gym but are experiencing some big changes — changing careers, having new kiddos, caretaking for parents, etc. — this can be a great program for those transition times in life, or a bonus/perk for regular paying members who might want to do both the 30-min classes and regular 60-min classes.

Our New Program

There have been a lot of transitions for us over the past few years. Recently, we brought our third child into the world. And with that, it’s become increasingly difficult to consistently make it into an affiliate to workout.

The reason why we haven’t entered the individual programming space, even though we’ve been coaching for quite some time, is that we couldn’t connect with it. Working out at home wasn’t our life.

But it is now.

To help others in those in-between times, we created Outside the Box. It’s 30-minute fitness (including a warmup) that you can do anywhere, and all you need to get started is a pair of dumbbells.

We believe that if you want to get the fittest you can be, you need to find a local CrossFit affiliate you like, and then regularly attend classes. But we also understand that for some people, that’s not possible. Maybe they’re short on time, on cash, or they live too far away.

So…why does this matter to affiliates and gym owners?

We’re giving members of WUWO free access to Outside the Box workouts so that you can use them if you want to.

To find the workouts, log in to your Member Dashboard –> Info –> Member Resources –> Outside the Box.

We’ll post the workouts there every month so you can play around with them.

If you’re curious about how our beliefs and values translate to the 30-min fitness space, or why we’re offering individual programming now, here are some videos and blog posts that might help answer some of your questions:

  1. Fitting In Fitness
  2. What Fitness Means to Us Now
  3. The Problem with Dumbbell Workouts

We still believe in GPP. We still believe in coaches. Our definition of fitness is still the same.

GPP and the 3x a Week Member

Pat Barber Coaching, GPP

Pop Quiz:⁣⠀
You’re a coach at a GPP or fitness-biased gym.⁣

A member who comes in 2-3x a week approaches you after class.⁣

They’re upset because they don’t get to touch the barbell every time they come in.⁣

They feel like they’d get stronger and fitter, and get more bang for their buck, with a strength-biased program.⁣

What’s your response?⁣⠀


For some potential answers, look here.

Or cruise our blog post archives on GPP.

It’s Not the Program. It’s Your Behavior.

Pat Barber Coaching, Competitions, GPP

This one’s for the WOD addicts, the fitness junkies, the two-a-dayers who never stop.

You’re probably not going to like what I have to say, but I’m saying it anyway with as much kindness as I can muster. Because someone needs to hold you accountable and to remind you to take responsibility for your own life.

If you’re burnt out, don’t jump to blaming CrossFit or your program before you self-reflect on your behavior.

Was a coach or program what truly led to burn out?

Or was it a series of choices and actions that you made?

Why do you feel like you need so much volume? What void are you trying to fill with fitness?

Just something to think about as we head into competition season.

When a Member Says “There’s Not Enough Strength Work”

Pat Barber Coaching, GPP

Are you hearing complaints from members that your program doesn’t spend enough time on strength training?

This video is for non-biased programmers and facilities who have members who want a strength-biased program.

For coaches of WUWO or fellow GPP programs: We go into much more detail about why we’re a non-biased program and how to handle common criticisms (especially when switching from a strength + metcon model) on this page: Why We’re a Fitness-Biased Program.

This is a topic we’re particularly passionate about, which you’ll probably pick up on while reading our other blog posts on GPP programming.


When a Member Says “The Warmup is Too Long”

Pat Barber Coaching, GPP

Sometimes members don’t understand the intention behind the warmup section of a GPP program. They can get bored. This video tackles delivery of the warmup, education, purpose and how to have conversations with members about the warmup and GPP (which is especially important when a facility has transitioned from a strength + metcon model).

Additional Reading:

Don’t Waste the Warmup — The CrossFit Journal

When a Member Says “The Workouts Are Not Intense Enough”

Pat Barber Coaching, GPP

This is for coaches and trainers who are hearing things like “the workouts are not intense or hard enough” or “the workouts are too short.”

Coaches of WUWO or other GPP programs, we go into much more detail about why we’re a GPP program and how to handle common complaints (when switching from a strength + metcon model) on this page: Why We’re a Non-Biased Program

We also have an intensity test you can use when people complain that the workouts are too easy.

We hope these resources lead to more productive conversations with your members!

What Are Their Goals?

Pat Barber Coaching, GPP

If given a choice, most human beings will choose the type of training they need the least.

Cardio people love those metcons.

Barbell lovers want that strength piece.

It happens on a more micro level as well with certain movements.

To identify your deficiencies, think about when in a workout you rest or hold back. That’s your weakness.

You go hard on what you’re good at and then relax a little on that next movement because you don’t feel safe or confident enough to maintain intensity.

It’s important to think about this because when members complain about a workout or a program, what they’re often complaining about is working on their weaknesses.

They want more of what they love.

And what they love isn’t necessarily what’s going to get them more fit.

That, of course, requires a conversation between coach and client.

Ultimately, it’s about the goals of the individual.

Are they in the gym to get as fit as they can be?

Are they in the gym because they’re interested in lifelong fitness?

Are they in the gym to have fun?

Are they in the gym to get crushed? Do they want you to give them the hardest workout you can put them through?

What are their goals?

Now, look at how they want to train.

Is what they want to do going to get them where they want to be?

Because, in our experience, the answer is often no.

Some people want to touch the barbell as much as possible. It’s fun. It’s Instagrammable.

But when you look at their longterm goals, giving them more volume isn’t what they truly need.

They need to work on their weaknesses. They need to practice other skills. They need better mechanics (and you don’t need constant exposure or redundancies to get this, in our experience).

Above all, they need to understand intensity. This lack of understanding is often the root of a lot of complaints and concerns. Here’s a quick and easy intensity test to try with your members today.

We’re not saying we’ve got this all figure out. No one does.

We do know, however, that talking about goals and explaining intensity can often lead to much more productive conversations about why an individual doesn’t think the programming is working for them.