cher∙ry-pick (verb)

In CrossFit, we’re all about data. We record our results every workout so we can look back over time, analyze the data, and see progress. If the first time you did “Karen” it took 17 minutes, the second time it took 13 minutes, and the third time it took 10 minutes, we have indisputable evidence that you’re getting stronger, faster, and fitter. CrossFitters love data.

As coach and owner at I.C.A., there’s another type of data that I’m interested in: attendance data. Here are some stats from the five Saturdays in March:

  • DATE                       WOD                                                            ATTENDANCE
  • March 31               1600, 800, 400, 200m run              8 attendees
  • March 24               Partner Filthy Fifty                              20 attendees
  • March 17               Weightlifting Complex                        15 attendees
  • March 10               800m run / Rope climb                      7 attendees
  • March                      3 3-3-3-3-3 Deadlift                             15 attendees

Anyone else seeing what I’m seeing? On days when the workout included running – specifically longer runs of 800m or more – our attendance plummeted. The average attendance for the two running days was 7.5 people, but for the other three Saturdays it averaged 16.7 people. This trend worries me, because it’s a sign that some members may be cherry picking.

cher∙ry-pick (verb): to select the best or most desirable

In CrossFit, cherry picking refers choosing what WODs to attend based on what you think will be the most fun. You pay a lot of money for your membership, so you should enjoy it right?? The problem is, at I.C.A. our goal is to get you fitter. And the best way to get fit fast is to work on your weaknesses!

Most of you probably already know that there are 10 recognized fitness domains in CrossFit:

  • Cardiovascular and Respiratory Endurance  (example: run/row, FRAN)
  • Strength (example: one rep max back squat, deadhang pull ups)
  • Stamina (example: Murph, The Firebird)
  • Flexibility (example: wall squat, front rack)
  • Power (example: power clean, banded deadlift)
  • Speed (example: 40 yard or 400m sprint)
  • Coordination (example: double unders, kipping pull ups)
  • Balance (example: handstand hold, snatch balance)
  • Agility (example: 3-cone drill, agility ladder)
  • Accuracy (example: wall ball, sledge hammer hits)

Here’s a drill for each of you. Take the 9 bullets listed above and rank them in order of which you need the most work on, to which you are the most confident/capable in. Then make a second list, ranking the domains by which you find the least fun to work on to which you find the most fun to work on. Now step back and compare. If you’re anything like me, the areas where I need the most work are the areas I least enjoy! As a result, I have to consciously force myself to work on my weaknesses. If I pick my WODs based on what looks “fun,” and skip those that look “hard,” I’ll only be hurting myself and hindering my progress.

At I.C.A. we have a lot of folks who love lifting and hate running. And I don’t blame you!  There’s something sexy about lifting, right? It’s alluring. It’s fun. And it doesn’t leave us out of breath and near puking. But as your coach, I’m asking you to shift your perspective – and make ATTACKING YOUR WEAKNESSES your primary focus! When a WOD shows up and you think, “yeah right, no thanks,” that’s probably a sign that you really SHOULD be coming to class that day. Accept that the workout is going to be hard. It’s going to suck. It’s going to hurt. Accept it, and come anyway. You’ll be a better person and a better CrossFitter for it.

Discussion Topic: Post to comments what CrossFit movement(s) or fitness domains you will commit to working on over the next few months!

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This Post Has 20 Comments

  1. Nikki

    The thing I hate the most but need to work on is my rowing. Everything from 500m to 2000m distances.

  2. Kevin

    I need to start running again … the Open messed up my schedule a bit, but I will be working on it.

  3. john

    Anything long, I hate anything long. Oh and double unders.

  4. Sarg

    Anyone who knows me knows I dislike running. In fact, I spent my entire first year of crossfit cherry picking around WODs that had it. AND John will tell you, I tried about 20 excuses to get out of running on Saturday. Thing is? Skipping running all this time left me with a deficiency in crossfit. My WOD time suffers even if there’s a 400 or 200 in the workout because I don’t practice. Running an 800 terrifies me, it shouldn’t.

    Not gonna lie, Saturday was not fun for me while I was doing it. But it felt really good to have challenged myself and I’m proud I did (with John’s little push). And it didn’t suck nearly as much as I thought it would.

    Not only that but I surprised myself with my time. And checked a goal off my list. I’ll continue to work on running in the hope of checking off more of my goals related to this skill.

    1. Nikki

      Way to go Karen! Super proud of you for attacking that WOD on Saturday. And for crossing off one of your 2012 goals!

  5. Laurie

    I must be unusual in that I still prefer running to lifting, especially since my form still pretty much sucks at a lot of the lifts (damned inflexible shoulders and wrists!). Gaining greater flexibility and getting over fear of a handstand pushup are my two big goals for 2012.

  6. tanner

    My favorite wod’s are heavy lifts with sprints. My least favorite are O’lifts for reps. I dislike 90% of it but I stick with it because I like the challenge and the end results.

  7. Mike Sabol

    I am the same with running. I used to hate running, it may not be my favorite, but I always give it a go. I must say, I have gotten stronger in that area especially after Saturday’s run, which I felt pretty good during and afterwards. I am deficient in a lot areas of crossfit and need to challenge myself more. I guess, my bottom line and approach towards something that is not natural to me is to just “suck it up and do it”, because that will be the only way I will get better.

  8. Lindsey

    I like any WOD that involves tabatas/short runs/ or amraps! I need to work on my distance runs / rope climbs/ wall balls and my weight lifting….they are my least favorite and the things I need to work on the most!!! I will no longer be a cherry picker : )

  9. Tiana

    I definitely stay away from anything that involves lifting my own body weight (pull ups, muscle ups, rope climb, push ups etc.) I also have a phobia of doing any kind of speed drills (40 yard, 400m sprint) which is odd to me because I used to be so good at it. I love running I always have, but the last three years of weight gain has really changed my desire to want to run anymore. Running at the weight I was three years ago and running at the weight I am now have two completely different feelings and I just don’t get the satisfaction out of running that I used to. I really want to change that because not only will it make me a better cross fitter I’m hoping it will get me back into triathlons again. I will be doing the running WOD from Saturday this Thursday as a makeup and hopefully my fear of pull ups etc. will dissolve sooner rather than later.

  10. Phil

    same as kev, sarg and mike. anything with a run debilitates me physically and mentally.

    ill try to join you thursday tiana if i can show up early enough.

  11. Joe

    I really like Oly lifts and OHS, so it only makes sense if I cut back on some of those WODS and focus on some more bodyweight and of course running 😉

  12. Jimbo

    Running isn’t so bad even when I lift as part of the workout. Rowing on the other hand always seems to kick my butt if it precedes a lift. Handstand push-ups and kipping pull-ups are also a weakness for me. I also need to improve my form on the oly lifts.

  13. MJ

    Great post Nikki! I will be making that list in my wod book so that I can reflect on it and hopefully start to change up some of routines. I definitely need to work on my endurance. I excel when it comes to the Oly lifts and strength, but put me in a chipper or a metcon and I crumble. I started back at the Westside program, but I think I should start adding more endurance base wods to my routines along with skills. Such as hspu, dead hangs, pistols, pushups.
    Thanks for bringing this to my attention:)

  14. Grebe

    You know if there was running involved, I would have been there!

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