WOD Drunk

By Freddy Camacho | CrossFit O.G. and Owner of One World

The first time I heard Greg Glassman speak was at my CrossFit Level I Trainer Certification back in July of 2006.  Greg started off a lecture with this quote: “Men will die for points.” He went on to elaborate on how we put point and/or time values on our workouts as a generic way to monitor our power output. Simply put, go faster, lift more weight, or score more points and your power output is increased. Write those scores where others can see them or train alongside others doing the same thing and everyone steps it up. I admit at the time the thought that “men will die for points” seemed a little extreme to me.

Four years later as an affiliate owner, a former member of the CrossFit trainer
certification staff, and a participant or attendee of all the CrossFit Games, I have finally figured out what Greg meant. People will push themselves to the limits of their physical ability to get a better score. A CrossFit Games athlete is trying to win the title of “The Fittest Man/Woman On The Planet” and an increasingly growing purse of prize money. I understand it when they push themselves to the point of physical breakdown “to score more points.” That is the Sport of CrossFit.
What about CrossFit as The Strength and Conditioning Program For The Masses? If the goal is to always be faster and score more points, one has to consider that there can be a tradeoff that might be counterproductive. I’ve seen this tradeoff many a time at CrossFit One World. People get queasy. They get unsteady on their feet or have to lie down on the floor unable to stand. They speak incoherently. They are performing movements with horrible technique, and they are unresponsive to my coaching cues. Sometimes, a puking session is involved.

After the workout, people forget a range of items in the gym when they stumble out. Watches, jewelry, cellphones, sunglasses, and log books can all be found in our lost and found at any given time. In four years, I have collected enough workout clothing at the gym to accessorize a sporting team. I’m talking nice stuff: lululemon, Nike, Adidas, etc. Shoes get left behind too. How the hell do you not notice that you are barefooted when you get to the car?!?! In the mornings, I coach the first session of the day. I seem to always find equipment that has been left on the training floor or has been put in some new place(I especially hate the stopwatch Easter egg hunt).

One of my trainers affectionately named this bizarre behavior as WOD Drunk.

WOD Drunk (adj.) : people so jacked up from trying to “score more points” that they don’t know who or what they are anymore.

Rafael Ruiz, super trainer and owner of 1441 Strength & Conditioning, is one of the trainers/speakers on the CrossFit Football Certification staff.  I’ve heard his lectures four times now, and I am always mesmerized by his wisdom. Rafael works with specialists in all types of sports and tactical teams from all over the country. In one of his lectures he talks about athletes that start their training as a creature of logic but then devolve into creatures of emotion. It’s this emotional state that is the precursor to the state of being WOD drunk. Rafael explains why it is important to keep your athletes in a logical state. In an emotional state, they can become “uncoachable.”
A perfect example: CrossFit One World has a team competing in the Weekend Warrior Series, an affiliate team competition league. Recently, we hosted another CrossFit gym for a match. There was an athlete on the visiting team that went full tilt WOD drunk. Her technique turned horrible. Numerous people cued her regarding her range of motion, but she just continued on. She dropped her kettlebell from overhead numerous times even after being told not to by her own teammates. Though I admire the athlete for all she has accomplished in her CrossFit career, I was appalled that a veteran CrossFitter from an established and well-known CrossFit affiliate could get so WOD drunk and lose control. She became a creature of emotion. She could not be coached.
I don’t find anything wrong with an athlete occasionally reaching the state of being WOD Drunk. If an athlete is consistently hitting WOD Drunk, I start making some changes in their workouts. Simple things like turning off the clock, adding rest intervals, and team workouts are a great way to reel people back in.
At CrossFit One World, we have a “Wall of Fame” board with all the top performances in our benchmark workouts. Everyone loves to get their name on the board, but it isn’t the only reason people come to the gym and work hard. Most people don’t even care about ever making it on the board, but they workout hard and to the best of their ability. I’ll take that. If they occasionally get WOD drunk, it’s okay. I’ll clean up the mess afterward.

Of course, beer drunk is all good and I’m down for that any day…..

Posted on: October 11, 2010admin

4 thoughts on “WOD Drunk

  1. I read this and had to have it posted. This happens in our gym all of the time. Times and performance are placed in front of technique. You are paying for a trainer to teach you form, and correct you during the workout. They are there to help you to not get hurt. Better technique=better WOD times. Using better form will increase the amount of weight you can lift. Don’t be afraid to listen to the trainers…we are not there to listen to the music.

  2. That’s a good one Stacie, thanks! Also, trainers, please don’t be afraid to talk to the athletes either. Jodie and I both expect to be criticized if/when we display improper form, or potentially dangerous form. I’m sure others feel the same way as well. I know I sure appreciate it when a trainer or fellow athlete mentions something to me. I don’t think any of us are ever too good to receive constructive criticism. That’s how we all get better. Thanks for all you guys do, and we’ll try not to get WOD drunk too often. 🙂

  3. Range of motion is not a punishment. It is to help your mobility, to help you get stronger, and to keep you safe (help avoid tendinitis issues). We need to lengthen and strengthen our muscles or we will have problems down the road. Short repedative motions are not good for our health. Full range of motion should come first above speed or heavy weight. As I train “older” people, I value full range of motion more and more. It will lead you to a better quality of life in years to come.
    I also want to acknowledge that there is a competitive side to crossfit. When you say or write that you Rx a workout, that doesn’t just mean you used the prescribed weight. One must do full range of motion too. Our integrity as a person is shown when we say we Rx a workout but others saw you cut range of motion short. It also reflects the integrity of our box. When a new person comes in our someone comes to visit, they notice our priorities and integrity. I train people with a variety of issues. if you have an trouble reaching full range of motion, ask a trainer to help set something up to help you. Your time will be slower initially, but you WILL be better off down the road for doing what it takes to teach full range of motion.

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