A CrossFit athlete participates in a CrossFit workout

DEFINING CROSSFIT, PART 2: INTENSITY

*The second in a series of three articles meant to more specifically define CrossFit and bring a little more clarity to why we do what we do everyday.

We like to say that intensity is the “secret sauce” that makes CrossFit work.  But what does “intensity” mean, exactly?

Scientifically speaking, intensity is defined as power, and power is force multiplied by distance, then divided by time.  It is useful to understand this because traditionally intensity has been very loosely defined.  

People think, well I’m sweating a lot and my heart is beating faster, so this must be intense!  The problem with these subjective assessments is they are rarely accurate.  By insisting that we use the scientific definition of intensity, we are able to use data from our workouts to measure our actual power output–our intensity.

But to put it more simply, intensity is doing more work, faster.  If you want to look better and feel better, intensity will make it happen.

A CrossFit athlete participates in a CrossFit workout

Once we understand what intensity is and isn’t, it’s equally important that we understand the appropriate applicaiton of it.  Intensity is different from person to person.  This is why we speak often about “relative intensity.”  That is, an amount of power output that is appropriate for each athlete’s individual physical and psychological tolerances.

So how do we find our relative intensity?  At TBCF, the two most important tools we use to help an athlete find their appropriate level of intensity are time caps and scaling.  By using those two tools correctly, we make sure that everyone benefits from each workout, regardless of their current level of skill or experience.

Let’s take the classic CrossFit benchmark “Diane,” for example.  Diane as prescribed is 21-15-9, Deadlifts (225/155) and Handstand Push-ups.  Diane is meant to be a shorter, high intensity workout.  To start helping athletes find their relative intensity, I’ll set our time cap at 9 minutes.  

Using the knowledge that there will be a “hard stop” at 9 minutes, we start to scale Diane for individual athletes to help them make sure they can finish under the time cap.  We can always scale any workout in one of three ways: by lightening the load, by cutting the reps or time, and/or by reducing the complexity of the movement.  As coaches it’s our job to properly work within those parameters to create a workout that’s equally effective and safe for every athlete.  

This is how we find our “relative intensity.”

There are a lot of different ways to define intensity: it’s the independent variable most commonly assocaited with maximizing the favorable rate of adaptation to exercise.  It’s getting comfortable being uncomfortable.  It’s picking up the barbell or jumping back up on the rig when all you want to do is stop.  

However you choose to define it, we need to all understand it.  Because intensity is what gets results.

About the Author 

Edward Getterman is a Certified CrossFit Trainer (CF-L3) and the owner of Twin Bridges CrossFit in Waco, Texas. If he can’t be at the gym or at home, he’d prefer to be at Walt Disney World. He loves deadlifts, hates running, and believes above all else that CrossFit is for everyone.

Check us out on YouTube!

Read More on the TBCF Blog

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

GETTING STARTED IS EASY!

Simply fill out the form below and then schedule Your FREE intro session on the next page.

Shortly after we will be in touch with you to confirm your intro session.We are excited to meet you!

HOLD POLICY

By submitting the form below you are confirming that you have read and understand that: Membership hold requests must be submitted no less than (7) seven business days before your forthcoming scheduled renewal date. Membership hold requests received later cannot be processed until after the forthcoming scheduled renewal payment. All membership payments are non-refundable. A member in good standing may place a membership on hold only after the initial two-month term of membership. Membership holds may not exceed 6 consecutive and 10 total weeks in the calendar year. The AutoPay on the membership file must be confirmed and active. Membership billing automatically resumes the month after the requested hold date unless a member calls to release the hold early. Use of the gym or its facilities during the “Hold” period will result in the membership being reactivated immediately, and the member’s regular monthly membership charges will be assessed. Upon expiration of the hold period, your account will automatically reactivate and regular membership payments will resume. All membership payments are non-refundable. If you choose to cancel your membership during the hold period, the standard 30-day written cancellation notice requirement stated in your membership agreement is applicable. If you choose to reactivate your membership after it is canceled, membership rates in effect at the time of reactivation will be applicable (membership rates are subject to change). * Please note: This policy applies to ALL memberships.

CANCELLATION POLICY

WE’RE SORRY TO SEE YOU GO. If you decide to reactivate your membership in the future (and we hope you do) membership rates in effect at the time of reactivation will be applicable as membership rates are subject to change. If you are traveling or injured and would like to put your membership on hold instead of canceling, you can submit a Membership Hold Request instead.
All membership agreements require 30-days written notice to cancel your membership. This form will serve as your 30-day written cancellation notice. Note that if you have a scheduled renewal payment within 30-days of your invoice billing date, the payment will be processed as scheduled. Your membership will be canceled at the end of your final paid month. All payments are non-refundable.
Cancellation of membership prior to the expiration of a specified commitment period requires a termination fee equivalent to the balance owed for your time with an active membership. E.g., if the difference between a 12-month agreement and a 6-month agreement is 15$ and a 12-month is terminated two months early, you will owe $30 ($15 x 2).

MEMBERSHIP CANCELLATION REQUEST

Please fill out the form below and one of our team members will review your request. Warning. The submission of this form does not cancel your membership. We will review your request, then reach out to confirm.

HAVE QUESTIONS?

We Would Love To Meet You!

Simply fill out the form below
& one of our amazing
coaches will be in touch asap! We are excited to meet you!

ARE YOU LOOKING TO DROP-IN?

We Would Love To Meet You! WARNING!
Class Sizes Are Limited.

If you would like to reserve a spot... Simply click the button below to view available drop-in classes and book your spot to save time.

OUR DROP-IN RATES

$20 Per Class

OUR Information:

OUR PRICING IS SIMPLE

We Want To Offer You The PERFECT Membership For Your NEEDS.

Simply fill out the form below & one of our amazing coaches will send you our current membership information.