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Running a CrossFit Facility Tips and guidance on how to open and operate a CrossFit gym.

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Old 12-14-2009, 05:24 AM   #1
Nic Kirkland
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Motivating an Army Platoon

Hey all, I have recently begun implementing CrossFit into the workouts for PT at my ROTC program. We are still in the learning phase, and I am having trouble imparting the importance of intensity to some folks, cadre and cadets. I know when I do a WOD I go as fast as possible while maintaining form and do the whole end the workout lying on the ground in a puddle of my bodily fluids sucking wind, but some folks just are not used to that in a workout and are having trouble getting the concept down.

Does anyone have any ideas for motivating and helping them excel in these athletic endeavors? I can talk at them all I want about intensity=power=force*distance/time and broad time and modal domains, but for some folks it's in one ear, out the other.

I have tried implementing a whiteboard and using burpees as "motivation," but I figured folks out here might have some good experience and ideas.
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Old 12-14-2009, 06:29 AM   #2
Carlos Cristan
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Re: Motivating an Army Platoon

I did this with my last PLT(over 30). I had a whiteboard that had all the workouts we had done across the top, and all the names of everyone in the PLT down the side. Each WOD got a time and a ranking. I took into consideration as rx'd and scaled. As we completed more and more WOD's your ranking for each WOD was averaged in the last column which gave you an overall ranking within the PLT. If you missed a WOD you got a zero which helped motivate some not to miss PT for stuff like appt's because then your ranking would drop a bit. I did provide opportunities to make up WOD's as well for people who couldn't avoid missing sometimes. I included a mix of WOD's including strength, metcon, chippers, the APFT, 5k, and 4 x 400. There was something for everyone and it was updated daily. It soon became who was going to be the #1 CrossFitter in the Platoon board. Of course you'll still have those that think its funny to be last than to put out any effort, but competition can be contagious.
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Old 12-14-2009, 08:15 AM   #3
Joe Mercurio
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Re: Motivating an Army Platoon

Well if they're all coming from a background of traditional military PT, they're going to be a little jaded from the lack of results and are probably just thinking here's another overzealous fitness guy. Internal motivation is the goal, but before you can get them to do that, you're going to have to make it fun and interesting. Handing out burpees to improve intensity is like the saying "the beatings will continue until morale improves."

Until they can motivate themselves, you need to make the workouts fun for them, as well as providing results. Team workouts may raise up some friendly competition. Another great idea I've heard from somewhere around here is offset the starting times based on last workouts performance. So if you did a 1 mile run a week ago and are doing it again today, stagger the start times with the slowest person going first. If Person #1 finished in 8 minutes and Person #2 finished in 10 minutes, have person #2 start 2 minutes before the 2nd guy. Then it's all about improvements and who wants it more. And the deconditioned guy is probably going to make bigger initial gains than someone who's been training for a while, and the 1st time that they come in 1st (and deserve it) will only motivate them further because they didn't know they had it in them. Be sure to publicly recognize those that showed the most improvements too.

If you can provide a training regimen that produces results, it will only be a matter of time before they realize it and start showing up with more intensity.
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Old 12-15-2009, 02:28 AM   #4
Kane Greene
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Re: Motivating an Army Platoon

I think I would take Carlos' advice here.

I got out of the Navy about a month ago, and we were having a lot of problems as well getting people put the intensity into a workout to actually get something out of it.

Our CO was a really cool guy, and he bit into the CrossFit methodology and wanted a combat fitness program built around it. It had(has) a lot of potential still, but the only issue is motivation. We had approximately 250 people in our sqrdn and were running classes every hour from about 7-11 for each detachment.

Of course you are always going to have the guys that love to workout and push themselves and they immediately fell in love with the program and strived to do their best everyday, but that's really just a small percentage.

We tried a few different things, but what really ended up working is competition. Most of the guys in the military are only worried about the PRT or whatever your branch's physical fitness evaluation is, so they really don't see the point of putting themselves through that kind of pain. Physical fitness isn't a passion for everyone, even though it is for you. Remember that!

We started finding different ways to make the guys compete against each other. We would use "It pays to be a winner", for instance if you finished in the top five for the WOD then you got to sit out while everyone else did 25 burpees.

We would do team events, where you break everyone down into groups of 4 or 5 and see which team would do the best. That works pretty well because usually there will be one guy on the team that can drive everyone else out of their comfort zone.

In WODs that involved running we would usually take a guy that really tried, but wasn't there yet in terms of his work capacity and give him a couple minute head start. Then have everyone else try to catch up and pass him. If you didn't beat him you had a foul of sorts. Make them do another round, burpees, sprints, whatever.

Another thing we did that was really really awesome was organize a fitness competition. We had each detachment put up 5 guys and a gal and had 6 events, making each team have one guy do each event. We had seating, music, and I loaded up my buddy's truck with a bunch of barbells, bumpers, kettlebells, etc. and it turned out far better than anyone could have expected. People were screaming and cheering. You would have thought it was a professional football game.

Basically anything you can do to make men compete against each other will better performance, because let's face it... no one likes to lose. Especially people in the military. Most of them are young and those days of playing competitive sports aren't that far behind. And suprisingly most of the older guys would put out too so they could be good example for the junior guys. They might not have put up the same numbers, but they gave it their all.

I would really suggest just becoming really creative in ways to make guys compete. Keep it fresh, you don't want to do the same thing everyday as far as reward or fouls.

Hope it works out!
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