79. What is Rx?

79. What is Rx?

In this episode, Todd and Fern discuss the meaning behind the term “Rx.” Why it’s valuable, where it goes wrong in affiliates, how to educate your members on its place in training and some different ways to execute it at the affiliate level. How it heavily demonized. Along with how coaches and affiliate owners are trapping them into the RX culture with their programming. Using their personal experiences from both of their own affiliates, they show how they’ve overcome.

Like always if you have a questions, need help in your box or even have some feedback about the topic. Please don’t hesitate to reach out on Instagram; slid into those Dm’s @besthouroftheirday.

Timestamps

Not putting weights on the bar (1:12)

The demonization of RX (5:57)

Working with athletes who only want to tick that RX box (12:14)

 How Fern moved the “RX” from the idea of the weights to the stimulus of the workout (24:39)

Could you get rid of RX all together?

How to create more chances for your athletes to compete with themselves than other athletes in the class? (36:30)

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What is Rx.mp4 transcript powered by Sonix—the best audio to text transcription service

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Fern:
All right, everybody, welcome back to the best hour of their day. We are minus one actually minus a half,. Probably.

Todd:
One half for sure.

Fern:
As one half of Coach Jay Akerman today is just going to be Todd Occhiuto, and myself and Jay is off gallivanting in Colorado. I know what they’re doing. He said he was gonna go for a hike today and how those little short legs are gonna be on the on the mountain, though

Todd:
Hahah.

Fern:
But what we’re going to talk about today is something that is wildly uncomfortable for people to discuss in the affiliate level, because it just gives a lot of there’s a lot of back and forth. And it’s that there’s been a lot of discussion with what is our RX? What the hell does that mean? How do I communicate that to people? There’s a lot of controversy with regard to what is RX and what is not RX. And should that box, should they not check the box? And does it even matter if they check the box? All of that stuff. So I guess my question for you, Todd, is for you, for Todd at DRiV Fitness, what is RX?

Todd:
Yeah at DRiV fitness. We have an RX that the coaches know. But as far as like weights are concerned, that’s never something that is put out in our program on a daily basis. So like the coaches notes, there is here’s the prescribed weight. And the understanding with that is that our best athletes should be able to do this weight and it should look and feel like this. But we don’t put that out to the athletes individually because it’s our job as coaches to ensure that our athletes feel that same stimulus that the the top the top athletes have with that same workout. So, for example, if it’s. Something that has a heavy power clean in it or something like that, should it be unbroken sets? Should it be power single? Should it be small sets? Whatever that is. And then it’s our job to take that and apply that to our to our members.

Fern:
So you don’t give your athletes any weights. It’s ever like that. You don’t have like a use Fran for instance, there’s just is a 21-15-9 thrusters and pull ups that wayy.

Todd:
Let’s do it. Yeah. That’s what’s written on the board. Right. And that’s what’s in our on our online programming. And then in the class it’ll be something like hey guys, we’re looking for this first set to be done either unbroken or at most one one break. There might be. Something said to where, hey, we’re not going any heavier than ninety five pounds today, something like that. But for the most part, it’s our job as coaches to address each athlete and let them know what that what that weight is going to be.

Fern:
Have you guys always done that?

Todd:
We have.

Fern:
So you didn’t have to make a transition away from writings weights?

Todd:
That’s right. I didn’t because I started coaching at another gym and just kind of saw how that impacted the environment, where people would see the weights on the board and be like, hey, I’m an RX athlete. So I guess that means that I need to do this at that weight. Even if. They didn’t meet the stimulus of the workout. So I want to nip that in the bud, as you know, once we opened our doors and so we started from the beginning in that fashion just so we don’t have arguments. So we don’t we don’t we don’t really have many people come to us in like. Complain or try to do weights that they shouldn’t do. If you’ve been there long enough, you might have earned the right to negotiate with me. I tell you that you should. You know, I want you doing one thirty five and you’re like, yeah, but you know, Jimmy did one fifty five and I really want to compete with him. Is that cool. Like. All right, well here’s my parameters. I need you to be able to do a set of five unbroken. And if you don’t do that then you and I both know the weights are going to come off in the middle of the workout and we’ll just go from there. So.

Fern:
So that’s interest. So I’m going to kind of put you on the spot here a little bit, because obviously you’re athletes don’t know any better. So you don’t. This is not a transition that you would have to potentially undergo, however, if you were running an affiliate that was putting weights on there. So right or wrong, regardless of how you feel about it and you decided that it was in the athlete’s best interest and in the in the culture that you’re trying to build. How would you go about making that transition? Because you and I both know there is going to be a little bit of an uproar. When do you change anything?

Todd:
Anything? Yeah.

Fern:
If you put the toilet paper on the other way, like there is going to. You’re gonna get a nasty email. So much less talking about like changing the style of programming.

Todd:
Yeah, I think I think it turns into starting to educate your clients on the stimulus of the workout and what this should look and feel like as far as the workout goes down, what the time domain needs it needs to be. You want everybody finishing relatively similar as far as time domains go. And then there is a portion of a where you’ve got to start to figure out how to deemphasize or devalue the leaderboard. And that’s one of the things that we try to do. It’s like we want everybody going hard. We want everybody trying to be better than they were yesterday. We want people to be able to compete with each other. But ultimately, like, we don’t make a big deal out of RX or scale. And another way to do that we’ve been successful with that is that everybody in our gym scales, workouts. So we don’t have like the top five athletes that can always do it RX. There are days where workouts are written that are written for our best athletes, but they come in and they’re not feeling it and they’re not afraid to scale it down and do a little bit less. And so when everybody else in the gym sees that even the leaders, the coaches, the best athletes aren’t afraid to scale in order to meet the stimulus. There’s less pushback. So my thing would be educate your clients on what the stimulus is and then lead by example by not being afraid to scale when it’s appropriate and do that in front of your clients so they can see you doing that as well.

Fern:
So I think there’s kind of two conversations that I’m having in my head right now that work in parallel. The first one is I think to some degree the demonization of RX is unwarranted. For the and I mean that from the stance of I don’t think most people actually understand. What the intent was with when. When they created that. So first and foremost, Crossfit,, you know, we define our terms. Everything is measurable, observable, repeatable. And we will probably not be having this podcast with the growth of Crossfit,. As stupid as this might sound, if there was not a program created that was created in the light of I can measure one human being right next to another human being. And in order to do that, just like we do at the Crossfit, Games, there has to be some standards as far as like this is the weight. These are the reps. Now we’re going to see what can get done. And then we’re I think as people took that and probably swung the pendulum a little bit too far the other way. Forgetting, myself included, forgetting to take into context the athletes there in front of us and what should be dialed up, it is appropriate for them. So that’s the first one. Is that like. You have to have something measurable, observable, repeatable. The second thing I think is that this can be problematic for gym owners or people who are programming, because I don’t think a lot of people put enough time into understanding the workout that they’ve created. But what is supposed to happen in this workout right now and then that in my in my experience that can be illustrated based on how the white broad brief goes. Like a coach who understands the the stimulus are like, what is RX for the workout? Can alleviate most problems at the whiteboard brief. I don’t know how you feel about that, but like.

Todd:
Yeah, I think either at the whiteboard brief or just in the culture you’ve created within the gym to where it’s like people come in, they see either a movement that maybe they can’t do or they heard the rumors on the weight supposed to be heavy throughout the day and they show up in like you either alleviate that at the whiteboard by telling them, hey, guys, this is what I’m looking for. This is how many sets. This is what the weight should feel like or look like or the movement should look like or feel like. And then they also hopefully also earn their confidence in the sense that in the numerous workouts beforehand, you’ve scaled them appropriately and lead them in the right direction. And so now they trust you. They walk in and like, I know Todd’s going to take care of me. And even though I can’t do muscle ups today, I know he’s going to have something for me that’s going to give me a good workout and that’s going to help push me towards that end state.

Fern:
So this, again, is unique to you. So you guys don’t do that. Is there a time it’s appropriate at DRiV Fitness where you guys would put weights on the workout?

Todd:
I think at this point there’s like it’s just part of our culture that we don’t. But there are workouts where the weights are known, like Fran shows up any and everybody that that sees that, even though it doesn’t say ninety five, sixty five on the you know, on our platform or on our whiteboard, people look up and be like, oh I’ve done that before. Here’s with the weights are supposed to be where there’s days where we like follow in the Crossfit, games. We did a week of some of the workouts from the Crossfit, games. Right. And people come in and we’ll do the workouts, the scaled version of that. And they’ll be like, well, what was the RX on that? I saw these guys doing it that weight and it just blows their mind. Right. So it’s people know what what the quote unquote, RX weight is. Most of the time. But we’ve devalued it so much by not writing it down to where we just don’t have a lot of people pushing or trying to do something that isn’t appropriate. The other thing that we do that I’m that I’m unsure of whether other gyms do is like. We don’t leave scaling up to our clients like I’ve heard a lot of other people talk about, hey, guys. Make sure you pick a weight that allows you to do X, Y and Z. I was like, no one picks a weight that I don’t tell them that they do. So it’s like they might have a little bit of. Ability to start adding some weight, but I’m going to check in with you. You know,.

Fern:
So but you’re not saying that they don’t have. I guess for me, it’s different, so I kind of agree with you and kind of disagree. If it’s a newer athlete, I agree with you. If it’s a seasoned athlete, that’s far more of a conversation than it is me mandating what has to go on the bar.

Todd:
Well, and that’s the person. If it’s a seasoned athlete, that’s the person that has potentially earned the right to negotiate with me. You know, if it’s hey, Jay, we’re doing Diane today and I know you’re deadlifts, not your greatest movement. Right. And I’m like, man, I’d really like to see you do it at one eighty five, because I think you can do this under five minutes at that weight. And you’re like, man, but I’d really like to see where I’m at it two twenty five. I know I’m going to be a little bit slower, but I really want to do it RX today. Well if we’ve worked together long enough, I’ll potentially allow you to do that. On this day, knowing that you’re gonna be a little bit longer and that’s fine for today, because down the road or tomorrow, you’re going to listen to what I recommend as far as the weights are concerned. But I don’t like. Very rarely is there just blind trust that I allow everybody to pick their own weights and pick their own scaling options, and I don’t check in at least to make sure that we’re on the same page.

Fern:
Yeah, I would agree. I mean, that’s just good. Coaching is if there’s 15 athletes in your class, like I’m going to verify 15 different rep schemes, movements and loads on.

Fern:
Yes.

Todd:
Those athletes know how you go about that. You can do that a lot of different ways. But no, I agree with you there. But at least for the way we run it for my newer athletes. I just I just spoon feed them like you’re gonna put 65 on the bar. That’s what you’re gonna do for my other athletes. We might we might go back a little bit because I do have athletes that will go a little bit lighter when I know they should go heavier. And I like to put ten pounds on there. Like, don’t you don’t sandbag today? Like, unless you’re telling me you don’t feel good. And then I’m like, OK, well, then dollar back even more than that. Like, you don’t feel good and let’s just use it as a moving day, but OK. Yeah.

Todd:
Yeah. Same page with that.

Fern:
What, So a lot of people are listening to this and they’re like, well, good for you, Todd. Great. You’ve you’ve developed that culture at your gym. However, at my gym, Crossfit, donuts and sprinkles. I have athletes that only want to check the RX box regardless of what unfolds. So for that person who is just like, listen, I have a person who did Fran RX and it took them 22 minutes. What? Like how? What’s your thoughts on that scenario? That’s not an uncommon story.

Todd:
Right.

Fern:
But there’s new coaches that may have not built the culture that you’ve built and may not have called the expertise that you have. What’s your recommendation to somebody who’s dealing with that?

Fern:
There’s there’s got to be a an understanding of why somebody is so tied to to RX, right. So you’ve got to get to know them a little bit to try to figure out why it’s so important for them to do this thing RX if it’s going to take him 22 minutes. And then there’s got to be the understanding of why they’re doing that. And then the education of why it’s important. To to scale it down to where they can do this thing appropriately. And I don’t think that happened that conversation is going to happen on one day or that understanding is going to happen on one day. But the big takeaway from that, especially with new coaches, is is like every athlete in your class is on your watch. Right. So if somebody tries to RX a workout and they, it is going to be unsafe for them or inappropriate for them. And they end up getting hurt. They’re not going to leave class and be like, oh, man, I got hurt because I was an idiot trying to do more weight than I was supposed to or more reps and I supposed to. They’re going to leave and I’m going to go. I got hurt doing Crossfit, and Todd’s class at Todd’s gym. Todd’s a bad coach in his Gym’s a bad gym. And it’s like when you’re the coach on the floor. Like your reputation is at stake. And so there’s got to be some boundaries and you’ve got to figure out how to keep people in check and not just let somebody do what they want to do because they want to.

Fern:
So in this scenario, when you are going to circle back just a little bit, so don’t actually before that, if if you had an athlete, let’s say you’re at Crossfit, donuts and sprinkles and you have an athlete who does, Fran, at the at the RX weight at the RX reps and they do it in twenty two minutes. Would you allow that athlete to whatever system you say it’s Wodify that what we used, would you allowed him to check that little red box that says our RX.

Todd:
See, I don’t care about that at all. So I can do whatever they want to as far as I’m concerned, like I like. I’m not going to go in and tell somebody not to. Now, I’m probably naive and ignorant in that that I like. I don’t care. I know there’s other people in the gym potentially that would be more concerned when people put RX and they didn’t necessarily do RX, but I just don’t care about that. So as far as I’m concerned, you guys can either RX or scale whatever you want to that doesn’t that that kind of stuff doesn’t impact me.

Fern:
Yeah, I definitely. Again, a mild amount of maturity on my part is a lot of people get wrapped around that interaction, which is a symptom of a bigger problem, which is you have not educated this person or what was supposed to unfold. So for me, I see RX is. Much more these days of. Did you get the intended stimulus versus did you get the exact reps and the exact loading? Now, if we can check all three boxes, that’s ideal. If I can check all three boxes of get the appropriate loading with the movements in-tacked the appropriate rep Rep scheme and hit the intended stimulus, whether it’s rounds or reps or time. That for me is. Perfect scenario. One step below that, the next best scenario is that we hit the intended stimulus, not getting to the reps or the loading. So I don’t but I don’t know how will look at that. I think a lot of people will value the reps and load over the intended stimulus and a lot of scenarios because somehow. It’s a badge of honor. And I get it right. Like I’m not going to be like that stupid. I’m not going to like we’ve all been there.

Todd:
Right.

Fern:
Don’t work for way too long. But I think over time. What we have to do is educate our clients and really get them. I think this goes back to I think Jay and I talked about in a previous podcast that sometimes you have to tell people what is not supposed to happen.

Todd:
I mean, to some degree, right? Hey, guys, this workout shouldn’t take twenty two minutes.

Fern:
Yeah. Exactly.

Todd:
You say that and then reinforce that it needs to take five minutes or eight minutes or whatever it is. But it all boils down to it from my experience and what I’ve seen and what I’ve experienced, because I used to be one of those athletes, I’d be like, why I’ve got to do it. RX and I would get crushed me and take me forever. And I had to learn some humility in that. And that’s what’s led me down this trail now. But it also boils back to like, what are you emphasizing in your gym? Is it like are you more concerned with pushing everybody to be RX or are you more concerned with people hitting the stimulus? And in my opinion, more importantly, moving really well. I’m more concerned with somebody moving well than anything else. And number two, what example do you set? So if you’re if you and your other coaches or the people that are the quote unquote, leaders in your gym. Are the ones that don’t scale down and maybe taken workout. That should be eight minutes long and you do it RX and it only takes you and it takes you 12 minutes like your setting the example that scaling is not an OK thing and that the stimulus is not as important when you lead by example and you scale on the days when you need to and you try to move really, really well while you’re in there. You get the stimulus and people look and they’re like, OK, this is the way it’s supposed to be done. That’s what I’ve seen from my experience.

Fern:
I would agree with you, and I think that peer pressure works. And if, you know, nobody wants to be that person whose last right look, even even if they’re selling in a big way, it’s like they don’t want to be last. So if you if everybody in the gym has has basically, you know, they’ve come in and they’ve acclimated to what the environment is. And and there’s that one person who doesn’t want to get along. Eventually they’re going to move along, whether it’s the you as the owner telling them they gotta go or they will just assimilate and do it the way it’s supposed to. But it does take time. But you brought something interesting, which is all moving well, and I’m thinking about this now, like what if RX was based on quality of movement?

Todd:
Yeah. How many people would have ab RX score in your gym?

Fern:
I mean, it wouldn’t be nearly as sexy because like right off the gate, everybody would have to slow down. You know, so this this does kind of go into the whole technique and intensity discussion, right? Like how do how do I know I balance those two while kind of move my athletes towards that, towards that RX variation or version of the workout with the understanding that I may never get there? Like, how do you as a coach balance that?

Todd:
I think just through through what and what I’ve discussed, man, it’s like we emphasize we emphasize quality of movement and like in the stimulus of the workout. That’s the example that we set as as coaches and leaders. So we’re constantly working on our movements. We’re jumping into classes, we’re practicing the techniques. Our classes are built around the specific warm up. So we probably spend more time doing specific warm ups than any other gym out there because we know we do one piece a day and the focus is learning the movement of those movements of the day. And so that’s the stuff that we emphasize. So, you know, it’s it’s one of those things where I’m pretty proud of the way that the majority of the people in my in my gym move. But we spend a lot of deliberate time working on that.

Fern:
I’ll give everybody an example of something that happened to me in one of my classes less than a week ago. We did. I think it was Friday last week. We did JT, which which was the first workout I ever did and Crossfit,. I did it RX and I’m using air quotes here because I did do those movements in those rep schemes. However, it did take me thirty seven minutes. So looking back on that, I don’t know that that necessarily falls in the RX bucket. Now what I did was and so a lot of people would look at that workout. So everybody did some variation of that, whether we modify the movements or whether we modified the rep schemes. So I had an athlete and I told everybody I wanted that workout to be something to the tune of seven to 15 minutes. Right. I give a little bit bigger window because there’s a lot of movement redundancy there. And I know people are gonna hit muscular failure regardless of how we kind of scaled that`. And that’s a little bit bigger window than I would normally give for it for time domain. I had an athlete who was towards the tail end of that 15 minute mark and this is my fault completely. He was moving pretty well and I thought he was on the round of nine when he finished and he was technically finishing the round of 15. But we’re coming up on 15 minute mark. And I asked him and I’m like, I’m like, how many reps you got left? And he’s like, it’s like I got two. And then I got to start the round of nine and all the sudden all the alarms start going off on my whole shit. I have I have let this cat down. This is not where we should be right now. So I just stopped him. I was like, finish the round of 15 and we’re done. Like,.

Todd:
Yeah,.

Fern:
We’re done. And some people are like, well, but it’s just the nine. And I’m like, yeah, but it’s not just nine, it’s twenty seven. You know, and that’s gonna take him another four minutes, at which point this is now a 20 minute workout. And we have far exceeded the demand of the workout and I don’t think people have the confidence to do that. I’m like he’s good. Like regardless he may not have done the same amount of reps, but it would be the equivalent at, you know. So let’s say I had scaled appropriately and I had him do 18, 15, nine. Like there’s your nine reps right there that I’m going to squeeze them back into. You know, it looks like the more a more appropriate time for him. And that was just something I realized I made a mistake and I changed it because I’m trying to keep him in that window as much as possible. And he was totally good with it. Quite frankly, he probably wanted to quit.

Todd:
Oh, yeah. Not like you’re giving them a way out. I can distinctly remember, mostly because I was an athlete early on. I was like, if I chose to do a workout, even if it was the wrong number of reps and it was way too much, I was like, I want to finish this thing. So I can remember early on when I opened my Affiliate talking to some of my new coaches and be like, listen, if you mess up the scaling, like just live with it because, you know, the athlete that they approach the workout is, you know, want to finish whatever they set out to finish. And that was I was the opposite of everybody else because that was what I had in my head. Nobody else wants that. Like when you find somebody that is struggling and is about to finish 10 minutes, ask everybody else. Nobody wants to be that person. So if you go up to him and check in with him and see that they’re around behind and you’re like, hey, finish after this round or let’s only do you know four reps instead of nine reps on this last one, they’re gonna be like, thank you. I was dying. This is horrible. I appreciate it. Like you, you’ve got to keep the pulse on people. Make sure where they’re at. I did the same thing yesterday. We had a long Hero workout and I had scaled somebody that had been out of the gym for about a week. I’d scaled them down and thought it was appropriate. Checked in after the second round and he was a little bit behind everybody else and is like, you know what? Let’s cut it down even more. Thank you. Yes, OK. I’m good with that.

Fern:
I’ve had very little pushback now. Right. So I’m not going to say I’m not going to be so naive to say that ever. But I would I’m I am confident saying this. I have had very little, if not almost zero pushback on making that decision kind of, you know, mid workout probably in the last five years.

Todd:
Yeah.

Like I think if you’re dolling up workouts that are appropriate and are and are designed with intensity in mind, nobody is going to question you like they want you to come up there and save them, but they’re not [got gonna do it on their own] .

Todd:
Yeah, absolutely.

Fern:
We do something. So we started this last year and it was something that I just kind of had this thought and was like, what are we got to change? What is RX? Right? And we put all of the emphasis on on the stimulus and not so much loading or rep scheme. Right. Because so the the other argument is like there are athletes that want to check that box.

Fern:
Right. So we do have to take into into into account the athletes, the psychological aspect of this whole thing, which is like, hey, I’ve been here three years. I’ve never checked the RX box like this sucks like.

Todd:
Yupe.

Fern:
Clearly this isn’t working because you guys have not moved me to where I need to be. So I do think we have to a maybe dial up some things once or twice a month where everybody has the ability to check that box like, you know, it’s a 5K or it’s like it’s mono structural and it’s or something like that. So if you’re not doing that, you probably should do that. Like we have to give people wins because Crossfit, is hard.

Todd:
Yep.

Fern:
So what we did, we do this for the whole month of November is and this does take a little bit of work with regard to programming is we design a workout essentially with the stimulus in mind first, which normally kind of do it the other way. And then we kind of rearrange things. And then what we do is we give rep ranges and load ranges. Right. So let’s say it was like filthy 50. We would we would give everything from. Reps 20 to 50, every single reps scheme in there is available. None of them are wrong. Right. So like you literally cannot make a wrong decision. And for the kettlebell swing, it’s like, you know, 15 to thirty five, whatever that whatever that is. Same thing for the barbell to be 15, 25, 30, 45 and for some. And then. So what we do is we tell people like this is your window for time that I want you to do the filthy 50 in. Regardless of what rep scheme you use, regardless of what loading you use, if you hit that window, you did the workout as prescribed.

Fern:
There was a little bit of pushback from the people who were just like hardcore zealots. But what I the result of it was where we were really forcing people to think about what was appropriate for them in order to get there. And I think it turned out really well. And we’re gonna do it again this year. We were gonna just it’s gonna be like a thing we do in November now. Now, from a coaching standpoint, this does take more work on your part, right? Like you’re giving people enough rope or enough rope to hang themselves. So you have to be ready for people to literally hang themselves and be prepared to catch them and get them into the right spot.

Todd:
But what do you think? People I love. I love the idea of that. And I completely agree that, like. I think I think you’re doing a disservice if you don’t have opportunities for everybody to do something RX or you don’t have opportunities for everybody to have to scale something like there’s nobody that should be the either side of this thing. But to some degree, like if 10 people come to your class and all 10 like one person does. The filthy 50 as as it’s written. And then somebody else does twenty five reps with lighter weights and they put RX.. You really think that they feel like they did the same thing as somebody else and that there RX is appropriate?

Fern:
Yeah, like I do. I think it’s all about delivery, right? So be it. I do think the answer is yes, because we did get that when we did it. And it’s because we put the emphasis on like, hey, if you get in this window because again, we all know like Crossfit, you know, intensity is relative relative psychological tolerances. So first of all, somebody who does it RX is probably like, you know, something in there, like a mid to mid 20s to mid 30s. Right. So a younger person and the person who’s scaling is probably not in that in that age range for the most part.

Fern:
So I don’t I’ve never seen anybody where they’re they dislike talking shit about the person who scale them like, you know, like.

Todd:
No. Right, right. Right, right.

Fern:
You’re just a jerk if you’re doing that. But everybody gets it. But it does give everybody. I for me, we use it as a learning tool. So I wanted to put some of the ownership on the athletes. And I will say this, when we pitched this idea to the members, I do tell them that I want them to miss the mark about 30 percent of the time in both directions. Right. So I want them to occasionally throughout the month dial up a rep scheme that might be a little high or loading that might be a little high. But I also want them to dial up basically a weight that might be a little bit lighter so that they can go faster. So if they hit it every single time. Now, what we’re not doing is kind of like trying to expand the margins of our experience. So I tell them I want them to miss, but not just by making it harder. Like sometimes I want you to undershoot because you went so damn fast and you came in under the intended time domaine or under or over on the rounds or reps or something like that.

Fern:
So I give people that opportunity to do that. But like you said, we talk about that like I know my athletes pretty well have a pretty good idea of what’s appropriate for most people. But I do tell them it’s appropriate to miss the mark, because now we’ve learned something. Like now they can carry that experience forward into some of those other workouts when we get back to their regular stimulus. And like I said, there was a little bit of moaning and groaning, but we started the podcast without it, which is everybody’s gonna bitch about something. Largely it was a big hit. But like I said, it does take a little bit more forethought from a programming standpoint. And it does take you and the staff to be like very much prepared for what is going to happen for that month.

Todd:
Ya Ya.

Fern:
Really got to do some preplanning on that. What’s your thoughts on just doing away with our RX altogether?

Todd:
Like I said, I mean, there needs to be I think there needs to be something in there that dictates what the stimulus is going to be. So how do you determine, you know, is the weight supposed to be heavy or light? Are the reps supposed to be unbroken? We’re not whatever. So there needs to be something there that dictates that. Other than that, I think that’s the main focus. Right. Is like we’ve talked about this whole time is what is the stimulus? That’s the ultimate goal, not just check in the red box.

Fern:
So I’m just trying to play devil’s advocate here, because most of us. That was not a thing for Crossfit,. Like, it was just not something that existed. Like you and I both played, you know, athletics in college. And when I went to the weight room, there was no but nobody was like, hey, you. This is you have to do this in four minutes or like this is the exact weight you have to use when you do it. Like most of it was percentage based, you know, and there are some stuff in there.

Todd:
Yeah. But on a similar sense, there was like, hey, what’s that guy doing? Let me see if I can do as much as he like. That was always a part of it, whether it was written as prescribed at times or not. It’s like I saw what he was doing. And if he was the guy that I was trying to compete with, either want to do the same thing or a little bit more or I want to do it, you know, a little bit faster than he did or jump a little bit higher, whatever that was. So I think it’s always been a part of it. It just wasn’t it wasn’t defined. It wasn’t showing like it like it is now.

Fern:
Which which brings up kind of the old Glassman ism, which is like, you know, men will die for points. So we know that the that RX component of Crossfit, programming does inherently breed competition. And some people would be in the camp of like, hey, that competition has no place in fitness in the weight room. What’s your thoughts on that?

Todd:
I disagree with that. I mean, ultimately, you know what? What I try to say and what we try to educate is that you’re competing with yourself. But we also all know that there’s at least a hand full of people out there that you’re also competing with. And that’s what makes it fun. Because you’re right. We will die for points. Right. And so having those, you know, trying to be better than you were the day before is important. But then having a couple, couple people around you to shoot for makes it a lot more enjoyable as well. It’s like as disappointed as I am that the Open’s coming back up. I get another chance to beat J. in five straight workouts again.

Fern:
I’m disappointed that you’re even trying to compete with that guy [ I don’t even know why that’s a thing]

Todd:
You’re right. That’s not even a thing allows me to keep my ego high because it’s an automatic win [straight away].

Fern:
Oh, yeah. So I do. I do. I do very much disagree with the demonization of competition. I just think that competition has to be tempered. Right. So I think I think from a coach and from a box owner standpoint, like that’s our job is to is to moderate that competition. Right. You like you have to be the voice of reason when people like, you know, like most of us are like race horses, like everybody’s like, oh, I’m not competitive until I line up next to somebody. And then suddenly I fucking want to win for some reason. But like, nobody knows why. But like, that’s just in here. That’s just human nature. So it’s our job to really kind of paint that picture of like, hey, this is what this is what is supposed to unfold today. That is the intent. Because the other thing I think that needs to be discussed is, I mean, I’m not even really sure that I’ve ever heard people talk about this that much, but mostly only talking about the RX component in the in the confines of one day. Right. So if we’re thinking about what is going to unfold over a month or or several months or even a couple weeks, making a poor decision on like going RX has has like second and third order effects for the rest of your training week. So I think it’s it’s sometimes I think it’s a little bit weird that we’re we’re only having this discussion about one day and I’m like, yeah, what about the rest of the week? Like, what about it? You know what? What about the next 10 years? Like, what are we doing? Like, is it that important that we do it or is our X what we’re shooting for down the road? Or is like or should we look at RX in the totality of a one month or two month three month window?

Todd:
Yeah. We we have a saying sometimes that we’ll we’ll bring up around. Gym is like train to train another day. Right. You see the look on somebody’s face as they pick up the bar and you can tell it’s a little bit heavy and they’re a little unsure and you can just check in with them. Hey has that feeling. And they give you that looking you like, hey, let’s train to train another day. Let’s take the way down a little bit to make sure that you get out of this one alive so you can come back and train tomorrow. It’s like, what is the point of RX today, like you said, if it cost you the rest of the week?

Fern:
Well, I thought, you know, like what was funny is just like if you guys had to listen to the Jen and Andrew Charlesworth podcasts, go back and listen to it. But like, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but like Charleworths, it had like something that was pretty profound. He was like, hey, listen, a samurai doesn’t have competition every day. You know, it’s just like because competition day like somebody is going to die. So if we if we treated our training like that a little bit more, I think a would probably be more fun. Even Spencer Hendel. brought this up. He’s like, I just don’t have the palate for like sustained high intensity that I used to like. It just hurts. I don’t either like. I think once you just get a taste of it, like once you like, once you it is an acquired taste or you can get back to it.

Fern:
But once you’ve kind of like decided like I’ve got enough fitness going any harder than this is going to really, really cost me.

Todd:
Devastating. It’s so hard. Yeah. That was like when I started to work in seminars with people that made it to the games every year. Like the first question I would ask each one of them is like, how do you do that to yourself every single day? It’s like I can do one hard to work out like that, like every month. I’m still trying to recover from last year’s open. I still hurt. I was five workouts once a week and I’m still trying to figure out how to dial up the intensity. And I agree with you. So it’s like when I’m working out, I’m trying to think about how can I move better. Not how hard can I go at all costs? And you try to try to emphasize that with everybody else in your gym. I think you’re making mention of like, how do I keep people from just trying to compete at all costs with the person next to them on a daily basis? I think one thing that’s found we found success with is that we have way more benchmarks and we test them way more often nowadays. And so people are continually getting a chance to compete with themselves, which I think helps feed that competition, but it focuses it in the right direction. It’s like if you are doing a benchmark roughly once a week that you’re going to do three times or four times over the course of a year, you’re going to have an opportunity to see your personal improvements and try to be better than you were the last time. So you don’t need every single day to look to the person next to you and like go so hard at it like that. Your time to shine. It’s like we give a lot more opportunities to do that by doing a lot more benchmarks and testing yourself against yourself.

Fern:
So is that kind of the frequency with which you guys test benchmarks? About once a week,.

Todd:
About once a week, I’ve got I’ve got currently, I think for this year, every year we kind of we mix it up. But I’ve got 18 different benchmarks and that’s workouts, it’s lifts, it’s skill tests, it’s thing like that. It’s 18 different ones. And I’m guaranteed to test them three times a year, at least three times a year. So that roughly works out to almost one a week. One of those things pops up once a week or so, and it’s worked out really, really well. It’s force forces people to do the same thing over and over again and gives people a chance to see where they’re at.

Fern:
So the art I dig that we probably don’t test as much as we should. And I think that’s probably due to some Inherent bias that I have to kind of like push people away from, like trying to go full ham. Like every time they come in the gym, because I do have some some crazy people in my gym, right? I’m just like, listen, this person learn got a rubber wall. If I if I ask them to do so, it’s like.

Todd:
You get it. If it’s but if it’s if the tests are varied enough, it doesn’t matter. Right. It’s like you’ve got a friend where they’re going to run through a wall and then it’s like a 5k run. Cool. Go for it. And then the next one is. And broken double unders. Cool. Go for it like you’re not going to kill yourself doing that. It’s not a thing. Right where Max Burpees in a minute. Yeah. You can go really, really hard for a minute, but like you know what I mean? As long as there’s variance there, it’s not. Elizabeth, Diane, Fran. Like it isn’t those things every single time to where you can wretched it up so much that you’re just getting absolutely crushed.

Fern:
I think one way to kind of I I guess like modulate that would be and I was I did a podcast which we haven’t released yet with a buddy. My name, Judd Dean, who’s got Crossfit, first date up in Delaware. And he’s got a master aptly the one the games this year. He does a lot of online programming. And he said one of the things that he looks at was kind of three factors that he looks at with regard to programming and its volume, intensity and frequency. And at any given point, he never wants more than two of those to be high. Right. So he’s what he’s doing is. And again, nobody nothing is perfect. Yeah. But it is an interesting way to look at it, which is because if I have all three of those high all the time, that’s just not sustainable. At some point you’re gonna have this dramatic drop off in your output, whether the volume is too high while trying to maintain super high intensity and your frequency is too high. Meaning your training too many times in a given time period. So trying to mix those around and at the very least taking them into account frequency is not something that you can really control with regard to like programming for an affiliate. But I could look at volume and intensity and then try to make sure that I’m not pegging both of those to the ceiling every single day in order to maximize some of that stuff.

Todd:
Yeah, I agree with that. I think it always boils back down to good, varied programming. Right. Like you can’t if you’ve got varied programming, but in the absolute intensity of the day is not going to be super high. Like I hear people talk about this all the time. Crossfit, shouldn’t be high intensity. It should be moderate intensity and reality of it is is it’s relative intensity. And ultimately, if you are varying your programming, like the intensity that I get in a 30 minute workouts, not going to be the same as I get in Fran. And so as long as I’m not doing Fran or a two minute thing every single day, I’m not going to be killing myself it’s just not a thing like the different time domains is what allows you to to moderate the intensity plus people’s relative intensity. So it’s like I’m not going to feel the same way after doing a 5K as I do after Fran, after I do have, you know, five by three front squats. And those are three things that show up in your workout in your week on three different days. That’s good. Varied workouts. Those are good, varied intensity. And it’s you know, that’s the that in my opinion, that’s what it should look like in an affiliate.

Fern:
No,.

Todd:
It takes care of those things that you covered before.

Fern:
Which is exactly where I was gonna go with this is this is if you really like, let’s just say you’re not skilled and like getting people to buy in and like getting your athletes to understand that you can just avoid the discussion altogether, which is. But this is now a discussion about programming, which means I can’t be programming like multiple things in a day if I’m not programming a 5K or things that exceed twenty five minutes, which inherently are going to bring the intensity down. I’m just making it harder for myself. I’m not. It’s almost like shooting yourself in the foot. From a coaching standpoint is just like, listen, if you’re not dialing those things up, something that looks like a 40 minute minus structural day of row bike skier going to run, well, that’s a real easy way to make sure that people don’t go full stupid, right? Because you can’t do that. Like it’s not possible.

Todd:
It’s not like a thing.

Fern:
So if if if you’re an affiliate owner or a coach and you’re having issues really trying to get people to stay within the bounds of intensity, you can take a real hard look at your programming like you might just be setting yourself up for failure because you just program like you like you said, a series of workouts that are incredibly high intensity. I’ve got Fran, Diane, Elizabeth and I don’t know. Something else that falls in that, you know for sure, sub 10 minute time domain and just smashing people.

Todd:
Yeah.

Fern:
What’s your thoughts on not because you brought it up earlier about having you know, I shouldn’t have everybody hitting the mark all the time like RX plus variation. Right. Like you shouldn’t you should be programming things that like nobody does RX and your job.

Todd:
Yeah. I mean. Same deal. RX plus.

Fern:
Doesn’t really call it right, like it doesn’t really matter comp, you know, competition variation or whatever it like owner some people call it,.

Todd:
That’s very rarely are there like people that get scaled up for things. One, because I don’t think it’s necessary. Like if you program for the the best people in your gym, that workout is intended for them. Right. The. The opportunities that we will take to do that is like, hey, if somebody wants to try the twenty five pound medicine ball for their while ball shots today or a 30 pound one. OK, maybe you can try that or you want to go a little heavier in the kettlebell swing. Cool. You can grab it, heavier your kettlebell. You want to mix in some chest to bar pullups, but it still needs to happen within the realm of the stimulus of the workout. If we’re doing Fran, we’re not scaling up to 135 thrusters and chest of our pull ups. Just because you’ve got a three minute Fran otherwise, it’s like that. We’re not going to do that. I want you to still try to hit the stimulus. So it depends on where we’re going.

Fern:
What if you had a two minute frame?

Todd:
If you had a two minute friend, then you’re outside of the realm of this conversation. In my opinion, like you,.

Fern:
We’re talking about [outside] of the realm that I did it once. I did it once.

Todd:
You to do it once. Show up and do it today.

Fern:
2:19.

Todd:
All right. All right. I guess you’re Mr. RX athlete. We need it. We need to put away weight vest on you and do it at 135.

Fern:
Done chest to bar? Mmm.. no. I do think that. I do think there’s two things that every coach and Gym owner. Should take a look at is. One is take a look at the programming. Make sure you’re not setting yourself up for failure. And then to take a look at what you and your staff are doing. And are you setting an example like both of those things top down. And I think you can avoid all these issues with people wanting to check the RX button for no particular reason other than like it’s just this arbitrary number, you know? And that’s what I’ve tried to explain to a lot of my athletes. I’m like, it doesn’t mean anything like we need a metric for measurement and that’s the only reason it exists outside of that. It’s just an arbitrary number that we have there as a place holder. Like it doesn’t actually mean anything.

Todd:
Yep, I completely agree.

Fern:
Cool. I think I think we’ve covered this pretty well. Anything we left out? You think?

Todd:
Man, I feel like we’ve been talking in circles on this thing per minute. Kind of got on some tangents. I think it’s been good,.

Fern:
But tangents are good. But I do think this is something a lot of people struggle with, like gym owners and coaches. They’re just like, listen, you’ve seen enough level one level two the like every every seamier. I’ve got an athlete that at all costs wants to check this box. Right. How the hell do I manage that?

Yeah. If you look yourself in the mirror, make sure that the leadership is is showing the right, you know, showing the right example. And then what are you emphasizing within the walls of your gym? If if the culture is that RX and thrashing yourself is the most important thing, well, then that’s what everybody is gonna do and wonder why that’s the case. It’s because that’s what you’re emphasizing.

Fern:
Yeah.

Todd:
If moving well and hitting the stimulus is what you emphasize and you don’t care about RX, nobody else’s either. So, you know, figure out what what it is that you guys are promoting within your gym and that’s what’s going to happen. Like the people, people in your gym are a direct reflection of either the owners of the gym or whoever is running the gym and whoever the prominent quote unquote leaders are there. And whatever example you’re setting.

Fern:
I think something else that we failed to bring up and I just thought about this because it’s something we talked about when when coaching athletes, when they’re moving is is, you know, so we talk about how to effectively cue athletes and get them into good positions. But we also don’t want to leave out acknowledgement of good movement. And something else we can do it from an affiliate on is acknowledgement of good decisions with regard to your athletes that scale appropriately. So we can use again that desire for people to get a pat on the back kind of against them, which is we can celebrate the people that made good decisions and ignore the people who made bad decisions. And we do that. And eventually people want that pat on the back and they will come along now when they make a good decision. You’ve got to make a big deal of it, right, so that they get do that. Good, good, good kind of behavior, if you will. But that’s another thing that I found to be super helpful, is like acknowledging people that scaled. And if you look at the end of a class and everybody scaled appropriately and everybody’s where you wanted them to, like, bring it up, like tell your class like, hey, guys, this went perfectly like everybody to exactly where they’re supposed to. Good job on making good scaling decisions like that was fantastic. And I think people really appreciate that. And you’ve kind of gotten rid of that whole like. We got to check this RX box. So cool.

Fern:
All right. This is good. I think we should leave Jay out forever. Basically, at this point,.

Todd:
Yes.

Fern:
Guys, have you got questions about RX in general or any of that stuff? Check Instagram, too. And I think a lot of it has to go back with just from a coaching standpoint, understanding the stimulus of workouts so you can communicate that effectively to your athletes. A post up about like can you guys kind of look at a workout and start to determine the stimulus of a workout with thought with not a lot of time. And that’s a good way to start kind of get yourself dialed in. But we’ll be back again tomorrow for more best of your day. If you guys got questions about anything, if it’s about the mentor group, if it’s about questions about any coaching stuff you guys want to see, hit us up on Instagram and we’ll see you guys next time.

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