Why Run The Clock?

Clocks add urgency.

Clocks make it feel like a game.

But the real purpose of a clock is benchmarking. If the measure of fitness is the ability to move large loads long distances quickly, you can’t measure your improvement without comparing your times, distances and load.

But many coaches miss this point: they don’t compare benchmarks.

Many CrossFit gyms even skip this step. They still do some named WODs–like a “Hero” workout on Memorial Day–but it’s hard to find a “Fran”, “Grace” or “Diane” these days. Instead, many of us simply choose hard workouts for the sake of doing hard workouts. I’m guilty too.

Even if you’re not a CrossFit gym, the true benefit of timing a workout–or testing your clients’ fitness–is to check their progress. It’s important for them to see some gains, of course. But it’s even more important for you to check the performance of your clients so you can tailor future programming to address their weaknesses.

This is true even when someone is paying for your lowest-touch program (group training). Sometimes, you have to test. And if you don’t compare the results of that test against previous tests, you’re not really using the clock to its full potential.

We know how to improve fitness: do constantly varied, functional movements performed at high intensity. Sometimes, go long; regularly learn and play new sports. Eat meat and vegetables, etc. But that’s a very broad prescription. To really improve fitness, you have to measure the outcome of your client’s diet and exercise and then change course accordingly.

In a group class, this means addressing the broad problems of the group by identifying problems; finding solutions; and changing your programming.

In a 1:1 setting, this is a lot easier. But in a group, it’s still necessary.

Your value isn’t in the programming. Your value is in your ability to change programming to make people better.

You run the clock to measure, not to score.

You measure so that you can improve.

Have you reviewed your clients’ results and adjusted your programming? Or are you still programming ‘hard for the sake of hard’?

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