There is wide debate raging within the CrossFit community, but it has nothing to do with technique, style or diet. Athletes are very divided on one specific issue: should you, or should you not, look at the day’s WOD before you go to the box? There are supporters for both sides, as I’m sure you’ll find at your gym. To help break down this dispute, let’s look at the pros and cons of knowing the workout before you head to the box.
PRO: You can get your mind right!
Let’s say you casually peek at what your coach programmed for the day and are terrified by it. Every movement you hate is there, in a format you struggle with. You feel nervous and threatened. But the good thing about knowing that the WOD is going to be tough is that you have time to build up your mental strength beforehand. You have time to accept the challenge and quell your mental demons, rather than be surprised by the WOD when you turn up to the box and possibly let it beat you.
CON: You might not make it to the box
We all know someone who’s a cherry picker. You know, the person who specifically avoids those days when you’re working on snatches, or a gruesome MetCon. This can apply to all of us, and while we may not pick and choose all of our workouts, we all have those lifts and movements we simply despise. If you’re having a stressful day, and you hop online to see your least favorite movement as part of the day’s WOD, you might start thinking a rest day seems like a great idea. If you never know what’s coming, you’ll always show up to work out…then maybe cry when you realize what’s waiting for you.
PRO: you can mobilize and get supple
You keep a lacrosse ball and a foam roller under your desk, right? Though you should take time to mobilize every day, knowing there’ll be a ton of pull-ups waiting for you after work allows you to get that lacrosse ball out and go to work on your shoulders, leaving you fully fresh and free of fascia for the WOD.
PRO: You can tailor your game plan
Having the time to mentally prepare also means you can start building a strategy for how you’re going to attack the WOD. Grab a notepad and break down the rep scheme and tempo you will use for each portion of the workout. Want to take it a step further? Hop onto your favorite (and credible) YouTube channel and research some video demos on the movements.
CON: You’re not training for the ‘unknown’
The whole concept of CrossFit is to develop your all-around ability, to prepare you for any challenge in the box, in competition and in life. We sometimes forget that many of the movements we do in CrossFit have real world applications. This sport should give us the confidence to go into any workout—not knowing what it entails—and give it our best shot. If you struggle in the WOD, then so be it—you’ll know your weakness. You’re never going to know what life has in store for you, and what physical and mental obstacles you may face on a daily basis. You just have to be ready to step up to the plate, and it’s the same in CrossFit.
PRO: If it’s your favorite WOD/Lift, you’re excited for the rest of the day
Oh yeah, it’s FRAN! Ok, I’m not sure how many people love Fran, but you get the idea. When a movement you love is waiting for you at the box, the rest of your day seems to go by smoother. You’re happier. The sky seems clearer and the food you eat tastes better. Only problem is, 5:00pm can’t come soon enough.
Photo courtesy of Dain Sandoval/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0