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What the hell is an EMOM and an AMRAP anyway! CrossFit lingo explained.

What the hell is an EMOM and an AMRAP anyway! CrossFit lingo explained.

Originally posted December 11, 2018.

Firstly, I want to make a promise and commitment – here at CrossFit Norsemen, we do solemnly swear that we will try and use the proper names of things whenever possible. That said, as a new member you might come across the odd acronym from time to time.

I remember my first couple of month’s way back when as a new member at a new CrossFit box, standing in front of the whiteboard with a blank, slightly confused look on my face as I tried to decipher the WOD (Workout of the Day). I’ve been there and I know it can be frustrating even with folks helping you out. So I’ve compiled a list to try and help others (thanks to Amy S also 🙂

This isn’t comprehensive but it should get you by…

  • WOD (Workout of the Day)
  • AMRAP (As Many Rounds/Reps as Possible)
  • CF (CrossFit)
  • DFL (Dead F#ing Last… not a term we use at CrossFit Norsemen BTW)
  • DNF (Did Not Finish)
  • EMOM (Every Minute on the Minute)
  • MetCon (Metabolic Conditioning workout like a ‘cardio workout’)
  • PR (Personal Record)
  • Rep (Repetition – for example, 1 pull-up is 1 ‘rep’)
  • Rounds (1 round is the completion of all movements before you start again (for example, 10 pull-ups, 10 deadlifts and a 100m run might be 1 round)
  • RX (as prescribed…  the athlete performs all movements using the prescribed weight and reps)
  • Set (A number of repetitions – 5 sets of 5 reps, often seen as 5×5)
  • Scale (Substituted/ or altered movement – you might have to ‘sub’ a movement for another due to injury or proficiency level)

You may also see other terms or workout names…

“The Girls” or “Nasty Girls” (Designed by CrossFit HQ, these are benchmark workouts)

“Hero WOD” (These are WODs that have been dedicated to CrossFitters within the Military and Law Enforcement that have fallen in the line of duty. These WODs are tuff, really tuff, but a fitting and poignant tribute)

“Tabata” (An 8 interval workout alternating 20 seconds of max reps followed by 10 seconds of rest. These generally last only 4-8 minutes.

“Paleo/Zone” (Healthy diet and nutrition protocols common amongst the CrossFit community)

“The Open” (The first stage of the CrossFit Games is called ‘The Open’. Any member of any CrossFit Affiliate can take part. This five-week, five-workout competition is held at affiliates around the world. Workouts are released online a few days before. If you make he grade, you move onto the next stage and maybe all the way to the CrossFit Games in the USA!)

Scary thought… this is 1/10th of the acronyms and terms I could have listed! If ever you’re confused, just ask, everyone is willing to help.

How You Can Love Burpees.

How You Can Love Burpees.

Originally posted October 26, 2018.

There are no tricks. Not to be misleading, I am writing this to bring your awareness to something much bigger than flopping to the floor and clapping your hands above your head… all hail the notorious burpee! This is about mindset, attitude and shifting perspective. So we can rename this post more appropriately as “How you can love… that which you do not but know you should because it’ll make you better at life”.

First, let’s address self-talk. This is really BIG! Negativity breeds negativity. Stop telling yourself how much you hate (insert arbitrary movement/skill/task/job. e.g, ‘Burpee’) as this immediately undermines your progress, portrays a poor mindset and biases a negative outcome before you even get moving. It’s ok to acknowledge that you are not good at something but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy working on it. Tell yourself you will get better, you are going to be patient, you are going to put in the work, enjoy the process and love the outcomes.

So, it all starts with mindset and then it’s time for action. Here I will outline three key strategies;

  1. Integrate.
  2. Get comfortable.
  3. Stay consistent.


Start including the movement you want to get better at with other movements you are good at or enjoy doing. The beauty of the CrossFit methodology, specifically with keeping things ‘constantly varied’ is that it can keep things ‘constantly interesting’. Try to keep things simple in order to keep the focus on your objective, which is to get better. Mix it up to have fun and all the while you will be better for it.

Get Comfortable

Believe it or not, there are some who may struggle with this concept. I’m not about to tell you to “get comfortable with being uncomfortable” which we all may hear echoed within the fitness bubble. Not to burst that notion or bash that kind of oxymoronic mindset as it does have its place. All I’m trying to tell you is to slow it down, enjoy the scenery and get to enjoy the moment as you’re in the moment. Find your own pace, which will feel comfortable and will minimise the need to stop. Get yourself into the practice mentality with an emphasis on technique and the small intricacies of the skill you are working on. Too much intensity will undermine progress and be deleterious towards your outcome goals. Remember to use that positive self talk here. Being calm and feeling comfortable are rather synonymous… go figure.

Stay Consistent

This is perhaps the most important point of all. Keep the frequency high. That could mean multiple times a week or multiple times a day. Not forgetting the second point above, keep the intensity low as this will permit you to keep the frequency high. Let’s not get too arbitrary with a specific accumulative time spent on a skill as

we are all different and we all have varying rates of improvement. So, let’s just say the more the better and complacency is your enemy. Being in good company and training with friends is a sure fire way to success, as it helps to keep you consistent.

OK that being said, it is vital to be sure that you are practicing good technique. You don’t want to be reinforcing poor movement patterns that detract from your progress. Here is where a coach becomes your greatest asset. Feedback is such a beneficial tool and an integral part of practicing efficiently, effectively and safely. It will also keep you accountable and help you maintain focus on whatever it is you are trying to improve.

Test and then re-test what you are working on to have your own conclusive evidence of your improvement. Give yourself that benchmark and set goals to track your progress. The only way you truly know you have improved is by tracking. This is the best way to prove to yourself you are going in the right direction.

Alright so, when will you learn to love Burpees or whatever it is you don’t like doing but know you should? It’ll be the moment you realise you’re getting better and it’s transferring to other areas of your fitness, health, mindset & life. Now get moving!

Is Your Gym a Community?

Is Your Gym a Community?

Originally posted August 18, 2018

If there is one thing that separates CrossFit from other strength and conditioning programs, it’s the community.

I have found that the sense of community at a CrossFit box is unique; everyone knows one another, you’re greeted with smiling faces, there is always someone to help with technique, to compare results, to help in achieving goals, discuss competitions, or arrange social events.

My experience is that this doesn’t happen in regular gyms. I barely spoke to any other members of whichever stale ‘globo’ gym I was attending at the time, except for occasionally asking “are you using this?”

Coaching, technique and programming are all important factors when discussing CrossFit but Community is often a forgotten factor which I believe is important.

Ever wonder why you push yourself so hard on a WOD with your 5am classmates? Ever wonder why those last 20 chin ups felt so much lighter when ten people were cheering you on versus when you tried to muscle-up on your own?

It’s the power of numbers.

From Military to LEA (Law Enforcement Agency)  I have come to realise that group fitness classes, (whether ocean swimming, weightlifting or participating in another burpee based WOD), do work because the camaraderie and people we have surrounded ourselves with challenge us. We share that experience, a mutual respect for one another and unconditional assistance.

‘Mateship’ became a popular notion during the First World War with allied soldiers on the front line but there is science in this notion. The Köhler effect states that less capable individuals will perform better when doing a task in a group setting, rather than on their own.

CrossFitters always come together when facing tough workouts, we challenge and push each other to perform better and faster than ever before.