Let me describe a scenario to you. The workout gets posted in the evening and is composed of overhead squats, sled pushes, and running. Workout time rolls around, and what was a boisterous, crowded class the day before, is subdued and has roughly half the attendance. Is this a surprise to the coaches? No. Is this a surprise to the members that actually show up? No. We’ve all experienced this at some point in our Crossfit career, and we refer to it as cherry picking – the act of selecting which workout to attend (or avoid) based on the movements, length, loading, or some combination of these.
Generally speaking, there are 3 types of Cherry Pickers:
- The first is the type of person that pre-screens the workouts and avoids ones with movements, loadings, or a difficulty level that they struggle with.
- The second is the type of person that pre-screens the workouts and only attends ones that have movements, loadings, or difficulty levels that they are proficient in.
- I should note that sometimes there are people who do both. Let’s call them “Type 2.5” cherry pickers.
- The third type is the person that pre-screens the workouts and actively attends workouts with movements, loadings, and difficulty levels that they struggle with. This is the type of person that wants to improve on their weaknesses and realizes the only way to do so is to work on them.
I should also mention that there are a couple other types of people: the non-cherry pickers. These people come every day (or on their specific days according to their schedule) regardless of what the workout is. They may look ahead of time, or they come in not knowing the workout, but even if they did, it wouldn’t matter.
So what’s the big deal, right? Who cares what workouts people come to as long as they’re coming in? To be completely honest, it is not a big deal for the casual athlete to cherry pick workouts. However, for people who have a vested interest in their fitness, and want to improve and be the best athlete they can be, it is extremely detrimental. A common way of evaluating a person’s proficiency in Crossfit is to determine their skill level in each of the 10 General Physical Skills (on a scale from 1-10) and then take an average. If athlete’s have large gaps in their skill set or are very weak in a few areas, it can drastically affect their overall General Physical Preparedness (GPP). Since it is typically harder to make improvements in areas that you are already strong in, we should focus on improving our weaker areas as we can make the greatest impact on our GPP there. In simpler terms, focus on your weaknesses.
Your mindset this month will be to avoid cherry picking as much as possible. Try not to look at the workout the night before, or if you do, come in regardless of what is programmed. Athletes that are only able to make a few classes a week and want to get the most bang for their buck GPP-wise, try to come to workouts that have your weaknesses, instead of only attending workouts that you excel in.