Are You Constantly Varied?

“Regularly learn and play new sports.” —Greg Glassman This was one of the fundamental directives of Coach Glassman when he founded CrossFit. But do we follow it?


“Regularly learn and play new sports.” —Greg Glassman

This was one of the fundamental directives of Coach Glassman when he founded CrossFit. But do we follow it?

Our 3- to 5-day-a-week training is awesome and obviously something that helps CrossFit athletes move forward on the continuum from sickness to fitness. However, a big part using our fitness is to be able to experience as many types of activities as possible. This is known as variance in training and allows you to apply your fitness in all directions.

For many CrossFitters, constantly varied probably means running in a WOD, followed by some weight lifting and polished off with pull-ups. Is that varied? Yes. But are you challenging yourself outside of the box to learn and try new things? Not exactly.

Now don’t get me wrong, what we do is valid and need to be the base for all things in our lives ranging from loading groceries to picking up our kids to preparing for things like 5K runs. The key to putting Coach Glassman’s words into action is really using the fitness we have worked so hard to develop.

Here’s a good example.

As I was watching CrossFit videos on the Games’ site this winter I came across one which featured Rich Froning titled, “Rich Froning: Day at the Office.” Now obviously it highlighted both his philosophies and fitness workouts in order to prepare himself for (at that time) the Open. Likewise, he continued his CrossFit training routine on to the Regional and subsequently the CrossFit Games.

What struck me about the video was not that Rich Froning is an absolute beast when he trains (if you didn’t know that already, I have no idea why you read my articles in the first place) but that he walks the walk in terms of applying his fitness. During this “day-in-the-life” video, he was followed along with some friends playing a few hours of full-contact roller hockey.

When he was asked whether he thought this was a good idea, given the risk for injury, Rich responded, “You’ve gotta have fun. What’s the point of being fit if you’re not going to do anything or use it?”

This got me thinking both about Rich’s comment and what Coach Glassman charged all CrossFit athletes to go out and do with one of his earliest directives: regularly learn and play new sports.

Do I do that? The answer is no.

Now I consistently spend an hour or two training each week with the boys’ soccer program I coach, and I play the occasional basketball game or go for some long runs with my kids, but learn and play new sports, I do not. I would bet on the fact that many of us probably don’t either.

Does this make us bad people? No. But are we, as Rich said, having fun with our fitness? Well, that’s something each of us will have to consider individually.

Now that it’s summer, I’d challenge all of you with the same directive Coach challenged us with so many years ago. Find time and commit part of your summer to regularly learning and playing new sports. I know that I’m going to give it a shot. If you see an old grinder out on the frisbee golf course or paddling next to you in a canoe, be sure to shout a kind “hello” and try not to judge me too much on my form and technique.

What are some new sports you think you might want to go out and try and learn this summer? Leave your ideas in the comments on our Facebook page or email them to me at

Stay on the grind.
Jamie Toland (JTol)
Twitter @JTolgrinder