ACF Training Principles

Key Training Principles for Success at ACF

We have noticed a trend..when people get competitive they do stupid things. It’s natural, and most of the time harmless. In our “box” however, it could completely derail your training. This is because we program aggressively; aiming to challenge the fittest athletes with an Rx workout. If athletes are not careful and do not take care of themselves by training smart…the results can become extremely negative.

The coaches at ACF have the difficult challenge of taking an average person and turning them into a competitive, hard charging, gut busting, lung burning, lactic loving beast. All while trying to maintain balance enough to keep them achieving consistent growth as an athlete.

We don’t always succeed.

What can, and has happened, is an injury, overtraining, burnout and other roadblocks that inhibit growth as an athlete. These are the results of neglecting some very key training principles, fundamental truths, really…

Here they are:

  1. Eat well
  2. Rest
  3. Scaling
  4. Goals
  5. Documentation

Eating Well

Diet is like religion….you don’t talk about it with friends. Otherwise, you may not be friends after the discussion is over. There is a simple fact, “You cannot out-train a bad diet” If you are not eating foods that are good for you, your training will stagnate. Period. Some will try to train harder, longer, heavier and the result will be an athlete that is being crushed by little to no recovery due to lack of rest and subpar fuel and nutrients for recovery. Your fuel determines your speed of performance and recovery. Just think of the classic car analogy and it makes sense. Still though, many believe that this is a myth and are unwilling to change this facet of training and OVERALL HEALTH. This is where you make the difference in just about every fitness goal you have. FASTER,, STRONGER, LEANER all hinge on this fundamental truth. You are what you eat. If you want to make gains that few others are achieving, dial in your diet and everyone will wonder what the hell you are “taking” Simple…yet so hard.


Everyone knows that gains are made while resting. Still our CrossFit culture demands that we WORK HARD and COMPETE. Last time I checked, every 4th day is a rest day on the main site. This is good advice. Most that struggle with this truth want the rush of the workout and don’t feel “right” if they don’t get a workout in…these people are at risk of overtraining that can lead to many weeks of unwanted rest due to overuse injuries and overtraining. News flash! This is not a globo-gym split routine we are doing here. These are workout designed to test the fittest humans on earth…sure you get used to the intensity, and you recover better than you did when you started, but the key to long term consistency is your rest cycles…

Here is a recommendation even for the fittest of us:

3 On/1 Off – 2 On/1 Off

This gives you 5 workouts a week. Plenty. Then every 6th week make it an “unload week” and scale the workouts down significantly and only do 3 workouts that week. Communicate your unload weeks to your coaches and we can program specifically for these “rest” weeks.


This is tough considering the magical (Rx) next to your name and the indication that you are going hard and heavy!. We all love it and should strive for it. However, there are times to scale. I just mentioned unload weeks…also scaling should happen during rehab of an injury or a problem with technique. Make sure to understand that scaling is not an indication that you are not training hard. It is an indication that you are training smart if you are established as an “Rx” athlete. Make sure to understand the concept of scaling completely. Scaling can indicate alternate sets, reps and even movements in some cases. Always clear your scaling with the coach, and outline what your concerns are in the workout. This will ensure the best movements are used and your workout will be as effective as it can be…even when needing to scale.


You need training goals. If you do not have these goals outlined. Do it now. If you have a goal and have written it down, it should have several critical qualities:

  1. Measurable, Quantifiable, Objective
  2. Realistic
  3. Performance based
  4. Deadline

The classic goal of “I want ripped abs” is a goal of sorts, but not necessarily measurable, performance based or has a deadline as written. It definitely does not meet the goal qualities above. Here is an example of a well defined goal.

“I want to achieve a CrossFit Total Score of 800 or greater by 1 October 2009.” (Assuming you are not a 72 yr old, 102lb, female! )

This leaves little to chance when 1 October roles around and you are evaluating whether or not you reached your goal. Communicate your goals with the coaching staff so we can include additional training advice and drills to assist with your achievement of these milestones.


Everyone has a book on the shelf at ACF. Use it. End of discussion. How else can we track progress toward said goals? Guess work? Nope. CrossFit is about measurable fitness. Start measuring.


I understand that we all have our own perspective of fitness and “what we are capable of” …forget it….become coachable and approach CrossFit as a lifelong endeavor of health and fitness and maybe your perspective will change to include some vegetables and rest.

Otherwise, you have been educated in the principles of consistent success at ACF. If you choose to over-train, neglect your diet and ignore coaching recommendations regarding scaling and other facets of fitness, you do so risking the long-term efficacy of the program.

We want you to succeed.

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