Emergent behavior of a long-term program

Some of my most satisfying models have come from large iteractions of simple states - one kind of emergent behavior

Some of my most satisfying models have come from large iteractions of simple states - one kind of emergent behavior

While I was writing the post about why we do repeated bursts of short intense work with lots of rest consistently practiced over weeks or months, I was reminded why it’s hard to sell this idea to folks.

The obvious answer is that it’s not exciting and sexy. You can create videos of pretty people sweating and jumping or kicking or doing pull-ups. It looks like they’re working hard. Make people think that if they worked that hard, they’d look pretty too. That's easy to sell. 

There’s another more subtle reason - it takes time, and you don’t feel like you’re getting a workout. You don’t feel sore the next day, so there’s no reason to come back.

Lately we’ve had an uptick in the number of folks coming in to try us out. And if I can get someone to come in for a second workout, I know they’ll join and be a lifer. The hard part is getting someone to come back a second time.

Any single workout that you try - no matter when you come to the gym - will feel too easy and seem kind of arbitrary. Why pay for a membership for that?

If you go to a gym that rhymes with schmrossfit you’ll have some evil couplet or triplet, and heavy workout, or some long chipper. If you pick any random day to try it out, you’ll walk out feeling like you got a workout. While there might be a long term periodized plan at the better gyms, each day still lives on its own in isolation. It’s a reductionist view of programming. It is easy to program, easy to explain, and easy to recognize. It almost sells itself.

But we deal in emergent behavior. That is the full effect of our programs can’t be deduced by looking at any single day’s session in isolation. It’s the long term interaction of all of the (simple) days that end up generating something much more than you could see from a reductionist study.

I believe in it, I do the same programming you do myself. It’s the right way to train. But I still feel weird when I’m explaining our style to a newbie. I show them the board and almost apologize that it’s so boring and simple, and even a little weird. 

It’s hard to sell someone on four rounds of 25 very heavy swings with ten minutes rest. But those of you who did it all last month have been telling me that it’s strangely fun and addictive and that the swings are no longer hard (hint, add weight if that’s true).

You really can’t study what we do in isolation and understand it. You need to live it for a month or two before you get it. Then it’s strangely addictive, and sometimes even fun.

Michael Deskevich