GPP (General Physical Preparedness)

“What are We Doing Here Harry?” - Lloyd Christmas

What is GPP you ask?  Well I'm glad you asked.  GPP is a term describing the kind of conditioning an athlete engages in to broaden their generalized athletic capacity. This is often done during the off season without an emphasis on the sport specific demands.  GPP historically was understood by the strength and conditioning community as playing a key role in preparing athletes for competition and improving injury prevention. The focus was normally a sport and the GPP portion of training served its purpose in playing a supportive role. You may or may not be aware of this, but Crossfit is a GPP strength and conditioning program without the assumption of training for a sport. 


Where does that leave us Crossfitters?  Right smack dab in the middle of the most powerful and profound way to train your body... IF the goal is increased strength and work capacity across broad time domains and rep ranges.  If you play a sport then Crossfit prepares you physically to engage with your sport more effectively. If you sport is just LIFE, then your training rhythm allows you to encounter any physical tasks life throws at you with a greater degree of physical preparedness. 

(To go more in depth on this click here and read this article)

If the goal is to run a marathon at your fastest possible pace or to have the heaviest weightlifting total then Crossfit needs to play an appropriate role in supporting those very specific goals. If you want to feel confident with your shirt off, lose weight, stay healthy, have fun training for life etc... Then look no further than GPP. 


GPP necessitates not specializing or emphasizing any one area too much.  The strength and conditioning program of Crossfit exists to serve the masters of "Broad" and "General" when it comes to overall fitness metrics. Does that mean we never focus on a strength movement or gymnastic skill? Not necessarily. We will occasionally narrow our focus for a certain amount of time (a cycle) trying to produce a specific result. As we do this we move a little further from the GPP model but GPP remains the rudder that guides our Crossfit program. 


(Read this for a more in depth look into what Crossfit is)


Below are some questions and statements that I think need to occasionally be considered

"Familiarity Breeds Contempt"

This statement can be true for your work life, home life, gym life etc... Sometimes we can be engaged with something for a long enough period of time we forget what we are doing and why.  This GPP discussion helps us understand the aims of Crossfit so we know how to think about it in context with what you are trying to achieve with your fitness. 


Why don't I see results anymore?

The most common reason is your diet is poor. The motivation has waned and now you are attempting to out train a poor diet. The other 2 options are life stress and lack of intensity. The prescription isn't to go hard everyday, but you may need to strategically go hard more days than you have been doing. 


"I don't want to get hurt"

Agreed! Please Please Please take scaling seriously. Scaling is not for poor athletes, it can be for active recovery (sub maximal effort), movement imbalances or mobility issues. Muscling through is not a good answer to your body communicating via pain signals. 


"Scaling is for newbies"

 (Insert Dwight Schrute's voice) False! The magic of Crossfit is exposing your body to both load and positional demands that you don't have competence in! These are the days where progress is made. Scale, Scale, Scale. 



Don't do it, you are missing the point. You need to work on your mindset here. Let the ego go and commit to improving. Become a student again. 


Mechanics - Consistency - Intensity

This is the secret sauce to your training effectiveness and longevity. Take it seriously. Good mechanics, train consistently, add intensity. You won't be able to stop the results if it is coupled with a good diet. 


"Your attitude is the key to your success"

This is true everywhere you go no matter what you do.  Your body responds amazingly well to positive interactions with others, optimism and joy.  This may be the toughest one to master, but attitudes can be built by discipline like anything else. 


“What if Crossfit is my sport?”

Great! This begs a couple more questions however. Are you training for a specific goal of qualifying for the CF Games? Or, more likely you love the performance aspect of Crossfit and treating it like a sport is more of an emotional claim than a practical one. This applies to those individuals just competing for fun as well. Where do these people fit in with a GPP program? Basically, more time working weaknesses. This often takes the form of Sport Specific Preparation which deviates from GPP.  This looks like arranging training schedules to achieve strength, skill or gymnastic goals separate from general conditioning. Competitive Crossfit is the sport of GPP however so you will never stray completely from a GPP model. It just grows in time commitment and complexity when you decide to engage with Crossfit on this level. 



Final Thoughts

I have owned an affiliate for almost 10 years now and some of you have been with me most of that time.  As I meander through my mind and heart I am so grateful to have the opportunity to participate in your exercise journey. I love it as much today as I did when I started. I remain as convinced today as I was 10 years ago that the Crossfit methodology is the best way to produce the highest level of fitness in anyone willing to train consistently. The community makes it so rewarding that suffering with you is something I see as invaluable.  The fact that I can never master it keeps it interesting. The fact that you call Crossfit Tustin your gym drives us as a team to keep improving.

Love you all.

See you in the gym.

- Joel

Joel Thompson