Why use CrossFit as the basis for a Physical Education credit?


  • I have been teaching PE now for 29 years, and I have seen a lot of training programs that are effective in helping students become healthier
  • In 2000, we were told that we could develop some new courses of study for our school that reflected “student need” and were “locally developed” courses
  • Fortunately, at CPHS we had just built a new Fitness room, and I was allowed to put together a program that utilized the space (about 1100 sq. ft.)
  • I developed a Strength and Conditioning course under the PAI 301/401 umbrella (Personal Fitness Individual), and it was accepted.
  • Using the framework from other successful school, community and professional programs I mapped out a course based on the usual areas of concern: Strength, Conditioning, Nutrition, Goal Setting, Physiology, Competition Mindset, and Injury Prevention and Rehab
  • The course became very successful, and it soon attracted many students – the Weight Room became very popular

Other Points to Consider:

  • I have had exceptional support from the Minsitry SHSM program
  • My Board has been beyond supportive as well – from the Director to the SHSM coordinators
  • My Administrators have been exceedingly supportive of everything I have done and continue to try to do. The TRUST has been the key.
  • I live 600m away from the school.
  • I wen to school at CPHS and so did all of my 6 kids. CPHS is my home!
  • I have taught in almost departments; I have taught in 3 provinces; I have taught K to Grade 13; I have been in 7 schools; and I have taught at Queen’s. I have seen a great array of programs, facilities and clientele. It has helped me determine what I feel is best for my community and school.
  • I have had the privildege of attending almost 70 OFSAA Championships in Track and Field, Alpine Skiing, Nordic Skiing, Cross Country Running and Volleyball. You meet a lot of great coaches and athletes.
  • Lastly, I have been able to listen to some of the great coaches: Dan Pfaff, Charlie Francis, Andy McInnis, Ken Porter, Daniel Robitaille, and a host of brilliant minds too numerous to count.

Benefits of this style of programming:

  • exceptionally fun
  • variety is endless
  • scalable
  • individual workout in a group setting
  • accountability to the group
  • acquisition of countless new skills
  • part of a world wide community
  • exceptional educational and coaching support network
  • progress in all aspects of fitness parameters
  • the “sport” of CrossFit – competitions



Training to improve the way you look or feel are probably the most common reasons for exercising. But to the majority of people who do not exercise, the goal of looking and/or feeling better is not motivation enough. In CrossFit, we train for reasons and results beyond our physical looks, as subjective feelings are not true measures of fitness. Performance, however, is measurable, and increased performance has the power to improve both the way one looks AND feels. Lowering a 5k run time, gaining 30 pounds on a back squat, or going from 5 pull-ups to 15 pull-ups are all quantifiable representations of improved fitness, and are the type of goals we chase. Can you express absolute strength in the context of any and every physical task? For example, are you able to run 7km through the hills and still be brutally strong when you finish? In fact, why AREN’T you?

Our goal is to try and get people to work at higher intensity in movements/activities that replicate the movements that we see in life. It looks a lot like squatting, deadlifting, pulling, pushing, and running. In it’s purest and simplest form, our fitness program is the mash-up of the major tenants of gymnastics, powerlifting, and weightlifting, as well as all of the classic aerobic activities (running, biking, swimming, rowing). What separates good programs from great ones is the reinforcement of skill development and solid positions. The biggest piece missing from the majority of gyms and fitness programs is the pursuit of optimal positions in movement. Many trainers and athletes shy away from complicated, higher skill movements for fear of injury. It is important to understand that ALL of the movements in the training language are inherently safe, as long as you have full range of motion and the motor control to perform them. In terms of developing fitness, improving weaknesses and poor positions will always be more beneficial than excluding entire movements altogether.

Fitness is not a destination. It is a lifelong pursuit. It is a path to your true potential as a human being. It is also a path that is best traveled with like-minded people. At our gym, we believe that the community we create and training we employ is the best possible path any individual can take.

The pursuit of fitness has many elements, and many obstacles. Although the goal seems difficult to attain, the prescription is surprisingly simple. All that is required is sustained effort, trust, and commitment



Our FITNESS classes form the core of our programming. The performance-based methodology we employ utilizes the best movements, tools, and protocols available for developing general physical preparedness.

We believe fitness is a measure of work capacity…or more simply, the ability to get work done effectively and efficiently, regardless of the task. We also believe that the pursuit of fitness should not compromise health, happiness, or longevity.

The goal is to provide a well-rounded and complete fitness program. We  aim to balance movement, energy system, and skill while continually assessing individual performance improvement over long-term (macro), mid-term (meso), and short-term (micro) training cycles. Our training cycles alternate between a longer 9-week GPP program and a shorter 4-week strength-focused program. We offer three separate training levels in each session in an effort to provide a more individualized approach to the group training model, while preserving the overall plan, stimulus, and expectations for the workout.

For the majority of training days, our class runs on a 10-20-30 schedule:

  • 10 minute dynamic warm-up
  • 20 minute strength/skill development
  • 30 minute conditioning/accessory work


  • 10 minute dynamic warm-up
  • 30 minute strength/skill development
  • 20 minute conditioning/accessory work

Our training levels are as follows:


Workouts are designed with the foundation in mind. Although the movements in this program appear simple, the stimulus is potent. The goal is to develop a base on which to build a high level of fitness.


Workouts are designed with the generalist in mind. Athletes will likely have a solid base and some experience, but lack confidence and/or capacity in our more complex movements and workouts. The goal is to continually improve and progress towards our advanced protocols without compromising overall fitness.

Athletes that follow IMPROVE programming have a good base of physical fitness, and/or have developed basic joint stability. These athletes find bodyweight movements relatively easy, and are working toward capacity in more complex skills, such as pullups, handstands, and olympic weightlifting.


Workouts are designed with the competitor in mind. An experienced fitness athlete with a well-rounded and extensive skill set will thrive here. Training becomes more performance-based and complex, and higher skill movements are continually developed and utilized. In order to perform at a higher level, the expectations must be greater.

Athletes that follow PERFORM programming have demonstrated a high level of work capacity and force production, and are continually seeking improvement in complex movement patterns and specific athletic skills. These athletes are working towards the ability to adapt to any and every physical task (whether known or unknown) by refining their overall capacities, bringing up their weaknesses, and challenging their fitness outside the gym.


Experienced athletes who are looking to compete in the sport of fitness are encouraged to schedule an appointment to create a more detailed and specific training plan that addresses their individual needs, weaknesses, nutrition, schedule, and lifestyle.

The following is more detailed information about our training and programming philosophy:

Functional movements are defined as multi-joint movements that mimic or simulate real world requirements and biomechanics. Simply put, they are movements that we can use in training that best carry over in your every day life. We choose these movements for their effectiveness at delivering as broad a stimulus as possible. Squatting, pressing, pulling, running, jumping, carrying, lifting, and throwing are all basic human movement patterns that we utilize throughout our lives. Regardless of age, being capable at performing these movements efficiently may mean the difference between safety and injury, success and failure, or even life and death. The vast majority of our programming incorporates functional movements because of their real-world applications and their ability to improve “general physical preparedness”.

Strength work is essential to improve all areas of fitness. It serves as the foundation for overall athletic development and physical adaptation. Not only do you get stronger (obvious), but that strength translates into improved efficiency in workouts, as well as helping newer athletes work up to recommended levels. We typically utilize a “non-linear” progression for ALL of our strength movements, using 1, 2, 3, and 5 rep sets.

CP Battery or “Creatine Phosphate Battery” – Imagine you have a battery solely used to lift heavy weights close to or at your maximum. Every time you lift close to your max you drain this battery, and then it recharges over a certain period of time. When lifting a weight at 90 percent of your max, you may drain your battery 50 percent or 85 percent. And it may take you 30 seconds or 3 minutes to recharge your battery, which is based on your individual capabilities. Some people have strong batteries and can lift close their 1RM repeatedly with little rest, others however may struggle here and need more rest at their 90 percent. The goal is to develop the strongest battery possible.

Anaerobic Power – “Anaerobic” means without oxygen. It is used here to refer to anaerobic energy, which is energy produced without oxygen. We have two anaerobic systems: A) the Creatine Phosphate system (which we discussed above in CP Battery) and B) the Glycolytic system. When we train for Anaerobic Power, we are working at high output for short durations. For most people, the most effective way to perform anaerobic power work is based on something called “potentiation”. This means putting the higher end nervous system work at the front, followed by some high speed gymnastics, and then a simple continuous finisher.  For example:

In 1 minute:

  • hang power clean, 5 reps
  • box jump, 5 reps
  • burpee, 5 reps
  • max cals on AirDyne in remaining time.

Anaerobic Endurance is trained at the end range of an athletes’ Anaerobic system, typically described as the “anaerobic threshold”. At this point, the athlete has exhausted their anerobic engines and begin to switch to primarily aerobic output. Some describe that point as “hitting the wall”. By training for anaerobic endurance, we look to improve that threshold, or push that “wall” just a little further.

Aerobic Power describes the junction between the anaerobic and aerobic systems. It is a  measure of how much power can be created by the aerobic system. The more capacity you have to demonstrate higher power while using a primarily aerobic engine will enable you to work harder for longer periods without the “burning” felt by high-end anaerobic efforts. This transfers incredibly well to sports such as hockey, basketball, and soccer.

Aerobic Endurance is the purest expression of the aerobic system. The word “aerobic” comes from a Greek word meaning air. It is used here to refer to aerobic energy, which means energy produced with oxygen. This is traditionally thought of as being cyclical work – for example, sitting on the rower for 30 minutes or cycling 100 miles. We utilize long duration, low intensity efforts to aid in athlete recovery.


The vast majority of people struggle to achieve their fitness goals because they don’t have a solid understanding of what they are trying to accomplish, and how to get there. This is where education comes in. We expect our athletes to understand the why and how to their training.

We want to teach you about fitness, physiology, nutrition, sleep, stress management, programming, training philosophies, and more. We want to share our knowledge and passion with everyone who walks through our door, because knowledge is critical for ongoing growth as a human being, and continued success in our program.

(adapted from LIFT)



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