Apparently you can now download a Crossfit App to your phone.

Introducing: WOD Unboxed,

On paper, this must surely seem like a good idea. You can type in the length of your training cycle, the equipment you have available, what day you want to train on, your exercise priorities, and how long you have to work out. Then a handy-dandy little program written by a West Point Decathlete will give you your Workout of the Day (WOD), which you do by yourself, at home or in your gym, alone. No, wait. Now that I’ve seen it on paper, it doesn’t look like a good idea at all.

I’ve never been a big fan of any kind of impersonal fitness training. I’ve done workout videos that range from Jane Fonda to P90X. I’ve done yoga videos and sets torn from the pages of magazines. Apps and Wii games aren’t any better. They don’t know you. They don’t know where you are. They don’t know what kind of day you have had or if you are stressed out, or getting sick. All impersonal workouts are static—even if they come from an “interactive” program. You, my friend, are a dynamic individual with a huge and variable performance curve. In fact, something as left-field as a lunar cycle could throw you off your game, or something as serious as brewing tendonitis could alter your normal ability—and this fluctuates on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, there is no way to explain that to your app. Bottom line, no matter how much experience you have, a cookie cutter workout will only get you a fraction of the results you want. Add to that the higher likelihood of taking on an injury and the risks end up out weighing the rewards. This goes double for Crossfit.

 I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. Crossfit is hard, fast, and dirty. You need an actual physical coach in your vicinity to see what on earth you are actually doing when the going gets rough. You need someone who knows you, and has worked with you, to recognize your potential movement habits that may lead to injury down the road. And you need someone who has a long-term plan in mind to help you meet your goals.

 An App can’t see when your power clean has a hitch because you did 30 push presses as a skill before the WOD.  It can’t see when your deadlift is in jeopardy because you are on the third round of a twelve minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) and your legs are tofu. It can’t offer you modifications that maintain the spirit of the WOD even if the movements are different. And this is how injuries happen. Your Crossfit App is useless as a monitor.

 An App can’t look you in the eye and say, “Maybe you should take it easy today.” You can’t tell it anything personal or emotional or nutritional. It can’t see that your split jerk doesn’t split quite fast enough because of your weak ankles. It doesn’t know that you were in an accident a year ago and that your left shoulder can’t quite support as much weight as your right. It can’t do anything for you other than spit out its programming. The Crossfit app can be as dangerous as an absentee coach.

 And, finally, personal fitness is….personal. You need a coach with a plan to help you reach goals that change and shift as you progress and regress. A good Crossfit coach has his whole team in mind as he plans his WODs, and you are a member of that team! You are a part of that caring. The importance of that cannot be understated. Your Crossfit coach cares about you. Your App is a computer program that cares about nothing.

Crossfit is much, much more than just a daily WOD. It is something to be a part of and to share with the members of your box. So, sure, you can drop a couple of bucks on a computer program that will give you the information. Or you can join in and get the experience. The choice is yours.

Published by Jamie Shane

Jamie is a crossfitter and yogi, and regular FN online contributor. She is making the huge leap from fitness enthusiast to combining her fitness love and knowledge with a home and work environment as she moves into a new home and begins teaching yoga and providing Thai massage from that same space. In a series of blog posts, we will follow her from the beginning planning stages to the final reflection stages of the project.