In Kids, Special Populations

June 10, 2011

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Peter Jordan examines why kids at Saratoga High are embracing CrossFit. Whatever the reason, fitness is becoming more important for many students.

There are a number of stereotypes associated with Saratoga High School. One is the relative importance placed by the community on academics (very high) as opposed to athletics (not so high). Marching band falls somewhere in the middle, if not in reality, certainly in the mythology.

Our rival school, the other one in a district of just two schools, beat us in the big football game 28 years in a row. But our Academic Performance Index score is 932, and theirs is 873. As a nod to this—or maybe a playful dig—we don’t name our WODs after girls; we name them after institutions of higher learning.

“University of Wisconsin” was a particularly dreadful workout. In retrospect, had we anticipated how tough it would be, we probably would have agreed to scale it back a little to mollify the innocent, trusting, generally willing and agreeable mostly freshman boys and girls that comprise our physical-education classes.

Too late now. The clock had started: 50 wall-ball shots for time, with four burpees every minute on the minute. One of those workouts where there really isn’t a forgiving strategy. You just have to gut it out. Later, when asked to describe their “least favorite WOD,” many would recall this day. Ironically, several would rank this as “most favorite.”

Go figure.



10 Comments on ““You Die Slower If U Work Out””


wrote …

Peter keep up the great work. I would love to see more schools doing what you and others have started. Great job!


Adam James wrote …

There's something about seeing a horrific workout named after my Alma Mater. I love it!


wrote …

-230 CrossFitting students (Wow!)
-This year, when the fall sports season ended, a handful of students asked to enroll in our P.E. classes for the remainder of the semester...Guidance counselors and their computers had no provision for this. (Too cool.)

Awesome stuff Peter, thanks for relating the success of your program!

So the band now works out after school, how are the other PE classes distributed throughout the day? Just curious if the teachers of kids *after* PE noticed any anecdotal differences - you know talk in the teacher's lounge, I'm not sure there would a reproducible metric here but an impression would be interesting nonetheless.


wrote …

This is amazing! I wish that my high school had CrossFit as PE. Keep up the good work!


wrote …

I've just had a group of Yr10 (15-16yr old) girls go through a "Crossfit" inspired PE class once a week. Unfortunately our results are not like yours. Motivation was the big disappointment. I had great results with 20% of the class, fully motivated, enthusiastic girls who ended up being able to dead-lift 80kgs (170lb) at the end of semester. The other 80% were put into the class due to misbehaviour (the 'bad girls' of the school were plunked into it). Some weeks were great and they all participated, others were horrid. Glad to hear that your team have done so well.


Outstanding. I am trying to do the same thing with College students - not working quite as well as for you. Outstanding job! Keep up the great work!
...and that sounds like A LOT of future games competitors coming outta Saratoga :-)


wrote …

Easily one of the top school districts and nicest places in CA, if not the US.


Dane Thomas wrote …

The Journal might want to consider making this one a free download. It is that good!


Rob Barrese wrote …

Great article Peter! Please keep them coming as you progress! I think one day we'll be looking back at the work people like yourself have done with high school students and realize this really paved a lot of paths!
Thanks again for sharing!


replied to comment from Dane Thomas


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