Project Warhorse, Part III: The Hardcore Casual

Who is Project Warhorse for?

It seems with the explosive popularity  of the CrossFit Games, you will find people catapulted like shrapnel on a spectrum that looks something like this:


visual aid 1 – i drew this

Either people are doing some CrossFit two or three times a week for 60 minutes, while heading to Planet Fitness, a local gym, and running with friends the other days of the week, or they’re training to smash people at local throwdowns, Regionals and the Games using double sessions, 4+ hour long workouts, high skill-based metcons, etc. etc.

While it seems like a spectrum like this would contain a wide range of people, it’s been my experience so far that the community tends to push people far to either side. Either someone is casually doing CrossFit for health or they feel that competition, Regionals and the Games is their ultimate destiny.


It turns out the “spectrum” is not really a spectrum at all, and looks something more like this:


a pit of fire and death – i drew this except for the fire

And the world of online coaching and programming reflects this. You’ll see “lifestyle” programs (less than 60 minutes, health focused not performance focused, low volume, etc.) or competitive performance programs ( 3+ hour sessions, double days, high frequency, etc.)

But there’s nothing in the middle. (Except for a pit of fire and death.)

Do you value performance as well as health/injury prevention? Do you value being above average in physical ability, but think that looking jacked is awesome, too? Are you willing to crush yourself in the gym…but also need and understand the benefits of longer, lower intensity work? Do you enjoy competing but don’t want to make it the primary purpose of your training? Do you want to train hard on the things that impact your health and performance the most without having to think, “Will this be in the Open/Regionals….?”

Stop looking. In the world of online coaching and programming…you don’t exist. There isn’t programming out there written for you.


The Hardcore Casual 

Project Warhorse is for the hardcore casual athlete.


last visual aid, i promise

Right there, smack in the middle, is a yet-to-be-publicly acknowledged-kind of athlete in the CrossFit world. There are a lot of us there, in the middle, looking for programming that resonates with our unique mindset towards training.

What makes someone “hardcore casual”? These athletes view their time in the gym as training, but having a fulfilling experience every day takes precedence over becoming a high-level competitor. Training is a personal journey above being a competitive one, and while they may compete, having fun and working hard on a variety of skills every day in the gym is more motivating than a place on the podium. Training is a big part of their lives, but there’s also a healthy sense that their lives don’t have to be about training.

While they do have performance-based goals, they find the expectations and pressures of becoming an elite athlete a burden rather than a blessing. They want to do “fitness things” that are awesome, beneficial, and fun and don’t care how those things may not necessarily carry over to a competitive situation. They have a healthy understanding (or are working on it) that training to become a high-level competitor, while having benefits, has some major drawbacks and is appropriate for a relatively small percentage of people.

The Hardcore Casual athlete is looking for more programming, or at least something different, than what a “typical” CrossFit gym will give them . They see sleds, yokes, and atlas stones and say, “I want to do that”. Bodybuilding – AWESOME. Learning how to balance a beautiful handstand or perform a planche or lever? YES PLEASE. AMRAPs and For Times are great, and they can crush a workout until their soul bleeds once or twice a week…but also find themselves embracing the power of longer, lower intensity aerobic work.

The Short Answer

If you’re looking for programming that will take you to the Games, Project Warhorse is not for you.

If you’re looking for programming that uses the number of athletes it has making it to Regionals as the benchmark of success, Project Warhorse is not for you.

While the training priorities of the programming will help set the stage for high-level competitive excellence, that is not it’s priority.

If you want to build an engine, build strength and look jacked while working with a variety of movements, skills, and training styles, Project Warhorse is for you.

You are the Hardcore Casual.

Starting in April.

For more information about Project Warhorse, click here, and here.  For a sample day of what’s to come, click here. Questions? Comments? E-mail Phil at

One thought on “Project Warhorse, Part III: The Hardcore Casual

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s