Ronny Varghese, Part II: Keeping It Simple

Love to Eat? Introducing

Are you passionate about food, nutrition and recipes? Unleash your inner foodie and check out our brand-new site - share your favorite recipes at Nutrition-WOD today!


  • What advice do you have around creating your own programming?
  • How do you address the needs of firebreathers and newbies?

In Part II of our interview with Ronny Varghese, co-owner of CrossFit Paradigm, shares his insights on programming for his own box and the secrets to success for any affiliate owner. With an eye on his clients and previous personal training experience, he has the tools to build a successful program.

If you missed it, read Part I of Ronny’s interview to understand how he builds relationships with his clients and find out how his co-owner and wife Melody Miser-Varghese manages her role in their partnership as well.

What advice do you have for new affiliate owners who are trying to create their own programming?
Keep it simple:

If you just focus on the basics and fundamental movements and coach your clients, you will be successful.

Ronny: It would be don’t get ahead of themselves. Don’t try to wow your clients with what you know, and stick to the basics instead. Don’t try to teach them new and fancy things if they don’t have the baseline things done yet. For example, don’t have them overhead squat or snatch if they can’t squat correctly. Don’t have them snatch if they can’t perform an overhead squat.

As an affiliate owner, if you just focus on your relationship with your clients, their development, and their programming, then you should be successful. Programming shouldn’t be too over-the-top with craziness. Keep your community demographic in mind and what movements you have exposed to them. Having some kind of a way to log or track your programming is critical to being able to provide your clients with variety. And it is absolutely critical that if they have not read Greg Glassman’s article on Virtuosity, that they do so. New affiliate owners should mainly focus on the fundamentals first, and once they get their feet wet with some programming, can start doing periodization cycles and such. We typically will start with a dynamic warm up which will address the movements within the WOD that day, then do some skill or strength work, followed by some kind of a met con.

Did you program mainsite WODs when you first started the gym?
Find good models:

It helps to have some favorite blog sites from other gyms which you like to see what other people are doing.

Ronny: It was a little different for me because Melody and I first ran a personal training business [before opening a box], so we already had experience coaching and programming for athletes. We also did some competition programming for Brethren CrossFit, so when it came time to start Paradigm, we already had enough knowledge to program for our general membership.  Also, it helps to have some favorite blog sites from other gyms which you like to see what other people are doing. Remember, too, to take your space and equipment into consideration when programming for your athletes.

What are general athletic weaknesses which exist amongst your community?
Give a little TLC… New clients “just need more encouragement and someone to believe in them.”
Ronny: I feel that the gymnastic side of life is where typically where MOST average CrossFitter’s goats lay. Our gym is no exception, and as a way to combat that, we program a lot more in ways of midline stability work and flexibility. We offer a CrossFit Prehab (mobility) class on Saturdays between classes where I teach mobilization and self soft tissue therapies, like foam rolling and trigger point work with the lacrosse ball. There are basic motor control movements like pull-ups and handstands that many members do not have, and it’s something that we are slowly but surely developing. It might just be me, but the way I see it, most movement deviations and postural issues stem from gymnastic capacity, which basically is midline stability, proper joint range of motion/positioning, and power-to-weight ratio.

Within a class, do you set aside some time for cooldown and/or stretching after the WOD?
Firebreathers have “extra programming… usually custom-tailored to the athlete’s strengths and weaknesses.”
Ronny: After most WOD’s (met cons) we will typically go for a quick run around the building as a way to chillax after getting the heart rates jacked. Sometimes after a heavy strength workout we will go through some mobility after as well. Beyond that, we dont have a large segment of time that we dedicate to cool downs. We encourage athletes to go upstairs into our mobility area and take care of what they are dealing with post-WOD. We have foam rollers and lacrosse balls available for use up there, as well as K-Star’s MWOD posters lined up against the wall for reference.

Do your firebreathers follow the same programming as the general membership?
For new clients, we have a mandatory foundations program, which is four mandatory private sessions, or possibly eight, depending on their ability levels.
Ronny: Our firebreathers usually do extra programming on top of of the “normal” programming. Usually this comes in the form of a double day, which they’ll do during usual class time. This extra programming is usually custom-tailored to the athlete’s strengths and weaknesses.

How about your new athletes or beginners or anyone who needs special attention?

Ronny: We have a mandatory foundations program, which is four mandatory private sessions, or possibly eight, depending on their ability levels. There are a handful of athletes, whom we call TLC’s, who need more attention and encouragement. People who are learning to to just squat their own bodyweight, for example. I make it a point to call them and talk to them after just to see how they’re feeling. They just need more encouragement and someone to believe in them.

Printable Version

We Are Scouting Top Writers

Are you passionate about fitness and have something to say? Reach a huge online community and get the discussion going - start writing for Tabata Times today!

Share this post
@TabataTimes on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook 

Contribute to this story by commenting below:

Advertise Here

Most Popular of All Time

CrossFit Invictus shared a link on Facebook

How to get a better rack!

Ravikant Dewangan published the post Decoding CrossFit: A Recipe to Success on Tabata Times
I have been a member of NewEra CrossFit for 18 months and I always wonder about the impact it has...
J. Humenay published the post Stronger VS Lighter - Friends or Foes? on
Ever see "Body weight" on a workout and cringe a little bit? I do. At 5'8", I hover somewhere...
MobilityWOD shared a link on Facebook


coachfla3 published the post Exercise Dependence Syndrome on
How much exercise is enough? When does exercise become a disruptive factor in our lives? Sport...
CrossFit Invictus shared a link on Facebook

Juggling for Jude: A 9 Year Old's Mission to raise money for St Jude's Children's Hospital! Hollis is juggling her soccer ball to raise money for St. Jude Children's Hospital. In just two weeks she's raised well over $5000, and her current juggling record is 207--alternating feet and no thighs! Her goal is to hit the $15,000 mark by end of August for this great cause!

CrossFit Invictus shared a link on Facebook

Do you have a love/hate relationship with Toes to Bar? Then check out this post with tips on how to tackle them in your next workout!

Anonymous posted an article
CrossFit Brand X Poway shared an image on Facebook

CrossFit Pleasanton shared a link on Facebook

This Sunday we have a team competing at the CA Affiliate Showcase at the San Jose convention center. We need to provide a judge in order to compete. Judges will be compensated with $50 and lunch. Please comment if you are interested/available or contact KK or Tony Alfonzo! Here is the link for extra info:

CrossFit Brand X Poway posted an article
CrossFit Brand X Poway shared an image on Facebook

Brand X CrossFit Ramona WOD Front squat Followed by: 20:00 EMOM first: thruster second: burpee Start at 1 rep and add 1 rep each minute Then: 3:00 AMRAP 30 double-unders 30 box step-ups 2:00 AMRAP 25 sit-ups 25 walking lunges 1:00 AMRAP 5 broad jumps 10 air squats

Molly Eledge published the post BBQ Pork Stuffed Sweet Potatoes on Nutrition WOD
 Confession: I am a MAJOR fan of pulled pork. MAJOR. Not only does it taste delicious almost...
CrossFit No Boundaries shared a link on Facebook

July 2014 J&J Grassfed Beef Orders

CrossFit No Boundaries posted an article
rakeshpatelcfwy published the post Chocolate, Cheesecake and a Sexy Body - 3 Tips on How to Get the Body You Want and Eat the Foods you Love on
"How can I eat cheesecake and still get the body I want?" I'll be answering this question in...
CrossFit San Diego posted an article
CrossFit Future shared a link on Facebook


CrossFit Coronado shared a link on Facebook

Tuesday 8 July

CrossFit Future posted an article
CrossFit Temecula posted an article

@TabataTimes on Twitter

Watch the latest episode of GPTV