Profiles May 8, 2023

How SugarWOD Revolutionized a High School Gym Class 


Cresen Swenson works hard to foster accountability in her high school gym class and teach her students how to own their physical fitness. 

That’s why she knew she needed to make a change when her Prowler CrossFit students weren’t consistently logging their workouts. Logging their progress was crucial for the class to succeed, but “they just weren’t very active” when tracking their scores in notebooks, explained Swenson. 

After she implemented SugarWOD in her classroom, all of that changed. 

“Not only can we get our programming out for our kids in advance so they can plan…we also get an opportunity for our kids to finally digitally track their progress,” said Swenson.

A Culture of Accountability 

For Swenson, SugarWOD is all about teaching her students to take charge of their own health. 

“They’ll leave here and have some knowledge on ways they can track their performance. They can track their nutrition. They can track their outcomes and continually set goals that they can try to strive for,” said Swenson. 

Some of Swenson’s students have been tracking their scores for years. Swenson considers SugarWOD’s clear insight into their progress over the years to be one of their greatest motivators. 

“That’s probably the biggest thing: we remind kids that the whole purpose of CrossFit is to have something that’s your own, but also something that allows you to want to be better every single day,” said Swenson. 

An Avenue for Online Community 

“Oh man, let me tell you about social media. That’s the biggest thing,” said Swenson.

Part of what holds Swenson’s students accountable is the strong sense of community she’s been able to build with the help of SugarWOD.  

Tracking their workouts made it easier for students to share their progress on social media, and SugarWOD’s virtual fist bumps help students encourage each other to meet their goals. 

Swenson says that students will keep track of each other on Instagram to share their workout routines. “They eat it up and then they start to get their own idols. They get their own people that they look up to,” said Swenson. 

Simple Programming, Better Results 

Swenson’s class has pushed her students to constantly develop, helping many of them to achieve personal fitness goals they may have never pursued. 

“We’ve had a lot of kids that have left here and gone into major powerlifting. We’ve had some kids go to USA weightlifting. We’ve had some kids go on from beyond here and realize…that this helped them out more than just a regular strength training class,” said Swenson. 

With the help of SugarWOD’s technological edge, Swenson’s able to keep her programming challenging and help her students develop. SugarWOD’s user-friendly design makes it easier for Swenson to manage her class, as well as collect data she can use to guide her students and adjust her programming

“Now at any point, I can hop on my phone and change programming. I can get on my computer and do this on Sundays at home,” said Swenson. 
gym interior

More Than Just a Classroom Tool 

Technology is such a prevalent part of her students’ lives, so Swenson wants to teach them to harness it for their own wellbeing. By making SugarWOD an integral part of her students’ fitness journey, Swenson has made it more than just a classroom tool. 

“They’re making it something that’s a more useful tool to them and something that we hope they will take and utilize in some other ways beyond their senior year here.” 

For Swenson, this has always been about more than CrossFit. She wants to teach her students to have a growth mindset and continually strive to improve. 

Now, with a gym class so popular that there’s a waitlist and students signing up to take it as an extracurricular after school, she’s succeeded. Her students aren’t coming to class because they have to – they’re coming because they genuinely want to improve themselves. 

“You feel good at the end of the day saying, ‘I’m accountable. I did this. I feel good. I’m part of a community’,” said Swenson.

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