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Fitness Theory and Practice. CrossFit's rationale & foundations. Who is fit? What is fitness?

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Old 04-03-2006, 09:19 AM   #1
David Stegman
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I've been doing the WOD that I can with limited equipment and scaling some of them back for the past 3 months or so.

I'm seeing great results and I feel stronger than ever. I've been training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for close to 9 years now and I can honestly say that I feel better on the mat now than I did when I was in my 20's. (I'm 33 now).

However, I've had a bit of a hard time psychologically with my body transformation! In the past I have been in a lot of different weight classes. I started out (long time ago) right around 200lbs. I lifted all the time and ate what I thought was good. LOL. I carried muscle but a lot of that weight lifter pudge.

I dropped down to around 185 to 190lbs for a long time. I didn't do any lifting or Crossfit then. Just trained jiu jitsu and ate "ok" but not great.

Since I started the Zone back in early Nov. and then Crossfit shortly thereafter I'm now a very lean 174-175lbs. Not totally sure what my BF% is but a I would guess it's under 10% or right at 10.

I'm a bit over 6'3" so at 175lbs I've had a hard time believing that I'm that "light". I don't feel "skinny" but I just can't get used to what I see when I step on the scales. I don't think I want to get more than 180 but I sure don't want to lose anymore! I'm not really complaining here...I just wanted to see if any others had a difficult time "mentally" when doing Crossfit/Zone?
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Old 04-03-2006, 10:15 AM   #2
Andy Deas
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David,

Great post. I can relate to your situation although for me its others having a difficult time adjusting to me. A little background - I'm a little over 6'3" tall and as a offensive lineman I weighed right around 300 lbs. when I was 19-20 years old. I dropped down to around 260 pounds post college, but was definitely still a "big" guy. About 2 years ago I started making changes to my diet and began exercising again as I saw my future not looking too bright. I made good progress initially, but about 10 months ago I began training at the Crossfit affliate in Tempe, AZ and really trying the Zone diet. My progress has sky rocketed since then - last week I weighed in at 214 lbs. with a waist measurement of 34.5 (Two years ago this month I weighed 252 with a waist of 43").

Even with the substantial weight loss I am significantly stronger than I have ever been, but I get some strange comments from my old football buddies about being "too skinny"! My girlfriend complains that my 36" waist jeans are too big and my mom thinks I look like some type of prisoner who isn't allowed to eat.

I will admit that as I passed certain weight levels (first 240, then 230, then 220) I had some concerns that I was "too skinny", but over time my thought process has changed. My current perspective is this - every measurement of health and wellness has improved dramatically in the past 2 years. I don't really worry about the scale anymore, but rather my performance. If my energy levels drop and my performance begins to decrease I will begin manipulating my diet to try to add some weight, but for now everyone will just have to deal with the improved version of me.

Just my 2 cents....
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Old 04-03-2006, 10:17 AM   #3
Timothy C Dixon
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I have had the same mental reaction to crossfit. I am only 5'5" but have weighed consistently around 205 to 210lbs for the last couple of years. I trained primarily as a powerlifter and trained BJJ and Muay Thai. It did not seem to matter if I ate well or not I just stayed at the same weight.

I started Crossfit back in January and have since dropped back to 180 lbs. I probably will end up around 165 - 170 lbs when it is all said and done. It is starting to make a big difference in my BJJ game. I have always been big and strong enough to force some moves I should have learned better. Now I am finding that I need to be more technical. I am still strong but my limit strength has dropped while my strength endurance has increased a lot. I also feel a lot better day to day at this weight. And for the first time in years I can actually do the powerlifts without my shoulders and knees bothering me. Also I can roll all 6 5 miutes periods at the end of class now without feeling like I am going to die.

I do feel skinny and am having a bit of a time with it but I like the new found definition. I guess the ultimate test will be when I decide to compete and how I feel at that time strength wise. I werestled all through high school so I have something to compare how I feel too.
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Old 04-03-2006, 10:53 AM   #4
Elliot Royce
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David:

I think it really depends what you want. I'm 6'3", 225lbs and around 6% BF at age 44, but you would kick my butt because of your no doubt greater speed, flexibility, power/weight ratio, etc. I like being larger, one because I just like it (childhood inadequacies, who knows?!) and because I play ice hockey where being 225lbs of lean mass can come in handy even in none checking.

I have a hard time with self-esteem when my weight starts to fall. After hip surgery, I dropped to 215lbs and I felt like I had shrunk. At an extreme, this type of thinking is a disease: body dysmorphia. However, in a milder form, I consider it a healthy addiction (not all addictions are necessarily bad for you).

Just as I started CF not long ago, I was trying bulk up and got up to around 235lbs and felt bloated. I think your body tells you when it feels right. The key is to have the weight follow the muscle, not the other way around.

I suspect that if you were to do 20 rep squats for 6 months, you'd see more lean mass (if that's what you want).

Hope this helps a bit.
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Old 04-03-2006, 11:04 AM   #5
David Stegman
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Good stuff here. Thanks for the posts!

I'm glad others have similar experiences etc.

I feel like my body is operating at the "right" weight/strength level. I feel good at th 175ish mark. I don't want to go down any more than that though!

I know how much different I feel when training and I have a lot of guys finding it very hard to believe that I'm 175. They say I feel like 300lbs sometimes...so that's a "good thing" in jiu-jitsu. My stamina on the mat is just through the roof these days. I can train 5 or more back to back matches with advanced guys. Tired yes...but I feel great.

I would say everything is working pretty well. I just need to hit more of my Crossfit goals!
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Old 04-03-2006, 04:19 PM   #6
Ben Jackson
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Eliot and Andy,
Is Cross Fit the onlt training that you are doing? Eliot you sound similar to me, though I am not as built as you. When I get to a body weight that is lower thatn normal or I get to looking less thatn above average, I get nervous and feel the need to put on more mass. I am 6'5" and normally weigh around 205, but find myself at a mere 190 these days.
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Old 04-03-2006, 07:03 PM   #7
Elliot Royce
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Ben:

I've been weightlifting pretty hard for 5-6 years and started when I was young (190lbs when I was 15 or 16 although I wasn't throwing 170kg around!).

I believe that a lot of members supplement the CF WOD with extra weightlifting. I think you can just throw in one or two heavy leg days per week if you wanted to gain.

I have given up on what I consider to be non-functional weightlifting: bicep curls, tricep curls, flyes, etc. to focus on the Olympic lifts (which are very hard for me).

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Old 04-03-2006, 11:13 PM   #8
Dan Strametz
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I'm 5/11 before Crossfit I weighed 185. It was'nt untill I started the Zone I began to loose weight. I was told don't worry it's the body fat % you want low. Ok, 165 I feel to skinny, but the funny thing is I'm getting stronger, running faster and lifting more weight then ever before???????? How could this be? I did increase my blocks and now holding at about 172. Your body will tell you what is right. Great Post!
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Old 04-04-2006, 04:28 PM   #9
Ben Jackson
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Elliot,
What does your workout look like now days? If you were seeking to add extra muscle, how would you augment or add to CF or would you cut out the CF all together?
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Old 04-05-2006, 11:58 AM   #10
Elliot Royce
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Ben - I responded to you offline. I don't consider myself expert enough to really advise you on the optimum workout since I've tried a lot of different things. I emailed you to get Power Squats from Iron Mind and just follow that program alongside CF. I don't think you could go wrong with that but more experienced folks here can probably give you a better answer.
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