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

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Old 06-01-2012, 04:36 PM   #1
Evan Peikon
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OPT on ''A day in the life of rice froning''

Though this was a really cool read. Its OPT's (James Fitzgerald, Winner of 1st CF games, and a great coach) though on the recent journal video.


Here it Goes:
I have become enveloped in the search for what makes up higher levels of fitness - to answer the simple question - what makes this person more "fit" than another?
When I watch athletes train and see them in real life over and over, I can get a picture at least of what makes them unique and "better than most".
It has to start with of course an open mind and a watchful eye and experience. When you see the same things over and over again that make sense, one can "make sense" of it, (CCP coaches - "noticing your noticing") here is my evaluation of what makes Rich better than most in the sport of CrossFit.

I had been asked the question numerous times at athlete camps, interviews, from other cerebral athletes of what makes these fitness athletes so good. I have researched the "human element" while knowing about genes, traits, outliers, etc... and spoke even more recently with 2 local clinical psychologists about
1. what creates this in people
2. how do we assess it
3. what are the traits that are similar in all

The conclusions drawn from my experience as well as what I personally see in Rich as well is;
- RESILIENCY - the connection to what is stress and ability to respond appropriately; perceptions not convoluted with feelings; knowing work/rest philosophy
- KNOWING ONESELF - knowing exactly what "the individual" needs to do to get the task done and taking 100% responsibility towards the goals/outcomes
- BURNING DESIRE - usually to reach self potential, purpose, etc...will stop at nothing to get this - NOTHING!

In analyzing the training, of course not having a knowledge of the full season of planning and being assumptive there are things drawn from it that I see that I wanted to share.

On the minute weight work I see as Phosphate Battery work - weight training skill based work - working at a weight of submaximal loads for example - 60-65% at times for reps of 3-5 with 30-45 sec rest allows a huge aerobic piece to the lifting and constant reminding of how that weight is to feel with some sweating and breathing involved. More recently watched a Dan Pfaff video where he was known for having his sprinters do 60 min weight training sessions with low effort loads constantly with HR at 130-150 bpm.
Like this:
A. power clean - 80% 1RM; 2 reps, rest 45 sec x 10
no rest
B. clean pulls - 80% 1RM; 5 reps; rest 45 sec x 8
no rest
etc...
(look familiar)
This work allows skill refinement, increasing and lowering loads based on how one feels, gives plenty of touches of movements that when used for tests will feel easy, and that they are done at game pace usually each time (and this is the most important variable as the speed of contractions work accoding to the fuel usage - that is, the speed of contractions change fuel utilization in the body - therefore if one has sugar to work with, and its fast and effective, then the ongoing reps at game pace make sense)
. Mixing this into a week with some heavier work allows more maximal touches when needed closer to game time and competitions - so 1RM's can be achieved on a linear path - slower over time as training age increases but still of course increasing.
I call this CP capacity training - the ability to handle ever increasing loads submaximal from the 1RM with incomplete rest times, more and more becoming an integral part of CF and the testing, and less about true absolute maximums in testing; i.e. being able to do more and more work with 70-90% of the 1RM with other pieces in the task is more impt than the 1RM alone.
There is a lot of this in here, with a nice blend of movements and work/rest on each movements, a good plan of sorts without calling it "planning".

Aerobic Base work. Although not as flashy or a lot of video gone into this one (political) I see this as always being a universal principle that folks are afraid to discuss. The "easy" work on the AD, rower is cyclical, allows blood flow and recovery from more intense sessions, creates a huge base to work from and allows more intense sessions back to back and manages weight to strength ratio - it is also non impact based, no eccentrics (not sure if there was any running in there for long and easy but it makes sense why not) which allows the contractile elements of the muscle to still bond under load when needed b/c of no micro-damage occuring.
This internal feeling of easy work also creates a rhythm and zone like piece to training - alone time to focus on goals, path, training split, etc..that no one sees. (I am not saying that this is the case here but giving ideas why it works)
The nice addition of "sport" in there of games, touch football, etc...is also superb low level aerobic work that is not "planned" but works well - so these athletes don't have to think about it, I will.
And by the way, how many times do we need to see examples of this before we say that there is nothing wrong with easy/recovery work and low intense training ALONGSIDE increased weights and strength?...geez louise.

Interval MAP sessions are what I think the secret ingredient for most CF'ers for the future of training in the sport. And this guy does it better than anyone. Watch the pace, tempo and rhythm used in the gymnastics + BWT work - a volume is created in there with partner work, work/rest scenarios and constant motion to allow MORE aerobic work BUT in particular more specific to the sport of CF.
It is done with multiple modalities and correct % of effort. What might look like a 5 rounds for time @ 97% for you and me is a 82% effort, high aerobic pace, constant movement machine like piece (whch on a side note was also seen in Miko's training) for these guys. Doing this work at submaximal effort creates an ENORMOUS opportunity to create speed and adjustment to training to prepare for competition-like training.
The Airdyne 30/30 x 30 is another super example of this - except cyclical it gives insight into:
1. work/rest
2. non impact breathing
3. metrics to determine critical drop off, etc..
4. noise (like on the rower, it creates rhythm where all you here is the machine) - swimming, outside biking, running does not do this - although elite cyclists talk of this when working hard, they can hear the rhythm and connection of the heart beat to the breathing rate to the RPM - fascinating **** - i digress, sorry.

Critical Drop Off. Knowing when to call a set, a day, a rep, etc...is SO KEY. When asked how many sets or reps was that it is the internal "knowing oneself" that listens to that. What you may see as volume is deep practice of movements with good form. Knowing when to call it or increase it is even more special. As it allows you to leave a little on the table each time - this will be a key component long term.
Not having a designed plan or program works well in this case as the plan of structural work (DL, press, squat) is there along with aerobic base AND CP capacity training IS the plan...and works well...as mentioned when Rich says that some days he questions if he will continue to rise, and he will, b/c of this princinple of "planning on feel", and knowing when to call it and when to "cook the veggies" as Coach B says.
Mind chatter example: "Do 5 min with work every 30 sec, that feels so good at 5 min we can go to 25 min, lets do it"
...this is well organized training and feeling out each day and period - a secret to success in my eyes; some have to be guided with this, others not so much, it is what it is - no judgements needed.
CDO has been used in so many sports for so long, it is an internal piece as there is no coach here.

Fuelling. I love it.
I have nothing to say only find what works for you and get it done and keep improving.
And when someone wants to say "well...err... what is that going to be like for him in 20 years?" - who gives a ****!
He's the champ, you are not.
Cals in, cals out, a running machine with an intricate internal switch on what is needed and when. Lowish fat to keep gastric emptying fast, constant sugar in the blood for usage, protein as a base for recovery and management of all else; and good food when he gets the chance.

Sidenotes (authors comments):
- overtraining being mental - arguable; not anyone can do this work (go ahead and try, what works for one does not for others), but if you use the principles in there about submaximal work on weights and aerobic work and hardly any testing and LOTS of skill work - you can see why the perception of work stress is low.
The reason a lot of peeps will have a hard time understanding this is that their "perception" of what intensity is like for these higher level CF athletes is NOT measured - so DO NOT assume (like I have in some cases here) that you know what the "effort" imposed is on the person - what you and I see as stress is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in someone else's eyes (go back and read some basics on Seyle's work if you need to)
- Rich is full time at this - anyone in this community wil know that I have been talking about this for 2 years now and you can see why - one needs to be full time at this to get a shot now - there is still a few "good stories", but time will come. We are developing this, it will happen.
- Attitude - it was good to see the inside piece (albeit a little one) on his perceptions on how he does and how he will do over time - this critical info is appreciated by me. As one that has been there, not in performance ability, but the camera angle - this part of realization and growing created the end to my career....but in this guy a birth of a stronger athlete. (I wish him all the best - he's one of the good ones)
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Old 06-01-2012, 11:00 PM   #2
Jordan Derksen
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Re: OPT on ''A day in the life of rice froning''

Thanks, I was searching for this but google was being annoying.
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Old 07-05-2012, 06:05 PM   #3
Evan Peikon
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Re: OPT on ''A day in the life of rice froning''

Bumped: Though this was an interesting read, and though some debate on it would be interesting as well
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Old 07-06-2012, 02:14 AM   #4
Paul Coomans
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Re: OPT on ''A day in the life of rice froning''

It's very interesting! What is MAP?
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Old 07-06-2012, 04:59 AM   #5
Jason A Smith
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Re: OPT on ''A day in the life of rice froning''

MAP = max aerobic power, you will see this type of work lots on OPT. I have been doing an OPT style program for just about a year,individualized for myself .

This was a great read. If you follow James at all he is assembling a team of full time fitness athletes at his facility in Scottsdale this year and doing a pile of testing with them. Using all sorts of factors. James methods are very scientific, there is no doubt about it. His free blog of training offers five different training programs as well which is awesome. But he is a big believer in not having the same prescription for everyone, which leads people to all different kinds of training.

As far as the Froning thing, he does a little bit of everything. The on the minute work is magic and Rich seems to do lots of it. He also puts in the time doing the aerobic intervals. One thing you did not see him do a lot of was all out "Crossfit" testers every day....they are so hard on your CNS that you just can't do that every day. Remember that he has built up to that over time. Mostly he is on skill practice mode on a lot of that stuff, you never say him grabbing his shorts and stopping though the whole thing.
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:40 AM   #6
David Meverden
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Re: OPT on ''A day in the life of rice froning''

Thanks for the bump. Missed this the first time.

Regarding OPT, does he have any athletes going to the games? Many at regionals? I think OPT is damn smart but sometimes it seems like his programming is based on lots of complicated things that seem on paper should be the best, without reality validating that. For example, his advocacy of tempo lifting. I read an article by him about why it's better, why it will make you stronger, but I've never heard of a powerlifter, o-lifter, or coach for a strength dependent sport advocating this. If it really were better shouldn't people who's business is strength also use it? I visited Rick Scarpulla up in New York and he talked several times about paralysis by analysis; how a lot of CFers he has met over analyze and dissect every little thing, to the detriment of their training. Is it possible OPT falls into this trap?

My impression of OPT training is also largely based lately on what I perceive as a lack of notable performers coming out of OPTs camp. Is this impression wrong? Are there a lot of guys working with him I'm not aware of?

The sudden rise of Outlaw programming, and the sheer number of top guys they are putting out, I think really highlights how quickly people flock to outstanding results, something that just doesn't seem to have happened with OPT.

Thoughts? Guys that follow OPT do you disagree? Think my viewpoints is skewed?
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Old 07-06-2012, 01:14 PM   #7
Evan Peikon
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Re: OPT on ''A day in the life of rice froning''

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Meverden View Post
Thanks for the bump. Missed this the first time.

Regarding OPT, does he have any athletes going to the games? Many at regionals? I think OPT is damn smart but sometimes it seems like his programming is based on lots of complicated things that seem on paper should be the best, without reality validating that. For example, his advocacy of tempo lifting. I read an article by him about why it's better, why it will make you stronger, but I've never heard of a powerlifter, o-lifter, or coach for a strength dependent sport advocating this. If it really were better shouldn't people who's business is strength also use it? I visited Rick Scarpulla up in New York and he talked several times about paralysis by analysis; how a lot of CFers he has met over analyze and dissect every little thing, to the detriment of their training. Is it possible OPT falls into this trap?

My impression of OPT training is also largely based lately on what I perceive as a lack of notable performers coming out of OPTs camp. Is this impression wrong? Are there a lot of guys working with him I'm not aware of?

The sudden rise of Outlaw programming, and the sheer number of top guys they are putting out, I think really highlights how quickly people flock to outstanding results, something that just doesn't seem to have happened with OPT.

Thoughts? Guys that follow OPT do you disagree? Think my viewpoints is skewed?
Im following Outlaw, but i know of a lot of OPT guys that are good.two of my coaches, who are OPT certified/ follow that style programing have made it to regionals (1 got injured b4 games though and one just missed the games). Also our box follows it too. Ive seen a lot of normal people progress to pretty awesome numbers on it, but often the training seems more like D1 style strength and conditioning opposed to crossfit which is what i didn't like about it. Often its minimalist too and prescribes the minimum effective dose.

I know CJ from crossfit invictus programs OPT style also, if you look at his work (or read anything he writes/ see the training logs of his athletes). That being said he programs for some of the top games athletes. Off the top of my head i can think of Josh bridges and aj moore. (I'm completey blanking but if you go on the games profiles pull see that CJ helps with a lot of their stuff).
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Old 07-06-2012, 02:13 PM   #8
Jeff Enge
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Re: OPT on ''A day in the life of rice froning''

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan Peikon View Post
The Airdyne 30/30 x 30 is another super example of this - except cyclical it gives insight into:
1. work/rest
2. non impact breathing
3. metrics to determine critical drop off, etc..
4. noise (like on the rower, it creates rhythm where all you here is the machine) - swimming, outside biking, running does not do this - although elite cyclists talk of this when working hard, they can hear the rhythm and connection of the heart beat to the breathing rate to the RPM - fascinating **** - i digress, sorry.
Sorry to just take a tiny tiny part of this post to discuss, it's so big that I haven't digested all of it yet so this is just the first thing that gave me a gut reaction, but having done all of the activities listed above, and the swimming and running at an above-average level, I'd have to disagree that rowing is the only aerobic base activity that gives you that sense of rhythm.

It's actually the key in any of those activities, and I think one of the main reasons why people for whatever reason aren't able to master them. If you're not swimming with a rhythm that you can feel, you are not being efficient, just like in rowing. And actually the nature of the beast FORCES you to find your rhythm due to the fact you simply cannot breathe whenever you wish.

That's actually what keeps people from being better runners, in my opinion. Yes, everybody can run, but the best are the ones who realize everything has to be timed correctly to be most efficient.

I know most of the denziens on the board here (not a negative, great place for the CF community) are more into the strength/lifting aspect of fitness/athleticism, but the way I see it, the development of solid rhythm in any aspect will translate into improvements in any other aspect of fitness. If you are in tune with your rhythm for a row or a swim or a run, you are more open to tuning yourself into rhythm for a complex Olympic lift or a set of kipping pullups. It's all about knowing your body!

Just the two cents of the CrossFit rookie
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Old 07-06-2012, 02:55 PM   #9
Evan Peikon
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Re: OPT on ''A day in the life of rice froning''

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Enge View Post
Sorry to just take a tiny tiny part of this post to discuss, it's so big that I haven't digested all of it yet so this is just the first thing that gave me a gut reaction, but having done all of the activities listed above, and the swimming and running at an above-average level, I'd have to disagree that rowing is the only aerobic base activity that gives you that sense of rhythm.

It's actually the key in any of those activities, and I think one of the main reasons why people for whatever reason aren't able to master them. If you're not swimming with a rhythm that you can feel, you are not being efficient, just like in rowing. And actually the nature of the beast FORCES you to find your rhythm due to the fact you simply cannot breathe whenever you wish.

That's actually what keeps people from being better runners, in my opinion. Yes, everybody can run, but the best are the ones who realize everything has to be timed correctly to be most efficient.

I know most of the denziens on the board here (not a negative, great place for the CF community) are more into the strength/lifting aspect of fitness/athleticism, but the way I see it, the development of solid rhythm in any aspect will translate into improvements in any other aspect of fitness. If you are in tune with your rhythm for a row or a swim or a run, you are more open to tuning yourself into rhythm for a complex Olympic lift or a set of kipping pullups. It's all about knowing your body!

Just the two cents of the CrossFit rookie
Being a former competitive (D1 recruited) runner I completely agree with you. I feel as if the article was meant to say why things tht rich does work though. Not meant to mention other ways to accomplish the same thing.
It also took me awhile to do so with running, and I thinking something more noisy like a rower is more applicable to an average person reading.

Its interesting, if you look at OPT's work hell actually program a lot of running, rowing, and cycling at different intensity %'s with varying work:rest which really reflect exactly what that clip you selected talks about
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Old 07-06-2012, 06:35 PM   #10
Jordan Derksen
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Re: OPT on ''A day in the life of rice froning''

I remember when I first saw Richs training video I couldn't believe it was possible. After digesting a lot and even finding my rhythm with my own training I now believe it is, especially as Jason mentioned he never really does all out Crossfit workouts. After learning how to run Outlaw properly (knowing when to go 80-90% and when to go all out) my recovery got way better, despite doing greater volume. The on the minute stuff is an excellent protocol. Plus I think that while on paper it looks crazy the large amount of pure aerobic work Rich does will act as a really good active recovery session to just get his blood going. I know I've run 5k's before and the next day PR'd my back squat. Pure aerobic work is one of the big keys missing from many peoples programs and it's something I personally feel Outlaw is missing.

As far as the finding your rhythm thing goes... totally agree. When I jump in for affiliate WOD's I hit my pace all the time. There's one other guy whose really good and he pushes me but he goes out too hard every time and can never last. Especially when doing rest 1 minute between rounds type work I can keep my rounds so consistent. Even when people bust out of the gate ahead of me I hit my own rhythm and always waltz right past them shortly after they've burned their batteries. Of course in training I'm trying to always increase that pace and I know by certain protocols when to go 100%.
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