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

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Old 07-30-2009, 12:28 PM   #1
Alexander Kornishev
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Question Time to avoid benchmark WODs

I am just interested to know what you guys think of that.
I have been doing CF for 2 1/2 years. Here is how I was feeling about it during this period of time:
1st year: the best program out there, fantastic results, PR almost every time...
2nd year: still the best program, need to fix a lot of wholes in technique, have to work harder for PR, but still improving pretty fast...
3rd year (present): still the best, came to realize that technique is a key to keep improving, to set a new PR is harder than ever...
It might be the way I am training and the priorities I am setting. But there is also mental attitude and the way I am feeling lately. After pushing myself last benchmark WOD and leaving everything on the floor I know that next time the same WOD will come up in about 1-2 months period and by that I will not improve that much. So there are two options, push myself all the way again and see if there is any possible improvement which would result in new PR (but that might not be even possible, just toughen up and push doesn't work after some time anymore ) or just say that I know there is nothing to expect, so I'd better back off a bit for awhile and go all out when I feel like it. But then what is the point to do workout from which I do not really expect anything.
But I think there is also third option which I like more and more as I keep thinking about it. The idea is to avoid benchmark workouts completely or do them very rare (once a year for ex.) and to do new WOD every single workout. I can still push myself to the limit (of that particular day), but it will eliminate any frustration and remove this huge mental burden of trying to beat my last PR. Timer will not define how I feel today anymore. What I am after is to keep feeling same excitement I was feeling first year of CF and to make CF tough way of life as much fun as possible. This is not for someone who is new or still improving very fast.
What do you think?
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Last edited by Alexander Kornishev; 07-30-2009 at 12:33 PM..
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Old 07-30-2009, 12:37 PM   #2
Andy Gann
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Re: Time to avoid benchmark WODs

Specialize.

Choose one domain and focus. OLY, Gymnastics, Power Lifting, Running, Kettlebells, etc .... Pick one and spend time becoming more than just generally physically prepared in that area of fitness.
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Old 07-30-2009, 12:39 PM   #3
Jason Peacock
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Re: Time to avoid benchmark WODs

I think you have good points, but I don't think it's necessary to avoid benchmark workouts to achieve what you want.

Just be honest with yourself that today's Helen is a workout, not a test. Do it with intensity, but don't kill yourself (just as you'd do any other workout).

Occasionally you'll decide that you want to test your progress, then you can choose a benchmark to attack for a PR.

I have days where I'm feeling great and attack the WOD at full intensity (or it takes everything I have just to finish). Other days I know I'm just showing up for the workout and skills, and not planning on beating anyone or setting any PRs.

Basically, you've advanced from beginner (frequent PRs from any work) to intermediate (less frequent PRs from focused training). And as you noticed the road has become longer and tougher
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Old 07-30-2009, 12:48 PM   #4
Kevin Thomas
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Re: Time to avoid benchmark WODs

Avoiding information because you don't think you can handle what it says doesn't seem like a great strategy to me. If you stop improving, don't you want to know that? Why are you doing the WODs if not to improve?

If you are unable to continue to improve your times/scores/etc, it seems like it would be much better to either a) accept that you are "just" maintaining your fitness level with your current program or the gains are coming much slower anyhow or b) modify your program to try to continue improvement. This all assumes that you are not improving any more. If you are improving, then you would want benchmarks to show that you are continuing to improve.
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Old 07-30-2009, 02:38 PM   #5
Dimitri Dziabenko
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Re: Time to avoid benchmark WODs

I think Jason is right, if you try to hit a PR on everything (linear progress) every single time, it's bound to stop working eventually.

None of the professional athletes (powerlifters, runners, etc...) try to hit PRs in their training every single time, such things are saved for competition, or in some sense, whenever life demands it.

There was a video of OPT where he said that after the 2007 games he realized he needed to train smarter, not harder. I think that's when he started focusing on fixing Oly lifting loopholes. I think that'd be a great way to keep training fun: fix weaknesses.
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Old 07-30-2009, 06:50 PM   #6
Stephen Flamm
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Re: Time to avoid benchmark WODs

I understand. Consider continuing doing the workouts, but simply tweaking them. Do "Fran" with KB thrusters. "Grace" with a sandbag. "Lynne" with ring dips.

For Tuesday's clean & jerk ladder WOD, I maintained the timing/rep structure but performed tire flips in place of the c&js. These little tweaks have added both intensity and enjoyment to my WODs.
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Old 07-30-2009, 07:12 PM   #7
Andrew H. Meador
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Re: Time to avoid benchmark WODs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Gann View Post
Specialize.

Choose one domain and focus. OLY, Gymnastics, Power Lifting, Running, Kettlebells, etc .... Pick one and spend time becoming more than just generally physically prepared in that area of fitness.
Totally agree.
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Old 07-30-2009, 07:43 PM   #8
Cormac O'Connor
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Re: Time to avoid benchmark WODs

Sounds to me like you're addicted to the thrill of beating a PR and are having problems going cold turkey. I imagine that's a very common situation, but i'm not sure it's a meaningful problem.

Ignoring the benchmarks might work for a while but you're basically trying to trick yourself, which is really tough to do. How long is that going to work?

The larger issue is just accepting that the easy gains are behind you and that the endorphin spikes from PRs won't come up so often unless you specialize (then you have to deal with the potential issue of backsliding in other areas though).

Bottom line: remember that you have achieved an awful lot by getting to this point, so you should feel good about maxing yourself out on those benchmarks. If you can maintain a sub-3 min Fran (say) for a period of years, that means you've been exceptionally fit for a significant period. If you're happy with the times/weights for a given WOD, every time you hit a similar mark should be seen as a WIN.
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Old 07-30-2009, 08:06 PM   #9
Dave O'Sullivan
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Re: Time to avoid benchmark WODs

Try getting rid of the clock for a month. Just go in and perform with what you have in the tank. After a month or so, bring the clock back. Just a thought....
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Old 07-31-2009, 07:17 AM   #10
Alexander Kornishev
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Re: Time to avoid benchmark WODs

Thanks a lot! All of you have valid points and I will need to take some time to think about it.
Specializing makes sense, CF might be my sport but concentrating on one/few activities which are the most enjoyable (or the most weak areas) sets real goals to work on.
To slow down when needed... I am not sure if I can During all this time I have never done any WOD without going all out. It took some time to learn how to overcome the barrier of working out of comfort zone and I know that if I start planning to go easier from time to time I will very quickly loose this ability. I can see it happening after every week off.
As for avoiding feedback, it is not totally true. I am not trying totally exclude benchmarks (I said it earlier, that did not come out right), but rather space them out over much longer period of time compared to HP. There is really no need for very frequent feedback anymore.
Yep, fixing weaknesses is already in work. I have a long plan to work on every movement used in WOD and make as efficient as possible. For now it is slow lifts and O.lifts mostly.
Doing modified WODs is a great idea. Throw in some unknown variable every time sounds like real fun.
PR addiction and remove the clock... I am done being a "PR b!tch" (I love that one by Melissa Byers). It is not really the final score which causing a problem, it is time before the WOD. I am trying to find a way to keep looking forward to every workout doesn't matter how hard it is. Doing something unfamiliar is always fun.
Thanks again, I really appreciate your input guys.
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Last edited by Alexander Kornishev; 07-31-2009 at 07:40 AM..
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