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

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Old 06-26-2015, 08:26 AM   #1
Troy Kennedy
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Location: Shawnee  KS
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Conditioning going backwards

I feel like my conditioning is going backwards a bit. I tend to really get high heart rate and out of control breathing after about 12 minutes. I am working on my breathing. But after two years it seems like I should be doing better.
Granted, I am 50. That probably has something to do with it. But I am trying to do all the right stuff. I eat pretty well. Stay hydrated before a wod. Cytocarb 2 with protein after a wod. etc...
The heart rate and breathing are the bummer. I feel like I have the strength, but I am breathing so hard I just want to stop.
Does all that make sense? Any thoughts?
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Old 06-27-2015, 09:31 AM   #2
Preston Sprimont
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Re: Conditioning going backwards

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Originally Posted by Troy Kennedy View Post
I feel like my conditioning is going backwards a bit. I tend to really get high heart rate and out of control breathing after about 12 minutes. I am working on my breathing. But after two years it seems like I should be doing better.
Granted, I am 50. That probably has something to do with it. But I am trying to do all the right stuff. I eat pretty well. Stay hydrated before a wod. Cytocarb 2 with protein after a wod. etc...
The heart rate and breathing are the bummer. I feel like I have the strength, but I am breathing so hard I just want to stop.
Does all that make sense? Any thoughts?
First off, do you have any quantitative measurements to determine whether your conditioning is or is not on the backslide? Times on particular conditioning workouts, HR measurements, recovery time after a conditioning workout (time it takes your HR or respiration rate to return to a normal level). If you don't yet, gather some simple data on yourself so you can a) tell if your conditioning really is going backwards, and b) provide yourself some measurements so you can tell what works to improve your conditioning again. Humans are really good at lying to ourselves, and data helps mitigate this a lot.

Second, there are a few simple things that could help improve your conditioning.
I think you're on the right track with working on your breathing. That's a huge (and often overlooked) element of conditioning capacity. Box breathing is a great drill to improve on both the physical and mental restrictions in breathing.
Proper pacing is another big factor. Going pedal to the metal straight out of the gate can be killer. Your heart rate and breathing are going to skyrocket, and then you're going to have trouble lowering them for the rest of the workout and it's gonna slow you down big time. Take a steady pace and focus on control. Think about the most successful Crossfitters--most of them look calm, collected, and completely in control throughout the majority of a WOD, and then they might throw it into overdrive in the last minute or so. Unless it's a 2.5 minute workout, pacing will be your friend.
Lastly, I'd look at how much you're doing in the gym and what you're doing out of the gym to recover. How is your sleep? Eating enough? Balancing some strength work with conditioning, or just doing 20-30 minute conditioning workouts 6x per week? More conditioning is often not the answer to improving conditioning. Balance and proper recovery are a necessity, especially as you get older.
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Last edited by Preston Sprimont : 06-27-2015 at 09:45 AM.
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Old 06-27-2015, 01:29 PM   #3
Troy Kennedy
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Re: Conditioning going backwards

Thanks so much, Preston!
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Old 06-28-2015, 07:16 AM   #4
Gilles Dhooghe
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Re: Conditioning going backwards

Hey Preston,

you might wanna look into exercise-induced astma.
Two years ago, i was into running, training for 10 miles and stuff, and i kept hitting a wall. When training, after 2km the muscles were warm and the engine was rolling, watching heart rate and pace and stuff, but I felt something was off breathing-wise.
So I went to a Pulmonogist, who made me do a breathing test (spirometry) and then made me do a test that triggers astma-reaction.
I failed the baseline test on that one...
She looked at me, quite astonished, and asked me how I could be running 16 km while breathing through the equivalent of a straw...
My lungs, it turns out, are in a constant state of inflammation.
(as a kid, I had more severe effort- and allergy-related astma)
She prescribed me with an inhaler I have to take twice a day. It's called a bronchodilator. Worked wonders to open up the lungs, and she says she treats top athletes with it too.

Bottomline : why not go see a doctor and have a check if nothing's wrong?
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