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

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Old 06-29-2006, 06:38 AM   #1
Jason Smith
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I have finally got my wife to start doing some modified Crossfit WODs. My question is that she doesn't like to push herself that hard (doesn't find it enjoyable). Is Crossfit actually her best method for fitness?

If she isn't pushing hard, then the aerobic and possibly the anaerobic benefit to the exercises may not be there and she may be getting sub optimal output given her constraint.....

Or put differently, if you only perform Crossfit with partial effort is it still superior to other traditional forms of exercise?

Any thoughts?

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Old 06-29-2006, 07:03 AM   #2
Nicholas Burgett
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Jason, my thoughts are that I don't think you can do CF with partial effort. You can keep yourself under control, but based on the types of exercises and the technique you need to employ, I can't see how you could do it in a partial kind of way. As you know, it's not like riding the LifeCycle or hopping on an elliptical where you can decide to just take it easy if you want. If you're doing jumping pullups and thrusters, I don't see any way of doing that with partial effort.

Have you seen the scaled WOD's on I would imagine doing CF on a scaled effort level (instead of partial effort) would be better. Maybe that's what you had in mind. If so, my apologies. If not, I hope that helps.

I've got kind of the same issue with my wife. I'd really like to get her into this, but I think she's kind of scared off by the intensity.

Others who are more knowledgable than I will surely chime in on this.
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Old 06-29-2006, 07:27 AM   #3
Garrett Smith
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Give her time.

As the workouts are repeated, tell her that all she has to do is improve on the last workout in some way.

My 60-y.o. mom didn't push herself very hard to start. She's gotten used to the CF-type of effort, and know she's pushing herself much harder (as in she would like to go straight to work after the workout, now she's sweating enough in her workouts she's reconsidering).

Progress is what's important. You can lead someone to the koolaid, but you can't make them drink...
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Old 06-29-2006, 07:37 AM   #4
Elliot Royce
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As someone who can't always go to maximum effort due to lack of flexibility or injury, I still think you get a decent benefit. For one thing, there's the flexibility and movement (overhead squats with no weight). And even if you don't max out on pushups or whatever, you're still doing them. No, your wife won't build huge muscles without overloading but that's not what you want anyway. How about getting her into something like kickboxing which is an indirect way of getting the same benefit and CF-compatible?
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Old 06-29-2006, 09:08 AM   #5
Lincoln Brigham
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Crossfit workouts are objective. If she's not pushing herself hard, it will show up in the score of the workout. Always score your workouts, one way or another. Load, time, reps, whatever.

Is a half-assed effort on Fight Gone Bad worth it? Sure, the science is clear that even a lame effort has significant benefit over doing nothing, but a score of 75 is a score of 75 is a score of 75. You can't hide from the fact that folks like Josh Everett, Eddie Lugo, and Grady Mac are scoring in the 400s.

A while back we did a workout called "One Ton Sally." 5x5 squats, 5x5 push presses. For total load. Take as much time as you please. The 65-year old grandmother with a crippled hand managed one ton. Her husband with heart conditions and an esophageal ulcer and a horrible migraine headache managed two tons. On a workout like this, you can put up as little effort as you want. But the final score always shows it.

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Old 06-29-2006, 09:45 AM   #6
Jeff Martin
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I would add just a little to Lincoln's post. The science is clear that if you do the movements associated with CrossFit without the intensity you will be better off than the typical gym routine.

We have people who have gone to the gym for years. Many of them don't understand the intensity of Crossfit. Still a couple months of CrossFit workouts and they are moving better and are stronger than when they came in.

Goo post Linc.
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Old 06-29-2006, 09:55 AM   #7
Russ Greene
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Working hard is a skill. With practice one can learn to work harder with less psychological strain. Beginners are afraid of physical effort because of the psychological stress associated with it, but with time that stress decreases and they become more comfortable with working hard.
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Old 06-29-2006, 10:09 AM   #8
Jason Smith
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Thanks for all the comments. Jeff that was exactly my question - is there a benefit over other workouts if the intensity is not there.

Lincoln - currently she has no drive to compete with anyone at crossfit so she wouldn't care if X gets Y score. In her defense, almost everyone I tell about Crossfit (and I tell everyone I know!) says that is crazy and has no desire to do these type of workouts. The people I tell range from couch potatoes to triathletes. Even some of the triathletes acknowledge the benefit, but still do not want to do the work.

She started by not wanting to consider Crossfit and then saw the changes it has had with me. Now she is starting (very slowly, but starting). I bet in time she will do the workouts at full effort.

Nicholas - I will definitely look at the scaled effort workouts.

Thanks again everyone,
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Old 06-29-2006, 10:42 AM   #9
Jeremy Jones
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Randomized, funtional movements done at high intensity.

The randomized and funtional parts will still be in play over the intensity. There is some benefit to that. Pitch the learning of movements that are important to real life (as opposed to machines and curls).

Intensity may come with time and experience. It will also develop as an individual wishes to shorten their overall exercise time.
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Old 06-29-2006, 11:25 AM   #10
Mike Kirkpatrick
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Learning to go at Crossfit's high intensity is a difficult then to get accustomed to and takes time, especially if you don't have an exercise background or have a typical weightlifting background (in my case powerlifting) just give her time.

As I have said, cardiovascular conditioning is not my strong suit...and Monday's WOD was my first Crossfit WOD I have ever done, and I only completed 4 rounds. Why? Because my VO2 max sucks and I'm not used to putting out that kind of effort. I certainly could have done more than 4 rounds as far as my muscular strength/muscular endurance goes, but the cardio was killer for me. I will say, though, that I loved it because it was a big challenge for me.

So my advice (I am no expert, obviously) is to continue with the regular WOD's and encourage her to try harder...I think she will eventually give a greater and greater effort as she becomes more accustomed to the workouts.
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