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Old 06-06-2008, 10:00 PM   #1
Michael Korczowski
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Question Starting from Nothing

Hey all,

I'm writing to get some advice on what to do this summer and afterward in terms of finally committing myself to fitness. I've reached a point where my quality of life really depends on it, especially since I'm 18 and I should be in the prime of health... but I'm the opposite.

I've never done systematic fitness training. I'm not overweight at all (5.11/155), but I'm BADLY out of shape. My cardiovascular health is particularly terrible — high blood pressure, high heart rate, random chest pain even — but all the other aspects of my fitness have fallen victim to an overly sedentary lifestyle — little muscle mass/tone, low flexibility, low energy, everything. It's really lame, and things needs to change because I feel like crap and I'm not enjoying life the way I should be.

I feel like I had been waiting for an exercise program that I could really trust to be the most efficient use of my time, instead of just dicking around on machines at the gym with a bunch of other people who have no idea what they're doing.

2 minutes after I found my way to crossfit.com I was totally sold. This is what I want to do.

But basically, I'm starting from nothing. I have some ideas of what to do to get off the ground and I'm hoping you guys can tell me if my plans for the summer make sense. The idea is to spend the summer (3 months or so) building a sort of foundation, and then maybe when I come back to Santa Cruz for college next fall, I could pay some visits to the Crossfit here (I read it's the original, baby!).

My plan is to get a mini-trampoline, which I've heard is some of the best cardio exercise there is. Before doing strength training I feel I need to get my heart in shape. Do people agree that mini-tramps are legit?

Next, what do people think about pilates? I was skeptical of it for a long time, since it seems so heavily marketed to middle-aged women. But after doing research I feel this could be a good way to start developing core strength and a foundation for the more serious strength training implied by something like crossfit. Do you all think it would make sense for me to, say, get a pilates DVD and use it for a few months?

I'll be in Berkeley this summer, and Berkeley Ironworks has crossfit and other classes, but I'm not sure I want to dive right in, being at the level I'm at.

Any comments/advice? Do people recommend that I should talk to some kind of trainer no matter what?

Basically, I'm wondering what people think the most PRODUCTIVE use of the next three months might be for someone in my situation who wants to start on a journey toward fitness...

Thanks in advance if people can help, I really need it. And sorry for the long post!
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Old 06-06-2008, 10:27 PM   #2
Steven Low
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Re: Starting from Nothing

Start with scaled workouts.

You do not need all these other things (tramp, pilates, etc.).

You will see 100x the benefit if you just do the workouts. If you can, try to get to an affiliate so they can help you get started.

+fix your diet. It will help.
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Old 06-07-2008, 01:35 AM   #3
Robert Newman
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Re: Starting from Nothing

Check out info on Zone Diet and Paleo foods... good dieting will make the results much faster (as Steven said). It's also a good idea to pick up a copy of Starting Strengh (www.****************.com [sfw]) to help with learning how to lift properly. There's also a program in the back of the book that involves a gallon of milk a day and massive strength gains, which isn't a bad place to start depending on your fitness goals (check around in fitness and nutrition forums for more info).

Also, Brand x martial arts has scaled back versions of the WOD on their website- something worth checking out. You can find a link to their scaled WODs on the cf main sight (their forums are down right now, otherwise I'd link) under "Start Here." In fact read everything under "Start Here," lots of good material!

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Old 06-07-2008, 06:07 AM   #4
J
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Re: Starting from Nothing

Don't be a *****.

The way I see it you've got two options:

a) CrossFit
b) Start Strength for a few months followed by CrossFit

I'm being completely serious. Ask yourself this: What do you think will give you better results for "getting your heart in shape"? Jumping around on a trampoline or doing CrossFit? Scale the workouts if you can't handle them, just don't waste your time on gimmicks like pilates or trampolines.

Quote:
Basically, I'm wondering what people think the most PRODUCTIVE use of the next three months might be for someone in my situation who wants to start on a journey toward fitness...
In my opinion, Starting Strength for three months and then CrossFit.
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Old 06-07-2008, 06:44 AM   #5
Stephen Smith
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Re: Starting from Nothing

Agree with everyone here. Doing any crossfit (and BrandX has a variety of scalings, so I'm sure one will fit you) will be better than mini trampoline/pilates, and you can ramp up as you get stronger. And you will get stronger just doing crossfit. The BEST use of the 3 months of summer would be to get Starting Strength http://www.amazon.com/Starting-Stren...2846116&sr=8-1 W/FS, and doing it over the summer. This will rapidly build your strength base, and don't discount the metabolic conditioning gains you will get from this, especially starting from a low base as you say you are.

Either path you choose will give you benefits more rapidly than just about anything else you could do, though. Good luck!
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Old 06-07-2008, 11:04 AM   #6
David Wood
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Re: Starting from Nothing

Just to put a slightly different spin on this:

Neither the Pilates nor the mini-tramp are bad. (Pilates, in particular, can be an unwelcome surprise to CrossFitters when done under an exacting instructor; I've known several strong CF'ers who found it a lot harder than expected).

But . . . let me put it this way: My 84-year old mother uses her mini-tramp faithfully. And does Pilates, faithfully. And they're very good for her . . . at 84 years old. They've kept her in fantastic shape . . . for an 84-year-old.

Are you catching my drift here?
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Old 06-07-2008, 11:18 AM   #7
Thomas Bailly
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Re: Starting from Nothing

Good job on getting your balls together to see you shouldn't be old at 18.
Now get moving, any movement is good movement if you are just getting off the couch.( walk, run, bike,skate,trampoline,whatever)
If you go to your local Crossfit, you will learn a lot, gain a lot and be challenged, you will probably enjoy it and the way it'll make you feel.It sounds like a little direction/education could be helpful for you. Plus once ,you've paid for it it will be harder for you to make up excuses for not going.
Many folks here are from diverse backgrounds and have found Crossfit to be top notch in terms of fitness. You have a great opportunity to start your fitness life/education right.
Hit it. Go. Stop all research, walk out the door and go sign up. Strike while the iron is hot.
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Old 06-07-2008, 11:45 AM   #8
Shawn Morton
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Re: Starting from Nothing

I agree with the previous posts. You are far too young to feel old. Hypertension and chest pains are no joke. I would strongly recommend seeing a physician, and possibly have a heart scan. Chest pains and hypertension were flags for me... It may seem expensive going to an affiliate, but it would be worth it to have the instruction, and have someone guide you through the proper form and cadence of the wod's and also help you set realistic goals. And you should by all means take your fitness as seriously as a matter of life and death. Keep us up to speed on your progress. Welcome to the club, and best of luck.
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Old 06-07-2008, 01:27 PM   #9
Michael Korczowski
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Re: Starting from Nothing

Thanks for all the helpful responses, guys. I'll let y'all know how I do.

I'm excited to see how far I can take this.

The crossfit messageboards & general community seem like awesome collections of people.

If others have more suggestions keep 'em coming, I'm sure this thread could be useful for future newbies as well...
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Old 06-07-2008, 03:07 PM   #10
David Meverden
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Re: Starting from Nothing

Michael, great to hear you are joining us!

I also suggest just diving into crossfit (with appropriately scaled workouts, of course) rather than doing a Starting Strength cycle first. The reason? Crossfit gets you excited more quickly about your own fitness than a strength program.

If you do SS this summer youíll get a LOT stronger. But you probably wonít feel like your heart is much better and youíll put on fat too.

If you do Crossfit training you will get stronger, faster, more powerful, and have better endurance. In short, by the end of the summer youíll be better at EVERYTHING athletic than you EVER were before, and discovering that is very rewarding (itís also a reward you wonít get from trampoline or pilates, or just running, or yoga, or any other program Iíve ever seen). Maybe later in the future youíll decide that you just havenít gotten as strong as you want and then you can do starting strength but thereís no rush to make that decision now.

So, good luck, god speed, and keep us posted on how things go this summer!
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