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

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Old 11-10-2005, 11:58 AM   #1
Michael A Martinez
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Hello Crossfitters!

I'm the FNG here and I'm looking for a bit of help. I have read the archives over the last week and a half using "firefighter" key words and I'm still confused regarding my approach to CF. I understand that "actual" firefighting is anaerobic in nature, but common wisdom dictates running and lifting as fitness in the FF community, but common wisdom are wrong or maybe not, perhaps a little depending on application... (At least that is what I gather, and it’s confusing)

I've been blessed with a slot in the Tucson Fire Dept.'s academy starting on January 30, 2006. I intend to make the absolute most of this academy both physically and mentally. I'm half way through this semesters EMT-B class and I'm taking another fire science class. So my study skills should be adequate in the beginning, but may need to be modified depending on the results. Either way, I can't do much about that aspect now...

That said; I'm woefully uninformed in regards to what the best fitness approach should be for a person that is three months away from an academy. I understand the fire academy concentrates on "core" muscles e.g. pull-ups, sit-ups, and push-ups, with aerobic exercises e.g. Tower climbs, and 1.5mi. - 5mi. runs. However, I’m not sure how I should be preparing. Should I do the WOD as Rx’ed or should I use the WOD randomizer an have at it? Or Should I concentrate on pull-ups, push-ups and sit-ups?

Prior (about 3 months) to finding CF and doing my first WOD on Sun. Nov. 06; I was running 5 miles on Sun. & Tues. I was also running 3 miles on Mon, Thurs, and Fri. with 12 “parking garage stair climbs” @ 1.5 miles. I would also bang out 30 push-ups at the top of every stair climb. Or 10 pull-ups depending on how I felt.

My First WOD on Sun. (my training week starts on Sun.) was the “Murph”, and I broke it down to 20 sets of 5-10-15. I got to round 15 before my arms failed, but I finished with the mile run. I did Mon. and Tues. WOD as Rx’ed and I took Wednesday off… nothing… because I was a pretty dang sore. I may give the randomizer a whirl today as my shoulders are still yelling at me…

I'm looking for advice as to how I should approach the last couple of months of training before I get a shot at my dream job. I “think” CF is the way to go, but I’m unsure how to incorporate into a “program” of sorts for the academy. One thing for sure is I like CF so far… Maybe I’m just overly nervous… I would really appreciate any advice or criticism.

Best Regards,

Michael

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Old 11-10-2005, 01:47 PM   #2
Don Stevenson
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Michael,

Very simply. Do the WOD as posted as much as you can and also do a little bit of practice of the elements of any fitness tests you have to pass.

A solid three months of crossfit will have you way ahead of the guys who are jogging and doing pushups for 90% of their training.
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Old 11-10-2005, 02:33 PM   #3
Steven Stackpole
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Mike
I'm on the Job 13 years.

"What do I do?"

Exactly what Don said.

Just do the WOD's as they come up from day to day, to the best of your abilities.

Steve
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Old 11-11-2005, 08:16 PM   #4
Michael A Martinez
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Thanks Guys!

I appreciate the advice!
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Old 11-12-2005, 11:42 PM   #5
Sean Harrison
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I know nought of firefighting, but running up stairs would be a good idea. I've done that for fun many times myself.
It sounds like you're a little worried (I could be wrong), don't be...I'm sure you'll do fine if you're posting here.
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Old 11-13-2005, 10:14 PM   #6
Cody McGinnis
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Mike,
If your academy is like most, it will be mainly "legs and lungs". Having endurance in both is key, and by doing the WOD you should be well prepared by the end of January. Congratulations!
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Old 11-13-2005, 11:46 PM   #7
Don Stevenson
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I'd like to add to my previous answer by suggesting that you get Dan Johns DVD "Carried Away" and do some of the stuff that involves load carrying and dragging.

I'm fairly sure it'll help you with the sort of leg and lung endurance you'd need to carry equipment and or people up and down stairs etc
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Old 11-14-2005, 07:06 AM   #8
Dale S. Jansen
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Mr. Martinez, go to Bally's(tucson mall) north stair with a weighted pack. do your runs with a weighted pack. periodically, do the stairs without pack, for speed. find a hill and do repeats. do the WOD. as soon as you get out of the academy, focus on the WOD. if you continue to do long runs, run the trails in the Catalinas, Telephone in Sabino Canyon good. Maintain weighted pack runs. Start out with 15 to 20% of your bodyweight if lean. if overweight less weight until conditioned. Keep to 30 to 45 mns to start. Finally, congrats. Oh, one last thing, remember that firefighting is a lifestyle, never stop training, both physically and mentally.
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Old 11-14-2005, 08:21 AM   #9
Robert Thompson
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Find out what the PT requirements are and be able to pass them easily (pushups, situps, run). Crossfit should make you well prepared.

Be able to "go anaerobic," ("get some") recover, and "go again" - a lot of fireground evolutions require intense effort, short rest or performance of less intense effort, and then repeat. Once again, crossfit is perfect for this type of fitness.

Try to understand some of the specific tasks you'll be doing. Are you claustrophobic? A lot of people freak when they black out the mask and then have to crawl around on hands/knees while searching for a victim - and that's before they crank up the heat, put an obstacle in your path, or turn off your air tank to simulate running out of air - many have failed just because they pulled their mask.

Practice tying knots with your gloves on, and behind your back or with your eyes closed. Learn the different knots used in your academy. Working with gloves is much harder than bare handed.

Find a piece of old hose or thick rope, tie it to your car/truck bumber and pull it down the street. Most departments have a "hose pull" requirement / test at some point - learn how to lean WAY forward to improve leverage. When the hose is full of water you get it moving by leaning way forward and driving with the legs, just don't leg go or you'll be flat on your face. Sled drag or log drag would also substitute.

If you can find some old bunker gear get used to doing tasks while wearing it, with some weight on your back to simulate an airpack. Pulling your car is not too bad, but in gear with a pack is how you'll be doing it.

Find something that weighs about as much as a "high rise" pack (section of hose) that you'll have to hump up a few sections of stairs. A 40-50lb sandbag or other object that you can throw on your shoulder should work. Then carry it up and down some stairs while in gear.

Talk to people who've been through what your going to be doing. Learn what tasks or "performance objectives" people had the most difficulty with and try to understand what was it that made it difficult. It isn't always a "fitness" problem.

Find some guys in your area who compete in the "combat challenge" events and find out their training routines - it may or may not be better than crossfit, but they may have some pointers that help.

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Old 11-14-2005, 09:47 PM   #10
Adam Gagliardi
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Hey--i'm no fireman, but i have a good buddy who's in an academy right now here in Md. He basically told me that they do a ton of running with and without gear, and alot of stair running carrying hoses, etc. along with the usual pushups and situps. hope that helps, good luck
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