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

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Old 06-02-2007, 12:09 PM   #1
Chris Mcgaw
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Well my parents have expressed interest in getting fit and I am eager to extend the incredible improvements I have experienced practicing cross-fit with them. They are, however, much older than me and their goals are not elite fitness but much more modest weight loss and cardiovascular health. Below is a projected workout plan for them both with rationale supplied for each section. Any questions, comments, suggestions and critiques would be fantastic.

Primary Goals:
Safely reintroduce their bodies to physical activity and rigor.
Increase cardiovascular health.
Lower excess weight.

Weight and Resistance Training:
Circuit Machine Workout - work the resistance machine circuits at ~75% of their max effort weight for a week with ~3-5 set ~7-9 rep workout. Goal: increase joint strength, tendon strength, bring back some bone density. The circuit machines are totally isolated, stable and relatively safe to use. A good starting point to safely determine their moveable weights.

Medicine Ball - variations on wallball, medicine ball tosses, medicine ball situps etc. Goal: begin development of pilometric strength and core strength. The shock of receiving an incoming ball would aid in the goal of increased bone density and tendon strength. Wallball and the like can be very taxing if done aggressively so a cardio benefit can be had.

Bodyweight Training (pushups, pullups, situps [leg lifts or other non-injurious standins], squats) - Bodyweight resistance is a real world resistance that produces a real world, applicable strong. Goals: An excellent and no frills way to begin the transition into cross-fit methodology. Joint and core strength will be increased directly using weight that is difficult to gain momentum with. Bodyweight exercises are also particularly adaptable to tabata protocol due to lacking equipment restraints in a possibly crowded gym. Drawbacks - old knees and squats may not mix. Any ideas for standin exercises? Hack squat on a machine to isolate and add stability?

Range of Motion Dumbbell work - using low to moderate weight dumbbells doing exercises such as raising arms to full wing span, extending arms directly in front etc. Goals: again core and joint strength first and foremost with weight that is safe.

Elliptical machine - compound course runs on the elliptical machine alternated with sprint series. Goals: application of the cross-fit sprint methodology to develop anaerobic muscle efficiency, force an increase in cardio strength. Drawbacks - low impact means little to no conditioning for every day activities such as walking. Bone density, especially with my mother, should be a priority.

Swimming - extended lap swim, long term large range of motion treading of water, sprint swims. Goals - swimming is about as low impact as you can get. Strength increase is found throughout the entire range of motion and emphasizes a strong core. Core strength is a major goal for both of them and will equip them to move towards a modified but more aggressive cross-fit type plan. Sprint swimming will decrease workout time but increase cardio gains. Large range of motion water treading is essentially doing arm windmills and the like, opening up your joints, focusing on range of motion rather than simply treading. Excellent joint strengthener and works the core a ton.

Cardio Bike - compound courses alternated with sprint biking series. Goals - basically the same as the elliptical machine with similar drawbacks.

Post-Workout - sauna soaking to aid recovery. Stretching.

So that is basically my starting plan for them. Hopefully the workout methodology outlined will be safe for them. I expect to push them to discomfort regularly but I want to avoid injuries like the plague (my goal is to help them, not hurt them). Designing the workouts with cross-fit methodology should net a workout that is ~20-30 minutes long and rigorous.

Please, any suggestions, links to similar workouts with similar goals, advice etc. Any help would be fantastic. Thanks.

- Chris McGaw

PS this will all be done commensurate with their stopping drinking coke and a reduction in diet (i.e. stopping over eating).

I think I will post specific workouts that I develop for this topic once I begin training them. This thread may well function as a sort of workout journal for this project.
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Old 06-02-2007, 12:40 PM   #2
John Seiler
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You're WAY overthinking this. I see this is your first post. Have you been doing CrossFit yet? If so, you'll know the benefits first hand. Don't deny your parents these benefits. Everything stays the same, it just gets scaled.

For ideas on scaling, check out Brand X martial arts (WFS):

From "What is CrossFit":
The CrossFit program is designed for universal scalability making it the perfect application for any committed individual regardless of experience. We’ve used our same routines for elderly individuals with heart disease and cage fighters one month out from televised bouts. We scale load and intensity; we don’t change programs.

The needs of Olympic athletes and our grandparents differ by degree not kind. Our terrorist hunters, skiers, mountain bike riders and housewives have found their best fitness from the same regimen.

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Old 06-02-2007, 12:46 PM   #3
Karin Jonczak
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My only word of caution is to scale WAY back so that your parents don't get so sore that they never want to work out again. Start light, and then go even LIGHTER initially. Its important to make them excited, not crippled about xFit.

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Old 06-02-2007, 01:03 PM   #4
Connie Morreale
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many people who want basic health and fitness will be overwhelmed with crossfit concepts unless they are scaled in a huge way!
seriously, if they are overweight and coming from a sedentary lifestyle, i would start them walking 4 times a week with a few body weight exercises at the end (squats, modified push-ups, some sort of rowing exercise). once they can walk 30 minutes and feel good about walking briskly, you can add other days in there. just dont do the strength work daily. oder people who express interest in basic lifestyle changes are not likely going to warm up to a gung ho program like crossfit. if they get walking and that is getting them off the couch then that is a huge step. you dont want to frighten them into thinking they may as well not even try since it is so far from where they are now.
think of it like a college may take years before they feel the level of committment you and i do on fitness.
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Old 06-02-2007, 02:18 PM   #5
Kevin McKay
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ouch, I am 39... hey 40 is not that old. Every week I do 40 x 3 dead hang pull ups 40 is just a number.

(Message edited by kmckay on June 02, 2007)
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Old 06-02-2007, 04:23 PM   #6
Craig Van De Walker
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I am not sure you realize how many of the hardcore cross-fitters are well over 40.

As far as scaling it should be done for anyone new, I would say a young male with a big ego is probably more at risk for trouble than an older person who has nothing to prove.

Read "start here", "FAQs"

I also agree with John that you are making this too complicated.
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Old 06-02-2007, 04:55 PM   #7
Darrell E. White
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From my standard post in the comments section:
Which translates to 47 years old, male, 153 pounds, CF Total 715. I started CF 17 months ago, not overweight but definitely "overfat". Just start them walking and doing the "Buttercup" version of the WOD from Brand X. I can't recall who it is but one of the CF'ers in the community has a "starter kit" web site as well. Start them on "Zone Lite" (Zonish ratios with little or no bread, pasta, and rice) and watch them fly.

Simple, simple, simple. Good luck.

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Old 06-02-2007, 06:13 PM   #8
Dale F. Saran
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Ah, youth. It does give you a perspective on how you're perceived by your kids, doesn't it? Over 40 = cheating your undertaker.
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Old 06-02-2007, 06:54 PM   #9
John Seiler
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Karin and Connie bring up good points. The scaling for previously inactive people needs to be HUGE. As for not intimidating them with CROSSFIT(!) I agree. But they don't even need to know it's CrossFit. "Mom, Dad, we're going to do some basic functional movements mixed in such a way that we get your heart rate up a little."

I also think it would be good to start with 1 day on, 1 day off and increase the workloads slowly like everything else.

(Message edited by John Seiler on June 02, 2007)
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Old 06-02-2007, 07:21 PM   #10
Connie Morreale
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good advice david!

i must be blind...where does chris say they are over 40???
if that is an issue...look at the profiles of the posters. i'd say 40% are over 40.

one other word of warning: in my field i have seen the good intentions of family members result in frustration when they try to help relatives/spouses. not trying to be negative, just have a heads up about the possibility.
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