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Old 12-09-2006, 09:59 PM   #1
Zachary Kelly
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As a 5'7" 140 lb. male with a very high aerobic fitness level, I've struggled with Crossfit for the past two years. I've read everything, practiced until I can do all the exercises, and started and restarted a hundred times.

No matter how much I scale down the WOD or how much high-quality food I eat, after three to six weeks I always end up exhausted, destroyed, and completely discouraged. I've only posted my WOD stats one time over the years because they've been so consistently pitiful. Once I made myself do "Murph" to the end and was pretty much bedridden for a week. I could just give up and say I'm a wuss, but I do some pretty hardcore sports and am definitely not a wuss.

Then I read the article by Mark Rippetoe on "The Crossfit Total." I really appreciated his observation that it is much harder for us puny aerobic types to finish many Crossfit workouts than it is for the big muscle guys and girls.

I liked his concept of building basic functional strength through a few key exercises done well and progressively. So I bought "Starting Strength" and have been doing the suggested beginner's workout from the back of the book.

For anyone who really wants to do Crossfit and the above sounds familiar, let me say that Starting Strength is a huge help. I'm experiencing big gains that I can handle physically without falling apart, and I'm feeling good about my workout efforts for the first time in years. I think about six to nine months or so of really consistent work on Mark's program will give me a decent shot at success with full-on Crossfit.

Note I've also added pullups as a finish to every Starting Strength workout. I generally do "pyramids" just to try to build up the volume (1-2-3-4-3-2-1, etc.) and that method is giving me noticeable gains.

I've probably made other mistakes as well, and I'd be glad to hear any thoughts from other Crossfitters... But I really do want to say that for those of us with thighs the size of most of your biceps, getting some basic muscle from the "Starting Strength" concepts and program is a GREAT way forward.


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Old 12-09-2006, 10:34 PM   #2
Travis Loest
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Zach, great job, you tenacity has proven to be your greatest asset. Keep plugging away at it.
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Old 12-10-2006, 08:33 AM   #3
Craig Van De Walker
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Zach,
I am going to jump around a lot with a few ideas so please excuse if this seems un-focused

I think you are probably on the right track.

I would add that you gotta eat. I assume you have not experienced significant weight gain or you would have mentioned it.

In your stalled attempts at crossfit were you:
*consistently doing the warmup? Not just once in awhile but 5-6 times a week?
*have you read the start here section, FAQ and intructions on scaling
*were you killing youself doing a lot of LSD work could the additional CF workouts be just pushing you over the abys of severe "under-recovery"

I would highly suggest spending some money on back issues of the CF-Journal and getting a subscription.

Is there any way you can get to a facility with a crossfit trainer. A cosultation and a few workouts would be money well spent. Many people have a hard time with proper self evaluation and a coach can really help.

I would like to close by saying Crossfit is not just the WOD.
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Old 12-16-2006, 01:11 PM   #4
Carrie Klumpar
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Zach,

Building a good strength base is a great way to get started and set you up for better success with CF overall, especially if you already have relatively good endurance. It's always tough for endurance/aerobic athletes to switch to anaerobic stuff (one of the reasons we're so in favor of the anaerobic stuff to begin with, as it does carry over to aerobic work).

Make sure you are scaling the CF workouts way back in the beginning. No matter how fit you are in your chosen aerobic sport(s), the weightlifting and anaerobic aspects of most WODs will toast you in a very small fraction of the time you can spend on your usual stuff.

Glad to hear that you found the Starting Strength program and are having good results with it. I'd also second what Craig says in this thread about making sure you're eating well (adequate protein and fat) and eating enough overall.

Good luck, and keep us posted on how your training goes.
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Old 12-16-2006, 02:51 PM   #5
Mark Rippetoe
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Zach: Looks to me like the bulk of the problem, if you'll excuse the expression, is the part about 5'7" and 140. I have a guy in the gym right now that has gained 31 lbs. in the past 13 weeks. Granted, he's taller than you, but he is solving the same problem you have. Most people at 5'7" need to weigh 175 to get CF done well, because power production and its dependent variable force production are limited by a lack of muscle mass. Craig and Carrie's suggestion is the most relevant here: you need to eat more. I'll go out on a limb and say that if you're not getting 3500 cal/day, your not eating enough to grow.

Ask Mike Street his opinion about this. It will be quite relevant. And thanks for the nice words about the book.
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Old 12-16-2006, 07:19 PM   #6
Pierre Auge
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I know where you're coming from at 5'5" 140+~lbs I'm strong enough to complete 99% of the WODs as RX'd but its a death defying act every time. My aim is 160lbs and Rip reminds me almost weekly to eat more and I thank him for that! I figure the 5500 calories a day I am consuming (and avoiding getting run over by cars from now on) should do the trick..

I was lucky enough to start CrossFit with a relatively high strength to weight ratio, but still the added leverage would be handy!
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Old 12-16-2006, 07:27 PM   #7
Travis Loest
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why is it that the people that have weight are trying to get rid of it and the people that don't are trying to get it?
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Old 12-16-2006, 07:45 PM   #8
Mark Rippetoe
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Pierre, if you are eating 5500 calories a day, then I am a female kangaroo with a Sonic Drive-In franchise and a heroin habit.
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Old 12-16-2006, 07:55 PM   #9
Travis Loest
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hehe, kangaroo....
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Old 12-16-2006, 08:32 PM   #10
Pierre Auge
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I'll count them for you Rip!

Aaaand (CR@P) I was wrong:

500gr lean ground beef - 880kcal
Milk - 816kcal
Half Dozen Eggs - 612kcal
1 Beef Liver 135gr - 182kcal
4 Avocados - 1610kcal

= 4100kcal

Hey I was off but I wasn't that far off. I had initially started eating half this amount last week without the avocados but I started with this on Monday. Oh and I throw in a few pieces of side pork every once in a while and I can't find any calorie counts for it so if I were to make an estimate I'm closer to 5000kcal.

I eat all of this between 6:00pm and 10:00pm and it isn't that hard with the small amount of carbs included... As I had mentioned to you in an email, Costco my friend... Female Kangaroo or not its still a lot of food, and if you are right and I continue consistently I will hypertrophy... Well we'll find out!

Jesus you're funny!

http://www.crossfit.com/discus/messages/20/34088.jpg
http://www.crossfit.com/discus/messages/20/34089.jpg
http://www.crossfit.com/discus/messages/20/34090.jpg

I haven't even started digging into the pork roasts and chops yet! Everytime you say eat more I take it to heart, so I cut out carbs to make room for more calories, because I just can't take the carb load required to make the calories. Until I'm now at the point where all my carbs are coming from Milk and Beef Liver. Oh and Nestle hot chocolate mix.

Can we say ZONE OUT THE WINDOW!!! Oh well it looks more like a metabolic diet with intermittent fasting...
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