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Old 11-30-2010, 09:57 PM   #1
Dave Witt
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How should I get started? (long)

I've just recently discovered CrossFit & am excited to get into it. In the past I've followed the traditional workouts in Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Body for Life, etc, with little success. My biggest downfall w/ those workouts has been sticking w/ it. I'd work out for a month or two, then stop for a while, start back up again, fall off the wagon again, & so on, for years. At this point, I haven't worked out for probably 6 months or more, & don't really have any excuses, other than being lazy--I'm not a morning person, so when I "try" to get up to work out b/4 work, I'll reset the alarm & skip the workout. At night, I'm too busy w/ kids, dinner, exhausted from work, etc. I'd like to get into the habit of working out in the am so I can't make any excuses the rest of the day, & it gets the metabolism going & sets the tone for the day.
I have everything I need in my garage: power rack w/ olympic weights (although they're NOT bumper plates), power block dumbbells, 10 lb medicine ball, heavy punching bag & speed bag, jump rope, treadmill, recumbent bike, gymnastic rings, & even a large tractor tire & sledgehammer for tire flipping & pounding.
I'm at my heaviest now (196 lbs, 6', just turned 45) & really feeling out of shape. I have "toothpicks" for legs & carry most of my weight in my gut. Sorry for the long backstory (probably not even needed). My question is how should I get started w/ Crossfit? Should I first get into some semblance of shape by the traditional running/lifting weights, until I firm up the flab? Should I work only on getting all of the CF exercises down first until I'm competent w/ form? Should I focus on leg work & metcons to work on my weak spots? Or should I start right in on the WOD's, scaling it down to a manageable effort for me (like the pups or on the porch BrandX scaling?) My flexibility is poor, too, so I was wondering if I should do a CF WOD one day, then work on a Mobility WOD the next? I really like what I see on the CF website, & would like to get into the best shape of my life, but I want to do it correctly & not injure myself or burn out by jumping in too fast.
There is just so much good info on this site, it's almost overwhelming. I could spend a yr just reading posts, watching vids, & getting nothing done! (I do plan on not renewing my subs to MH & MF anymore & subscribing to the CF Journal!)
This site makes me think that maybe that AM/PM ad is wrong--maybe there is such a thing as "too much good stuff"!
Thanks for any guidance you experienced CF'rs can give me, in the way of routines I should follow, or how to find my motivation to get my *ss up in the am & do this thing. (I know, I know--I have to find my "why"...)
Dave.
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Old 11-30-2010, 10:39 PM   #2
Jason Calzada
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Re: How should I get started? (long)

I am in the same boat as Dave, any help would be appreciated.
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Old 11-30-2010, 10:48 PM   #3
Eric Montgomery
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Re: How should I get started? (long)

You don't need to "get in shape" before you start CF--just do CF scaled down. Running and standard lifting weights won't really do anything for getting you into CF-ready shape. "Leg work," whatever that is, probably won't help much either. Unless you mean squats and deadlifts.

BrandX (WFS) is a good way to go for scaled workouts. Read this (WFS) if you haven't already. Learning proper form on all the major movements is pretty much essential before you start trying to go fast or heavy on the workouts, so if you can't find a good coach to help you, you should probably watch everything you can off the CFJ and post videos for critique on the Digital Coaching thread. Start with light weight, reinforce proper mechanics, and get them down with consistency before you start trying to blow through WODs. But again I'd say a coach or affiliate is a good place to start, even if you just go there long enough to do their Elements or Foundations or whatever they call their intro classes.

Every other day is probably a good way to start with the WODs to prevent overtraining, but you can do the mobility WODs every day. Flexibility is something you can do daily, it's not like strength or metcon work that is a stress that requires recovery and adaptation.
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Old 12-01-2010, 03:39 AM   #4
Joe Dagen
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Re: How should I get started? (long)

Hi Dave,

I'm not really an authority on anything, but I put some comments below yours. All of this is just my two cents...


I've just recently discovered CrossFit & am excited to get into it.

Cool.

In the past I've followed the traditional workouts in Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Body for Life, etc, with little success. My biggest downfall w/ those workouts has been sticking w/ it. I'd work out for a month or two, then stop for a while, start back up again, fall off the wagon again, & so on, for years.

Okay, so consistency has been a challenge for you in the past.

At this point, I haven't worked out for probably 6 months or more, & don't really have any excuses, other than being lazy--

Saying you're lazy doesn't explain why you haven't been working out - it's not an excuse, it's another description of not working out.

I'm not a morning person, so when I "try" to get up to work out b/4 work, I'll reset the alarm & skip the workout. At night, I'm too busy w/ kids, dinner, exhausted from work, etc.

These seem substantive. You have a life that is full of other things: work, family, etc. Fitness is tough to fit in when you haven't been doing it for years. For you, it is still a daily question of "will I work out today" rather than "when will I work out today."

I'd like to get into the habit of working out in the am so I can't make any excuses the rest of the day, & it gets the metabolism going & sets the tone for the day.

I like working out in the morning, too, but just to get it over with. "So I can't make any excuses" sounds like you're going to be pretty hard on yourself if you miss workouts, don't perform up to your standards, or otherwise act in a different way than you think you should. This can lead to being critical of yourself and your progress. If you workout today, great. If you don't, great. Fitness is a process and only one component of a rich life.

I have everything I need in my garage: power rack w/ olympic weights (although they're NOT bumper plates), power block dumbbells, 10 lb medicine ball, heavy punching bag & speed bag, jump rope, treadmill, recumbent bike, gymnastic rings, & even a large tractor tire & sledgehammer for tire flipping & pounding.

Nice. I'm not a fan of gyms, though I know allot of people are (and with good reason.) You don't need bumper plates.

I'm at my heaviest now (196 lbs, 6', just turned 45) & really feeling out of shape. I have "toothpicks" for legs & carry most of my weight in my gut.

Okay, so I will assume you're not a strong guy. No problem. Most people, including me, aren't strong guys. I would guess that on some of the fundamental lifts (squat, dead, clean, etc) your numbers are pretty low. You may want to spend some time reading about Starting Strength as well as Crossfit.

Sorry for the long backstory (probably not even needed). My question is how should I get started w/ Crossfit?

Cool, onto your questions.

Should I first get into some semblance of shape by the traditional running/lifting weights, until I firm up the flab?

No. Inside of this question is an assumption of being "in shape" and needing to reach some standard before beginning to exercise. You don't need to prepare to begin working out. However, you will probably need to begin well below the intensity and duration you think you can handle. Again, SS reading would be valuable for you. There is also no such thing as "firming up the flab."

Should I work only on getting all of the CF exercises down first until I'm competent w/ form?

No, but you should focus on form every single time you do a movement. This is one benefit of going to a real gym with folks who know how to do the lifts. It's all fun and games until you reach your limits on power clean and throw yourself and a hefty amount of weight halfway across the gym. An injured person can't train. An injured person can't work. An injured person can't hold their child. Be safe about how you train. Form is everything. It doesn't matter if Joe Gymrat can squat 400 lbs if his knees are inside of his feet and his back is rounded. He is about a minute from an injury and his life will be severely impacted.


Should I focus on leg work & metcons to work on my weak spots?

Your body is a whole system, not individual parts. Training your legs independent of your core and upper body is silly, particularly in an untrained guy. Your legs aren't your weak spot - your entire body is. This isn't meant to sound critical but to get you to reorient to your body.

Or should I start right in on the WOD's, scaling it down to a manageable effort for me (like the pups or on the porch BrandX scaling?)

Scale things way, way down to start with. Anyone can train themselves into the ground. It takes thoughtful programming and consideration to slowly accumulate true fitness.

My flexibility is poor, too, so I was wondering if I should do a CF WOD one day, then work on a Mobility WOD the next?

Flexibility comes with exercise. Proper form on the lifts with some dedicated stretching will get you limber. It will take some time, but don't rush things.

I really like what I see on the CF website, & would like to get into the best shape of my life, but I want to do it correctly & not injure myself or burn out by jumping in too fast.

I like this sentence. It seems to me that this is the heart of why you're posting. Some guideposts: read the "start here" tab on the left side of the Crossfit main page. Read up on Starting Strength. Diet is such a large part of this adventure that it needs its own specific post - simply put, it sounds like your diet is probably full of sugars and starches and needs significantly more clean fuel. Dietary change is hard. If you are like most people and addicted to sugars, kicking them will be challenging - find help and support here during the first month. If you don't do a Starting Strength program, finish each Crossfit workout feeling like you could have done significantly more - this will help prevent burnout. I think I may have posted a reply to someone's topic about this a while back. Read the forums. Read about nutrition. Stay connected with the other valued parts of your life.

There is just so much good info on this site, it's almost overwhelming. I could spend a yr just reading posts, watching vids, & getting nothing done! (I do plan on not renewing my subs to MH & MF anymore & subscribing to the CF Journal!)

Getting into real fitness and nutrition is an eye opening experience but at its core is very simple: eat clean, progressively exercise is a way that mimics the conditions and movements that nature selected for us, sleep. Do these in the context of the rest of your life - family, work, recreation. That is a life that lives well.


This site makes me think that maybe that AM/PM ad is wrong--maybe there is such a thing as "too much good stuff"!
Thanks for any guidance you experienced CF'rs can give me, in the way of routines I should follow, or how to find my motivation to get my *ss up in the am & do this thing. (I know, I know--I have to find my "why"...)
Dave.[/quote]

Take a look for a post I wrote to another person about getting in touch with why you want to exercise. Hold yourself and your expectations lightly. In a very real sense, every day you make choices that carve out a path for the rest of your life. Some of those choices (what you eat, when you eat, if you exercise, how you exercise) relate to your general health and well being more than others (will my boss get off my back if I get this proposal done today, should I help my kid with homework, maybe I'll cook my wife dinner). Make choices that align with the kind of life you want to live. Fitness and strength should, I believe, be a core part of everyone's life. Today, you've posted on a fitness forum some questions about how to train. That's a step toward a particular horizon. You're reading this response. That's another little step. You will probably read more today about fitness/nutrition. That's another. And even if you take a step toward a different horizon (eating poorly for a day, skipping a workout, not concentrating on form) you can still, moment by moment, choose to turn back to the direction you want to go. There is no success or failure, just little steps towards one direction or another. You seem to have some indication of what direction you want to walk. What are you going to do today to continue in that direction? What will you do tomorrow? Next week? Next month? Next year?
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Old 12-01-2010, 07:49 AM   #5
Michal Hobbs
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Re: How should I get started? (long)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Dagen View Post
Take a look for a post I wrote to another person about getting in touch with why you want to exercise. Hold yourself and your expectations lightly. In a very real sense, every day you make choices that carve out a path for the rest of your life. Some of those choices (what you eat, when you eat, if you exercise, how you exercise) relate to your general health and well being more than others (will my boss get off my back if I get this proposal done today, should I help my kid with homework, maybe I'll cook my wife dinner). Make choices that align with the kind of life you want to live. Fitness and strength should, I believe, be a core part of everyone's life. Today, you've posted on a fitness forum some questions about how to train. That's a step toward a particular horizon. You're reading this response. That's another little step. You will probably read more today about fitness/nutrition. That's another. And even if you take a step toward a different horizon (eating poorly for a day, skipping a workout, not concentrating on form) you can still, moment by moment, choose to turn back to the direction you want to go. There is no success or failure, just little steps towards one direction or another. You seem to have some indication of what direction you want to walk. What are you going to do today to continue in that direction? What will you do tomorrow? Next week? Next month? Next year?
That's literally the best advice I've read in several months. Major props for this.
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:34 AM   #6
Meghan Reid
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Re: How should I get started? (long)

Welcome! In a practical sense, I'm pretty sure that the MWODS from kstarr are designed to be done in conjunction with your workouts, meaning you can do them right after a WOD or on a rest day. I guess if you're resting you may need to do something light to get warm. I know I can't do jack with my hamstrings if I haven't warmed them up, so it's pointless to try and stretch them otherwise.

Other mobility stuff like foam rolling or thoracic extension can be done whenever. I spent 10 minutes doing a pec opening exercise in front of the tv yesterday. Yes, I'm cool.
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:56 AM   #7
Brian Bedell
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Re: How should I get started? (long)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michal Hobbs View Post
That's literally the best advice I've read in several months. Major props for this.
That is great advice, I actually gave my gf the same advice last week.
Anyone, well everyone actually, has goals of being in shape, lean, or rich, wealthy, in a great relationship, etc. Those are great, but in order to achieve those long term goals you need to make the correct small daily decisions and choices to get there and that is where most people fail.
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Old 12-01-2010, 12:57 PM   #8
Michelle Simpson
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Re: How should I get started? (long)

Every single day I get up and have choices.

Those choices are going to do one of two things, move me closer to my goal or move me backwards.

Before I decide to workout, or eat a meal or go on a shopping spree, I ask myself the simple question "will this decision move you closer to your goal?"

Either way I decide to go at that moment I "own" the decision and the knowledge of whether I'm getting closer or further from my goal.
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:37 PM   #9
Milton Brisson
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Re: How should I get started? (long)

Hey Dave, I am (was) sort of like you....I am not a morning person - and have kids and family things to take care of at night...I work out on my lunch breaks from work - if you are close enough to home, this may be an option. I find that with the limited time, it helps me to keep my intensity up!

As for starting with the WoDs - as was suggested earlier, every other day to start will help you ease into it, but I would add that you should not time yourself on them either for the first couple of weeks - pick a number of sets or rounds that you think is challenging and attainable, and go for it. Work on form over speed, this should help you to not get hurt. Thats how I started.

Welcome to the boards, and good luck! If you need help with motivation, read some of the threads in the "Testimonial" (WFS) section - and beleive that that can be you!
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Old 12-01-2010, 09:59 PM   #10
James A Stevens
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Re: How should I get started? (long)

Short answer to a long post - you keep falling off the wagon 'cause you need a real goal. It isn't enough to just want to get fit, or lose weight you need something to aim for that means something. Maybe could be "staying alive long enough to see my kids have their own kids" or something like that but it has to have real strong deep meaning to you personally.

Me? I didn't have the stick-to-itiveness for fitness for 41 years of my life. I had been a champion on again off again exerciser, skinny with chicken legs and smoked (at one stage years ago I was up to 3 - 4 packs a day!). The change was when I gave up smoking on my 40th birthday, I had been saying I was going to do that on this particular day for the previous 3 years and I pulled it off. Instead I just ate like a horse and grew 30lbs worth in a year and realised I needed to do something about it.

So I started to exercise, like I used to in the Army in my younger days. Then I found a better reason, I could get back to something I really enjoyed, serving in the Army Reserve and that has driven my exercise for the last 5 years solid, unfortunately on the 10 months has been Crossfit, but . . .

In answer to how to start - start, you may suck at exercise but if you have a goal, you will keep trying. I could barely run more then 150 yards when I started "getting into shape" but now, well on Saturday I am going to do a 10km Mud Run and I will love every messy moment!

Welcome and Good luck
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