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

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Old 04-23-2008, 02:20 AM   #1
Paul Wiltshire
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all-round fitness

Hi guys,

Intrigued by the idea of cross training, how it incorporates, strength, speed, endurance, stamina etc through all energy systems... compared to sheer cardio, sheer weights etc at the exclusivity of the other. In my exercise lifetime (last 10 years or so), I've tried hardcore CV training (6/7 x per week runs or swims with no weights) and I've tried bulking on muscle (6 weights sessions per week with no cardio), but both left me feeling inadequate and unsatisfied in one way. All cardio left me skinny as a rake, although I loved the toned 6pack, whereas the weights left me bulky and more filled out but with a layer of fat I despise (history of obesity as a teen, 19 stone).

So, to the point! I've come to the conclusion that all-round fitness, aesthetics, looking and feeling good is all about variety. If you put all your eggs in one basket (CV or weights etc) then you're inevitably going to lean towards one end of the spectrum, missing out on the benefits of the other, and boredom will set in. So instead of focusing all my energy on long, endurance cardio sessions, or on bulking on the weight in the gym, I've designed a training plan that incorporates a bit of everything:

Per week:
2 x full body weights sessions (5/6 exercises, 4 sets of 8-12 reps of each... i.e. squats, flat DB bench, bent over row, shoulder press, upright row and dips).
2 x high intensity interval cardio sessions- 1 row, 1 bike (each is 20 mins: 1 min of 'stable/recovery' speed with 30 secs of 'sprint').
2 x 40 min steady state cardio sessions- 1 run, 1 swim.
1 x total rest day.

The idea being, i'd be training all the energy systems each week, from lots of different angles, giving muscles time to recover, stopping boredom, and keeping the body guessing and not plateauing. Ideally this way, I'd keep a bit of muscle on me, drop the body fat down low enough to reveal my beloved 6pack again, and get back a lean, toned, sporting physique to be proud of.

The reason for posting, other than to get feedback as to whether you guys think the plan is feasible and fits my wants, is just to allay a few worries i have. I fear that perhaps doing all these types of different exercise might just simply cancel each other out.. i.e. the endurance will simply burn off the muscle and i'll stay in some state of limbo, not seeing any physique improvements... my head tells me this is wrong though. I just need confirmation that the game plan is right, and I've got all the dedication to follow it though.

Thanks peeps, looking forward to some replies

Paul

P.s. sorry bout the essay, hope you havent aged too much reading this!
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Old 04-23-2008, 03:20 AM   #2
Tony Hill
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Re: all-round fitness

I think the answer you are most likely to find here is that while your program is varied, it is still fairly rigid on the structure.

You should take a look at the CrossFit WOD structure, or the lack thereof. Outside of following a 3 on and 1 off work cycle, you will see hundreds of different workouts that combine exercises in numerous ways. A combination of power lifting, olympic lifts, gymnastics and bodyweight work, kettlebell training, and cardio events are mixed in ways that make you hurt before you start the workout.

As you mention in your post, variety stops the boredom. CrossFit has never gotten boring to me in the least, because there is always another new skill to learn or develop or a new personal best to strive for.

If you go for performance, dial in your diet, and crank up the intensity, CF has the added benefit of giving you a pretty lean and strong appearance as well. Take a look at the main website, read the CrossFit FAQs, and especially checkout the "What is Fitness" free trial issue of the CF Journal.

You'll find the answers you are looking for in those resources.
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Old 04-23-2008, 03:29 AM   #3
Anthony Bainbridge
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Re: all-round fitness

You applied for an account on the CROSSFIT forums.

You waited for Lynne to approve your account on the CROSSFIT forums.

You post a question about exercise variety on the CROSSFIT forums.

Why not just try ... oh I dunno ... CROSSFIT??
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Old 04-23-2008, 07:42 AM   #4
Steven Low
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Re: all-round fitness

Your problem is diet, not the workout routines you've been doing.

If you eat enough to maintain muscle mass while doing "cardio" then you won't lose muscle. If you eat too much while heavy lifting then you will gain fat.

Anyway, what Anthony said. Do CF and see how it works. GET YOUR DIET RIGHT though.
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Old 04-24-2008, 01:42 AM   #5
Paul Wiltshire
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Re: all-round fitness

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Bainbridge View Post
You applied for an account on the CROSSFIT forums.

You waited for Lynne to approve your account on the CROSSFIT forums.

You post a question about exercise variety on the CROSSFIT forums.

Why not just try ... oh I dunno ... CROSSFIT??
Ok no need to be like that!

I'm just testing the water, willing to try anything to be honest but just researching it all first!

I was really just trying to clarify whether doing weights, endurance cardio and intense cardio would be beneficial or whether they'd simply cancel each other out and leave me with no physique improvements at all, as my main query to be honest... anyone?
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Old 04-24-2008, 02:33 AM   #6
Charlie A Nilsson
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Re: all-round fitness

Im sorry but just to repeat what they said above.. try crossfit.
We do mix cardio both hard and a little slower and weightlifting just about every week.
And people do get gains, although if you are looking in to long endurance races like marathon or triathlon it would be wise to increase the long cardio a little more.

But if you want to mix in more cardio then what usually comes up on the mainpage.
i would do a few more runs a week, just make sure to have few hours gap in between.
you could even do some of Crossfit endurance WODs in the morning.
(search for Crossfit endurance)
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Old 04-24-2008, 03:05 AM   #7
Patrick Haskell
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Re: all-round fitness

To answer your question more directly (and yes, the answer is "try crossfit," whether the WOD on the main page or on an affiliate that seems more in line with your personal goals [although your goals sound sufficiently generalized that the main page WOD is more than adequate],) cardio and strength training do not cancel each other out. In fact, many of the WODs are premised on maximizing power generation, that is work (high volume of moderately heavy lifting) done over (relatively) short time periods. Most of the "Girls" WODs have you doing strength work and cardio work at the same time - not on different days. Of course, days are also spent training longer-time domain endurance pathways and days are spent working on maximal strength. The combination of these varied WODs is a powerful stimulus promoting general physical fitness.

Give it a month and see how you like your progress. You may find that your performance improve, but your body aesthetics aren't responding. Then, you'll have to do as Steven suggests and re-evaluate your diet. As an added bonus, your performance will improve even more then.
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Old 04-24-2008, 06:54 AM   #8
Nick Cummings
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Re: all-round fitness

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Bainbridge View Post
You applied for an account on the CROSSFIT forums.

You waited for Lynne to approve your account on the CROSSFIT forums.

You post a question about exercise variety on the CROSSFIT forums.

Why not just try ... oh I dunno ... CROSSFIT??
This thread ended right here. You are trying to reinvent the wheel. Take the easy route and stand on the shoulders of giants. Wow, how many cliche lines can I fit into one post. =)
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Old 04-24-2008, 08:51 AM   #9
Emily Mattes
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Re: all-round fitness

I want to re-emphasize what Steven said. If body fat is your problem, diet is the answer. It sucks, because working out is so much more fun, but 80% of your body fat loss is going to be from your diet.

As for your training program, you are basically describing Crossfit, only even less varied.
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