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

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Old 08-01-2005, 06:22 PM   #1
Brad Smith
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I knew I definitely needed to stop my focus on strength training because my endurance and aerobic capacity had really suffered. Then came along CrossFit about two weeks ago and I was giddy! Perfect timing. Although I know I'm making gains in the areas that I needed to, it's hard to watch my strength fall to the wayside on lifts that I was doing just a short time ago.

The point of CrossFit seems to me to be to NOT focus on any one facet of fitness so that you can develop in many/all of them. However, when not focusing, the overall gains come more slowly... right?

Perhaps it's because I'm older that I can't make the kind of progress I'd like and don't get the idea that I have any notion of quitting but I am curious about the rate of progress that others have experienced when following this style of training. Did/do you find overall progress to come slowly, too?

By the way, my diet is in pretty good shape so I don't think I'm being limited by that.
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Old 08-01-2005, 06:53 PM   #2
Don Stevenson
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Brad the key here is that crossfit is a general fitness program and is designed to give you a broad base of fitness.

If you have specific goals then you can layer those on top of the crossfit base.

You don't specify which lifts you were doing that are now lacking but if for example it was the olympic lifts or powerlifts then it is more than acceptable to practice those specific lifts in addition to the WOD.

Why not do your regular lifts in an abbreviated format before the WOD or do them in a seperate session if you have that luxury.
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Old 08-01-2005, 07:06 PM   #3
Craig Bucher
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How much strength do you think you have lost in the last 2 weeks? My guess would be that you haven't lost any(2 weeks is a very short time for a detraining effect) but that your body has not yet addapted to the riggors of CrossFit and that you are in a state of overreaching do to your new regimin. I bet a few days rest would allow you to produce the lifts that you did a few weeks ago.

Obviously a specialized approach is more likely to provide faster progress to a specific goal than a general fitness approach. If your goal was to simply improve your deadlift and no more, I would not suggest Crossfit. If one approach could improve all different aspects of fitness as fast as a apecialized approach could improve each, a single athlete could dominate all sports; but we know that isn't going to happen. We can reach 90-95% in many endevours, but to obtain 99% in one we must specialize and let most others drop off.

If you have specialized in the past, a crossfit(general) approach will improve your other areas of fitness faster than your specialized area until you balance out. And depending on your level of specialization it is possible to decline in that area while others improve to reach a balance.

Apply additional specilization to the WOD as desired.
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Old 08-02-2005, 04:27 PM   #4
Brad Smith
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Wow, two replies right away and then none since. Guess everybody has real work to do during the day!

Thanks for the feedback but my question was "Did/do you find overall progress to come slowly, too?" I guess in a way I was trying to determine, if possible from little info I would probably get from the answers, who (characteristics) progresses fast and who develops more slowly. I'm pretty certain that, if I were 21, I'd get better faster than the 51 that I am. I'm sure that diet is a big factor as is rest. I'm just feeling impatient and wanting to see improvements faster.

CAVEAT: Okay, I've been swimmig a lot more lately and not doing my WOD's when I don't have the equipment or am not "up to speed" on the prescribed exercise, like some of the Oly's. I really liked the swimming article in the most recent Journal and want to do some of those. I still have one day for racquetball and like to go climb up&down this local steep hill by my house multiple times (don't know elevation change). When I go to the weightroom twice a week, I still focus on my deadlifts, squats, pullups, pushups (want to get to doing a HSPU!) and other misc stuff. BTW, it was my deadlift that I was most concerned about. My PR was 315 and lately I've had trouble with 3 reps of 275 and that felt pretty easy not too long ago. Maybe it is just the cost for developing a broader fitness base and I can live with that!!!

If I don't do my WOD's all the time, does that mean I can't wear my CrossFit t-shirt??? :-(
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Old 08-02-2005, 05:13 PM   #5
Graham Hayes
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So your asking if your slow progress on the program you're not doing is normal?

I find progress is best when you're doing everything right. Get the diet keyed in, do the WOD's 3 on 1 off as best you can. If your performances on the WOD are substantially behind the pack consider scaling back. Progress can come shockingly quick if you're diligent in following the recomendations on the site.
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Old 08-02-2005, 08:36 PM   #6
Brad Smith
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Thanks, Graham!

The diet is keyed in and has been for years now. So is the rest aspect (bedtime now, as a matter of fact).

I am trying to follow what I consider to be the "doctrine"... that being, keeping up the intensity and, on days that I do WOD's, only scaling back where I have to. I'm not slacking on my workouts but, yes, I do substitute a swim day some days but I thought that was the point of putting that kind of info in the Journal as was done this last edition. My impression was that they are alternate "CrossFit" workouts and just as useful as the ones posted on the WOD...?

If, however, the WOD called for a rope climb, I don't currently have one so I'll do more pullups or use the towel as recommended by someone. Don't have rings so can't even attempt the muscle-ups as they are demonstrated in the video or do the ring dips tomorrow. I do dips on other days however.

So, no, I don't think I'm asking about progress on the program I'm not doing. Even though I don't follow it as written all the time, I think I am following the basic format of the workouts. I would like to do all the WOD's PLUS the things that I enjoy doing, such as the swimming, but I hadn't planned on investing that much more time and I don't think I'd recover fast enough to go again as soon as needed. You're saying that only doing the WOD's as written will produce the same results?

This basically boils down to strenght-endurance and that's what I had hoped would improve faster than it has. I can tell that I've improved some but it's coming slowly.
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Old 08-03-2005, 07:40 AM   #7
Graham Hayes
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You're saying that only doing the WOD's as written will produce the same results?

No, I'm not a fortune teller...but if you are unsatisfied with the results of your current program then you need to change it up. I don't know what your squat,deadlift...and swimming (and diet) days look like, they could be great or they could be dog turd. Unless you're a genetic freak your results will reflect as much...aka the black box theory.
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Old 08-03-2005, 03:06 PM   #8
Brad Smith
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Thanks, I appreciate the feedback!

Like I said, I do think the biggest thing that I want to see is faster improvement on my endurance when I need to do a lot of anything. I had spent too much time on low rep, strength oriented stuff and now it's time to pay the price to become more balanced, which is what I love about XFit. I can accept my lifts going down in the short run to be able to broaden my abilities.

Gotta go!
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Old 08-03-2005, 05:36 PM   #9
Beth Moscov
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I saw fast improvement once I started crossfit. Very fast with new PRs about every six weeks until I hit some issues with depression in January. New PRs are coming back since I have gotten myself back in gear. My fitness history before that though is that I had been exercising in martial arts and strength training for about a year and nothing before that for a few years. So some of my fast gains could be that I was still experience that gain that comes from being new to exercise.
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Old 08-03-2005, 07:40 PM   #10
Russ Greene
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You can make progress without following the WOD. The WOD is great, but it's not the only effective way to train. Doing frequent deadlifting is not necessary to have a good deadlift. Doing the WOD's every day is not the only way to get better at crossfit. My helen time went from 10:20 to 9:15 without ever once doing the workout of the day. My deadlift went up 65 lbs. without ever deadlifting except for one or two "dianes". Just remember to train your weaknesses hard, concentrate on the basic exercises, mix things up, and at least 3 to 4 times a week aim to finish a workout trying to catch your breath while lying in a puddle of your own sweat. The reason my helen time went down is that I trained my pullups and swings hard, which had been holding me back a little. The reason my deadlift went up was that I brought my posterior chain strength up through olympic lifting and one leg squats. When you improve your weaknesses in a big way, without ignoring your strong points, you get better.

Previously Masquerading as Ross Greenberg
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