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

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Old 11-09-2004, 04:44 PM   #1
Ben Jackson
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Could CF be altered to help speed success of personal goals? Example goals: gain 10 pounds of muscle mass, run a 5 min. mile, bench press 300 pounds, increase size of thighs by 1 inch.
Could a person personalize their CF workouts in order to increase their overall muscle mass? If so how? I realize that one could simply add to the WOD, but could you avoid adding and just alter the exercises or substitute exercises? Any ideas on how would it be accomplished?
Is CF able to be personalized, or does it have to remain a GPP type of program where its' only focus is to create an able bodied and capable of anything individual? I realize that is no small task, and that CF is greatly commended for this. What about those who want mass gain; specific strength gain; to run a 5 min. mile; and superb well rounded fitness? Is it possible?
I have checked out many workouts and Charles Staley's Escalating Densty Training seems to be really similar to CF except it's all weight training. There are three 15 minute segments per workout in which you superset different exercises (ex: 1st 15 min.: 1.shoulder press, 1.pull ups; 2nd 15 min.: 2.side laterals, 2.reverse grip pull downs; 3rd 15 min.: 3.barbell curls, 3.dips) and basically complete as many reps as possible in the 15 min. Once you increase the reps by 20% from the previous workout, you increase the weight by 10% (I think that's the guidelines). Anyone tried this?
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Old 11-09-2004, 05:14 PM   #2
Paul Theodorescu
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At first glance I think an idea would be to emphasize a certain component through added workouts and then tinker with the WOD to avoid compromising this added component.

So if you add heavy BenchPresses and Speed BenchPresses twice a week you do those on top of the WOD you just have to make sure you don't over fatigue your pecs doing high rep push-ups or what not.

I think in the case of gaining muscle there's not much you can do as you'd probably overtrain (I'm guessing here).

Running 5 miles I think you can safely add running on top of the WOD.

Looking forward to what the experts say.
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Old 11-09-2004, 06:56 PM   #3
Larry Lindenman
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My first question is WHY? Are these goals specific to an event (Military fitness test, job fitness test, sports, etc) or are these self imposed goals that just sound cool? If the answer is sports performance than the question is: what is necessary to perform at an elite level in your choosen sport / pastime? Often people train for the test (combines) rather than for the actual event. Does pressing 225 for max reps really translate to performance on the football field? If you don't have a burning reason to run a 5 minute mile, why would you be willing to go through the intense training it would take to achive this goal? Mass gains occur on CF, but it usually involves diet, just like fat loss. Diet is 90%+ of how you look (lean / big). If you don't eat enough to support muscle growth, you won't grow. I've said this before: why mess with the CF program. You are getting a program written for you by the founder of the system. . .this program is free and wildly successful at developing athletes. Stick with the program for ONE YEAR. Record everything, always try to beat your scores, eat zone meals, use recovery techniques, use the CF warmup to work on weak points, use off days for active recovery and gymnastic skills, flexibility, technique practice. Re-evaluate at the end of the year. This should be a life long pursuit, so a year of your time will barely be noticed in the scheme of things. If you still want to venture out to other programs after a year of WOD's, go for it, you have a great fitness base to start from. If, however, you can't do the WOD as written and post respectable scores day in and day out, then focus of CF prior to branching out. Sorry for the rant!!
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Old 11-09-2004, 07:14 PM   #4
Paul Theodorescu
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Larry, words of wisdom. I've been tempted to play with the system and I'm always reminded of you said.

"Diet is 90%+ of how you look (lean / big)"

Can you get bigger on CF while not gaining fat?
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Old 11-09-2004, 08:14 PM   #5
Steve Milne
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Larry's rant has raised a question that I have wondered about for sometime now. I have been posting for many months, and I never seem to see some of the folks who write on the discussion board in the WOD posts. Kelly and Lynn are there everyday and Ryan most everyday.

Maybe other people are using abreviations? Or at some point do the senior members decide to stop posting? Or maybe everyone does don't do all the WODs?

I agree with Larry's point that we should be reviewing for "respectable scores", and the only way I know to do this is compare to our own past performance and the results of others. I know for me I compare against Ryan and others each WOD.

Obviously no big deal, just curious.
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Old 11-09-2004, 08:42 PM   #6
Ben Jackson
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My reason for gaining mass would be just because I like to be larger and stronger than the average Joe. The reason why I want this is rather irrelevant. Maybe, I want to get a jump start and gain as much muscle as I can while I'm still youthfulll, before the testosterone and muscle mass loss begins to occur as I age.
Agreed that the majority of the gains comes from nutrition. Even with the nutrition though, it doesn't seem that CF WOD would provide enough stimulus and overload to the muscle to encourage large hypertrophy. Also the high reps with no to low weight and running would not support hypertrophy right? To my knowledge heavy weight in the 5-8 rep range work best. On CF, max strength is supported, endurance strength is supported, and the various energy levels are supported (aerobic & anaerobic), but that medium rep range with adequate doesn't seem to be hit, enough for muscle growth anyway. I'm ranting now.
High reps/light weight and max weight/1's and 2's are on the extreme ends of the spectrum, but I see how hypertrophy would occur, but maybe not maximally. With the cardio/running, a "ectomorph" with a high metabolism would have o eat a boat load of food to counteract the spike in metablism from WOD.
Do you think it would be feasible to add weight to the exercises and still follow WOD's (ex. sub bench press for push ups, add weight to squats and dips)?
I guess I'm making a big deal out of this due to the aging coment made above (at 30 things start to decline, right?) and also right now I have the opportunity to really hammer my training for about four months before I start to get really busy cutting grass as my second job. I want to make the most of my time.
To ease all minds, I am not bashing CF, or don't mean to be. I am pleased with the programs fitness results. I guess I just want the best of both worlds mass and superior fitness. I know that we are all extremely fortunate to have the founder write the program for free, we all like free stuff. I'm just probing for answers and ideas to a question I have. No hard feelings or disrespect to anyone.

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Old 11-09-2004, 09:07 PM   #7
Robert Wolf
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My sense is that if the nutrition is sound the body mass will come(muscle). If there is ANY consensus from the bodybuilding world it is that variety of training is the key to success(A NICE STACK OF d-BOL, WINSTROL and hGh is not bad either). CrossFit certainly has variety! From there one MUST chase performance improvement to keep things moving towards higher bodyweight. This obviously has a limit as ones optimum bodyweight is reached it likely becomes difficult to gain more weight.

The specif performance goals you mention can be chassed as an endeavor seperate to the WOD. this can be ones "sport" and we have loads of archived material talking about this. One thing to consider however is that the more fringe the activity one is persuing the more impact it will have on overall performance. For some a 300lb bench is easy. I had to work my bunz off to get it the first time!

I think what we are finding more and more, from top O-lifters to elite endurance athletes, is that excelling at a mono-structural effort like PL'ing, mile runs and the like really have little bearing on fitness as we have come to know it. I think it is fun to chase some of this stuff but the rewards they produce are limited IMO.

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Old 11-10-2004, 06:42 AM   #8
Graham Hayes
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From Lynne's FAQ:

If you train the WODs hard, and eat right and get lots of sleep, you will definitely gain lean mass, lose fat, and yes, you can build muscle mass with the crossfit protocol. More specifically, according to Coach, Here is a hierarchy of training for mass from greater to lesser efficacy:
1. Bodybuilding on steroids
2. CrossFitting on streoids
3. CrossFitting without steroids
4. Bodybuilding without steroids
The bodybuilding model is designed around, requires, steroids for significant hypertrophy.
The neuroendocrine response of bodybuilding protocols is so blunted that without "exogenous hormonal therapy" little happens.
The CrossFit protocol is designed to elicit a substantial neuroendocrine whollop and hence packs an anabolic punch that puts on impressive amounts of muscle though that is not our concern. Strength is.
Natural bodybuilders (the natural ones that are not on steroids) never approach the mass that our ahtletes do. They don't come close.
Those athletes who train for function end up with better form than those who value form over function. This is one of the beautiful ironies of training.

I find that the gymnastics has given me the greatest growth rather than weights. This could be because the weightlifting is more focused on hip extension. My legs and waist have reduced but that's a good thing, I can now wear those jeans I couldn't bear to throw away!

Here is an article from Dan John on goal setting, you might find it interesting.
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Old 11-10-2004, 12:27 PM   #9
Jeremy Jones
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Yeah. If weights are the only way to bulk up, how come gymnasts who have never lifted a weight in their live have muscles that the bodybuilders drool over? . . . and gymnasts aren't even doing the program we are doing!

Just for your reference purposes, I was about 185 9 months ago. I worked out to train for a fight, took creatine, and I got to about 195. I kept working out, cycled off the creatine but I couldn't gain any more weight. I thought I had peaked my 6'4" frame for 100% natural muscle growth.

Then I found CrossFit. Three months later I hit 212, without changing my diet at all (which is terrible by a lot of standards - nowhere near the zone or paleo). I know I can gain even more mass, and still avoid supplements like creatine.

The only downside is now I am in a higher Shootfighting weightclass (middleweights are 166 - 199, and Heavyweights are 200+). I think I am going to shoot for 230, just so I can still hang with the guys that weigh 260, but not be too big.
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Old 11-10-2004, 01:02 PM   #10
Brian Gibson
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Are your only WOs the Crossfit WODs other than your mma training?
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