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

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Old 05-27-2005, 07:41 AM   #1
Ryan Atkins
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In another thread, Graham said:

'For my workouts I mix between three different approaches dependant on the task at hand and how I'm feeling on the day:

1) Go all out aka "Fighter's Strategy", and slug it out through the rest of the WOD.
2) "Managed" WOD, stay away from failure, get the best time, beat Matt G
3) Coasting, go at about 80% intensity/effort, take longer rests than normal. This was a Barry Cooper idea; I think it works quite well.'

Graham, I'm curious as to when you make this decision. Is it before you start the WOD or during the first part of it? Have you started out with one approach only to have it turn into another?

For example, when I've adopted approach that mirrors #1, I've noticed that sometimes I'll get ancy, pace around the room, start to take deep breaths, etc. in anticipation of the workout. Part of me wonders if consciously adopting this approach before a workout can lead to more of a negative performance than what would normally occur (i.e. I get so worked up that it interferes with performance because it's 'supposed' to be harder than a managed WOD).

Sometimes starting out with the 80% approach allowed me to pace for the first part of the workout, get into a groove and then finish very strong at the end, occasionally getting a better time than I would have had I started out with the intention of going full bore.

I'm curious as to what your experiences have been like when adopting one of the three approaches.

Ryan
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Old 05-27-2005, 08:09 AM   #2
Larry Lindenman
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Intresting question Ryan. I would say I make a do or die decision when the Girls come up. But I also have a "goal" time or number to beat, from previous efforts. I find I start the "never seen em' before" WOD's with the 80% approach; sometimes magic happens, oftentimes not! I don't consider the first time I complete a Benchmark workout as the base line time. I think we will probably see the second effort at a Benchmark be a significant score improvement, then we will continue to see improvement...but now we're shaving off seconds rather than minutes. How many times have you looked at a WOD and said "This one is mine, no problem" and the next thing you know, your crushed! Other times, like yesterday, I look at a WOD and begin to whimper...but end up posting a good time and suprising myself. Comments?
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Old 05-27-2005, 08:17 AM   #3
Graham Hayes
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I usually do number 2 (stop giggling) automatically. So no thought goes into that. With number 1 I go through the same thing as you, psyching up and hella nervousness. I usually choose to do number 1s if it's a WOD I'm certain I'm strong at, my diet and recovery is tuned in and I feel hungry for it and/or I'm ****ed off at something I'd like to forget. With the exception of FGB which I'm not good at but do better with this strategy anyway.

And I notice the same thing with coasting, but it's supposed to be easy and in most cases I'm holding myself back (otherwise I wouldn't be coasting) so I can go hard the next day. "Dating Sage" the day after our Painstorming was an example of a WOD in which I'm strong at all the elements, took my time doing them but still ranked reasonably well among those that posted times.

So to answer your question I will choose a 1 or a 3 before I go, but I don't think of it as black and white thing, 1 and 2 can get blurred. E.g in Barbara it's a pride thing for me to get 5 sets of 20 pullups but I'll manage my weedy push ups. But with number 3 I make sure I don't push myself to the limit, the emphasis is on recovery.

Hope that's helpfull Ryan.
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Old 05-27-2005, 10:35 AM   #4
Ryan Atkins
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How many times have you looked at a WOD and said "This one is mine, no problem" and the next thing you know, your crushed!

More times than I care to remember. I readily concur with your thoughts about the bench mark workouts, baselines and multiple efforts after the first attempt.

Graham - interesting observations with FGB. For me it's the opposite. I had good success using a version of the 2nd approach. I picked a score I wanted to achieve, divided it evenly over 3 rounds and tried to place attainable goals for reps of each of the exercises. Once I reached the 'goal' number for an exercise, the rest of the minute was spent as rest. Knowing I'd have the rest, if only for a few seconds, made me work harder to get to that goal number, in the hopes of increasing my break length. In the end, I didn't get the score I was shooting for, but I did score higher than any previous FGB.

Ryan
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Old 05-27-2005, 11:02 AM   #5
Ron Nelson
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Maybe off topic, but just reading this has me thinking (dangerous, I know). We talk about the mental aspect of our workouts like no one else in the gym. That is to say, we actually contemplate our mindset as we approach the WOD. Yesterday, I thought of Graham's post and went at the chipper using #1. I also had my previous time for this chipper in the back of my head and was dead set on beating it. I smoked it by 4 minutes.
I doubt anyone else in the gym entered thinking, "Man, today I'm going to destroy my old time," or, "I'm going for a PR in the clean." I know this is true as I have had to shoo slackers off of equipment each of the last 2 timed workouts I've done. Each time I'm greeted with the incredulous look and shaking of heads as in "Whatever, dude! You're all sweaty!" As a matter of fact, I almost took Graham's #1 literally when I had to delay my back extensions for almost a minute as some doofus did his arm curls in the mirror right next to the back extension bench, which I had just asked his buddy to quit using as a rest area!! Needless to say, I was raging in the middle of the chipper!
So, in conclusion, we are all sick bastards for actually coming up with a discussion of our mental approach. Of course, I mean sick in the best possible way as I agree with most that is written here.

BTW, Larry, I always look at the 3 round WOD's and think, "Piece of cake!" and end up a shaking mess on the floor!
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Old 05-27-2005, 11:06 AM   #6
Matt Gagliardi
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In my opinion you've got to find a balance between doing "managed" WODs and selling out completely; going for broke on each exercise and each rest break (shortening the hell out of them). On those "sell out" WODs you're likely to suffer big time. You may puke, you'll probably die towards the end, you likely won't turn in your best times ever. But I think you learn considerably more about your weaknesses AND push some important boundaries when you do them. I believe that sometimes you need the pain/setbacks inherent in a "sell out" WOD to advance in the "managed" WOD. The most difficult part is knowing going in that you're going to cause yourself considerable pain AND likely not achieve your best showing. You have to fight your ego; the "sell out" WOD lacks the immediate gratification of the "managed" WOD in a quantitative sense (slower times and examining what you had for breakfast), but IMO has qualitative benefits (pushing your personal envelope) that you don't get in a "managed" WOD.

Ryan, you identified that you've had success with Graham's method #2...what I refer to as a "managed" WOD. What I'm getting at is this: while we all tend to see improvements using that model, they appear to me...after initial neuromuscular adaptation...to be small increments. What I'm attempting to figure out is if by doing "sell out" WODs on a regular basis in conjunction with "managed" WODs can I make larger improvements in a similar time period. Rather than taking consistent small steps forward, can I perhaps take a small step back ("sell out" WOD) followed by 2 large steps forward due to the training effect/results generated by the "sell out" WOD?
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Old 05-27-2005, 11:35 AM   #7
Larry Lindenman
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Matt, intresting. I think part of the equation is the mental toughness of hitting your max pain threshold day in / day out, no break in sight. Even the most highly motivated could have a mental burnout if they push too hard, too often (notice I didn't postulate overtraining). Not to say this in not valuable but may be should be managed in waves...TIME FOR MY IDEA PLUG...As most of you know, I advocate and practice three hard weeks followed by ha "half volume" week. Week three would be a good week to push 100%, after a two week buildup...with the knowledge your backing down at the end of the cycle.
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Old 05-27-2005, 11:45 AM   #8
Graham Hayes
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So, shall we set up an experiment and get nerdy?
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Old 05-27-2005, 12:00 PM   #9
Matt Gagliardi
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By no means am I suggesting that you perform "sell out" WODs every day...or even 2 out of 3 days. You're right...you'd be looking at a mental issue (I think physically you might be OK). The ego pump of a successful "managed" WOD is a good thing and is necessary IMO. You can't blow chow every time out.

I think it's important to approach WODs not just from the aspect of them being a physical challenge, but a mental one as well. I suspect that the true animal/warrior CF guys are not just doing the physical work, they are mentally preparing themselves and trying to figure out how to better their performances both short AND long term.

One way is to sit down and game plan a WOD, realizing that for X number of reps, you have to do each one in Y seconds to achieve Z time. I do that all the time. But that is only 1 way of improving performance (managing time better simply by being aware of it). There are other ways. Increasing your work capacity, cutting rest periods back, fewer breaks in sets, etc. The question becomes how to achieve those improvements. I think "sell out" WODs are one way.

I just think it's important to realize that these other avenues of improvement are out there, and that exploring/experimenting with them will likely result in long-term gains. Don't get stuck in the rut of only utilizing 1 method ("managed" WOD) to achieve improvements.

We hold ourselves up as an example (rightly so) as a group of people who have chosen a tough path to elite fitness (courtesy of Coach). You could simply do the WODs and be set. What I'm interested in is how to go from being just one of the crew (a crew I'm honored to be identified with) to being among the best.

What sacrifices have to be made? Suffer pain...invest thought...take a different approach. These are the things that bounce around in my head.

Sorry for rambling folks. We now return you to your regularly scheduled thread.
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Old 05-27-2005, 01:49 PM   #10
Troy Archie
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The question is now, which WOD's do you make your sell out? Do you try to sell out on WOD's that you find are easier than others or do you make them the ones that you have problems with and that grind you into the ground?

If I'm going to take anything from this post, the original post that spawned this one and the scaling down post, I'd say why not both. Hell, if you're doing exceptionaly good on a certain type of WOD/Girl, why not scale it up and make it a sell out WOD?
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