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

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Old 01-03-2007, 04:43 PM   #1
Mitchell Brown
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I talk to the trainers at my gym every now and then just to see what they think of my crosstraining. I generally keep my exercise to three WOD's (with Crossfit WU's) a week, a 10km run and a session of gymnastics. I spoke to a new trainer today, and he was pretty floored by the Crossfit WU, let alone the WODs I do on top of that. But he suggested I do another run a week on top of what I am already doing, as well as to thrash my abs after each gym workout, as I can only do 40 situps in a minute (as opposed to 66 pushups).

My goal is to lose an inch in my waist which is why he brought up the run. But he noted that my Crossfit stuff doesn't really target my abs, which is what I'd been wondering for sometime. What do you guys think?

I am expecting you guys to say that WODs do target abs because it's in the warmup and the compound movements use it, but it's still a weakness for. I also have an arch in my back that I think makes it harder.
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Old 01-03-2007, 05:12 PM   #2
Steven Low
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Losing fat is pretty much diet. Doing ab exercises won't burn off your fat as there is no such thing as spot reduction.

If you so feel like you need to do ab exercises and aren't getting enough ab work from stuff like L-seats, L-pullups, OHS, and other exercises that use them extensively as a stablizer... then go for it.

Instead of a run do some HIIT (work & family safe):

http://www.musclemedia.com/training/hiit.asp

Promotes anabolic environment in body which will help you obtain more muscle and lose fat on CF WOD.
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Old 01-03-2007, 05:19 PM   #3
Joe Marsh
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I believe the trainer is recommending the extra run because he does't see enough "cardio" in the WOD's. We all know this to be false. However, the extra run should be fine, depending on the distance, if you were training for marathoning. I would talk to Eugene more about that, though, as LSD is not my forte.

You nailed it on the head when you mentioned that CrossFit's inclusion of compound movements will hit the abs. They do it quite effectively. I think the trainer might be looking for direct ab work for aestethic(sp) reasons. I can't say for sure. Did the trainer ask you in detail about your back issue at all and try to establish reasons to train the abs for overall trunk health?
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Old 01-03-2007, 05:26 PM   #4
Mitchell Brown
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I think though that as my 40 situps in a minute show, that my abs aren't strong enough. I think the WOD's (or at least the ones I have been doing), haven't hit the spot. I'm thinking of throwing out some ab exercises after WOD's to rectify this.

As for the run, he saw me throwing up after the thruster/400m WOD yesterday, and he understands that. I think he mentioned it in regards to me wanting to lose waist size, as he thinks my current workout is to high intensity to shed fat.
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Old 01-03-2007, 05:35 PM   #5
Nathan Sobczak
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"to high intensity to shed fat" hahaha that's a good one
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Old 01-03-2007, 05:42 PM   #6
Mitchell Brown
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Mmm, he was very helpful to me. I don't have specialist knowledge but he said that when you shift into higher intensity it stops burning fat, and begins to eliminate fat in the muscles, and then when you are more intense again it begins to store fat. Made sense to me.
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Old 01-03-2007, 06:00 PM   #7
David Wood
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Mitch, I think he's demonstrating the absolute truth that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

He's spouting the true (but completely irrelevant) observation that high-intensity work cannot directly use "aerobic" metabolism (i.e., cannot be powered by direct conversion of fat). It depends on other "anaerobic" energy pathways that are inevitably shorter in total duration . . .


This leads to the absurdity of the "fat burning zone" marked on treadmills . . . implying that if you only exercise at between 40% and 60% of your maximum heart rate you will burn the most fat.

This is correct, but only in the most naive and limited of ways. Yes, low-intensity exercise burns the greatest *proportion* of fat during the exercise itself. But that's irrelevant to what most of us are trying to achieve. High-intensity exercise burns more *total* fat (even if it's a smaller percentage of total effort), *and* it creates a hormonal and metabolic environment that continues to burn more calories (fat) for the other 23 hours / day that you're not exercising.

So, seriously, this guy is spouting conventional wisdom that's been discredited for many years.


Yes, more running won't do you any serious harm (unless it's a bit more than you can recover from). But I don't think it will do for you anything like what a more intense effort will.

If you want to lose weight, the single best exercise is what's known as a "table-push-away" . . . you stop 3/4 of the way through your meal, place your hands firmly on the table on each side of your plate, and push hard. Try to create at least a 3-foot distance between you and the table (doesn't matter which of you moves), and then (here's the hard part) don't let that distance close again until the next meal.

If you have time and energy for additional training (beyond the pretty solid work you're doing now), do some intense running . . . try 8 x 400m running (or 500m rowing, if you access to a rower) on 3-minute intervals (if your run takes 2:30, you get only 30 seconds rest (takes only 24 minutes total). If that's easy, cut it to 2:30 intervals. If that's easy, cut it to 2:15 . . .
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Old 01-03-2007, 06:11 PM   #8
Mitchell Brown
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Thanks David that's what I was hoping I'd hear, because I only like training high intensity. Not trying to lose weight though, just waist width.

As for diet, I've decided to split my breakfast into two meals, and my lunch into three meals to achieve the ongoing effect. So that will help. Also, the trainer said there was a chance I was undereating, it seems I may not be getting even 2000 calories a day into my 87kg frame.

What do you think about my less than incredible ab strength? Is thrashing my abs after a workout a good idea?

(Message edited by skitzmixv9 on January 03, 2007)
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Old 01-03-2007, 06:41 PM   #9
David Wood
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Mitch: I honestly don't think that 40/minute is all that bad, particularly if they are full-range situps (all the way back, all the way up). If you did 40 / min on a GHD, that would be quite good (IMO).

40/min for those feeble little things called "crunches" isn't particularly good, I agree . . . but crunches aren't much good for any functional purpose, anyway.

The abdominal muscles have two purposes . . . closing the distance between the hips and torso, and stabilizing the entire torso under load. The first is what "crunches" works, and while not completely irrelevant, like low-intensity exercise, it kinda misses the point.

The second is what really matters in 90% of all athletics . . . stabilizing the torso is what allow you to accept blows in martial arts or a rugby scrum, allows you to transfer force from your feet all the way through to your hands for any sporting purpose (throwing weighted implements, throwing balls of any sort, throwing punches, grappling, lifting weights). It's even what allows you to run effectively . . . without an appropriately (and dynamically) stabilized torso, you can't use your coordinated arm swing to add to your running speed.

Crunches are irrelevant to all of that.

What is relevant is:

Deadlifts
Squats under load
OVERHEAD SQUATS (the king of all squats)
O-lifts
L-sits
Hanging L-sits
Kipping pullups
Front and side planks
Rollouts

If you want to replicate the crunch motion, do knees-to-elbows . . . much harder, and no one will care that you can only do 40 in a minute.


And connect up with CrossFit Sydney (if you haven't already):

http://www.crossfitaustralia.blogspot.com/

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Old 01-03-2007, 06:43 PM   #10
Blair Robert Lowe
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I told Rog on monday that I didn't think we'd be sore, and I didn't expect my abs to be sore from what we did for conditioning. I was kinda glad we didn't do a metcon set to end off on. Just 5x5 crosses, then 30 toe raiser with an oly bar front racked on an edge, then spot some crosses.
My abs were fairly trashed yesterday and are still sore today. Compound work.

Do you do any ab exercises in your CFWU? L sits, leg lifts, v-ups, etc? Maybe throw a round of how many situps you can do in a minute to train doing situps in a minute. One round isn't gonna kill you much before the WOD.
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