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

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Old 05-30-2013, 08:58 AM   #1
Ivan Duong
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Gaining Strength - Just crossfit?

Hi all,

I have two questions:

I'm a 21/m/5'7" ~145lbs, currently in college. I've been crossfitting for about 4-5 months now. I have always been a smaller kid and it has always been a struggle for me to gain weight.

Over this period of time, I've seen my body fat drop and strength go up. Despite being on the paleo and eating more than I used to, I am struggling to gain weight. I have been yoyo'ing between 140 and 145 during this period, I actually dropped to 140 pretty quickly when I first transitioned into paleo. And have been struggling to increase ever since. Under the advice of my personal trainer, I've began having 2 scoops of whey post-workout and 1 scoop right before bed. I mix whey with whole milk.

Do you guys have any advice on how I can put on some weight? (not fat of course)

I train 3 days on 1 off, 2 days on 1 off generally. I have noticed strength gains over the last couple month. I made myself a list of skills and strength goals for the summer and I hope to be able to make them before I get back to school.

(current in parenthesis)

Clean 200# (155#)
Deadlift 350# (315#)
Backsquat 260# (225#)
Snatch 130# (0#)
OH Squat 100# (0#)
Bench Press 170# (135#)
Push Press/Jerk 140# (95#)

I was wondering if crossfit alone, plus some pre-workout strength work will be able to give me these gains? Or should I be employing an additional strength program on top of crossfit? If so, do you guys have any recommendations on programs?

Thanks for your time! I really appreciate any/all of your input!
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Old 05-30-2013, 09:22 AM   #2
Bill M. Hesse
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Re: Gaining Strength - Just crossfit?

I need to make a recipe for these kinds of posts to copy and paste. Follow my guidelines and get bigger:

1. Don't limit yourself by eating paleo and trying to gain weight, or if you must eat that way you need to be crushing tubers like they called you a dirty name.

2. Drop the conditioning to very short 10 min intense intervals and skip the longer grinders all together

3. Dedicate to s solid strength program, 5-3-1, Mason's 6x6 program, madcow 5x5, Greyskull LP, any of them will work for you. Just choose one and do it verbatim for at least 3 months. Higher volume 5x5 will be better if weight and muscle is what you desire.

4. Track calories with an app like myfintesspal or equivalent. You can probably start at 3000 calories. If you see no results or too much fat add or subtract 500 calories to see the results you want.

I highly recommend ditching paleo and eating lots of rice, oats, potatoes, etc Drink milk instead of water (not during workout) and worry about veggies later. They take up carb room. If you want veggies, blend them in a mixer with some whey and milk or something flavorful like ice cream. I can add two cups of spinach, fruit, keifer and ice cream and make a tasty weight gainer shake.

When all else fails and you get lazy, buy weight gainer and drink it every day either post workout of some time after dinner when you don't have to worry about it competing with your food intake.
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Old 05-30-2013, 09:30 AM   #3
Chris Mason
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Re: Gaining Strength - Just crossfit?

Your trainer gave you typical, but bad advice. The supplement industry has been battering people with the protein misinformation campaign for so long it has been the accepted truth.

Despite what ANY supplement company says, protein supplements are no more ergogenic than protein in foods, and can be even less so because high protein foods like beef also have calories and fats that can help drive the anabolic process.

Protein supplements are really just supplements of convenience for most people. In other words, you DO want to ingest some protein after training and it is easier for a lot of people to drink a shake than to eat something at least in the short term.

Protein supplements CAN be of benefit to low calorie dieters and those on diets which are low in quality proteins. For low calorie dieters protein only supplements provide a low calorie high quality form of protein.

Now, back to your problem. If you insist on following a Paleo diet and want to get bigger and stronger you are going to have to expand your stomach so you can consume more food. You aren't gaining weight because you aren't consuming enough total calories. You can expand your stomach by eating uncomfortably large meals. Over time, that will force expansion and allow you to eat more calories with less discomfort.

In addition, CrossFit WODs alone, in general, will not do much for strength beyond getting you past the rote beginner stage. You will have to augment your CF WODs with some strength training specific stuff.
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Old 05-30-2013, 11:53 AM   #4
Jason Denny
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Re: Gaining Strength - Just crossfit?

Lots of new CrossFitters see strength gains initially. It's the "novice effect" in working out. Doing SOMETHING will make you stronger than doing nothing. There will come a point where your strength will plateau or at least REALLY slow down. After 4 years of 100% CrossFit I switched to 5/3/1 for strength gains. I read Jim's 5/3/1 book as well as Rip's Starting Strength. Both great reads if you are interested in geting stronger. Paleo is not good for muscle building, you need to eat a lot and carbs too. I am messing with my programming. This week is my deload week but instead of deloading I am doing short metcons to help maintain my stamina. The metcons do not involve lifts, mainly bodyweight, kettle bells, rowing, running. I will see how this works out.
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Old 05-31-2013, 05:40 AM   #5
Brendan McNamar
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Re: Gaining Strength - Just crossfit?

My own experience is if I keep eating and lifting I can gain weight on a Paleo based diet. What it takes:

1) Eat 5 meals a day. For me two of these are meal replacement shakes. 2 cups whole milk, two scoops protein, one frozen banana. I use the meal replacement shakes because it makes it easier to eat enough.

2) I add some cheese, red potatoes and lots of sweet potatoes to up the carbs and calories.

3) Follow lifting program as first priority. I use 5/3/1 Boring but big.

4) Pick met-cons and rest days carefully so as to not interfere with recovery for lifting.

4.5) Sleep. A lot.

5) I will have bread or a hamburger bun if it allows me to eat on schedule during a busy day. Double turkey sandwiches and Five guys burgers happen when needed.
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Old 06-01-2013, 07:14 AM   #6
Ivan Duong
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Re: Gaining Strength - Just crossfit?

Thanks for the replies, I have since bought GSLP and began yesterday.

I used to do a strength component before going into a metcon, I'm assuming that instead of doing random strength exercises, I'm now going to follow GSLP's programming. But I've also read strength training and metcons dont go well together, does anyone have any advice on this? Should I be doing a GSLP program then moving on to a crossfit metcon?
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Old 06-01-2013, 09:03 PM   #7
Jeff Enge
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Re: Gaining Strength - Just crossfit?

CrossFit type MetCons are under the umbrella of high-intensity conditioning, mentioned in the GSLP program. If you haven't gotten there in the book yet, you will.
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Old 06-01-2013, 11:15 PM   #8
Steven Thunander
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Re: Gaining Strength - Just crossfit?

I recommend a strength hybrid program. CrossFit Football's amateur program would be great if you want to maintain conditioning and increase strength. I usually cycle it during the late fall and winter months, but if you want to get stronger, follow it.

The other strength hybrids also work. Just follow it to a tee, and make sure you eat enough.

Edit... CrossFit Football follows a 2-1-3-1 schedule.

Last edited by Steven Thunander : 06-01-2013 at 11:18 PM.
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Old 06-04-2013, 07:44 AM   #9
Philippe Barraud
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Re: Gaining Strength - Just crossfit?

Like many said before in this thread and many other thread

Eat more (add lot of avocado, bacon, olive oil, sweet potatoes and animal protein),

lift heavy, reduce length and increase weight of metcons (many program available you can follow)

Learn to optimise rest and sleep. There is a lot of litterature available on that topic read and experiment what works best for you

There is no special secret, eat, lift heavy and rest
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