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Old 10-14-2013, 01:22 PM   #1
Pat Egan
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New guy in NoVA -- need advice

Hello, I hope this is the right spot for this.

I've been nudged to look in to crossfit by some coworkers....who crossfit.

My situation: 40 years old....6ft even...about 220lbs. Most of my extra weight is in my gut. Never stepped foot in a gym...never lifted weights. Ran cross country and did the occasional 5k and 10k in high school and my first year of college. I don't currently work out....can't recall if I've ever done enough physical activity to count as "working out."

My goal: Loose the gut...and get down to a normal weight for a 40 year old 6-foot-tall dude. Also would like to gain a little stamina and endurance for days when I spend extra time to walk around my building, etc. I'm not looking to get ripped, or buff. Don't want a 6-pack (well...around my gut)....but want to get rid of the keg there now.)

I'm in the process of calling around to some of the local gyms...but that is a slow-going process. Hoping to get some questions answered here.

1. Do you have to work out at the designated times...or is that just for groups? Ie....are gyms open througout the day? It seems like most gyms are open in the early morning and the late afternoon. What happens inbetween? I don't want to work out with a group. During the scheduled class times, can you work out off to the side?

2. Is there any benefit to crossfit if you don't lift weights? I'm not interested in lifting weights.

3. How many times a week should a brand new newbie work out?

4. Is it true that some crossfit sessions only last 5-10 minutes? What is the longest a crossfit session would last?

Thank that is it for now. Thanks in advance for your assistance!
Pat
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Old 10-14-2013, 03:43 PM   #2
Greg Spaight
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Re: New guy in NoVA -- need advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat Egan View Post
Hello, I hope this is the right spot for this.

I've been nudged to look in to crossfit by some coworkers....who crossfit.

My situation: 40 years old....6ft even...about 220lbs. Most of my extra weight is in my gut. Never stepped foot in a gym...never lifted weights. Ran cross country and did the occasional 5k and 10k in high school and my first year of college. I don't currently work out....can't recall if I've ever done enough physical activity to count as "working out."

My goal: Loose the gut...and get down to a normal weight for a 40 year old 6-foot-tall dude. Also would like to gain a little stamina and endurance for days when I spend extra time to walk around my building, etc. I'm not looking to get ripped, or buff. Don't want a 6-pack (well...around my gut)....but want to get rid of the keg there now.)

I'm in the process of calling around to some of the local gyms...but that is a slow-going process. Hoping to get some questions answered here.

1. Do you have to work out at the designated times...or is that just for groups? Ie....are gyms open througout the day? It seems like most gyms are open in the early morning and the late afternoon. What happens inbetween? I don't want to work out with a group. During the scheduled class times, can you work out off to the side?

2. Is there any benefit to crossfit if you don't lift weights? I'm not interested in lifting weights.

3. How many times a week should a brand new newbie work out?

4. Is it true that some crossfit sessions only last 5-10 minutes? What is the longest a crossfit session would last?

Thank that is it for now. Thanks in advance for your assistance!
Pat
1. If you do Crossfit at a box you are going to be working out with a group. That's a big part of crossfit. You'll be working out at the scheduled times and not off to the side on your own. You don't know crap about working out by your own admission, so working out on your own wouldn't be the best idea for you. Some gyms have private sessions available, you can do a private at the box I go to for $50. At 3 to 5 days a week that's gonna get a a bit spendy.

2. Crossfit revolves pretty heavily around the Olympic lifts. You won't probably find a box that does CF with just body weight.

3. Talk to your coach and discuss your goals.

4. No it is not true that some crossfit sessions only last a few minutes. Some WODs do. Most CF sessions will have several components - warmup, strength, WOD and mobility. Some WODs can be very long.

I'd say you shouldn't bother with CF if you are the kind of guy that isn't coachable. If you can open your mind, give it a shot, otherwise swing o by 24 hour fitness.

Hope you decide to give it a shot.
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Old 10-14-2013, 07:08 PM   #3
Glenn Plomchok
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Re: New guy in NoVA -- need advice

Greg pretty much hit the nail on the head.

My question would be - if you pick a gym with solid programming (I am sure NoVa has multiple to pick from) and they bring great coaches to the table why would you want to be off in the corner doing your own thing?

I love the aspect of hitting workouts with others. Right now I am nursing an injury so I am altering my workouts every day but I still jump in with the class when they hit the wod...even if I'm doing mostly different stuff from what they are doing.

Go to the gyms...talk to the coaches and try it. If it is not your thing, maybe a big box gym with a private trainer is a better fit. Not saying that is a bad thing either. You have to be happy with whatever way you go.

Best of luck in your search.
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Old 10-15-2013, 07:17 AM   #4
Pat Egan
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Re: New guy in NoVA -- need advice

Thanks for the feedback. A point or two of clarity. I'm absolutely interested in a private trainer. Unfortunately I can find anything around here for less than $75 an hour. Trust me, I don't want to step foot in a gym without learning what I need to do so I don't kill myself or anyone around me.

I don't want to work out in a group for a variety of reasons...mainly because I don't want to hold anyone who has been doing this for years, back and and I don't want to get hurt trying to keep up with them.

So...are crossfit sessions like a class of sorts? There is an instructor at the head of the room leading the class the whole time or is it that there is a workout written on a board and everyone just does it? I'm assuming it is the first as why would there be set class times?

How does doing "different stuff" alter the climate of the group you are with? And why not just work out on your own? Not trying to be difficult. Just trying to wrap my head around this.

Thanks for the feedback. I do appreciate it!!

Pat
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Old 10-15-2013, 08:33 AM   #5
Glenn Plomchok
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Re: New guy in NoVA -- need advice

I do think the best way for you to get your head around this would be to go watch some classes in session (would also give you a feel for the coaching).

But let me try to explain a "normal day" at the gym I go to.

I attend the 6pm class. I get there about 15 min early to do some extra mobility (being an old fart, I need it). The first 10 or so minutes is warm up and stretch. Some times on our own, some times as a group. Warm up is based off what we will be doing (mobilizing various body parts).

Strength portion -

Simple version - 3x5 or 5x5 (reps x sets)of squat work or press work (we usually have something more intricate that we following but this gives you an idea). Some times this is at our own pace with a 15 min cap or some times we have only say 1 min of rest between sets...varies week to week usually. Strength work will alternate with Olympic lifts depending on the programming (snatch or clean and jerk)

Workout of the day -

2 min max calories on rower
rest 2 min
8 minute AMRAP (as many rds/reps as possible) of:
10 burpees
20 ab mat sit ups
30 double unders
rest 2 min
2 min max cal on rower
Score is total calories and total reps...

We then have supplemental work we can also either do in addition or as our main workout based on what you are doing (competition training or just additional work).

During warm up, strength and WOD, coach leads class. Goes over movements and generally discusses goals of the workout and helps with scaling of movements for various levels of athletes.

The WOD I put up was yesterday. I did the airdyne vs. rower, 10 push ups (hand release), 45 sec plank holds and 30 step lunges (arms overhead). Me doing this in now way affected anyone else and allowed me to get the energy out of the class. For strength, they did a Snatch complex, I did weighted pull ups. Personally, I prefer to work when others are working...going at it alone is not my thing although I have done it in the past.

You mentioned earlier wanting to be explosive. Cleans and Jerks and Snatches are one of the best ways to get that. Example - max box jump (standing) for me went from 30" to 45" in about a year.

Hope this helps
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Old 10-15-2013, 10:45 AM   #6
Sean Dunston
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Re: New guy in NoVA -- need advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat Egan View Post
Thanks for the feedback. A point or two of clarity. I'm absolutely interested in a private trainer. Unfortunately I can find anything around here for less than $75 an hour. Trust me, I don't want to step foot in a gym without learning what I need to do so I don't kill myself or anyone around me.

I don't want to work out in a group for a variety of reasons...mainly because I don't want to hold anyone who has been doing this for years, back and and I don't want to get hurt trying to keep up with them.

So...are crossfit sessions like a class of sorts? There is an instructor at the head of the room leading the class the whole time or is it that there is a workout written on a board and everyone just does it? I'm assuming it is the first as why would there be set class times?

How does doing "different stuff" alter the climate of the group you are with? And why not just work out on your own? Not trying to be difficult. Just trying to wrap my head around this.

Thanks for the feedback. I do appreciate it!!

Pat
Don't worry about holding other people back, part of the magic of CF is scaling WODs to make them appropriate for all levels of ability. If you are a newcomer and don't know how to snatch, a good coach will focus on form with you first - probably with a PVC. Meanwhile, the rest of the gym's members will likely be moving some weight. Once your form gets a little more solid, you'll move to a barbell, then adding weight, etc.

You're in Woodbridge - go see Dan and CF Woodbridge. He is a good coach and has a nice gym down there.

If you want to swing up to the Mount Vernon/Fort Belvoir area, come to my gym, and I can show you what we do at our affiliate.

Best of luck-

Sean
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Old 10-16-2013, 07:29 PM   #7
Pat Egan
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Re: New guy in NoVA -- need advice

Gents, thanks for your time and your feedback.
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Old 10-21-2013, 12:47 PM   #8
Jose Soriano
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Re: New guy in NoVA -- need advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat Egan View Post
Thanks for the feedback. A point or two of clarity. I'm absolutely interested in a private trainer. Unfortunately I can find anything around here for less than $75 an hour. Trust me, I don't want to step foot in a gym without learning what I need to do so I don't kill myself or anyone around me.

I don't want to work out in a group for a variety of reasons...mainly because I don't want to hold anyone who has been doing this for years, back and and I don't want to get hurt trying to keep up with them.

So...are crossfit sessions like a class of sorts? There is an instructor at the head of the room leading the class the whole time or is it that there is a workout written on a board and everyone just does it? I'm assuming it is the first as why would there be set class times?

How does doing "different stuff" alter the climate of the group you are with? And why not just work out on your own? Not trying to be difficult. Just trying to wrap my head around this.

Thanks for the feedback. I do appreciate it!!

Pat
Just wanted to expand on some of the stuff said, but the short version is:
1. If you don't know how to work out follow a program by someone who does
2. you probably don't know how to work out
3. even if you do, there's always more to learn.

Weights - weights are important in this type of exercise routine for a variety of reasons, as well as specifically for your goal. More muscle burns fat at a resting state, so when you're sitting down watching tv someone with a higher muscle % will be burning more fat than someone with a higher fat % (assuming they're the same weight). This is an oversimplification, but the general idea. There's also speed and endurance. Part of increasing endurance is lifting heavier - if you can lift 400lbs once, you'll be much more likely to lift 200lbs 10 times, or 100lbs very quickly.

How often - probably about 3 times a week. Improvement comes from recovery after hard work. If you don't recover properly, your body won't improve. Everybody is different, so it really depends on how you feel. Keep in mind that there's different types of recovery, and IMO active recovery hurts less than sitting around.

Groups - you don't know how to lift properly. The groups are classes that teach you how to lift properly. You won't hold anyone back, generally, since as said before, everything is scalable, and you'll likely be working with a partner that's around your level when you do partner up. You also need a partner to spot you on heavy lifts. You will need someone eventually, if it's for assisted pullups, squat spotting, or just keeping count for you as you're about to pass out. You'll also need motivation and someone to call you on your nonsense. We all do it. We make excuses for ourselves, or say we did our best, but looking someone in the eye who was there the whole time and saying "I give up" is tougher than being in a dark corner by yourself with no accountability. This can be a problem for everyone, regardless of level. Here's a great article by a trainer that covers it (WFS):
http://www.scrawnytobrawny.com/the-non-beginner-problem

And be honest with yourself. I don't know you at all, but from my personal experience, and countless others, its a safe bet. Ask yourself "if I'm really responsible enough, accountable enough, and capable enough of handling my own fitness, how did I get where I am today?"

The group environment also boosts your motivation. It shows you what you can accomplish if you stop messing around. I saw a guy jump 5 feet onto some boxes, felt my jaw drop, and thought to myself "I want to do that." I saw a girl squat 300lbs while I was figuring out the bar and thought, "If she can, I can." And all the while you have 10 other people around you telling you, with absolute certainty, that you can. You just gotta keep trying.

Finally, the group environment helps prevent injury. Unless you're in front of a mirror, you can't evaluate your own positioning as well as someone from the outside. Someone to tell you you're flailing your legs too much when you kip, or you're knees are too forward when you squat, or that you're simply trying too much weight and need to scale down and get it right first before you hurt yourself. If you lift wrong, you can still lift, so it's still possible to increase weight, but the entire time you will be doing some damage to yourself that, unless someone fixes you, will continue to progress and be worse in the long run. Even pros have coaches and training partners.

"Different stuff" - this is, I think, a reference to scaling. Basically, if the class is supposed to do handstand pushups, and you can't do them, you do incline, normal, or scaled down pushups (on knees or something). It doesn't affect the class as a whole, it just increases your ability until you too can do handstand pushups (or whatever).

Why not work out on your own - Basically, you don't know how. Even if you've previously gone to a gym, or have previous experience lifting, you probably still don't know how. You don't know which muscles are targeted during specific exercises, and which ones you shouldn't do back to back because it's too much strain on the muscle. You don't know how to program a day of workouts to maximize your progress, or a week to hit all the muscle groups without over-training. You don't know where your hips are supposed to go when you squat, which muscles to activate when you pull up, or why they're "better" for biceps than curls, or even why lifting weights is important to your goals and life in general.

Crossfit is a system that has been developed, modified, refined, critiqued and improved for years by a huge community of professionals certified in multiple disciplines and there is still debate on some technical aspects. How can the average joe sitting back and making it up as he goes along compare with that?

I hope this isn't coming off too harsh or anything, but I think it's important to understand the depth of the questions and their answers, not just the answers themselves. There's science to all this stuff, and not just one; physiology, biochemistry, nutrition, kinesiology, etc. all play important parts in understanding the human body, and how to improve it.

I hope this is helpful, and best of luck!
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