Written by Coach Taylor
This week marks my two-year anniversary of finishing on-ramp and joining the Crossfit (CF) community back in 2013; and here’s what I’ve learned…
Words are just words; and actions trump words.
“CrossFit won’t make you stronger.” Never had I imagined that I could have such progressive strength and conditioning development in domains I knew nothing about prior to CF. I can snatch 200lbs, handstand walk up and down stairs and overhead squat near 300lbs.. none of which I had ever done prior to CF.
“CrossFit causes injuries.” Poor positioning, recovery and bodily maintenance causes injury and never have I been healthier in mind/body or more injury free in the last two years.
“After 2 years of CrossFit, the PRs will stop” With variety, nutrition and periodized training you can proves this wrong every week and sometimes daily with the weightlifting, gymnastics and conditioning elements we enjoy in Crossfit programming but it’s on you to make it happen… But for the record, focusing on PRs is fun but not optimal, they will come when you’re ready and accessory work, skill transfer exercise and targeting your weaknesses is more important.
My stance on ‘Fitness’
I believe that overall fitness is best achieved through constantly varied, functional movement programs that pair progressive skill and strength work with anaerobic conditioning.
Our goals may differ, as well as our commitment and intensity at which we strive to achieve them but the tools we can use to get there are the same.
#1 Rest and Recovery
Optimal training and performance is best achieve when you provide an environment for such things to happen. Give your body and mind the best chance to achieve your goals and amazing things will happen.
- 8-9 hours rest daily – this is non-optional in the long run, your brain or worse your body will burn out. So sleep, no exceptions. If you miss sleep, take a rest day.
- Training days and workouts should NEAR ALWAYS follow the order below, although typically only working on 2-4 of them in a given session…
- Dynamic lifts and power movements
- Strength and accessory work for primary muscle groups
- Muscular endurance exercises for secondary muscle groups
- Anaerobic activity
- Aerobic activity
- A regular cycle of complete rest and active recovery exercise depending on your volume, intensity and recovery capacity – if you don’t measure and track your rest vs. volume vs. intensity you are missing out. In addition, train by feel and know your body; which may mean additional recovery.
- Mobility is a 1:1 ratio for time worked; stretching a little less and warm-up a little more. Warm-ups are intentional, functional and the BEST opportunity you have to train optimal positions and movement patterns without fatiguing your body.
- Over stretching will hurt you, almost as much as poor positioning. Warm up and mobilize properly EVERY DAY. If you don’t have time to mobilize and warm up, you don’t have time to work out. Deal with it or your body will.
Favorite training sites:
- Breaking muscle
- Eat to perform
- CrossFit Invictus
- The Outlaw Way
You need carbs (vegetables and some grains), you really need fat (oils, nuts, etc.) and you REALLY need protein intake (meat, eggs, fish, etc.). You don’t need sugar, sweetener, processed or synthetic anything – but it’s lame to be tame, so if you can regularly hit 80-90% of your plan, you are winning.
Keep it simple – eat whole foods, strive for minimal processing and keep the crap out of your kitchen; if it ain’t there, it ain’t getting eaten. If you want a recommendation, I’m a follower and promoter of ‘The Zone’. http://crossfitimpulse.com/the-zone-diet-explained-edited/
Once you dial in your rest/recovery cycle and nutrition, supplementation can be used to help the body better accommodate those cycles. No, supplements are not magic and do not make you stronger BUT they can enhance your rest, recovery, mind-set and nutrient processing. Stick to the essentials, buy natural over synthetic and understand that if #1 and #2 are more important. Here is my shopping list, my favorite supplement articles and the studies that back them.
- Fish oil (for EPA, DHA) – Carlson brand
- Powdered greens
- Vitamins – non-synthetic, from Prairie Naturals: Vitamin B complex, magnesium, Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
- Protein – standard blends, less additives the better
- Creatine (Blonyx), Caffeine (espresso), BCAA (primarily for leucine) – surrounding training to maximize performance, recovery and CNS activation
#4 Performance and Goal Assessment
We are not all going to regional and we certainly are not Rich Froning, nor should we be training as such unless we are willing to dedicate our entire 24/7-365 to it. Set some goals, outline a plan or strategy to get there – or better, find a coach that will help you get there – and keep at it. The little things like warm ups, accessory work and movement prep will make a big difference long term.
- Avoid the RX-mentality and scale something every day. The program likely wasn’t written for you personally, so find a way to make it your own and challenge yourself without putting your body through weights, volume and intensity that it can’t handle just to “RX” the WOD.
- Have short and medium term goals that are realistic, challenging and measurable; and learn to deal with failure
- Follow or find a program or gym that suits your needs
There is a significant difference in “training” and “performing”. Training is methodical, focused and directed at a goal and should be 80%+ of our primary objective. Performing comes when we want to test our strength, level of fitness or enter a competition. We shouldn’t use competition to train, nor daily training to push ourselves to the absolute limit every day. There is practice and there is game day and knowing how to tow-the-line and when to push your limits with an important part of becoming a smart athlete.
Ps. Weightlifting is awesome. Is you don’t know what a snatch or a clean is… you need to find out and start lifting!
#5 Community and Support
Never forget the reasons why you got into exercise – for you; the people who have helped you along the way – your coaches, family and friends; or the reasons why you decided to join an exercise community. We can’t do it alone and even if we could, it wouldn’t be as fun!
Lastly, drop in at other CF gyms and get to know the people and community at large. It is absolutely amazing and mind-blowing how positive and uplifting of a community that each and every CF gym has built in our fine city and across the world.
For what it’s worth, these last two-years have been a blast and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for crossfit and functional fitness as a whole. The goal is to get people moving, challenge them to challenge themselves and for us all to take ownership in the way we move and maintain ourselves.
Where ever they’re serving that crisp crossfit-koolaid is where I want to be.
This is the stuff passion can create…