Posts Tagged ‘health and fitness’

First of all, I’m not sure if I’ve ever written the word don’ts before, but it looks weird!

Ok, back to the focus of the post: Accessory Work

If you are an athlete that steps foot into a CrossFit gym on a regular basis, odds are that there are three to four-hundred things you’d like to improve to become a better athlete. Identifying some, or all, of those things typically leads athletes down one of three paths.

Path Number One

“That’s way too many things to try and improve… therefore, I shall choose to improve none of them!”

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Path Number Two

“I want to get better at Handstand Push-Ups. My legs need to get stronger. If I can improve my engine, I’ll get more rounds in workouts. With more flexible ankles, my rowing will get better. I want to get a PR on Murph next year. But I’d also like to beat my Fran time. ROM WOD 8 days per week will help me. I think I want to go that Double-Under clinic next weekend.” ~ The consecutive thoughts of one person

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Yes, there is a laundry list of things we can all improve upon, but trying to attack too much at once is unrealistic and really not smart. Why, you ask? Because some people (yes, I’m talking to you) will spend 30 minutes after class every day working on Muscle-Ups. Thirty minutes. Hanging and swinging from rings or a bar. After they’re tired from a workout. Not only will that likely lead to tearing hands, but trying to be explosive and technically precise after 60 minutes of torture (excuse me, I mean intense physical exertion) isn’t usually the best plan.

Path Number Three

Be a planner. Pick a few things you’d like to start improving. Find a person, or people, who can help you create an intelligent training plan or progression. If applicable, have someone who can watch you practice, or if you video your attempts, those who can give you constructive feedback. Too often “we don’t know what we don’t know,” and having a more experienced person in your corner can help foster huge breakthroughs. After a few weeks, note your progress on those items in your training log (yay, progress!) and create a new list!

Now, I’ve got Good News and Bad News:

The Good News is that in our sport of CrossFit, you LITERALLY have an ENDLESS list of things you can choose to improve at any given moment.

The Bad News, is that you’ll never be good at ALL of it. So don’t even try.

But, really, that’s also still the Good News! I’m telling you that (for most people in nearly every circumstance) you can work on a single skill foreverrrr, and still be able to keep improving over time! That is so awesome. Most things that are worth keeping don’t happen overnight, either.

If there’s anything I can do to help you on your journey, let me know. Set realistic goals. Have a plan. And actually try your best to enjoy the journey. If all goes well, we’ll be on it for a long time!

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Dr. Mike Evans posted a video on his YouTube page a few weeks ago of a speech he gave entitled “23 and 1/2 hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health?”

I’ll leave you with only three quotes from the video, along with a brief note to put it in context. Please watch the video and gather the rest of this amazing info yourselves.

This is POWERFUL STUFF, everyone…

As always, please leave your own thoughts, comments and questions at the end of this post!

~ Discussing what can be done to most effectively improve certain aspects of peoples’ lives. (Reduction of progression of dementia, reduced progression of diabetes, anxiety, and blood pressure increase in quality of life, to name a few)
“The best thing you can do for your health is spend half an hour being active, maybe an hour…”

~ Explaining a finding in “Aerobic Centre Longitudinal Study, by Prof. Steven Blair
“So LOW FITNESS was the strongest predictor of death.”

~ Ok. Exercise is good. We get it.
“So if exercise is the medicine, what’s the dose? … essentially, more activity is better. But I must say that the rate of return seems to decline after 20 or 30 minutes per day.”

Thanks to my friends at Alpine CrossFit for this one!

Thanks to Lisbeth Darsh for sharing a great article with the facebook world.

Now while I do think that CrossFit is the most effective strength and conditioning program out there, and while I do think that (when done safely) it is also the most effective training program to get and keep people physically and mentally sound, I try very hard not to bad-mouth other programs out there.

At the end of the day, here is my stance on fitness:
“Doing SOMETHING is better than doing nothing.”

So go ahead and grab that P90X DVD. Do you love dancing to Zumba? Go to Zumba class and dance, then! Do you prefer hot yoga? Go get your sweat on. Do you like doing ALLLL of these things? Even better! Switch it up and keep your body guessing.

My only request is that you try not to make false and insulting statements about “the other guys” along the way. Out there, another person is trying to get the same results as you are. They’re just trying to get there a different way.

This article below, written by Penny Love Hoff (Huffington Post health/ lifestyle/fitness coach), is probably one of the most condescending articles on CrossFit I’ve ever read. To each their own, and I respect her for having her own opinion… but I do not agree with her one bit. 🙂

Here’s how she ends her full article:

“All I believe you need to do in order to live just about as long as the CrossFit cult members is 25-30 minutes of cardio exercise (meaning that you are sweating and you could talk but not sing) four times per week, fifty crunches and twenty push-ups, modified to your knees if needed. Do these most every day. And you will live just as long. Unless there’s a natural disaster and it’s survival of the fittest, then the CrossFit peeps will survive beyond most of the rest of us. But that’s okay with me. I’m not into sleeping on the ground and I’m not much of a survivalist anyway.”

I’ll say one thing more about this approach to CrossFit. Yes, I am aware that many people are “fanatical” about it, and I realize that it can be a turn-off to many. However, I still firmly believe that if someone were to come in and NOT be fanatical about it, they would still become “healthier” and “more fit” than someone who wouldn’t even walk through the door to give CrossFit a shot.

Ok, read on…

Is CrossFit Only For Maniacs?

by Penny Love Hoff (Huffington Post)

Just to keep me on my toes, I’m going to resist the urge to use the term “audacious radical fitness zealots” when referring to CrossFit, a strength and conditioning program for what I would call the “over-the-top” athlete.

On the CrossFit website, they summarize their program in 100 words:

“Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week. Mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports.”

Okay, I agree with a lot of that. But after looking at some YouTube videos of some of the main CrossFit workouts, I’ll bet that in ten years, they will have bad knees, torn rotator cuffs and more artificial joints than me. And the sad thing is that they won’t be able to keep doing what they love to do, which is continue to move with ease and speed. CrossFit is a fitness craze.
Virginia Heffernan wrote about it in The New York Times Magazine. She called it a “grueling online exercise regime that requires near-devotional commitment” and in my (sort of) humble fitness opinion, she is politely understating it.

Of course, nothing’s wrong with have a Goliath-style work(out) ethic and a lofty Olympic-like fitness threshold, but this workout is a joint-buster. It puts the “man” back in “maniac.” Although I did find myself lusting after their handstand pushups and their rope climbs, their hurling, snatching and dead-lifting with near impossible speed. After all, I’m still working on mastering one pull up, but I also imagined their knees exploding on the next ever-deeper squat or their shoulder dislocating as they balanced in a dangerously unnatural angle on the gymnastic rings.

My reaction could just be the mom in me. Or the CPR certified aerobics instructor. Or the non-idiot part of me. Then I had a horrifying thought. What if some of my readers who read my articles about working out look upon my fitness suggestions with an equal sense of disbelief or a similar feeling that I had while reading about CrossFit — that the exercises prescribed are equally impossible?

So the point I want to make is that nothing you have to do to be healthy is super-human –although on some rainy Mondays mornings, it may feel like it. All I believe you need to do in order to live just about as long as the CrossFit cult members is 25-30 minutes of cardio exercise (meaning that you are sweating and you could talk but not sing) four times per week, fifty crunches and twenty push-ups, modified to your knees if needed. Do these most every day. And you will live just as long. Unless there’s a natural disaster and it’s survival of the fittest, then the CrossFit peeps will survive beyond most of the rest of us. But that’s okay with me. I’m not into sleeping on the ground and I’m not much of a survivalist anyway.