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  • Honest Discussion - Crossfit / Fitness / Athleticism

    Some of you may have noticed (well, probably not), that I haven't really updated my journal lately.

    I was a little disillusioned with the way things were going with bodybuilding and wanted to do some strongman, powerlifting, etc.. but really couldn't find what I was looking for totally.

    My goals really changed more in the last year or so because of my son and from my clarity of how much I really dislike dieting down for bodybuilding shows. lol

    So I went from wanting to be the biggest, baddest, leanest mother trucker on stage - to wanting to be healthy, fit, wearing normal clothes, feeling good, and powerful.

    I wanted to keep some size, but I really wouldn't mind walking around at 190, wearing normal fitting jeans, large t-shirts, and just being "in shape." While still being bigger than 95% of all people out there.

    It's not the buffness as much, it's the overall feeling of health that I was wanting. I love DC training and the kind of size and strength I had with it - and I loved training for powerlifting type of strength as well... But I still felt like something lacking (maybe it's jesus.. )

    So I had a customer come in my store and started talking to me about the crossfit gym that is downtown. I did a bit of research, watched some videos and decided "what the hell", I'll give it a try. I have done it for about a month so far (haven't even paid for a membership yet..lol)

    I liked it. The feeling is something I haven't had since high school football conditioning. Somewhat of a love/hate relationship with how shitty you feel while you are gasping for air - and how good you feel once you are done.

    On top of that, it gives you a level of competition that you don't get otherwise. You are racing the clock with everyone else in the world, and also racing against other people in the gym doing the same workout you are.

    It is absolutely some of the hardest workouts I have ever done in my life - and most of them are under 20 mins.

    I can't say that body composition-wise it has changed me really. I have lost a little size over the last month and half - but after going to the gym and playing with some of my old bench/dl/squat #'s I have kept all of my strength. I haven't really leaned out either, but that could be due to my diet being a little less on-point than it normally is.

    **
    So here is my bone to pick with crossfit. It is fun, it is challenging, and it will definitely make me more athletic. In fact, I did a 47" box jump yesterday (I am about 70" tall) and had a lot of fun doing the stuff.

    The downside is how random everything is. The workouts don't really make sense a lot of times and they look like someone just threw them together like they are picking 2 things they think would suck to do together. They also don't really believe in giving certain muscle groups a rest after beating the hell out of them. We'll do squats one day, snatch squats another, and an exercise called "wall-balls" where you throw a 20lbs medicine ball 20 feet onto a wall while catching it and squatting down.

    If the owners of the gym wrote their own workouts and actually focused on a bit of strength and then going into the "WOD" (workout of the day) which is based more on high rep or circuit-type training.. it would be much more enjoyable.

    So I'm curious as to everyone's thoughts on different types of fitness for those no longer looking to be as big as they possibly can - but more in good shape. Longevity, athleticism, I guess you could say.

    Doing something like 5/3/1 and sprints would accomplish a lot, except I hate doing conditioning work and most likely would never force myself to do it.

    Let's keep this to as intelligent debate and information as possible. Some people have a deep seeded hate for all things crossfit, which is fine, but I would rather focus on your reasons behind things instead of insults.
    Owner of 316FIT and Team Skip Approved Trainer


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  • #2
    I understand exactly where you are coming from and even had a conversation with Skip about it as I was going through the fire academy. At the time I changed my training quite a bit for the exact reasons you listed above (minus the son). I have since gotten back to heavy lifting in part because while I definitely enjoy it a lot minus the downfalls you listed and have competed in powerlifting I have yet to step on stage as you have and have it as a goal.

    I suggest you check out www.Sealfit.com. Myth, who used to post there got me over there quite a while ago. They are far and away the hardest workouts I have ever done. They combine 3-4 Crossfit style workouts in one. In fact I had to scale them back at times to even finish. But the website is very well run by a former SEAL who coordinates the training well. There is a thought out purpose for each day and they organize the week to avoid the things you mentioned. While they are geared towards preparing guys for the spec ops community schools it will fit the bill for you as there is both more strength work then standard Crossfit and more conditioning.

    Without a doubt I was in the best shape of my life after training like that for 6 months.

    I understand some of the hate on Crossfit but some I think is just guys thinking there is no way like their way. Kinda like the hate on physique contests... "If you aren't into being a superheavy weight bodybuilder or powerlifter then you're obviously stupid and gay.". Committing to training in the Crossfit style can be just as challenging and rewarding to someone as the methods used on this site. Different strokes for different folks.
    Journal http://www.intensemuscle.com/showthread.php?t=51093

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    • #3
      I think you're 100% spot on. It's a good way to train but you could make it better by being less random and for most people take out some of the more complex exercises (a lot of the OL form in the crossfit videos is cringe worthy, especially when doing such volume...)

      Personally I consider it basically HIIT with a barbell. If you look on the crossfit forums there are people who've been doing it for years and are still pathetically weak (even by average/natural standards). It's a high intensity cardio replacement, not a lifting replacement (at least long term.)

      My favorite was DT- 155lbs X 12 deadlifts, 9 hang cleans, 6 push presses for 5 rounds, I think my best time was 6:40-something.....
      PM me to discuss website/video/dvd etc. related work.

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      • #4
        DO


        WHAT


        MAKES


        YOU


        HAPPY


        Ph.D., Theoretical Physics '16
        kind of a douche

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        • #5
          I understand the randomness behind many of the WODs. It is one thing that turned me off from Crossfit as well (that and the ego of many members that it's Crossfit or you suck). Many people call it the "woodchipper" WODs, where they just throw a bunch of movements into the woodchipper and out spits the WOD.

          Have you looked at www.crossfitfootball.com? It is based on CF of course, but has more of a method to the programming. That and it also emphasizes certain strength movements in its Strength WOD that is to be done prior to the daily WOD. I was more a fan of that as opposed to the Main Site when I did alot of CF. I liked the fact that you had certain strength moves (ie bench 5x3, power clean 2,2,2,2,2, etc.) Def worth a look through if you are looking for a more structured approach but keeping the same core as CF

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Michael Travis View Post
            Have you looked at www.crossfitfootball.com? It is based on CF of course, but has more of a method to the programming. That and it also emphasizes certain strength movements in its Strength WOD that is to be done prior to the daily WOD. I was more a fan of that as opposed to the Main Site when I did alot of CF. I liked the fact that you had certain strength moves (ie bench 5x3, power clean 2,2,2,2,2, etc.) Def worth a look through if you are looking for a more structured approach but keeping the same core as CF
            The Kalsu workout on that page is brutal.
            PM me to discuss website/video/dvd etc. related work.

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            • #7
              I initially got the bodybuilding bug shortly after beginning strength training, but after about 10 years of it I realized that I can still get almost the same results, although never touching contest kind of shape, with a lot less attention to detail that bodybuilding requires while enjoying my life a lot more, and by being a lot healthier. I think Crossfit has some good points, I like they train as a group, the camaraderie is helpful, they opt for compound movements and avoid steady state cardio...both a plus to me. The problems I see are the randomness of the programming, poor exercise technique through fatigue, a lack of specificity for athletes or anyone with muscular imbalances or injuries, which is pretty much everyone, way too much OH pressing for the shoulder joint health, and a lack of attention to mobility, stability, and corrective exercise, which kind of goes hand in hand with the lack of specificity.

              As far as what I'm doing now, I can't help that I'm still and probably always will be motivated by wanting to have a pretty sweet physique. I want to look like bodybuilder even if I don't always want to diet like one. But, I've been exposed to an exercise science education and have interned with two collegiate strength and conditioning programs, and have read quite a bit of articles and books in that realm that have influenced me in the past three years. So, I guess I do somewhat of a combination of an athletic strength and conditioning type of program mixed with some bodybuilding type work. No longer will I just pound away at the mirror muscles. I developed all sorts of minor injuries, poor tissue quality, poor mobility, poor core strength, and some muscular imbalances doing years of bodybuilding. I have incorporated quite a bit of corrective exercise, stability, and core work into my programs, not to mention much more attention to tissue quality and proper warm ups that I never did while bodybuilding. But, I'll still find myself doing more volume and isolation work than I'd ever recommend for any sport athlete. So I program based more on balance, health, and longevity and then sprinkle in more volume where I feel necessary to keep the physique moving forward, coupled with enough work to avoid muscular imbalances around a given joint. But, at the end of the day I can now see that spending a few more minutes working on my mobility and corrective exercises, although not as fun, is much more important to my long term ability to train hard into the future, than pounding out another set on the pec dec.

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              • #8
                The randomness of the training is another reason it is effective, in my opinion, because it isn't predictable or "routine". As bodybuilders we tend to believe strongly in logic and order but that efficiency isn't needed in "health" related exercise or fitness.

                Personally, I think Crossfit can be absolutely brutal and DESTROYS any other form of training out there for personal health and overall athletic performance. I have considered it, myself, but I admit to having this crazy addiction to moving bigger weights.

                Skip


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                • #9
                  Not to advertise for things not related to IM or its members, but if you want to see some guys moving some pretty big weights in a CF style workout, you can find Josh Everett on youtube. Things like King Kong (3 rounds of 1x455lb DL, 2 MU's, 3x250lb full cleans, 4xHSPU) is some pretty heavy duty lifting. There is also one of him out there doing 315lb walking lunges for 20-30 feet. I'm sure members here could do that as well (not me), but considering it's CF, that is still pretty heavy.

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                  • #10
                    I think there is a happy medium somewhere in there fade, with some PL movements to start then some CF style training. Like Adam said, the MYTH used to use 5x5with some of the harder conditioning training, he wasn't huge but he was very athletic and strong and you may lose some size but I don't think you'll lose too much.
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                    • #11
                      We focus on the strength component in my training and then do modified wods that will not impact the compound movement. I love it.

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                      • #12
                        I forget what he calls it but bryzinski (sp?) Has a way of training athletes that has them alternate heavy compound exs for lower and upper body in small circuits. Like squats, benches, and stiff deads short break then rows, leg press and over head presses...etc.. he keeps volume down and wt up and if you never tried a triset of lower upper lower or upper lower upper... It's brutal. He talks about how you force your body to pump blood to the lower body and then make it reverse and pump blood to the upper ...etc... Don't know if its just that or just cause its heavy compound exs but I tried it some time ago and if you can keep at it... You get 'conditioned' quick.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by shawn "future" bellon View Post
                          we focus on the strength component in my training and then do modified wods that will not impact the compound movement. I love it.

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                          • #14
                            [YOUTUBE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dv5jjeJ2DQM[/YOUTUBE]

                            that was my favorite of the wods I tried.
                            PM me to discuss website/video/dvd etc. related work.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Ken "Skip" Hill View Post
                              The randomness of the training is another reason it is effective, in my opinion, because it isn't predictable or "routine". As bodybuilders we tend to believe strongly in logic and order but that efficiency isn't needed in "health" related exercise or fitness.

                              Personally, I think Crossfit can be absolutely brutal and DESTROYS any other form of training out there for personal health and overall athletic performance. I have considered it, myself, but I admit to having this crazy addiction to moving bigger weights.

                              Skip

                              I will admit, it is a lot of fun. The randomness can be part of the benefit - it is more of the absolute randomness like they drew the exercises out of a bingo pit or something. Sometimes there is an entire week of shoulder based exercises, another one where your legs are dead.. another where you kill the living hell out of your abs. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I would prefer to hi the entire body instead of just pounding one body part repeatedly.

                              Take this week for example.
                              Monday- Cleans & handstand pushups
                              Tuesday- db snatchs & toes to bar/ghr abs
                              wed-heavy deadlifts.

                              all 3 of those days destroy my traps and my back and legs. That is my only problem with the randomness.

                              Originally posted by DCBliever View Post
                              I think there is a happy medium somewhere in there fade, with some PL movements to start then some CF style training. Like Adam said, the MYTH used to use 5x5with some of the harder conditioning training, he wasn't huge but he was very athletic and strong and you may lose some size but I don't think you'll lose too much.

                              There definitely is a happy medium between the two. Unfortunately the happy medium is either really boring or really expensive. Or I just haven't been able to get my gym to do it yet.

                              If I did something like 5/3/1 with sprints - I would be bored out of my mind.. but that is what I would consider the happy medium between the two.

                              Hell, even doing 5/3/1 and then doing some sort of WOD would be ideal - but the average person in my class doesn't go set days and just shows up for the WOD so there would be no benefit to them having something like a 5/3/1


                              Originally posted by Shawn "Future" Bellon View Post
                              We focus on the strength component in my training and then do modified wods that will not impact the compound movement. I love it.

                              Sent from my DROID X2 using Tapatalk

                              That is exactly what I would want to do. Unfortunately my gym follows the mainsite WOD and let's just say I think they intentionally try to kill you some days.. lol

                              Originally posted by Michael Travis View Post
                              Not to advertise for things not related to IM or its members, but if you want to see some guys moving some pretty big weights in a CF style workout, you can find Josh Everett on youtube. Things like King Kong (3 rounds of 1x455lb DL, 2 MU's, 3x250lb full cleans, 4xHSPU) is some pretty heavy duty lifting. There is also one of him out there doing 315lb walking lunges for 20-30 feet. I'm sure members here could do that as well (not me), but considering it's CF, that is still pretty heavy.
                              Crossfit doesn't have to be light and a ton of reps.. In fact one workout I did this week was 7 rounds for time: 3 cleans 205lbs, 4 handstand pushups... sucked because you have to rush back and forth and eventually your clean starts to suck. I guess it is just my gym that I am less happy with than crossfit. I really do enjoy the workout, camaraderie, and the fact that if I don't finish my workout before the women I feel like a bitch. So, I have to try harder than I would on my own. lol








                              I like the thoughts, guys.. keep em coming.
                              Owner of 316FIT and Team Skip Approved Trainer


                              Instagram: @jaredragsdale
                              FB: www.fb.com/jared.ragsdale
                              www.316fit.com
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