How much should I CrossFit?
Once a week? 3 times per week? Everyday?
This is one of the most common questions we get asked by new athletes coming out of On Ramp. Of course, as with all questions, there must be clarification and considerations. For the purpose of this article, we will make some assumptions.
You are talking about well programmed, well coached (scaled, modified, corrected) fitness focused (as opposed to competitive focused) CrossFit
You want to get fit in as little time as necessary
You don’t want to be sore as hell every day
First I’ll just say what I usually say. It’s hyper simplistic but still kind of true. If doing CF makes you fitter, and you spend 3 days a week getting fitter, how many days a week are you spending getting unfitter? 3-4=-1 Not good.
Of course this is not a rule, but it kinda does work that way. I really suggest athletes come all 5 days a week or possibly miss Thursday if they are going to train on Saturday.
Now let’s go through the Assumptions and why they are important, and the we will finish with the REAL decisive factor.
Assumption 1 is important because although CrossFit is constantly varied, it should not be random. This means each workout is programmed with specific components of fitness in mind, weather body weights, weights, or cardio, long, medium or short time durations, high, medium, low repetitions, and heavy/complex, medium, or light/low complexity movements. All of this is taken in consideration with what came yesterday, and what comes tomorrow. If you habitually avoid a certain type of workout, you will be missing an important component of fitness. If you are finding yourself not achieving a certain goal, chances are it can be traced to this.
Assumption 2 is important for the obvious reason that you will be moving more. However, you will also be learning faster which will allow you to progress in complexity and loading faster, leading to an upward spiral of adaptations.
Assumption 3 seems counter intuitive but think about it. The second part of strength and conditioning is CONDITIONING. This simply means getting used to it. The more you train, the more used to training your body will get which equates to less soreness! I do not envy people doing CrossFit once a week. That is a sure fire way to make sure you are always excessively sore from your workout.
And now for the REAL decisive factor. RECOVERY. You should CrossFit as much as possible, based on your recovery. What does this mean?
Getting fit is a cycle. What we do in the gym actually breaks you down and makes you less fit. Think about redoing a workout you just did. Won’t do as well right? The other part of the cycle is recovery. This is when the changes get put in place. This is also how highly competitive CrossFitters are able to train so often. They are recovery machines!
So what effects recovery? Very simply, nutrition, hydration and sleep. The more and better these are the more you will be able to recover, the more you can CrossFit!
There is so much more to this question but hopefully that helps some of you guys out with making your CrossFit schedules.
Yourself does not believe you anymore.
All these years of bullshit, falls promises, lies, and excuses, have destroyed that relationship.
When you say to Yourself, “This year I’m gonna lose 20 pounds and stop watching all of the tv,” Yourself is like “Hahahahahahahaha, whatever.” Yourself knows you.
Guess whose fault that is? You trained Yourself to not trust you. If anyone knew all the promises you had broken to Yourself, no one else would trust you either.
The first day I decided to quit drinking it was about 9:00 AM. I told Myself, “Today is the day we get on with our lives.” And that was the extent of my plan. Then Myself took over. By 3pm we were both wasted.
The ensuing 4 years was a continuous series of more and more drastic attempts to defeat Myself.
All of these ideas, mind you, were absolutely brilliant and guaranteed to work. But somehow, Myself always showed up just at the exact wrong time and bitch-slapped me for even trying.
Then I found some people who were once like me but seemed to have found something that worked.
They walked me through my past and showed me how every attempt I had made had been completely destroyed by Myself. I became convinced that Myself had been the problem all along. Myself was stronger than me.
Nothing I was told to do was new. But it worked because I believed them. Because it worked for them. Millions of them. Turns out it was my inability to trust Myself that was the source of all this shit. And the only way to restore that relationship was to trust someone/something outside of Myself.
Trusting them was a decision.
But after looking at my history of failure, and comparing it to their history of success, that choice wasn’t that difficult. I just had to go through a lot of pain to get there.
I don’t think I even have to break it down today. This was my exact experience with CrossFit.
In CrossFit we have a movement called the Muscle-Up.
It’s sexy. Therefore, it is a desirable achievement.
It involves jumping up and grabbing onto two rings and performing a movement that changes the athletes position from hanging below the rings to supporting himself on top of the rings.
Many people have asked me to help them get muscle-ups, and my first question is always, “how are your ring dips?”
Ring dips are not sexy. Most people don’t like to work on ring dips. But the the ring dip is where you find yourself once you get atop the rings.
I have seen people fail the muscle up, even though they are above the rings, because they can’t do ring dips.
I have seen people get hurt getting on top the rings from lacking capability upon their arrival.
They collapse under the weight of their own success.
We often think we know what we want.
We want the success. We want the money. We want the notoriety. We want the girl. That’s great.
But we have to continually ask the questions, “Who will we be when we get there?”
If we are fat-minded, we will still get fat once the pills are gone, the boot camp has ended, and the challenge is over.
If we are broke-minded, we will still be broke once the powerball winnings are spent, or the lucky deal is behind us.
If we are selfish, we will still be selfish once the emotions of the new relationship or the new baby have faded.
What is your muscle-up?
How is your ring dip?
You have probably noticed our gyms are not climate controlled.
This is not an accident.
One of the things that CrossFit has taught us is the fact that strength and resilience is developed through exposure. Exposure to challenge results in adaptations to our heath and fitness.
Weather is just another form of exposure.
Our bodies have heating and cooling mechanisms built in to them.
Allowing these mechanisms to operate helps keep them functioning properly. Our bodies are a lot like any machine where a lack of use will eventually lead to degradation.
With that said, there are some things we can do to ease the discomfort of this processs and make sure we stay healthy and strong through the winter workouts.
1. WEAR LAYERS
Wear multiple (3) light layers to the gym. Begin the warm up with all of them on stripping one at a time as you start to feel your body, joints, and muscles heating up.
2. WEAR A HAT
We can lose about 50 percent of our body heat through an uncovered head (even if you aren’t as bald as me!)
3. DRINK WARM WATER
It is important to stay hydrated in the cold. We often overlook this requirement because we don’t see or feel as sweaty. However we are still losing fluids when we are exercising vigorously.
Cold water will make us colder as our bodies will lose heat trying to warm the water to our body temperature. Try leaving your water out, at work or home or in your car. It doesn’t need to be hot, just don’t want it cold.
Use these tips to stay safe and healthy through this winter CrossFit season!
Answering the question, “Is it paleo?” is your first step. This is helpful because it rules out like 99% of the shit people put in their face-holes on a daily basis. But then there is the next question… “Will it help me to my goals?” We call this categorization a split between the realms of “favorable” and “unfavorable.” Identifying these differences can be the key to your success. And also give you some shit to do since you won’t be spending all your time deciding on which flavor soda you’ll be filling your Big Gulp™️ with next.
When I was in elementary school, my teacher was teaching us about the conversion of starch into sugar. She had us chew on a piece of white bread for several minutes until the saliva broke the starch down and the “substance” in our mouths actually became sweet to the taste. Why the fuck I remember this, but not which teacher, or what school I was at, is a whole ‘nother blog. But one thing stuck with me from that foray into scientific investigation…
“I need to chew my sandwiches longer.”
Fast forward 30-something years.
If you give a shit about nutrition, performance, and body composition, you would benefit dramatically from learning how to use the glycemic index. There are many explanations of glycemic index available upon a quick Google search, but mine is better. So here goes…
The glycemic index is a chart that shows how effective a food is at spiking blood sugar level, and consequently, insulin levels.
If you have been around me and mine long enough, you have heard me communicate that the current obesity epidemic, diabetes rates, and a host of preventable cancers and chronic metabolic disorders can all be linked to chronically elevated insulin levels.
In a nutshell:
- Having a lot of insulin running though your body all the time is severely damaging (and can make you fat)
- Having a lot of sugar in your blood is what causes Number 1.
- Eating high glycemic carbs/food is what causes Number 2.
High glycemic index = High blood insulin = Chronic disease
Hyperglycemia = Hyperinsulinemia = Preventable Conditions
Skittles/Coke/Bread/Grain/Pasta = Death
So, to the point, how can I use the glycemic index to make better choices of foods? Real simple. Click here for the link to the glycemic index website. Type in the food and search.
(NOTE: If you search for shit like “paleo banana-glazed-cream-filled-almond butter brownie with sugar-free-paleo caramel apple-drizzle” and it doesn’t show up, guess why.)
Rule of Thumb:
Table sugar = 100
Foods create a higher insulin response the closer you get to 100.
>50 – limit or avoid
<50 – more preferable
Keep in mind that amount, method of preparation, and balance with protein all are factors in affecting insulin levels. We will talk about this stuff later. But this is a good place to start.
When we started our gym in early 2012, I used to let people start off their introduction to CrossFit with a workout we referred to as the “Fit Test.” There are many fond and not so fond memories at my gym of this experience. The workout was:
2 Rounds for Time:
We have matured since those days and have learned that this is probably not the best way to treat someone looking to start CrossFit. We would never do this to someone today.
However, there were some very interesting observations made during that time. Things like current fitness capacity, mobility restrictions, coach ability, cognitive capacity, movement habits, will to achieve, and so on were ascertained from this initial performance.
The most interesting observation was how people responded to their results.
People tended to either see their current fitness situation, accept it, and make a decision to do something about it, OR they saw their situation, made excuses and denied it, and then went about trying to hide from it.
When our belief about our situation is out of whack with the reality of our situation, we have to do something about the inconsistency. Many choose denial. We try to convince ourselves that the facts are wrong. We try to change our beliefs and ignore all the signs that we are wrong. We deny. Then we try to avoid situations that show us we are wrong.
But occasionally, people get tired of pretending, of running, of avoiding, of denying, and we become willing to look at the facts. We become willing to accept reality.
Then, every once in a while, we decide to do something about it. To put our effort and focus into changing the facts, however scary, rather than spinning our wheels trying to change our beliefs about the facts.
We stopped The Fit Test because the people showing up at our doors changed. Instead of people showing up who needed to be faced with the reality of their situation, we began getting people who new the reality of their situation. They didn’t come to be beat down, they came for help.
We have been honored to have been a part of well over 1200 people’s fitness journey since opening our doors. Some stay and continue to grow, some take what they’ve learned and continue on their path. Either way we are extremely proud to be part.
If you are at that point and realize you could use a little help to get where you want to be, that’s what we do! Schedule your free No Sweat Intro and get 15-30 minutes alone with a trainer who wants to know what your goals are and see if we can help you achieve them.