Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. This blog is a unique perspective of one persons journey into fitness. Not all clients and participants at Parsons Training undergo the same training, and each person makes his or her own decisions regarding dietary discretions.
By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
February 19, 2018
Over the years, this blog has taken plenty of shots at Crossfit culture. I predicate this as “culture” because the issue that everyone really has is with the mindset the typical cross fitter has about their chosen field of exercise. There are some positives about the whole movement, but the negatives certainly outweigh all of those positives. The biggest issue I have with the culture is the lack of true oversight and the blasé attitude with injuries. First and foremost, always be careful when you join a “box.” So many of these cross fit gyms are started by random people, for all they need to do sign some paperwork, run the credit card and spend a weekend training. That’s it. That’s all you need to be a Crossfit gym owner. So yes, when you consider doing this type of working out, please make sure the people running the place are not just workout “bros” and “bro-dettes.” (okay, I have no idea what to call the annoying female gym rats, hehe). The second problem of course is the injury problem in Crossfit. Of course, injuries will always happen and cause some problems in the life of anyone that works out a lot, but let’s just say this happens a lot within the Crossfit culture. One of the problems is the fact people are constantly trying to come up with odd workouts that might be good for Youtube views, but not practical. For every cool looking workout you see some cross fitter doing, you will most likely see a few dozen videos of various fails that more often than not end up in injuries. And then you have the amount of reps that so many people try to accomplish within their Workouts of the Day (WODS). Some of these movements—like snatches—are not meant to be done 50 times in a row. So not only can you hurt yourself from the actual movement, you can do it from the overuse as well. This is why making sure you have good form and such is important. This is why you really have to get in the face of the people running the place to make sure you are not doing something wrong.
Now there are a ton of negatives about Crossfit that I can get into detail about, but let’s face it, I’m trying to say something nice. For one thing, it can be a good thing due to the community aspect that exists within the whole Crossfit vibe. But like I have said before, this can also lead to some peer pressure where people start doing stuff they should not be doing (just look up Crossfit fails on Youtube and you will see a litany of fails). Okay, there are a couple of good things that exist for Crossfit, and one of them is the fact there is a set structure of workouts ready for you to complete. People have shown some good results and I myself have even considered doing this sort of thing (but of course, my darn set-backs keep happening) The other cool thing is The Crossfit Games. Basically dubbed the “Exercise Olympics,” the Crossfit Games has earned some legitimacy over the past few years, culminating in an actual pay out for the winner as well as some major sponsorship. Now I do like watching the Crossfit games, because this stuff can actually be interesting to watch. Usually the events vary from year to year, such as a 20-mile bike race on a fixed gear bike to start the competition off followed by a near uphill climb up a mountain. When you look at the competition, it really is a massive challenge for anyone involved. One moment you could be doing a rope climb for 20 feet and then hauling 100 pound weights in each hand. Preparing for this sort of stuff would be a real challenge. The only real guarantee you will see in the competition is their mutated form of pull-ups (which they call a rolling pull-up, which can be dangerous for the shoulders) along with deadlifts and snatches (or their version of snatches and deadlifts). So it is pretty clear that you would need to focus on three areas to really make yourself a strong competitor for the competition. But what else would you really need to prepare for when doing this sort of competition?
Well, if the reality TV portion of the Crossfit Games coverage indicates, you will be eating a ton of peanut butter! Obviously, a lot of “clean” food will be needed during the competition, considering you could be competing in 14 events during a four day stretch. Much like the World’s Strongest Man competition, a lot of protein shakes and good carbs are going to be needed. The only other part that will really throw one off is the lack of sleep during the competition. Anyway, the food portion should be pretty self explanatory, considering you need to eat a lot during the competition just to keep your energy up. Now here is the other question…how would you even prepare for this sort of thing. Now to be really good enough to get the actual Crossfit Games, it is gonna take a lot of training and years of work. So a lot of the coaches that like to help people out in these sports is to focus on the Crossfit Open, which is usually where most people have go to even qualify for the games. This was a pretty good site I found for the competition. https://breakingmuscle.com/fitness/2017-crossfit-open-preparation-8-weeks-of-workouts-and-coaching As you can tell, this particular coach believes in building up the shoulder strength, which really is the key to any person competing in the Crossfit Open. You have to be able to do a whole bunch of rolling pull-ups and a lot of snatches. Clean and jerks are also included in this competition as well, so get your olympic weight lifting up to date to get yourself ready for this craziness.
So what would I recommend….a person who merely watches the games and is probably never gonna be good enough to even come to qualifying. Well, you have to have a good attitude (unlike me) and prepare to train a lot. Since the monetary value to the competition really is not there yet, there will be a lot of out of pocket costs, so get your insurance up to date. I can say one thing…do a whole lot of shoulder, back and core work. And also maybe work on your legs and flexibility. Also make sure your hands are good and strong. Hell, you really have to make sure your whole body is capable of just doing the qualifying stuff. So yeah, make sure you train everything and don’t do it in a way that will injure you in the process. Yeesh, this is some bad advice I guess. I assume the only real thing you can do is dedicate each day to a certain body area, building all of the body parts evenly so you don’t overwork one area too much. You will have to eat well during he process, for Crossfitters usually take on a no liquor doctrine as well as some extremists getting rid of caffeine. Throw in the fact they usually take on extreme Paleo and Keto eating regimes, this could be a full time struggle for you. On the other hand, you can look at it this way…you could be the most popular athlete in your box if you do make it. Just be careful…that is all I can say.
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.
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Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. The author of this blog is an independent writer and is not an associate of Parsons Training, LLC. Any information or images displayed are done so solely at the authors discretion. Any dietary or fitness commentary is exclusively that of the author and in no way dictated by the company.