The problem with now is to some degree a problem for all of us. We can have almost anything we want…now. Information, food, companionship, you name it. And if you can’t get it now, you’re either underfunded or in Antarctica. But I digress…
This problem is much more noticeable when people hit the gym. There are basically two types of people who come to CFW-
-those who want to lose weight and get in shape.
-those who want to get bigger, stronger, and faster so they can compete at CrossFit.
That’s a bit of a broad stroke on my part, because sure there are guys and gals just looking to “get fit” and not actually compete but overall the above two are what I typically see.
So what’s the Problem With Now?
Well, you see, neither weight training for gaining strength and efficiency nor losing a significant amount of weight is an easy process. How many of you who have been on a weight loss journey step on the scale every day? Who has been just crushed to find out that a day after “the hardest and longest workout of your life” you gained a pound? WHAT?!! Who among you trying to get stronger expects a new PR every lift attempt? Do you question why you’re even there on a day when the weights feel glued to the floor?
The truth is this is a process. A journey.
Dave didn’t start on the blue bands for pull ups. Not even close. The process worked because he stayed with it and got stronger.
Can we help with weight loss? Sure, check out this and this and this.
Can we make you a stronger athlete? You bet, see here and here.
What are some things that can help?
Well, number one is prior experience. If you where a high school or college athlete, chances are pretty good that you have some motor skills that are lying dormant and we just need to get those puppies firing. Your progress will happen a bit faster than the average Joe. If you didn’t play sports or dance or do gymnastics as a kid, then it’s likely that your learning progression will take longer.
On the weight loss side of things, it’s all about being clear and vigilant about your goal. If you say, “I want to weigh 180# but I currently weigh 223#. Should I eat this cheeseburger and fries?” The answer is, no. It’s simple, get rid of the cheeseburger- Every. Single. Day. <<This is a big key to remember because the tendency to reward ourselves is another problem with now. “I did soooo good yesterday so NOW I’m going to treat myself to this blizzard.” This happens so often it’s scary. Even though logic dictates that the blizzard does not line up with your goal, it’s a treat so it’s OK. It’s not. Don’t do it. Real food. Smart exercise.
Take home? Don’t get sucked into the “iphone-like everything is at my fingertips” mentality at the gym. You can’t get it all today. You might not get it all tomorrow. Heck, it might be a while. But one thing is for certain, it will never come if you give up and quit.
The fact that the strength or body composition you want is not easy to come by should be all the more reason to be proud of goals you accomplish. Set goals or milestones along the way and celebrate (just don’t eat a blizzard).
45# is always 45#.
I leave you with an excerpt from The Iron by Henry Rollins:
It took me years to fully appreciate the value of the lessons I have learned from the Iron. I used to think that it was my adversary, that I was trying to lift that which does not want to be lifted. I was wrong. When the Iron doesn’t want to come off the mat, it’s the kindest thing it can do for you. If it flew up and went through the ceiling, it wouldn’t teach you anything. That’s the way the Iron talks to you. It tells you that the material you work with is that which you will come to resemble. That which you work against will always work against you.
It wasn’t until my late twenties that I learned that by working out I had given myself a great gift. I learned that nothing good comes without work and a certain amount of pain. When I finish a set that leaves me shaking, I know more about myself. When something gets bad, I know it can’t be as bad as that workout.
I used to fight the pain, but recently this became clear to me: pain is not my enemy; it is my call to greatness. But when dealing with the Iron, one must be careful to interpret the pain correctly. Most injuries involving the Iron come from ego. I once spent a few weeks lifting weight that my body wasn’t ready for and spent a few months not picking up anything heavier than a fork. Try to lift what you’re not prepared to and the Iron will teach you a little lesson in restraint and self-control.
I have never met a truly strong person who didn’t have self-respect. I think a lot of inwardly and outwardly directed contempt passes itself off as self-respect: the idea of raising yourself by stepping on someone’s shoulders instead of doing it yourself. When I see guys working out for cosmetic reasons, I see vanity exposing them in the worst way, as cartoon characters, billboards for imbalance and insecurity. Strength reveals itself through character…
Muscle mass does not always equal strength. Strength is kindness and sensitivity. Strength is understanding that your power is both physical and emotional. That it comes from the body and the mind. And the heart.
You guys crushed the month of May!! PRs all over the place!!
As we get into the heat of summer it’ll be time to keep on cruisin’!
Set some goals and go after them! We’ll have a chance to hit some great benchmark workouts in the next 6 week cycle. When they come up, check your previous time and strategize/visualize how you’re going to best it.
ALL IN! STRONGER. FASTER. BETTER.
The board’s empty. Let’s fill it up again!
Driving from Waxahachie to Lubbock takes a little while. Five hours usually. Riding a bicycle there takes a little longer, but that’s another story. When my family travels there, I don’t look at the odometer every mile and check it off. I hit the gas pedal and go. I talk with my wife (or she talks at me), we sing songs, and play silly car games. Before you know it, we’re at our destination.
Long stretch up the caprock.
Some of you keep “checking the mileage” on your fitness journey a little too much. You step on the scale each day to see what it has to say about you. You measure yourself every class against- the clock, the weight, yourself, and that guy/girl you compete with. You get wrapped up in the numbers and forget that you’re on a ride. A ride where it’s the destination that’s most important.
CrossFit is fun. At least if you let it be. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Eat. WOD. Recover.
Those are the big steps. While you’re at it, make a new friend and remember that above all- CFW is a community. We’re all on this trip together. Let’s hit the gas pedal and go!
Bodacious Biles Brothers
There’s one thing I know about CrossFit- it’s hard.
Oddly enough, that’s exactly why I’ve been at it for the last 6 years. If it were easy, if I didn’t have a ton of things to work on and get better at, I might have stopped long ago. It seems like every time I turn around, I’ve got another skill to learn, another level of strength to attain, and another gear that I hadn’t known was there.
You guys know what I’m talking about. Just when you get comfy- BAM- let’s go heavier, let’s go full range of motion, let’s practice skills. When you think you’ve arrived and it’s all over, think again. The workouts don’t get easier as you get stronger and more conditioned, they hurt just as bad (if not more). The only good thing about getting better at Fran is you can make it stop faster.
That said, you’ve got to pick your battles. If you’re needing more strength (and who doesn’t) then maybe you should scale up and shorten the metcons. If you’re already a beast, then maybe it’s time for another skill (butterfly pull ups). Or maybe it’s just time to get an UNBROKEN mentality. As in, “I’m not going to set this bar down or come off the bar till I’m done.”
I don’t know where you fall in this but I can tell you this- if you PICK YOUR BATTLE and then commit to FIGHT LIKE MAD- good things will happen, my friend. Our commitment to you, the CFW athlete, is to bring out your best. I, for one, can’t wait to see it!
You want to get bigger and stronger, huh? Well, you gotta work, eat and rest. That’s pretty much it. We’re going to support you guys who are wanting to do this by putting you (and everyone at CFW) on a linear loaded strength cycle. If you’re wanting to gain some size, we’ve got to tweak your metcons (cardio) a bit and have you go shorter and heavier. For those who are still looking for GPP (general physical preparedness), I want you to keep going on the strength cycle but don’t eat to support the growth. That plus regular metcons will keep you guys and gals tracking right along for weight loss and fitness. Hit it hard and have fun.
So, if you’re still reading this, I’m assuming you’re wanting to get bigger and/or stronger. OK, let’s do it. I’ll emphasize again- you gotta work, eat and rest. Your focus in the gym should be on the heavier days- Mon/Wed/Fri WODs. We’ll adapt your metcons up to support your goal. The programming is pretty simple. 3 sets of 5 on major lifts like back squat, press/ bench press, deadlift, and clean.
The eating part is up to you. Eating to support weight gain takes some effort. The easiest way is to add milk. If you can handle dairy, the trade off is worth it for promoting muscle growth. Other than than, increasing protein intake plus adding sweet potatoes is another approach. Read this- Power Athlete Diet- and do what it says.
Supplements that I would recommend would be pretty simple- whey protein, BCAAs and creatine monohydrate. Not being a fan of artificial sweetners, I’m a little picky about what brands I choose.
Here are a few good protein mixes- Stronger Faster Healthier Recovery (available online), Bluebonnet Whey (available at Anne’s in Waxahachie), or Designer Whey (I believe the vanilla is the only one w/o artificial sweetners- available at HEB or GNC).
I just use the GNC brand powdered BCAAs. Tip- it tastes like JUNK! That’s why they put so many flavors and sweetners in these. I mix mine in a little chocolate milk pre and post WOD.
Again, I just use the GNC brand powdered Creatine Monohydrate. It’s a powder that doesn’t dissolve all the way into liquid. Make sure you’re staying well hydrated if you’re taking this supplement.
As far as amounts go, here’s the scoop-
30-40g of Protein Post Workout
5g BCAAs Pre & Post Workout
5g Creatine Pre & Post Workout
Your post workout protein drink does not constitute a meal. Remember to eat within an hour of finishing. Keep it simple, don’t break the bank. Train hard. Eat more. Rest well. Then do it over and over.
For more info on strength adaptations, here’s an article I wrote a while back.
Another great spot for info- Lift Big Eat Big.
See you at the box!
Athletes (that’s all of you) come to CFW for a variety of reasons- weight loss, improving general health, better athletic performance, etc. All great goals for sure. But what many of them find out early on is one thing- they’re not very strong. At least in terms of trying to RX the typical CrossFit workouts, that is. The 225# deadlifts and handstand push ups in Diane for 45 reps each aren’t going to just happen for most folks. And Fran turns into a 20 minute strength building routine of 95# “front squat/push press” and pull ups.
What many athletes need early on is to get stronger. Don’t get me wrong, that process happens for everyone when they start at CFW. Novice lifters progress rather nicely in their ability to increase loads. What I want to address now is the athlete in the middle. Someone who can RX 70-90% of the workouts. Someone who may have bodyweight movements down but buckle a bit when the load goes up.
This athlete needs to tweak some of the workouts to gain some strength. Here’s an example of what we did with a few athletes for Angie:
The workout is written as- 100 Pull Ups, 100 Push Ups, 100 Sit Ups, 100 Squats. An athlete that is wanting to gain some strength/size is not going to benefit from this workout (at least in terms of his goals). Here’s what we did- 1 round of 25 Pull Ups, 25 Push Ups, 25 Sit Ups, 25 Squats with a 25# vest. Rest. The two rounds of 10 of each movement with a 45# vest, resting between each one.
Much like scaling down, we can apply scaling up for certain workouts and create the right stimulus for gaining strength. Weights go up and reps go down, typically. Don’t look at this as an easy way to get out of workouts you don’t like. It’s definitely not an easier alternative. Talk with your coach about your specific situation.
Our current strength cycle started last week. Here’s what we’ll be up to for the next 5 weeks so you can plan accordingly:
Monday- Strength (Squat, press, deadlift, etc. plus (possibly) a short metcon)
Tuesday- Metcon (longer)
Wednesday- Strength (Squat, bench press, weighted chins, back extensions, etc)
Thursday- Skill (Oly lifts plus (possibly) a short metcon)
Friday- Strength (Squat, press, etc)
What does this mean to you? Well, if you’re the athlete I described that’s needing to make the 95# thrusters in Fran feel lighter, then Mon/Wed/Fri is your focus. I’ll be posting a “What You Need To Grow” supplement article this week so look for that. If you’re still working on all of your skills, bodyweight strength and weightlifting prowess, then keep your regular schedule and complete the workout as close to Rx’d as you can.
During our current strength cycle, even if you’re not coming on Wednesdays, you’ll gradually increase the weight on your squat and press by 5-10# per workout. Keep that in mind as you’re choosing your starting weight. We’ll typically be doing sets of 3×5 for squat, press or bench press.
See you at the box!