One Year In

Monday, December 27th, 2010

It’s been one year with crossfit, and I can honestly say I wish I had listened to my brother back in the CCIT days when he first told me about this stuff. This would have saved my twenties. For now, though, I’ll settle for it saving my thirties, fourties and fifties.

My come-to-crossfit moment came on a five round couplet of thrusters and a 400m run. It took me about twenty minutes. It felt like an eternity. In the lifetime I spent gutting it out those last rounds, I realized all the training I had been doing was obviously not working.

Something else about all that other training: it was breaking me down. I had knee problems and back problems and shoulder problems. Issues were stacking up so quickly that I could rarely put together three consecutive weeks of workouts before something flared up and I had to give it a rest for a week or two. The doctors had no answers for me. I started wearing knee braces and gave up on ever running more than three miles ever again.

Fast forward a year and all of my problems have evaporated. I’ve since run Ragnar, gotten a couple 10Ks under my belt and have dropped to sub-7 minute splits on four-milers. I’m faster than I’ve been since high school and stronger than in any other point in my life. More importantly, I’m actually functional now. I used to spend hours at the gym running and lifting, but when it came to something as simple as holding a door open, I’d get bowled over. That’s not the case anymore. The skills and exercises in crossfit have actual analogs in the real world which makes them transferable.

I won’t tell you that the past year has been easy–I’ve had to change the way I approach a lot of things. I will say two things though:

First, anyone can do crossfit. You don’t have to be super joe athlete, you don’t have to be a former high school varsity sports star. In fact, you’ll have less to unlearn and be skeptical about if you don’t have that background.

Second, if you’re not doing crossfit, chances are you’re not using your time as efficiently as you could be. I won’t proclaim crossfit to be the end-all-be-all, but I will say that I’ve achieved my results by spending the past year doing workouts of 3 to 30 minutes. I’m in and out of the gym in less than an hour and that includes warming up and cooling down.

This is my official endorsement. If you’re thinking about resolutions for the new year, find the nearest crossfit affiliate and give it a try. It’ll be one hour of your life that I guarantee will be more fun than running on a treadmill and could very well be the start of a brand new, balanced, functional you.

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5 Responses to “One Year In”

  1. fatty crab Says:

    I don’t understand how this regime can fix all of your collective wear-and-tear problems. Are those other workouts that fundamentally wrong that they don’t help your body to function regularly??

    By the way, I just found out there is a crossfit two buildings down from my office. Not bad for the suburbs.

  2. Gecko Says:

    Crossfit helps you fix your problems in a couple ways:

    1) it forces a more balanced approach. the WOD is the WOD. end of story. You are no longer in control of what exercises you’re going to do on a given day which means you can no longer bias toward your strengths.

    let’s face it, we all like to do things we’re good at, and when given a choice, we will choose to do that which we excel in over that which we do not. this leads to a tendency toward building an imbalance between different chains in your body.

    2) Crossfit is a fantastic tool for diagnosing where you suck, and knowing where you suck is the first step toward fixing yourself.

    As you spend more time with crossfit, you start to better understand what good programming is. And while the main site isn’t the best programming there is in terms of building completely balanced posterior and anterior chains, it sure is better than what most gym rats achieve via self-programming.

    3) Finally, there is a shit-ton of math and science behind crossfit. Get a subscription to the journal (the best $25 i’ve spent in a while), and you will find articles on almost any issue you’ve ever had.

  3. cristobal Says:

    when’s the better half signing up? she sees the results the closest – wouldn’t she be the easiest to sell?

    crossfit’s good – i’ve seen lots of good results. but i’m breaking down too – and focusing more on quality than quantity as a way to heal. seen a lot of shabby form for the sake of “better times” or “more reps” and that won’t hold up. Not that that’s fundamental to cross-fit, but can be a dangerous side effect.

    but ain’t it funny how people should just see the results and buy in, yet they don’t?

  4. Gecko Says:

    Carmen’s been doing crossfit workouts since August. She finds them fun, but she doesn’t share my view of physical fitness as essential to daily life, and as such, she only gets in one or two workouts a week.

    Crossfit’s path to healing isn’t about quantity vs quality. It’s more about balance between posterior and anterior chains and doing enough movements to get a proper diagnosis of where your faults are. If you start crossfit at an affiliate, you will be hounded about your form. From what I’ve seen, only firebreathers get somewhat of a break, and even then, when they post their videos on the site, they get mauled by the community for being short on their squats or not getting full extension in some exercise.

    That being said, no one’s form is ever perfect 100% of the time and when you’re starting out, you might not even get one rep in at perfect form. However, you can’t get to perfect if you don’t practice, and often times the remedy is to downshift your load, and work on form.

  5. Gecko Says:

    also, for carmen, I’m not a good model to promote buy in. She sees what I look like and what I can do, and both of those things are not even close to anything the resonates with her ideal self-image or functional desires. She sees muscles and thinks, “I don’t want to get bulky.” She has no desire to ever be able to snatch a barbell. Unfortunately, when I point out that there’s no way she’s going to get bulky and being able to lift things off the ground is nice skill to have, it’s not enough to topple her specious logic.

    and for any women out there reading this: no, you will not get bulky, and yes, being able to lifting things off the ground is a nice skill to have. oh, and strong is the new skinny.

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