Maude: What do you do for recreation?
The Dude: Oh, the usual. I bowl. I drive around. The occasional acid flashback.
An epiphany has been brewing. Not for me, but for me to share.
"If I knew then what I know now..."
In talking with the the athletes I train at the RedBlack Gym and the athletes I train at RunTex, I realize that they all have goals. For some, it is to compete at the highest level of CrossFit. For others, it is simply to gain mobility and lead a healthier, more fulfilled life. While both of these goals are different, they both share a common thread:
***Everyone wants all or at least some of the following: to be bigger, better, faster, stronger, more mobile; reach new levels of endurance, crush METCONS, get silly strong, improve in their olympic lifting, dominate gymnastics, reduce body fat and look better 'nekkid!***
I love it! Let's do it all! But wait, how do I accomplish all this?
My first answer is always: "With time". Inevitably, this is not the answer people want to hear. They want it all, and they want it all NOW!
While my default answer of "with time" is true, I feel the need to expound on that idea. To really answer the question, I believe we need to first define "What are your goals?"
All too often, I hear my athletes say things like "I think we should do longer METCONS: I'm weak in that area." The next day I hear "I think we should do more OLY-lifting: I'm weak in that area." The very next day... "I think we should lift heavy more often: I'm weak in that area." And the next day "I think we should focus more on gymnastics and body-weight movements: I'm weak in that area."
While they might be correct in their self-assessments, the truth is that we only have 24 hours in a day; 168 hours in a week. How best to spend those hours?
First we must define your goals. Then we must take action to meet those goals.
If your objective is to squat 600#, then you do not need to be CrossFitting! We need to find you the best strength coach in the world (Travis Holley) and get you lifting heavy 4x a week.
If your objective is to increase your clean & jerk and snatch to big-time kilos, we need to find you the best OLY-lifting coach in the world (Zach Thiel) and get you lifting OLY-style 4x a week.
If your objective is to run a 4-minute mile or be an elite MMA fighter, we need to... well you get the point.
I have yet to see anyone run a 4 minute mile, squat 600#, beat Brock Lesnar to a bloody pulp and show absolute proficiency in gymnastics. As of 2011, it is not physically possible. Elite level specificity naturally demands deficiency in other realms of fitness. This is one of the guiding principles of CROSSFIT. (If you haven't read this article, now is the time).
CrossFit the sport demands that athletes be average at everything. YES! We are the best at being mediocre in as many of the 10 general physical skills as possible:
1. Cardio/Respiratory Endurance
The best CrossFitter (and "fittest" individual in the World) will be the person who has the highest level of fitness across these 10 GPS). They must be the best at being average. They might be more dominant in one area than another, but they most certainly will have practiced and refined all of them.
Which brings me back to your goals. What are they? If you want to be strong, you must lift heavy weights. If you want to increase cardio/respiratory endurance, you must METCON (it's a verb now). If you want it all, I have no better answer than to CrossFit. I have yet to see a program that integrates the 10 general physical skills as well or as evenly as does CrossFit.
***Tangent*** I also have clients who ask me what they can do to build stronger, more defined abs. I say deadlifts, back squats, overhead squats. Not what they want to hear, but the truth. What can I do to get ripped? Eat these foods, not those foods (abs are made in the kitchen I tell them) - NOT what they want to hear, but the truth. What can I do for my chest? Biceps? Legs? Shoulders? I tell them, "You're doing it right now... You're CrossFitting!" The look on their faces tells me I'm speaking in a difficult to understand dialect of Mandarin, although I know it's just not the answer they were hoping to hear.
In our culture of immediate gratification, we want to hear that we can strap on an electro-hydro-monitorizing belly-blaster 5000 and magically get the body we want. We want to do thousands of crunches and bicep curls and hope that we look like the guy on the cover of Testosterone Monthly. We hope that by simply eating less of the shitty processed food that we already eat, our bodies will transform into those of the ladies on the cover of Shape magazine. Unfortunately this is not real, and this will not get you where you want to go. ***End Tangent***
I have found that the best way to a longer, happier, healthier, more fulfilled life is through the combination of 1) CrossFit, 2) yoga and 3) clean, solid nutrition.
Consistency is the real key here. It's not a 9-5. It's a lifestyle.
You want it all? THEN YOU MUST CROSSFIT! (and give it time...)