CrossFit is designed for universal scalability, making it the perfect application for anyone regardless of experience. We use the same workouts for elderly individuals with heart disease and cage fighters one month out from televised bouts. We scale load and intensity; we don’t change the workout.
CROSSFIT GAMES, WHAT ARE THEY AND HOW DO WE PLAY?
CrossFit Games Open is the time to see how we perform compared to other CrossFitters around the world. Last year nearly 400,000 from around the world participated in the Open. That’s roughly eight times how many people ran in the New York City Marathon this past November.
The CrossFit Games Open is a massive competition with hundreds of thousands of athletes from across the globe, and yet the leaderboard rankings we often care about most are between ourselves and our closest friends. ~ CrossFit.com
Just when you’ve gotten the difference between AMRAPs and EMOMs straight in your head, the fitness gods throw another monkey wrench into your plans: the CrossFit Games Open. Wrap your mind around the event/party/sacrifice that is the largest fitness competition on Earth and an exciting showcase of the CrossFit community.
WHAT IS THE CROSSFIT OPEN?
The Open is comprised of five workouts over five weeks, and it starts with 19.1. The workouts will be released every Thursday during the five weeks of the Open, and you can watch the live announcement of the workout that will be streamed on the CrossFit Games website.
Two athletes (or more) will perform the workout live. After the workout is released, any athlete who has registered for the Open will have until 5 p.m. PT on the following Monday to submit their best score online.
Should I SIGN UP? I’M NOT GOING TO THE GAMES…
Consider that the Open is simply a snapshot of your fitness at one point in time. Maybe you are rehabbing an injury, or just coming back after a hiatus or you are ready to come back and just need a little motivation. It is easy to make an excuse and not participate. The Open can be the catalyst to get you back on track at the gym.
WHAT ABOUT ME? I just started doing crossfit!
Even if you are a complete beginner you can participate in the Open. Every Open workout will feature a scaled workout option.
Everyone competing in the Open has the option of performing a scaled version of the workout in any given week. If you are a complete beginner, this is great news! It ensures that the experience will be even more inclusive.
RINSE AND REPEAT
Annie Thorisdottir, two time CrossFit games champion, thinks do-overs are a good thing.
“I know I’m definitely not doing the workouts just once this year. I know I’m going to have to do the workouts twice. I need to make sure that I hit the workouts perfectly. I’m going to be sharing that experience with my members. I will be on the floor with them on Monday evening hitting that workout one more time.” Thorisdottir is actually a big advocate for redoing Open workouts. She believes that regardless of an athlete’s ability, age or goals, there is much to be gained from doing each Open workout twice.”
STILL NOT SURE…
Talk to your coaches they know what’s up and they will put your concerns to rest. You can do this!
Real food provides the best source of vitamins, minerals, and energy no matter what your goals are so start with a clean diet. We also strongly recommend speaking to a health-care professional before you add supplements to your daily routine.
With that said here are some of our favorite performance and recovery boosters. Recovery is just as important your workout itself.
Acetyl-L-carnitine is a frequently-depleted enzyme that plays a critical role in the Krebs cycle, which powers everything in your body by converting food into energy. Studies have shown supplementing with carnitine may improve your performance and speed recovery from strenuous workouts.
Thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, B-6, biotin, folic acid, and B-12—play an important role in the body’s process of converting protein and sugar to energy as well as the repair and production of cells. A study conducted at Oregon State University and published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism found athletes and other active people who lack B vitamins may not perform as well during high intensity exercise and have a decreased ability to repair and build muscle compared to those with nutrient-rich diets.
Whether you're a CrossFit athlete or not, you're wise to make branched-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) a part of your supplement stack. Sipping on BCAAs before or during workouts can help speed up the recovery and repair processes. Leucine, one of the BCAAs is useful because it promotes protein synthesis and suppresses protein breakdown, an important factor in preventing muscle damage during training. Last but not least, BCAAs can reduce soreness and fatigue.
The high-intensity movements that make up CrossFit workouts create a buildup of hydrogen ions, which get in the way of muscle contraction and cause you to feel fatigued. They suggest supplementing with beta-alanine, an amino acid that helps your body produce carnosine. Carnosine can eliminate excess hydrogen ions in your body, and research indicates it may boost performance in the process.
Creatine is one of the most scientifically proven supplements available. Naturally produced in your body. The supplement works by increasing the amount of phosphocreatine (PCr) stored in your muscles. PCr is used by the body to produce energy. Research shows creatine improves strength, increases lean body mass, and enhances performance. In one study, participants who took creatine while following a weight-training program for ten weeks increased their one-rep squat max by 25% compared to a placebo group. While creatine may not be effective for endurance aerobic exercise, the Mayo Clinic says it’s beneficial for short bursts of intense exercise (like CrossFit).
With our lifestyles working in offices or indoors, we do not receive sufficient sunlight to produce the required levels of vitamin D. Overall, vitamin D is a key component to reduce inflammation, improve your mood, and better your respiratory health. Vitamin D also helps us sleep better, as it allows the brain to release melatonin, letting us know it’s time to rest after a big day.
Magnesium is a key supplement for the athlete, although often overlooked. It’s the one mineral the athlete is likely deficient in which could improve with supplementation. Magnesium is key as it helps regulate your heart, manages the contraction and relaxation of your muscles, reduces blood pressure, and plays an important role in the production of ATP, the main source of energy.
Omega 3/Fish Oil
There’s a reason fish oil is on the list. Not only are the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil important for cardiovascular and neurological health, they may help you recover more quickly after workouts, increase muscle mass, and more. The anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3s can speed healing of the microscopic tears that lead to bigger muscles. They may also alleviate post-workout soreness. In a study published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, subjects who were given omega-3 supplements before exercising reported less soreness and better range of motion 48 hours later compared to placebo and control groups.
When any athlete thinks of supplements, whey protein is often the first that comes to mind. A staple in every athlete’s gym bag should be a high-quality whey protein. Designed to digest quickly and aid muscle recovery, whey protein taken within 10 minutes of training reduces the amount of stress hormones and cortisol that is released.
It’s that time a year again. The gift giving season is upon us! What do you get your favorite CrossFitter though? Think they are hard to buy for? Don’t worry we have got you covered! I checked in with a couple of our coaches and a few of my favorite CrossFit athletes and here are a few of their wish list items.
Made to order training equipment
Perhaps you have a home gym junkie? Check out @EllisMetalworks for a personalized set of farmer’s carry handles or anything else you can dream of that might be missing from their garage gym arsenal.
Athlete Bath Salt
Epsom Salt Bath Soak With Pine & Eucalyptus Essential Oil Plus Vitamin C - All Natural No Perfumes No Dyes - Post Workout Soak For Tired Sore Muscles
Coach Tony Ellis suggests a jump rope of your very own. Head on over to RPM to gift a one of a kind speed rope. This is not your playground’s jump rope anymore, cool rope colors and awesome printed handles make these a unique present. Speed ropes mean business and you might just be giving the gift of double-unders to your favorite CrossFitter.
Massage Ball Set or Foam Rollers
Recovery is essential to any athlete and you’ll find these tools are a must for tight sore muscles.
A nice stocking stuffer and perhaps a hint that your person’s hands aren’t as nice to hold as they could be.
Silicone Wedding Bands
Weightlifting can be hard on soft metals so say “Taken” without damaging a more valuable, and harder to replace or repair, wedding band.
Accessory work for CrossFitters is a must for strength and speed gains as well as injury prevention.
Is CrossFit a cult and do I have to eat that?
The Caveman Diet, aka Paleo diet, is a high-protein, high-fiber eating plan. It is also very popular with CrossFitters. In abundance you will find vegetables, lean meats, nuts and seeds on this diet. Not allowed are refined carbohydrates, dairy, legumes and processed foods. Studies have shown that eating this way will also help prevent an inordinate insulin response. Acute, chronic elevation of insulin causes hyperinsulinism, which is associated with obesity, elevated cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and mood dysfunction.
Why do CrossFitters swear by it? Because it works. A real Paleo diet produces a lean body, which naturally leads to improved performance in fitness and in daily living. “It’s kind of a self-fulfilling diet,” explains Loren Cordain, PhD, co-author of The Paleo Diet for Athletes. “You feel better and perform better.” On a Paleo diet, you essentially eliminate grains and simply eat more meat, so you’re getting more muscle-building protein.
It’s not hard to understand why CrossFitters love the Paleo diet – they want to lift heavier, do more reps, run faster and build a body they are proud of. Does that mean you have to eat Paleo if you do CrossFit? In a word, no. This balanced methodology to eating, combined with CrossFit’s high-intensity workouts are a winning duo, but it’s definitely not mandatory.
But is it a cult? CrossFit is a community not a cult.
“CrossFit provides a rare place of community and holistic transformation. It may not be religious institutionally, but CrossFit does a better job than many religious communities in transforming people’s lives. It may seem strange for what is essentially a fitness program, but CrossFit involves an identity shift that carries over into life well beyond the gym. “CrossFit starts with an identity shift off the bat: You become an athlete,” Herz says. “Not just a lady who doesn’t like her thighs or a guy trying to lose the spare tire but an athlete.”
When people start CrossFit, Hertz says, they start thinking about what their bodies can achieve and stop focusing on their perceived physical flaws. “They start eating for performance, which is about getting the nutrients that you need versus the passion play of self-denial,” Herz says.
“The cult of CrossFit: How the workout can bring out the best (and worst) of faith” by Ragan Sutterfield published March 24, 2015 in The Washington Post Online
Communities form at CrossFit gyms in the most random ways. People from all walks of life end up in a class together, they sweat, suffer and overcome weaknesses together. You will always find a wealth of support in every class. The importance of social support is that it provides motivation. When you are tired and struggling to finish the W.O.D. you begin to doubt your ability to finish, having people cheer you on gives you the confidence that you can do it!
Research at Oxford University found that working out in a group resulted in a greater release of endorphins than when working out alone, even when the same amount of work was done. The sense of community, sometimes known as a ‘cult’ to outsiders, is one of the finest features of CrossFit.
Olympic weightlifting is an athletic discipline in the modern Olympic program in which the athlete attempts a maximum-weight single lift of a barbell loaded with weight plates. The Olympic lifts used in CrossFit are the Snatch, Clean and the Jerk.
The Snatch - The objective of the snatch is to lift the barbell from the ground to overhead in one continuous motion. There are four main styles of snatch used: squat snatch (or full snatch), split snatch, power snatch, and muscle snatch.
The Clean - a lifter grasps the barbell just outside the legs, typically using a hook grip. Once the barbell is above the knees, the lifter extends explosively, raising the bar as high as possible before quickly dropping into a squat and receiving it in a "racked" position in front of the neck and resting on the shoulders.
The Jerk - begins from the "front rack" position, which is the finishing position of the clean. The lifter dips a few inches by bending the knees, keeping the back vertical, and then explosively extends the knees, propelling the barbell upward off the shoulders, and then quickly dropping underneath the bar by pushing upward with the arms and splitting the legs into a lunge position, one forward and one back. The bar is received overhead on straight arms, and, once stable, the lifter recovers from the split position, bringing the feet back into the same plane as the rest of the body.
Olympic Weightlifting pros and cons
- Skill based weightlifting, it is artistic work combined with a loaded barbell. Gymnastic trainers can be very good at it very quickly
- It takes a long time to learn the intricate technical aspects of the lift. Not negotiable!
- Enormously satisfying and confidence building method of lifting weights
- Captivating and jaw dropping when watching the lifts in person!
- Superior method of building strength and power
- Superior method of building mobility, proprioception and athletic skills
- Very low rates of injuries but injuries can happen unannounced!
- Highly addictive
- Extremely humbling
- Needs complicated programming
- Requires bumpers, special bars with rotating parts
- Requires coaching and programming
- Great way to build total body power and explosiveness
- Can help bridge the gap between training room and field of play
- Can help develop resiliency in joints and soft tissue
- They add variety and challenge to a training program
If combined with plenty of solid nutrition and sound recovery you can build amazing fitness conditioning, superior cardiovascular conditioning and skills & physique to back it up.
Is Olympic lifting for you? Best way to find out is to drop in on a class, chat with one of our coaches or better yet sign up for our 8 Week Olympic lifting course taught by the fabulous Coach Stephanie!
flex·i·bil·i·ty = fleksəˈbilədē ~ noun ~ the quality of bending easily without breaking.
mo·bil·i·ty = mōˈbilədē ~ noun ~ the ability to move or be moved freely and easily.
Stretching is a vital part of improving your range of motion, flexibility and assisting the recovery process.
There is a reason as to why we are trained to stretch before and after exercise. Not only does stretching warm the body, but it does wonders for recovery and may just prevent the dreaded Delayed Onset Muscle Syndrome, (you know that "I can't brush my hair today" feeling).
CrossFit is known for its dynamic workouts and heavy lifts. However, in order to increase your effectiveness and abilities when performing CrossFit-type movements, you must increase your mobility.
Flexibility is one of them.
It’s defined as “the ability to maximize the range of motion at a given joint”.
There are great articles about improving flexibility. Our friends at FitnessHQ.com have this list of 21 stretches http://www.fitnesshq.com/crossfit-mobility/ and one of our favorites about wrist mobility can be found at BarBend.com https://barbend.com/wrist-mobility-drills/.
When in doubt though, ask your CrossFit Coaches!
Mobility & Recovery Tools
1. Foam Roller
targeting large muscle groups, such as your quads, IT band, and hamstrings. : A large cylinder of dense foam. To release dense muscle tissue and fascia that has adhered together. Foam rollers work great on larger muscles like the quads, calves, hamstrings, glutes and back.
2. Lacrosse Ball
A lacrosse ball allows you to target smaller areas of the body with more localized pressure.
The peanut is a unique foam rolling tool that is essentially two lacrosse balls packaged together to create one unit shaped like a peanut
4. Stick Roller
A small "stick" with some sort of dense rotating balls or discs in the middle. Stick rollers offer more of a direct attack on an area than a large roller, but not as direct as a lacrosse ball.
5. PVC Pipe
Small, plastic tube made of hard plastic. Find them at any home improvement store.
PVC pipes have multiple uses for mobility and technique practice.
6. Resistance Band
A large rubber band that can be used for strength exercises as well as to improve flexibility during static stretching.