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Our New Experiment: CrossFit!

“World-Class Fitness in 100 Words:  Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports.”


We’re going to try a fun experiment this month. It’s called CrossFit. For real. One thing I know for sure, getting fit is HARD! Although we’ve never really strayed too far from Coach Glassman’s original template for our programming here at CrossFit Renaissance, we are not 100% true to it.


In case you’ve never read it, here’s the original watershed article published in 2002 in the CrossFit Journal:

CrossFit: What is Fitness?

To pull some excerpts from the article to give you a snapshot (just read the article already!) on our definition and explanation of Fitness:


Our Definition: Increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains.


A summarized explanation:


Crossfit’s First Fitness Standard


  1. There are ten recognized general physical skills. They are cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. You are as fit as you are competent in each of these ten skills. A regimen develops fitness to the extent that it improves each of these ten skills.


CrossFit’s Second Fitness Standard


  1. The essence of this model is the view that fitness is about performing well at any and every task imaginable. Picture a hopper loaded with an infinite number of physical challenges where no selective mechanism is operative, and being asked to perform feats randomly drawn from the hopper. This model suggests that your fitness can be measured by your capacity to perform well at these tasks in relation to other individuals.


CrossFit’s Third Fitness Standard


  1. There are three metabolic pathways that provide the energy for all human action. These “metabolic engines” are known as the phosphagen pathway, the glycolytic pathway, and the oxidative pathway. The first, the phosphagen, dominates the highest-powered activities, those that last less than about ten seconds. The second pathway, the glycolytic, dominates moderate-powered activities, those that last up to several minutes. The third pathway, the oxidative, dominates low-powered activities, those that last in excess of several minutes.


Total fitness, the fitness that CrossFit promotes and develops, requires competency and training in each of these three pathways or engines. Balancing the effects of these three pathways largely determines the how and why of the metabolic conditioning or “cardio” that we do at CrossFit. Favoring one or two to the exclusion of the others and not recognizing the impact of excessive training in the oxidative pathway are arguably the two most common faults in fitness training.

A little deeper explanation of Energy Systems:


So what can you expect this month?

There will be less work programmed daily than you’re accustomed to.

Why is less more beneficial?

You will get the opportunity to learn (or relearn) how to focus and work HARD. More is not better, BETTER is BETTER!

How to get the most out of this routine?

Training about 5 or 6 days a week will set you up for the most success and variety. Again, the volume will be lower each day than what you may be used to, but the intention is to make the quality of time training much higher!

What if you only train 3x per week?

Awesome! Think of pursuing your fitness goals (or any goals for that matter!) in terms of good/better/best. In this sense we might look at:

Good- Working out 2-3x week lifting some weights, running, going to a traditional gym etc…

Better- Hitting high high intensity workouts, mixing modalities as much as possible, 2-3x per week.

Best- Working at high intensity hitting all 3 energy systems over 5-6 sessions per week.


We are not training for the games. Even if you’re an athlete outside of doing CrossFit, the majority (all?) of us are using CrossFit for General Physical Preparedness (GPP). This, ladies and gentleman, is how you get fit. Get too far away from this model (too much heavy lifting and no endurance/marathon training and no heavy squats) and your overall fitness deteriorates.

What we’re really looking for in the long run is wellness and longevity. Maybe not the sexiest of goals (We all want dem Abz after all!), but your tune might be different if you’re 65 and can’t stand up out of a chair. Our seniors at CrossFit Renaissance can do his with 100+ pounds on their back though right??



So We’re gonna take the original model out for a test drive. Have fun with it. Take the challenge to learn to work hard! As Chris Spealler told me last week, you gotta learn to drop the hammer!

If nothing else it will be a fun experiment. But it’s not as if we don’t know the results we should expect. How can we go wrong with: Show up. Train Hard (er?). Recover. Repeat.

“If you try, you risk failure. If you don’t try, you guarantee it.”


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