I’m guessing most people with an ear towards health and fitness have heard of Crossfit by now, maybe you even partake. It’s on ESPN, sponsored by Reebok and has become sort of a big deal by now. It’s moved beyond the fringe sports such as strong man and become an event in its own right. Over the weekend, the Games were on, which is the final money events for those that qualified from Regional competitions around the globe. Top men and women get $275k, with daily individual event winners getting cash too. Very entertaining if you’re into that sort of thing. I’m not a hater of Crossfit per se, but I’m pretty dang far from being a fanboy as well. I like the sarcastic sites making fun of Crossfit (Drywall and Drywall’ FB page, Beastmodal Domains) and think there is a lot of douchiness cool aid being drunk, but I’m digressing a little here.
The Games had some great athletes:
The Champ Rich Froning
and my favorite Lucas Parker
Over 130,000 paid I think $20 to have the “privilege” of competing against each other, some hoping to qualify for the regional competitions. For most, they do it for fitness and to look good naked, so obviously don’t care that much besides challenging themselves and competing against gym peers. The Open is as far as most take competing, though others have delusions of grandeur and think in a couple years maybe they too can make Regionals or maybe the games. I can say that unless you’re a former college athlete or perhaps a genetically gifted late blooming farm boy, you’ll never have a prayer to make the games.
Holly and I have competed at a few events regionally, and those top regional athletes that aren’t good enough to make the games are freaks themselves (Kevin Ogar-Rugby, Sam Dancer-former football player). They blow away the competition yet compared to the Kahlipa and Fronings they suck. Bridges does really well as a smaller athlete (5’5″, 165#, former Navy SEAL), but most competitive dudes are 185- 205# depending on their height.
That type of strength takes years to build without juice. That’s why you see those that make an impact early on often have a power background (football, hockey, rugby) that emphasize heavy weight training. For women it’s a little more varied as you see gymnasts and women hockey players and former track and field people, but strength will win.
The other thing that is likely against most people is the lack of heavy, frequent strength training (power stuff like lots-o-squats, bench, deadlifts, weighted pullups) and Olympic lifting (snatch and clean and jerk). Since each gym is run by their own coaches, and most people are doing it to look and feel better, it makes sense that they tailor to their mean clientele. What that typically means for many gyms is that they maybe do one strength exercise per session then get into a 20-30 minute HIIT training session. You’ll never get that big following this approach, and may never hit the prescribed weights. Crossfit Football and Outlaw programming is more in line with getting bigger and moving heavy shit than the mainsite stuff. Even Starting Strength is a good place to start if you haven’t done much weight movements.
Our local xfit gym is power oriented (like Crossfit Football) so doesn’t do much full Oly lifting. But our athletes are very strong and move well compared to many gyms that program differently. I have no delusions that I’ll even compete locally at the prescribed men’s weights, but I still want to get stronger and bigger. Here’s where I’m at after maybe 20 months of real training (this year has sucked with hospital stays, hand surgery and knee ligament damage, which impacted my lifting since April to some degree, but finally back at it):
- 5’7″, 165#
- Bench: 235#
- Snatch: 162.5#
- Clean and Jerk: 205#
- Front Squat: 235#
- Back Squat: 265#
Multiply all my lifts by 1.5 if you want to be in the mix for a Games athlete. My numbers have gone up a lot. I was formerly a 145# (or lighter) endurance specialist (Ironman Triathlon, pointy end) so to go from that to this is quite the transition. I do ok in the Men’s “Scaled” division at Crossfit competitions, top 1/3, but not sure where my ceiling is going against dudes 15 years younger and stronger. Holly is the strongest woman at the gym and does really well at regional comps at 37. If she keeps improving, she could be a very good Masters athlete. Games good is another question, but she’s way better in her division that I ever will be in mine (she’s a former D1 athlete) and maybe she’s got a shot, who knows.
I’m sure ESPN will do various replay shows, but if you have the desire, they have various videos of this weekends’ events on the Games website.
So I don’t really have a point but to find whatever motivates you to keep getting up at 5 am to workout, get stronger, get slimmer, look better naked. It’s made a good difference in our lives and we hope is something that carries over to our kids as well (Birdsnest watches some mornings as I work out in my home garage gym – she watched me squat last Friday and today doing snatch first pulls and pendlay rows at the end of each of those sessions).