Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The small shift

Starting Sunday I am working in conjunction with a special someone to put together a pretty serious workout plan. We will be doing slightly different things seeing how our lives are pretty different but the concept is to hold each other accountable for reaching the goals that we decide on. Both of our goals are to cut body fat, and I personally will be working towards a small collection of other goals that I would like to see myself achieve by the end of the program.

Here is a skeleton of my program:

After finishing up the CrossFit level 1 certification, I have decided to experiment with the root program of CrossFit. The only difference is that I will be designing my own program that will be a little less geared towards General Physical Preparedness, and more towards being able to finish 30 straight 100+ mile bike rides in 30 days (that's what I'll be doing next April for charity. www. So a lot of the workouts of the day (WOD's) that I will be putting together will end up being a little more specialized, making this program not completely CrossFit by definition (I make a point of this in case people chose to comment on the fact that I am not actually following CrossFit theory spot on). What I will do however, is take the root programming design that CrossFit uses, and base all my workouts on singlets, couplets and triplets (and a few more every now an again) of metabolic conditioning workouts (MetCon), gymnastic workouts (body weight) and weightlifting workouts (added on weight like barbells, kettlebells etc.). I will be using the 3 days on, 1 day off routine and I'll use my off days to practice specific skills (like handstands!) and light activity like pickup basketball or hiking.

Day 1 will be focused on a single element, like a hard run, ride or swim if it's MetCon; perhaps muscle ups work including dips and pull ups if it's gymnastics; maybe heavy deadlifting if it's weightlifting.
Day 2 will generally be a two element day formed as a task priority, meaning I'll pick a number of rounds for the exercises and perform the given set and round scheme for time.
Day 3 will generally be a three-element day designed as a time priority, meaning the exercises will be performed as many times as I can in a certain amount of time.

Now, as you can see, this is a pretty generalized program and there is tons of room to improvise within it. And that's the point really. I personally will be utilizing exercises that I have been neglecting for a while now, mainly the Olympic lifts (clean, jerk and snatch) and adding an intensity factor to my workouts that I have shifted away from in the past month or so in prep for the Marine Corps Marathon and because of my bike accident. I firmly believe that the CrossFit theory of exercise is the all around best for building a well rounded athletic person and what I plan to do with my program and with this journaling of it, is show how the concept of CrossFit is adaptable to any person and their goals. I have been reading so much lately, these arguments about what CrossFit truly is, and people are going back and forth, nitpicking on definitions and practices. But what I have found as an underlying theme is that CrossFit, when put to practice, supplies a perfectly balanced base to any workout program. If one chooses to stick to the exact definition and goal of CrossFit (constantly varied high intensity functional movement to achieve general physical preparedness) they most likely achieve a generally balanced level of fitness. This is great and should be prescribed to a person looking for goals like that (my training partner would be a perfect example of this). But for me, I have a specific need, which is get better at biking long distances. So, while I have a specialty goal in mind, I can still use the CrossFit template to help achieve a balanced progression into a fitter state, while also altering my workouts to help improve my specialization.

Now, I realize that some people who know and have trained with me would ask: how is this any different than what I used to do? Or different then the way I have trained most of my clients for so long? Well, the fact is, it really isn't any different. Any good athlete who is serious about their training has probably used the "CrossFit" template with a modification to work on sport specific movements or energy systems. I personally used this style of training well before I ever read about it on the Internet four years ago. The great thing is though, that there is now a set template for this stuff. There is something that we can turn to to set a base and to work off of which, in my opinion is a great thing and I am thankful to CrossFit for that. The detail with which they describe their program is incredible, and strong effort to keep everything generalized and balanced keeps people on their toes and constantly working on weaknesses rather than just building on strengths more and more. Because someone came up with an actual definition for all this, and took the time to write everything down in detail, we all can benefit by utilizing those clear-cut tools. Even if we choose to specialize in strength training, biking, swimming, tennis, whatever, we can still use the methods. And, if we choose to do so, we will see some incredible gains, I guarantee it.

Obviously got off on a tangent there, but an important one I think. So, to continue on with my programming, each month I will assess my gains and adjust my workout plan accordingly to make sure my generalized program has the proper tools to fit my specific goals in the most efficient and effective ways. To supplement my training, I will also be focusing a great deal more on my nutrition. Seeing how I am basing a lot of this on the CrossFit methodology, I figured I should stay as true as I can to their beliefs and give the Zone Diet a try. I will begin my program on the prescribed Zone plan and then, after a month, I will assess my progress and alter my nutritional intake accordingly. The basic concept of the zone is to consume a set number of "blocks" of the macronutrients protein, fat and carbohydrates where the total caloric intake equals 30% protein, 30% fats and 40% carbs. Each block consists of a specific number of grams of each macronutrient and I will be required to consume a specific number of those blocks per day (I will go into more detail on this plan on another post).

The underlying goal of all of this is experimentation. I want to see how this stuff works and I want to see how my body reacts to different methods of living. As most of you know, I am a pretty adventurous person in terms of things I enjoy trying, and I am always searching for new challenges to see what happens. I have certain expectations with this program and I feel very strongly that all the goals I set for myself will be achieved if I stick to the program; that is why I want to write it out. Like my very first marathon, writing out the plan while talking about how it is making me feel and everything around it, really helps me stick with it and push through any hardships.

For now, that's what I got, I have a lot of planning to do in the next few days, so expect some more info coming out soon enough.

Hope you enjoy!

Never Stop, GET FIT.

Josh Courage

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