December marks one decade of my training inside a CrossFit gym. TEN YEARS! The time has flown by. I still remember one of my first workouts, having no clue how to perform a power clean and jerk, using too much weight, and getting my ass kicked. This was the infancy of CrossFit, there was only one CrossFit in RI, and it seemed like everyone in the local community from Providence to Boston, knew each other. It was also ten years ago I met Gym “Go Dawgs” Needham and it is awesome seeing him still into CrossFit, and part of this community. (BTW he hasn’t aged a bit and his smile I think has stayed on his face non stop for ten years!).
Ten years is a long time and in that course of time, I have changed a lot. I have learned a lot, and many of my current thinkings have come full circle. Ten years doing CrossFit, and I am still relatively in one piece. I think back to some of my mistakes from my first 5-6 years and wonder if I could have saved some of my aches and pains today by training a little smarter, and looking at the path differently than I did. But you learn more from your mistakes and failures than your successes, and this provide opportunity for growth and education.
I look at CrossFit and programming much differently today than I did a year ago, 5 years ago, and even 9 years ago when I first started programming for gyms. This is one of the reasons why I find beauty in the Level Method. 10 years of experience in this genre of fitness makes the map POP! Some of the early video clips and articles from CrossFits founder, Greg Glassman, amaze me. Ten years later and I am in awe by how accurate he was. The longer I am in this game, the man’s genius and his dedication to challenging the status quo in what we define as health, and healthy is amazing. The longer I am in this game the more I agree with the early musings. If you haven’t read his article on Virtuosity, it is a must read. If you don’t really know what the goal of CrossFit is, or why we program the way we do, or even what the Level Method is testing, his article on What is Fitness? Is imperative!
One of the shifts you may see in class this past month, is an increased focus on coaching movement. If you piece together the concept of the first article I mentioned, Virtuosity, with one of the main summarizing entities of the second article, the Theoretical Hierarchy of Development, the focus for your health and well being, your fitness, should be on proper nutrition, and metabolic conditioning, of all the energy systems.
Nutrition is the base of the pyramid. Without proper fuel, your car won’t run, and neither with you. A Ferrari won’t run on kerosene, and you are all Ferrari’s. If you do not put the correct octane in your body, your health will fail. This is one of the reasons why in 2019, we will be focusing a little more on nutrition. Proper Diet is the best, and cheapest, medicine you can buy for your body.
Metabolic conditioning is where fitness is derived. The fitter you are, the more you can do. The more balanced you are in the three major energy systems, the more fit you are. Using the Level Method Map, helps you recognize areas of weakness, and areas of improvement in your overall fitness. You don’t want to be too dominant in any one area. Focusing on and choosing appropriate weights to get the stimulus of the workout is the true RX of a workout, not the weight used. Moving with the appropriate load as fast as you can while maintaining movement quality. If you use the Map to focus on making yourself more balanced, the desired stimulus of the workout to train the appropriate energy system, and take a focus on movement quality, the path of your progression will be quicker than not taking these focuses. While we can admire the athletes in the CrossFit games, we have to understand we are not them, and chances are will never become them. However, if you watch them move, watch how they train, watch the focus they put into their workouts and its intended stimulus, their movement, and their nutrition, they serve as role models for what we can aspire to become, not as athletes per se, but as ordinary people who just want to be happy, healthy, and fit, today, another ten years from now, and longer.