Published on February 8th, 2014 | by Grinds4Gamers0
Crossfit: Kash’s Story
This is the story of how and why I adopted the sport of Crossfit into my life. I apologize if it sounds preachy or elitist, but I am so proud of what it has done for me in my life, I felt compelled to share my experiences with my fellow gamers. Take it for whatever you think it’s worth. Just know that I wrote this article from the heart. There are many fitness programs available to you, but Crossfit is my chosen sport. It has changed my life forever. I hope my story can motivate you to change yours, as well.
What is Fitness?
There are many methodologies and schools of thought on fitness. Fitness is defined as:
1. Good Health or physical condition; especially as the result of exercise and proper nutrition.
2. The state or condition of being fit; suitability or appropriateness.
Traditionally, fitness is available to the populous in many forms. There is fitness for recreation, fitness for strength, fitness for endurance, fitness for functionality or fitness for overall health and happiness. Many of you know I work for the fire department. In my line of work, I use fitness for survival. Not just my survival, mind you, but for the survival of my co-workers and those we serve.
With all of these schools of thought, is there a method of fitness that encompasses each one of these aspects of recreation, strength, endurance, functionality, health, happiness and survival? I am a firm believer that such a fitness program exists. I have personally been involved in some sort of fitness program for most of my natural born life. As a youngster I was involved in sports such as baseball, football, wrestling and the like. As my interest in the fire department manifested at a young age, I began to train with a very traditional weight/cardiovascular program to prepare myself for my career choice. With this program I was able to successfully complete the rigorous physical ability tests required for the entry-level firefighter position, but I never truly felt “in-shape”. Much of my success on these tests I simply attributed to my young age and my die-hard ambition in attaining my dream job. Once on the force as a firefighter, I continued my training regimen with the same traditional approach and I continued to receive marginal results. Flash forward to 2008.
A friend and co-worker came up the stairs at the firehouse and saw me performing my usual daily workout in the early morning hours before my shift began. The workout consisted of a video: an hour of pushups, lunges, plyometric movements, karate kicks and the like. I had been performing this series of video workouts for nearly a year and honestly, I felt it was working. I had dropped a couple of inches in my waistline and combined with a semi-strict diet, lost a few percentage points of body fat. My friend chuckled at me as he saw me do a couple of karate-style kicks with my long skinny legs and said, “You should cut the Karate and try Crossfit.” I laughed, ignored him and continued with my robot-style workout.
Crossfit. What is it? The only thing I had heard about Crossfit is that it was a hardcore workout system that was reserved for acrobats and meatheads who had no life, no children and plenty of time to work out. I thought there was no way it was for me. I had several invites from friends to join them for a Crossfit workout and I continued to say, “Nah, my program seems to be working for me.”
I finally took my friend’s advice and at least looked up the website. Once I realized that you could scale the weights, start slowly and go at my pace, I became interested. When I found out most of the workouts were 20 minutes or less, I was intrigued. When I learned that many of the workouts were named after fallen Military, Police and Fire personnel, I was destined to love it.
The day I decided to try Crossfit became the last day I ever completed another conventional workout or followed any video. Since I’ve been doing Crossfit, I have never felt better. My body has responded quickly to the program and is quickly transforming into what God intended it to be. I feel strong, fit and alive. After strenuous workouts my body recovers faster and I experience less soreness. That nagging lower back pain that I would experience when I woke up……gone. The neck strain I would frequently get after a minimal movement or tweak…..gone. Fire ground training operations are much easier and I perform more efficiently when responding to emergencies. Above and beyond these numerous benefits, the one thing that Crossfit training has provided for me is the ability to retain my “thinking cap” while exerted. As a supervisor, this is invaluable. The ability to be out of breath and still make calm, calculated decisions has made an impact on my performance as a company officer and a rescuer.
In the years since I adopted Crossfit as my training program, I have become certified as a Crossfit coach. I found that I absolutely love working with athletes of all skill levels, pushing them to their limits and watching them succeed in their goals.
This Crossfit, is it hard? Hell yeah it’s hard. For me and for many others it is very challenging. You’ve got to realize that with any fitness program, you get out what you put in. Crossfit is no different. If you push yourself for every rep, every round and leave nothing on the table at the end, IT WILL WORK! Coupled with a proper diet, plenty of sleep, lots of water and rest days, you will dump fat and replace it with strong, lean muscle like it’s nobody’s business (I cannot stress diet enough, but there will be more on that below).
What about all that weight? And I can’t do all those rounds! No problem, scale ’em. Try the “Brand-X” workouts in the message board area of the main site for the scaled versions. The prescribed workouts found on the main Crossfit website are tough as hell! It took me at least a year to be able to do maybe 50% of the prescribed workouts. Many of the movements and prescribed weight is too much for me as well. It takes practice and training to get there!
What about my diet? I won’t get on a soapbox here. Many, many proper eating regimens that will supplement your training are available to research. I will mention that the two diets most consistent with Crossfit’s caloric and nutrition demands are THE ZONE DIET and THE PALEOLITHIC DIET. One of these is bound to work for you. You’ve come to the right place. I don’t know if you’ve browsed the Grinds 4 Gamers pages yet, but I have a fool-proof explanation and plan for both of these dietary philosophies. Check them out!
Remember, diet is a huge part of your fitness program. It will make or break your results. The proper foods provide pure energy and fuel for the machine that is your body. Don’t make the mistake of neglecting this critical part of your fitness. A good friend of mine brings it all home in this statement alone:
“You can’t out-train a crappy diet.”
That is so…damn…true!
Crossfit is dangerous! The news told me so….
I know there are many skeptics out there that disagree with what Crossfit preaches. Many think Crossfit is too dangerous and all the weight is bad for you. Remember you’ve got to start with light weight! You don’t build a tower by placing the flag first. Many are afraid of commitment. Well, can’t help you there, that’s your own demon. Many don’t like to truly push themselves and like to visit gyms for the social interaction. Can’t help you there either, Crossfit is definitely not for the gym-butterflies or the “stuck-on-flex” type of guy.
Crossfit is not only a workout, it’s a state of mind. It develops your mental cowboy, allowing you to endure more, push harder, ignore the pain and persevere. During a Crossfit workout, if you’re talking, you’re not working hard enough. If you’re gasping, you’re there!
Skeptics, all I can say is…..”Try it.” You will either love it or hate it. Trust me, once you see some results, the vortex will suck you in! It made a believer out of me and I can’t see myself doing any other type of fitness program for the rest of my life. Crossfit has and continues to change my life and my outlook on fitness. I may have to scale weight as I age, but I will forever be a fire-breathing Crossfitter. I drank the Cool-Aid, and it tastes damn good.
But I can’t join a Crossfit Gym, they are too expensive!
I totally understand that! You’re right, Crossfit coaching is NOT cheap. But fancy this: You can do it in your garage. Since I quit coaching at an affiliate Crossfit Gym, I train out of my garage. That is where my roots of fitness began, in my garage! With minimal equipment, you can train right at home. There are so many different movements and programming variations you could perform in your garage that it will take several weeks before you see the same workout twice. Get creative. Need help? Just ask.
What is it about Crossfit that makes it so effective?
There are a couple of concepts that make Crossfit training effective. First off, “routine” is the enemy. Switch it up. No more back & biceps Wednesdays. Why not hit ALL of your muscle groups in one workout? Muscle confusion is the key to growth. Break down your muscles, feed them the fuels they want to recover and they grow back stronger and leaner. The same movements over and over allow your body to adapt to the routine.
Next, add intensity. Once you have some of the basic movements down, you can increase your intensity. What is intensity? It’s going as hard as you can for your fitness level. It allows you to grasp at the next level of your personal fitness. I rarely have a workout that doesn’t leave me gasping for air by the end. But I will definitely stress the importance of doing the movements correctly. Look at videos on YouTube, they help immensely. Remember, your form is everything! Improper form breeds injury. An injured athlete can’t train. You get the picture.
Crossfit just isn’t for me, I want to try something else.
Awesome! You’re right, what I’m preaching here may not be for everyone. It just works for me and I love writing about it. But there are lots of programs out there that will work! P90X, MMA Fitness and many other training programs teach similar movements and can be intense as heck! Try one of them out. As stated above, intensity is a big factor! Just about any cross-training or circuit training can be incredibly effective with the addition of intensity. Find the one that works for you. What should you take away from this? Get moving – At your level. Don’t be afraid to try different things. Whatever you choose, make sure you can stick to it!
DISCLAIMER: Although I am certified as a Crossfit coach, I cannot properly coach you via email, phone or text. A coach must be in front of you, guiding and correcting your performance. All I am trying to do is motivate you, show you what works for me and offer some alternatives. So if you venture to try any fitness program, seek to learn the proper movements prior to beginning your program. Consult your doctor to assure you are healthy enough to start a training program in the first place. Don’t train past your ability. The bottom line: Don’t be stupid. You know your body and your ability, take it slow at first.
For additional information on Crossfit, visit www.Crossfit.com