Friday, August 19, 2011

CrossFit Review - Distance Running makes you fat???

All week I've been alluding to this new activity I was trying.  Yesterday was the day.  Unfortunately, as I posted yesterday, I was beat!  Luckily mid-afternoon things picked up and I felt a little better.  However, arriving at the facility I was still feeling pretty apprehensive.

My friend and I signed up for 2 free trial classes at a CrossFit gym.  I'm having a hard time explaining what CrossFit is exactly.  I did find this video which might give an idea:

... and this explanation:
CrossFit is the principal strength and conditioning program for many police academies and tactical operations teams, military special operations units, champion martial artists, and hundreds of other elite and professional athletes worldwide.

Our program delivers a fitness that is, by design, broad, general, and inclusive. Our specialty is not specializing. Combat, survival, many sports, and life reward this kind of fitness and, on average, punish the specialist.
Though that still doesn't really give you an idea.  So far I can really only describe the experience we had.  Our class was really quite short, but very intense.  We started with a warm-up of the following:
  • 5 chin-ups
  • 100M sprint
  • 5 burpees
  • 10 squats
  •   ..... x 3 sets
The chin-ups are done on a bar and are to be done from full hanging, quick thrust, to head above bar.  Luckily they had these assisting bands that you could put your feet into which would reduce your body weight that you had to lift.  There is absolutely NO WAY I could have done this with full body weight.  I had to use the strongest assistance band they had ... and it was still tough.

After this, we were told that our squats were way, WAY too slow and our burpees were too slow and not intense enough.  We then began "the workout":

  • 5 chin-ups
  • 5 burpees
  • 10 squats

Doesn't sound like much, does it?  We were to aim to do 15 sets of the above in 15 minutes.  My friend and I made it through 10.  Everything is done fast, fast, fast - deep, deep, deep - hard, hard, hard.  The exercises themselves don't sound that hard, but when you are going that hard and deep, they are killer!  In 15 minutes I was dripping a ton of sweat, probably more than I've ever dripped in that short a time period.  It was intense!

Burpees are all the way down and out, chest to the floor, back to feet and jump up - and done quick, quick, quick!  The instructor demonstrated them this quick ... mine weren't so quick (fast forward to about 1 minute into this).

Now, in review, I completely understand and appreciate the benefits of these types of workouts.  I KNOW they change your body in very positive ways.  I'm working towards doing more of this.  Apparently their workouts vary every day (as they should) and while we just did a short, intense workout - another day could be completely different - yet always intense.

In knowing how great these workouts are ... I'm not completely sold on the program.  First off, there is very little I like about the instructor.  Not that he's there to be liked, that's not his job.  He knows his stuff and I'll completely give him that, but he came off as very arrogant and cocky.  He knows best, his methods are best, and there is no other way.  They offer a 6 week program, which he admits should really never be 6 weeks because this is for life, not short term (and I completely agree).  But he made the statement that "if you can't stick to a 6 week program then you should just shoot yourself".  What????  I get what he's trying to get across, but really???

Then there was the woman who did our consultation afterwards.  I will give her credit for having an amazing body and she seemed quite knowledgeable.  However, there were a few things that irked me and I can't wrap my head around them.

She asked what our goals are and what we're currently doing fitness-wise.  After we told her she pretty much sat back and said "well, when you're ready to get serious about changing your bodies and are ready to give up the distance running ... then come back to us."  She said that long distance running is only making us fatter and reducing our muscles and that the more we run, the less chance we have to see the changes we want in our bodies.  She said if we wanted to follow their program, we would have to give up running and cycling like we are currently doing.

Now, I do know that I see better results when I'm running shorter and faster, and incorporating lots of muscle building activities.  So I will agree with her to a point. But to say you have to give up an activity that you love in order to achieve a better body is just nonsense.  Besides, I'm looking for balance in my life.  I'm not looking to erase every "unhealthy" morsel from my diet just so that I can look model perfect.  I know by not going in 100% that I won't get 100%, but I'm happy with 90%, heck I'm probably happy with 80%.  I'm not going for elite athlete with a perfect body.  I want a decent body and to be in good shape.  It just didn't sound like there was any wiggle room there.

She also said that our bodies (in our late 30's) were much better designed to be slim than hers (at 19) because her body is wanting to have babies and to stay slim she is fighting her hormones.  She said at our age, we are past that stage and our bodies WANT to be slim.  Hmm, never in my life have I heard anything like that.  Ever!

So, I took some good from this, I found some bad - and now I just have to sort through it and use what works for me.  We have another session next week where I will give it another open look.  They do offer a 3 week fat loss challenge program.  It's $97 - but you can go as often as you like during that 3 weeks (up to 5x per week).  It's not something I can consider right now, but possibly in the late fall, when my friend is done her marathons, I might look into it ... just for the 3 weeks, as a challenge.  We'll see.  Gonna sit on it and think about it for a while.

Honestly, I think my workouts have been becoming more well rounded lately.  I could certainly incorporate more of the hard core, intense, short burst exercises like we did at this class - and I aim to do that.  But, I still know that if I'm ever going to see the changes I want again, I HAVE to clean up my diet.  If nothing else, this class did help to pound that into my brain a little more.  I KNOW this is where I need the changes, but sometimes you have to hear (and see) it quite a few times before you're really inspired to make those changes.

Lately I've been working out hard and just wasting it with my diet.  This is stupid!  Really, REALLY stupid.  I'm putting way too much effort and time into exercise, for nothing.  Well, not quite nothing, but pretty much.  I'm fitter, but I'm not accomplishing what I want.

Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!  My plans are all up in the air right now and I'm not certain what I'll be doing.  With any luck I just might get out for a hike.  Just might have to do some scrambling around to fit it in.  Have a great one!!!!!



sissy poo said...

Ok, now tell me why I'm sitting here laughing, picturing you just wanting to deck that girl lolol

kimert said...

I like the idea of CrossFIt (some of it) but I would like to tell that lady to show me some fat distance runners...
I agree witht he fact that the more lean muscle you have the more calories/fat you burn but I just do not think there is a reason to not be a distance runner. But you didn't really ask for my opinion. I think she's lame. And I think if you want incorporate some of the CF workouts into your current routine you should not pay mega $$ at one of those CF Gyms but just go online for the free WOD and do those when you can. :)

Fran said...

I've read about crossfit but didn't know what it was actually. Thanks for clearing it up. Just looked it up and you can do it here in Holland too but it looks really tough. Don't think I'm ready for this.

Maybe the lady is right about long distance running, I don't know, never heard of it. What I do know is that you have to do the things you love otherwise you will quit at one point. So if this love is long distance running I'd say go for it and do it. This is how I approach my workouts, I have to love it to keep on doing it.

The workout itself sounds really intense and I think 10 sets of that is a very good result.
Look forward to your experience with the other class next week.

Enjoy your weekend Heidi.

Fran said...

Back again and maybe you already found out for yourself but if you google on crossfit most websites have workouts of the day on their website (found 2 Dutch and 1 US who did). If you want to incorporate this in your own workout routine it might be helpful for you.

Marlene said...

Well the workout sounds neat, but I don't think I would have liked much of what they had to say! Everyone has their ideas, but I don't have respect for people with the "my way or the highway" attitude.

And distance running makes you fat??? Oy.

Anonymous said...

I also had to sort of laugh at distance running making you fat. Really, all those marathoners look like they're serious heavy weights. I guess some people might embrace the all consuming aspects of the program, the way it seems to dictate every part of your exercise and eating, but asking you to give up a form of exercise that you really enjoy doesn't seem right...

HEATHER @ runfastermommy! said...

I have a friend who struggles all the time with her crossfit "friends". She LOVES crossfit and what it has done for her body...but is also a runner and triathlete, and they are constantly badmouthing those sports. I really think crossfit workouts are great, and I think it's cool that people make a "lifestyle" of it, but man they do give off quite the elitest/cliquey vibe don't they?

Marcelle said...

I'm coming back after I've watched the video...

But take a look at that link...this is my friend Melisa...a runner, and FAST...and long, and enters body competitions
Read her story, her program, and then see long distance cant make you fat....
Have you ever seen how ugly a long distance runners body is....I dislike it terrible...the women start looking like sprinkled up prunes ~ but with can balance it friend has 3 kids..
So many say * My body changed after I had kids, I gained weight after my kids...etc etc * we have all heard the stories.
She is wow....

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this! I had only heard about Crossfit about a month ago but thought it was something I'd like to try. I probably will at some point but I'm glad to know ahead of time about the opinions you encountered. That would be a huge turn off for me!

Nikki said...

I find the blanket statement that distance running makes you fat kind of funny. I tend to think our bodies all react in a different way - I tend to only lose weight after I start getting up in distance - for me, it's the key that keeps my weight down, but what would I know?

Anonymous said...

Wow...sounds like the people at that gym are super intense. I agree, that I think those style of workouts are going to give you great results because you are kind of shocking your body and kicking it into super high gear. But I also don't really like what they said about distance running. That would have pissed me off. You should be able to do both, and they shouldn't discourage that. I know you will do what works for you. I wish you luck!

Anonymous said...

My gosh, I would have wanted to slap her! I guess it depends on your goals and hers are definitely not in line with mine. I agree with your analysis.

Missy said...

Good for you for trying it out! Um...I've never heard what that girl said either. I think she's feeding you bad information...

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