Getting fit is hard work and it all begins with getting up off of our collective asses. It is generally agreed upon that movement is one of the pillars of a healthy lifestyle. Anyone that sits at a desk all day and then on the couch all night cannot consider themselves to be healthy. I think it would be obvious to anyone reading this, that any movement at all would be more healthy than this hypothetical scenario. However, movement itself can be further broken down and not all forms of movement are created equal. We at CrossFit Crux believe that to be truly fit and healthy one needs to have a good balance between the following forms of activities:
2) high intensity interval or heart rate training
3) bodyweight movement training (including strength, flexibility and mobility)
4) progressive resistance training
The recent explosion in popularity of fitness trackers is proof that the general population is waking up to the fact that simply walking remains a key part of a healthy lifestyle. There also seems to be more of an acceptance these days that it is important to get your heart rate up with some form of high intensity training. This could be interval sprints, playing a sport, or doing a group fitness class (preferably one built around various forms of functional movement like CrossFit!). I also believe that most people would agree that gymnasts are some of the most fit people on the planet. Human beings should have a mastery of their own body weight to truly consider themselves fit. All of the above seems obvious to most of us, however, still to this day there is reluctance to accept that resistance or strength training is for everyone.
The cold hard truth is that if you don't use some form of progressive resistance training at least a couple of times a week, you are never going to be as healthy and fit as you should be and you will not live as long as you could. Strength training has been proven to have large benefits (regardless of age), including:
-increased muscle mass
-increased bone density
-reduced resting heart rate and blood pressure
Muscle burns more calories than fat, so the first two points combine to mean that you will burn more calories between workouts, which in turn means you can eat more and still look good naked! Who doesn't want that? The increased bone density will reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis and make you more durable. This may not seem important to a 20 year old (although it is), but it is what will keep you out of a nursing home when you get older. This improved overall body composition will also lead to reducing resting heart rate and blood pressure which reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Resistance training will not only ensure that you live longer, but that those extra years will be of higher quality.
It is important to note that these benefits of strength training cannot be equaled by skipping the weights and just doing more 'cardio'. In fact, too much cardio can actually have a negative impact on all of the above. So it should be clear that each and every one of us needs to do some form of resistance training to be healthy and fit. And yet, I still hear that people are too 'intimidated' to try it, or they 'don't want to get bulky', or that lifting weights is 'dangerous'. Ugh. It is hard to hear someone throw away an opportunity to live a longer, healthier life because they are uninformed or too scared to try something new.
CrossFit Crux has members ranging from the stay at home parent that never worked out before coming to us, to the weekend warrior baseball (or ultimate Frisbee) player; from retired grandparents, to college athletes. Each and every one of them was somewhat intimidated to try their first class, but each one is now very glad that they made that first step to becoming a better version of themselves by joining Crux. The barbell can be scary when you have never used one before, but that is why we have expert coaches. Our coaches will not only teach you the various lifts, but also work with you every day to become better and more comfortable using a barbell.
A common misconception is that everyone that lifts heavy weights will become bulky. Ahhhh....if only it were that easy. Lifting weights will indeed result in gaining muscle mass, with all the benefits that I have outlined above. But putting on the large amounts of muscle mass necessary to be considered big or bulky takes dedication and hard work. You not only have to lift heavy multiple times per week, but you have to eat like it's your full time job. It also takes more testosterone than most women naturally have, so it is especially hard for women to achieve that 'bulky' look.
The last excuse I usually hear for wanting to stick with 'cardio' and shying away from the weights, is the idea that it is dangerous to pick up heavy things. The reality is that any form of activity or exercise has inherent risks. If you want to be 100% sure that you won't twist your ankle, then stay on your couch watching TV. Unfortunately, you will likely lead a lower quality of life and die sooner, but hey, at least when you put your feet up on the coffee table, your ankle won't hurt. It is also true that no one can avoid picking up heavy things from time to time (groceries, kids etc.) and it makes more sense to be trained to do it safely. Another reality, that is surprising for many to hear, is that lifting weights has a lower risk associated with it than playing sports like soccer or baseball. Parents all over the world don't think twice about signing their kids up for a soccer team, but those same parents are scared to let their kids lift weights, even though the statistics show it to be a safer activity. Is there a risk to lifting weights? Sure there is, but when you are properly trained by an expert coach, you can minimize that risk and as Bret Contreas is fond of saying, "If you think lifting weights is dangerous, try being weak. Being weak is dangerous."
Now if you have a physically demanding job like construction or lumberjack, then maybe you already lift heavy enough to be fit and healthy. But the vast majority of people today have jobs with little to no physical component. They also lack the knowledge and/or drive to go to the gym a few times per week on their own. That's where CrossFit comes in. We teach you how to lift weights and incorporate heavy lifting into our classes to ensure that you are getting some resistance training each week. However, if I had my way, anyone that is simply trying to be more fit and improve their quality of life, would dedicate two days per week strictly to resistance training and two separate days to heart rate training. Unfortunately, this doesn't lend itself well to our regular group CrossFit classes. Not everyone is free on the same days and scheduling becomes a nightmare. So we combine the resistance training and heart rate training into one class and call it CrossFit. It's a great option and works well for the majority of people.
But what if you have a bit of flexibility in your training schedule? What if a small group of us were able to get together twice per week for an hour and a half? This would give us the opportunity to focus on resistance training and get the best bang for our exercise buck. We could make it the most efficient use of our time focusing on multi joint functional resistance training. It would also allow us to use some fun and different equipment (prowler, yoke, sandbags etc.) that can't easily be brought into regular group classes. We could even spend time on bulletproofing ourselves, so that we are less likely to get an injury inside or outside of the gym. But most importantly we could show up, support each other and put in the hard work necessary to get stronger and build that lean muscular body.
Welcome to "The Grind". A new program at CrossFit Crux. I will be training the two Grind classes per week on Monday and Friday @ 6:30 pm. Coach Kris will lead the morning classes on Monday and Friday at 7:00 am. The format will be a 1 hour coached class followed by 1/2 hr of accessory homework (hopefully completed immediately after class). The focus will be on all of the aspects of resistance training that I have outlined and will progressively build throughout the 8 weeks. These classes will be hard work, but it takes hard work to build a stronger, more durable you.
Membership will also include two CrossFit / Metcon classes each week, that can be used whenever you are available to train plus open gym access. The four classes per week plus open gym will be offered at a cost of $199+tax per month. Your current membership will be placed on hold for the duration of the program. You will need to prioritize your sleep, diet and recovery outside of the gym in order to hit both of the classes as hard as you can. You can't cheat the grind....