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How I Lost Weight and Gained Health with Crossfit Workouts: Part 2, All About the Program

Updated on August 14, 2012

© 2012 by Aurelio Locsin.

This is part 2 of the series that began with How I Lost Weight and Gained Health with Crossfit Workouts: Part 1, Starting from the Bottom. You may want to read that part first, so you can understand this part thoroughly.

Basic Crossfit exercises.
Basic Crossfit exercises. | Source

Scalability

The email came from Darla, the wife of the Crossfit Brea owner. She expressed concern over my bad workout experience the previous day and asked how I was feeling. She said that not completing a workout was common for new clients, especially those who hadn’t exercised for most of their lives. There was no need to feel embarrassed because everyone knew what it was like to start and would be supportive. I could either see the workout as something impossible or something that could be conquered.

Her email impressed me because no gym had ever personally contacted me though I had joined a couple in my twenties. My partner had also earlier reminded me that my decades of inactivity could not be overcome in just one evening: I should be proud of even completing the warm-up. Both their acknowledgements made me feel good about my trying the previous day.

Darla talked about scalability, an important component of Crossfit. Though everyone performs the same exercises at the same time, the movements are normally adjusted for fitness level.

  • For example, during a deadlift, the veteran fireman can hoist 400-pound barbells while the 65-year-old grandma startts with a PVC pipe.
  • In addition, rookie and veteran versions of the the day’s workout are often written side-by-side on the whiteboard. Thus, the newbie preforms fewer reps with slower movements, while the vets goes gung-ho.

A birthday WOD.
A birthday WOD. | Source

WOD

You can only participate in Crossfit as part of an organized one-hour class held several times a day unless you are highly experienced or training for a special event. The WOD or Workout of the Day uses the same exercises performed in the same sequence for a particular day. But then it changes completely the next day. You could be running for endurance one day; hauling weighted sleds and kettle bells the next day; and doing jumping jacks, pushups and pullups the next.

This variety keeps each workout fresh and stresses different parts of your body to encourage muscle growth and endurance. The training also emphasizes whole body fitness rather than specializing in any muscle. Unused parts are given the chance to recover from the previous day’s WOD as new body parts are used..

Example

A list of exercises for a sample WOD can consist of the following:

  • Jumping rope vigorously for 30 seconds and then slowly for 30 seconds. You do this for five rounds as a warmup.
  • Stretching. As the transition between the warmup and the WOD, this remains the same for each workout. It consists of ten reps of ten easy movements such as lunges.
  • Pass through (3 sets x 10 reps). A stretch specific to that day’s WOD where you hold a long wooden dowel horizontally in both hands and move the dowel from your front to overhead to your back.
  • Drop snatch (3 x 5). To review and develop technique for the Olympic weightlifting snatch, you hold the barbell overhead and then drop into a squat position. You start the first set with a dowel, continue with barbell sans weights and then finish with a set of weighted barbells.
  • Snatch balance (3 x 5). Continuing the review, start with the bar behind you on the shoulders, you drop into a squat under the bar, while extending your arms so the bar is overhead. The bar does not move. Instead, you change position by going under it.
  • Hang power snatch (3 x 5). This is essentially the snatch bent over from the standing position. Using your hips, you pull the barbell overhead as you drop into a partial squat.

The actual timed workout then consists of eight sets of the following exercises performed as quickly as possible:

  • Hang snatch 75 lbs./45 lbs. (8 reps). The first weight is the prescription for men and the second is for women. Technique is more important than load. The trainer asks you to reduce the plates if your form suffers.
  • Pushups, hands up (8 reps). This is a standard pushup, but when your chest hits the ground, you lift your hands slightly to fully release the load on your hands.
  • Double-unders (40 reps). This is the standard skipping rope movement, but the rope passes twice under the foot with each jump. You can substitute 120 single jumps instead.

The average time to complete this is about 20 minutes. Though you could write down your time in a notebook for record-keeping, there would be no point. You would probably never perform this sequence of exercises again.

For Beginners

You’re not allowed to participate in the regular WODs until you complete a week’s worth of learning workouts. These generally consist of three classes where you learn the fundamentals of Crossfit exercises such as Olympic weightlifting, kettle bell swings and calisthenics. Though the beginning sessions end with a light workout, they’re mostly about learning new techniques.

I’d started with such a beginner’s session but found that difficult. Darla said she could scale even the warm-ups down, perhaps starting me on one round of runs rather than three. With this assurance and my partner’s encouragement, I resolved to start at Crossfit again with the next beginning session.

You can continue this series in Part 3, Results.

Comments

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    • profile image

      Maria Eugenia E. f 

      3 years ago

      It is the best to gain energy everyday... do it with Tabata!!!!

    • alocsin profile imageAUTHOR

      alocsin 

      5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Actually, healthylife2, now that I've been through a couple of years, the trainers are always careful to stress form over increased weight and speed. If they spot anyone doing weights with bad form, for example, they tell them to lower the weight.

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 

      6 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      Scalability is a key component that cannot be overlooked. Very well done. Educational and motivational. Voted up.

    • healthylife2 profile image

      Healthy Life 

      6 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Have to admit I've been considering trying crossfit but endurance is not my thing. It's an amazing workout but what concerns me is that form is sacrificed for speed on the exercises and many people get injured. I have done some of those ball exercises in the video with a trainer and they are much harder than they look. Let me know if you end up with a "I threw up in crossfit" t-shirt. I know that would be me. Looking forward to part 3.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I like attending our "Silver Sneakers" classes twice a week and then doing the treadmill and a different set of machines on other days to vary the workout at the gym. Your crossfit workouts sound pretty intense! Afraid that my old knees could not do all of those squats that you mentioned. I guess the main thing is to keep moving and doing something! Up votes and shared.

    • alocsin profile imageAUTHOR

      alocsin 

      6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      There are many crossfitters who simply work out at home, B. Leekley. You can see a full list of exercises at www.crossfit.com.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 

      6 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      The concept makes sense. I wonder if one could adapt it to home exercises.

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 

      6 years ago from Thailand

      Up and awesome. I like the way that the program varies so much, as repetition is one reason I gave up the gym ... might reconsider my decision now. It is also great that they contact their members and give that personal service, hard to find nowadays.

      Thanks for SHARING.

    • hoteltravel profile image

      hoteltravel 

      6 years ago from Thailand

      It is great that you persisted despite your poor show on the first day. WOD listed looks pretty brutal for a person who has not worked out in the recent past. Waiting for the next instalment...

    • Jessi10 profile image

      Jessica Rangel 

      6 years ago from Lancaster, CA

      This was one interesting hub. I like it!

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