Two Keys for Proven CrossFit Results: Part 1

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CrossFit, as many of us know, is defined as "constantly varied, functional movements executed at high intensity across broad time and modal domains." Well, maybe only a few of us knew that, but our goal at Loud City is to teach more and more people about that definition and the regimen that has revolutionized fitness as we know it. That’s a pretty brief definition for a complex training system, but the great thing is that every one of those words is intentionally used. Spend a week in the gym and you realize that the WOD’s are constantly varied. In your first workout you’ll notice that our movements are functional and applicable to everyday life. But what’s the part that gets results? What creates the physical changes you want? I think there are two key elements that bring big results.

First, let’s talk about intensity. And even more, let’s talk about high intensity. Seems a little redundant. Intensity is arguably the most crucial word in that short definition. Intensity is the first key to seeing the results. The word itself is defined as something of extreme force, degree, or strength. At Loud City, we believe that intensity is the ultimate factor in moving all significant health markers in the right direction. Intensity is the crucial element of moving those health markers on the Sickness-Wellness-Fitness Continuum.

If intensity is that important, how do we know when we’ve found it? The best way to know it is to experience it. Intensity is not grunting or yelling loudly. It’s not being red in the face or sweating the most. Intensity is not an option or opinion but is instead science. Intensity is power, or force multiplied by distance, then divided by time. Intensity is doing more work faster. CrossFit has broken intensity down to the true science that it is. We are not just doing a bunch of random workouts as hard as we can, but instead are trying to accomplish more work.

“Intensity is the independent variable most commonly associated with maximizing favorable adaptation to exercise,” CrossFit Founder and CEO Greg Glassman wrote in April 2007’s “Understanding CrossFit.”  Whatever you want from exercise comes faster with intensity. It’s not volume or duration or heart rate or even discomfort. Do more work in less time (without overdoing it), and you’ll get fitter faster.

Now, the path to intensity looks different for everyone. The seasoned CrossFitter will do an RX version of Fran in anywhere from 3:00 to 7:00 (watch this crazy do Fran in 1:47!). Fran calls for 21-15-9 reps of thrusters and pull-ups. Ideally an athlete will break the set of 21 up into two or less sets with only a five to ten second rest in between. After the round of 21 the clock will most likely be in the two to three minute range. If an athlete cannot get into that timeframe then the coach’s job is to scale the WOD so that the desired stimulus is met.

Intensity is not about collapsing after the first set of 21 thrusters or being done after the first 400 meter run in Helen. Intensity is about finding that window that allows the athlete to accomplish the work with a challenging weight and finish it in the desired time frame. As coaches and athletes, our goal should be to find that each time that we come into the gym for the WOD. If we get ourselves to the desired intensity, then the results that we desire are going to happen at a much faster rate.

But intensity is just the half of driving results. We’ll talk about the other soon!