There’s magic in CrossFit, have you noticed that yet? I was asked the other day how it’s possible that working out for 10 min in a day can make you in better shape. How is that possible when everything you know says to be constantly moving for over an hour? Yes it’s true.
It is possible to get in the best shape of your life in less time. That magic ingredient is called Intensity. It takes people who can barely get off the couch and transforms them into jacked unicorns. Intensity is a measurable factor, it’s Power: force multiplied by distance divided by time. To state that simply: Intensity is doing more work faster.
This doesn’t come easy for some, the idea of doing more work when all you want to do is rest, that’s a hard concept. Let’s take a look at Fran the popular CrossFit benchmark workout we completed recently (21-15-9 thursters (95/63) and pull-ups). Fran is a great workout to drive intensity if done correctly. It’s a workout that should be completed in under 7 minutes. Pushing the intensity of this workout means scaling the weight we use for most of us. Maintaining a constant push through the entire series of movements, if you need to break up a set, that rest period should be for no more than 5 seconds. Intensity is, as Coach Greg Glassman states “learning to be comfortable, being uncomfortable”.
Intensity drives favorable adaptation of the human body. Simply put intensity is what makes you a jacked unicorn! Let’s dive a little deeper though and chat about the do’s and don’ts of pushing your threshold. In order to get good at increasing intensity you first need to make sure your form is dialed in and solid. The workouts that are less technical (i.e. body weight movements) are a great time to test intensity. The goal is to keep pushing even when you want to stop. When you do reach that point where you need a break, it’s short and precise. You count to 5 in your head, collect your breath and you’re back in the WOD. The goal is NOT to go out so hard you can’t recover, that actually causes the workout to loose it’s intensity and its intended purpose.
A great way to achieve this intensity level is by scaling the workout. If a workout calls for 21-15-9 of 135 lb back squat and burpees, and your squat one rep max is at 200 lbs, this would be a great opportunity to scale. You could do the workout at 95 lbs and really push the intensity. Try to do the set of 21 in 2 sets and try not stopping through the burpees. This will push you to a new level verses doing this workout Rx and having to rest for 5 min of it because it’s too heavy. The latter approach makes this workout an aerobic endeavor and slows your progress to becoming a jacked unicorn.
Each workout programmed is your chance to give it everything you’ve got. We see a little too often people not giving their all in a workout, hanging out at the chalk bucket, taking a long walk to their water bottles and thus not seeing the changes that they want to see. Form, consistency, THEN intensity will get you where you want to be.
Sara Mozingo is the Co-Owner, head coach, and programing wizard at CrossFit Icehouse. When she’s not developing rep schemes and diving into the nerdery she enjoys hanging out in nature hiking trails or climbing rocks with her side-kick Mr. Mosely.
So a few weeks ago I went to TedX Fargo, and one of the speaker’s topics was “Own Your Stuff.” So here we are 🙂
As most of you know, I quit my day job 2 months ago (wow those 2 months flew!) to focus on Icehouse to try to help make it everything Coach Sara & I want it to be. AKA I needed to stop half a$$ing 2 things, and whole a$$ one thing.
One driving factor in making that decision was the simple fact that I wasn’t owning my sh*t…I mean stuff. I was using the day job, and lack of time it created as an excuse for how we were doing as a business, my training, my nutrition, lack of rest, etc etc etc. Yes the 50 hours I was spending at a job I didn’t care about, distracted constantly about the gym (which I actually DO care about) was a contributing factor, but a factor that I chose. So if I wanted things to change, I would have to do something about it.
Now, I am not telling you to walk into your boss’s office and throw in your badge & keys, but I am urging you to step back and take a look at what is holding you back from where you want to be (this can be in your career, life, health, fitness, anywhere really), and really think about what is driving that. And furthermore, really look at that information and see how it sits.
One of my (many) personal examples: nutrition. The base of the fitness pyramid, it is ridiculously important, yet I was saying “I’m too tired too cook, I forgot to meal prep, I lost track of time between classes, etc etc.” If I as a gym owner can’t own my sh*t and get my nutrition in line, how could I possibly be expecting our members who work full time, have kids, spouses, and lives outside of the gym to also deal with do reign in their nutrition when I was half a$$ing it myself? When I actually sat with that information, it did not sit well AT ALL. That is so hypocritical it’s embarrassing.
While I was okay with my overall nutrition, not like I was washing down Sandy’s with a 6 pack on the reg, I still needed to be more dialed in and consistent. I now spend my Sunday afternoons meal prepping for the week, and it’s already made a huge difference. A few hours on a Sunday = less scrambling during the week, eating the right foods, more energy, and already some big PR’s. Even some better sleep to boot! Every Sunday I still have to make myself go in the kitchen and do it, but damn does it feel good when it’s done!
So, what is holding you back? Here are a few common ones we hear:
Not enough time? – How many hours of TV are you watching a day? How long do you spend scrolling through Facebook every evening? Maybe that time would be better spent reading, or at the gym…
Not enough money?– How much are you spending monthly on eating out? Happy hour? Amazon splurges? A simple budget & plan can easily cover a gym membership and real food.
I’m too out of shape? – How did it get this way? What can you do to change it? All you have to do is start. Go for a walk. Get the bike out of the garage. Do SOMETHING!
It’s summer, I’ll start in the fall– Now I get it, beer seems to taste better on a hot day, but if you are waiting to start something fall will turn into winter, winter will turn into spring, then it’ll be too nice to start again before you know it. So go for a walk. Get out the bike…see where I’m going 🙂
So I ask again, what is holding you back? What can YOU do to change it?
Courtney Shoemaker is a Co-Owner of CrossFit Icehouse and Flux, and in charge of the behind the scenes juggling to keep the Icehouse ship sailing smoothly. She is passionate about fitness and identifies as a CrossFitter, Weightlifter, Yogi, Skydiver & overall Shenaniganer.