7.01.2011

Crossfit burnout, Crossfit Football, Primal Blueprint Fitness, and the Japsican's Fitness Philosophy.

  

Recently, I've gotten injured (rotator problems), and was suffering from major Crossfit burnout.  I've posted on the subject of over-training before, and after reading countless amounts literature on the idea of "Chronic Cardio" and how endurance training and MetCon training can stimulate cortisol release, cause metabolic derrangement, and in itself Cardio Vascular Disease (CVD), I've taken the stance that Crossfit, as RX'd is not really all that great for you in the long-term.  

Now, I know this is going to garner all sorts of criticism from my fellow Crossfit friends, and I'll probably be hunted down by all of the die-hards out there. (Please, no kettlebell assaults).  Some of them will just call me a "Pussy", and tell me that the reason I'm changing my fitness philosophy is that I've got a weak constitution.  But the TRUTH is all I care about, and between my own n=1 observations, and hours of reading both peer-reviewed and anecdotal evidence, I've come to the conclusion that MetCon and endurance workouts should be limited to 1-3 times per week.  Preferably 1-2.  

Fitness Coma after a MetCon
Now, I know I'm not coming up with anything that hasn't been beat to death on the internet by the many factions of fitness science majors out there, including Robb Wolf, and Crossfit HQ themselves, but again...as Robb wisely stated on many of his blogs and podcasts, "Go with a minimum investment, maximum return kind of a gig".  (He uses the term "Gig" a lot, which I appreciate being a fellow NorCal)  Why?  Because injury occurs if you do the opposite.  And I'm not just talking about musculoskeletal injury.  I'm talking about physiological injury as well.  And the chances of both increases with age, time, and repetitive movements.  I don't care who you are, and how good your form is, if you repeat a motion enough times, eventually, something's going to give.  I could be a knee, a rotator, your heart, or your kidneys.  

So, I find the concept of "Minimum Investment/Max Return" (MIMR) not only worth while, but a more complete approach for the general public out there who want to get in shape, look good, and LIVE LONGER (and not necessarily become an elite athelete)  So, YOU need to determine what your needs are, ie, whether or not you trying to become an NFL linebacker, look good naked, or live longer.  I fall somewhere between Crossfit Football (Performance, athletics) and Sisson's Primal Fitness.  I think that taking time to rest between intervals is huge.  This allows your body to remain in homeostasis, but just on the verge of stress response, and limits the amount of cortisol release and inflammation related to the hormones released when your brain thinks it's in fight or flight mode.  This also keeps you out of the chronic cardio area.  I'm not suggesting you don't push yourself, or be goal oriented in your fitness endeavors (if you don't you'll never improve) but make sure you don't a) train too often each week, and b) don't put yourself too far.  Because let's face it, some of us (myself included) are not necessarily the best decision makers in that regard especially DURING a workout.  And many of us are left as though we are in a "fitness coma" after a work out.  Be honest and listen to your body, if you're going to be pushing too far, don't continue, take a break.  Finish the work out, but take a break during the workout.  Don't lift more weight than you can handle and always focus on form.  

I really like Mark's perspective of playing and having fun during a workout.  The primal methodology itself is a MIMR kind of approach.  He suggests you walk more than you run most days of the week, and that you should "lift heavy things" (weights) once per week, and sprint (ie met con, running, rowing etc) once a week.  This mimics the primal man's typical week, or at least that's the philosophy behind it, and thus gives you the same metabolism with regards to energy output.  Now I'm not in to all of the Grok stuff, because for me, (similar to Dr. Harris) I believe it's not about actually being a paleolithic man, but rather mimicking paleolithic man's metabolism.  But you can't go wrong with being like grok, and many of the primal movements on Mark's site are amazing.  

I find Mark's approach great, especially for those who tend to find fitness monotonous.  So, I choose to do something in between the 2 approaches, which is essentially a combination of the 2.  You could say it's primal fitness a bit ramped up with an extra sprint or lifting day.  And if I feel like skipping a day, I do.  But I do lots of walking, and will steal many of the WOD ideas from the crossfit football site.  And best of all, you don't need a ton of equipment.  In fact, most of the primal blueprint fitness WoW's are workouts you can do without any barbells, bumpers, or squat racks. (although I recommend eventually getting those bits of equipment)  Get out in the sun, and enjoy life.  And for FSM's sake, don't let your workout's be the only form exercise you get.  Go play frisbee golf, flag football, kayak, rock climb... get outside and do something!

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