09 Nov 2015 – The 10 General Physical Skills of CrossFit

Have you ever wondered why we train the way we do? Why we play with handstands and double unders just as much as we deadlift heavy, smash sprint-style workouts, and tell you to hit the target when you do your wallballs?

In its pursuit of GPP (General Physical Preparedness, i.e. ready to take on the unknown and the unknowable), CrossFit aims to develop 10 General Physical Skills. In the CrossFit definition of fitness, “you are as fit as you are competent in these 10 skills.” No idea what these skills are? Let us enlighten you!

The first four of the 10 skills are developed through “training” or “activity that improves performance through a measurable organic change in the body”, such as our Conditioning and General Strength WODs…

Cardiovascular / Respiratory Endurance: The ability of a body’s systems to gather, process and deliver oxygen, i.e. how far can you go?
Stamina: The ability of a body’s systems to process, deliver, store, and utilise energy, i.e. how long can you last?
Strength: The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force, i.e. how much can you lift?
Flexibility: The ability to maximise the range of motion at a given joint, i.e. can you get into a good front rack or overhead position? How are your wall squats?

The second four are developed through “practice”, or “activity that improves performance through changes in the nervous system”. Think drills, progressions, the barbell warm-ups we do before Olympic lifting sessions…

Coordination: The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movement, i.e. can you jump, whilst spinning a rope in two quick circles before your feet hit the ground?
Agility: The ability to minimize transition time from one movement pattern to another, i.e. can you rebound your box jumps?
Balance: The ability to control the placement of the body’s centre of gravity in relation to its support base, i.e. how are your pistols and your handstand walks?
Accuracy: The ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity, i.e. does your wall ball hit the target, or does it fly up in the air and come crashing down to hit you in the face instead?

The final two skills are developed through both training and practice:

Power: The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time, i.e. your one 1 RM snatch.
Speed: The ability to minimize the time cycle of a repeated movement, i.e. your 100m TT.

Want to learn more about these 10 General Physical Skills or the definition of CrossFit? Check out our bible, The CrossFit Journal's What is Fitness, where all of these definitions were taken from. 


Threshold Method: Single Modality Madness*

A) 5 minutes to get as many reps as possible:
Row or Airdyne for calories

- Rest 5 minutes -

B) 5 minutes to get as many reps as possible:
Thruster (42.5 / 30 kg)

- Rest 5 minutes -

C) For time:
Run 1000m, as fast as possible

* This is what happens when Coach Phil gets to name WODs...

13 July 2015 - Our Top 3 Nutrition Tips

Today, we are going to look at our top 3 tips to optimise your training, performance and body composition.

These tips are in order of importance and what we have found from our experience that make the biggest impact on you achieving your goals. Start with Step 1 before even considering Steps 2 or 3.

1) Food Quality
As Maria mentioned in her previous blog post, we advocate a 'Paleo' framework. While you can read all about our framework in her post, in short, this means cutting out the junk in your diet. Foods that are high in sugar, chemicals, additives and other nasties brought about by processing can wreak havoc on your body's hormonal system. Why does our hormonal system matter? It is what drives many (if not all) processes in the body, especially when it comes to controlling blood sugar, energy regulation and fat storage.

Combined with being one of the most effective methods for feeling awesome, crushing training and shedding some unwanted body fat, cleaning up your nutrition with a Paleo framework is the 'easiest' of our three points to implement. You don't have to stress too much about hitting specific calorie goals or macronutrient targets, just eat healthy-sized portions of whole, natural and real foods and cut out the junk. 

2) Daily Caloric Intake
Calories matter. If your goal is to gain weight/muscle you have to eat, a lot! This is usually a calorie number more than the calories you churn through in your day-to-day activities and training sessions. Conversely, if you want to lose weight/fat you need to eat less, and this generally has to be at a deficit of your maintenance level of calories. Be mindful that this must be a controlled increase/decrease in calories. Gorging on food and taking in too much will lead to 'bad' weight gain (read: fat), and a drastic calorie reduction will often lead to a stall in weight loss, poor performance in the gym and even metabolic dysfunction (read: bad news bears).

There is conflicting information out there regarding the importance of calories, but we know it is not as simple as 'calories in vs calories out'.

The human body is not a predictable machine and there are countless internal and external variables involved in how our bodies operate. This helps to explain why calories cannot be balanced like your bank account, and why people never seem to gain or lose weight precisely as calculated by calorie targets.

To further elaborate, let's say two people eat the exact same meal of 2 large slices of meat feast pizza with a mixed salad and washed back with a bottle of beer, followed by a slice of cheesecake. One is a 28 year old female who trains CrossFit 5 days a week CrossFit, has a body fat of 18% and eats 'clean' every day of the week (this meal is her 'cheat meal'). Our second person is a 55 year old male who is overweight, has a body fat of 30%, spends all day sat behind a desk, does little to no exercise and eats processed food every single day. These two individuals will process the same meal in two very different ways, despite it being the same number of calories and macronutrients.

Remember that food quality comes first (see point 1). It's pointless having a calorie target if you get 2500 daily calories from McDonalds, Haribo's and beer.

3) Macronutrient breakdown
This refers to the breakdown of your daily calories into grams of protein, carbohydrate and fat. Altering these numbers can have a large impact on body composition and performance.

Protein is commonly referred to as 'the building block of muscle'. Protein is used to rebuild and repair muscle tissue during stages of recovery and to keep our bodies functioning. You mostly hear people talking about how much protein they have, or how many shakes they can smash down. In reality most of us only need around 1 g per lb of bodyweight. Even if you want to gain muscle, more protein is not really going to make a difference.

Carbohydrates are the fuel for higher intensity activities, and its intake helps replenish tough workouts and also helps signal to cells to use ingested protein to build/repair muscle tissue. As such, some experts say that carbohydrates actually play a more important role in the muscle-building process than protein. If you do lots of high intensity training (like CrossFit), you need more carbohydrates than those who do low level activities (walking etc), but the exact number can differ from person to person depending on their size, activity levels, tolerance etc.

Our last macronutrient is fat. Every single cell in our bodies is partly composed of fat and they are involved in many of the processes in our body. Thus, fat is vital for proper health and function of our hormones. For most of us we need between 60-120g per day, again differing depending on size, goals, training etc.

There a few other factors which we do consider important when it comes to training for performance, or trying to reach body composition goals, such as 
- Meal and macronutrient timing
- Supplementation

But none of these compare to 'bang for buck' compared to eating clean, calorie intake and macronutrient breakdown.

So if you ever ask me about 'the best protein shake to have post-workout', I will reply by asking if you have our top 3 nutrition tips nailed down. If you don't have these nailed, you are throwing away your money on unnecessary supplements. These big 3 nutrition tips are going to get the majority of people closer to their performance and body composition goals.


CrossFit Open 13.1

As many reps in 17 mins as you can of:
40 Burpees
30 Snatches (35/20 kg)
30 Burpees
30 Snatches  (60/35 kg)
20 Burpees
30 Snatches (75/45 kg)
10 Burpees
AMRAP Snatch (95/55 kg)