04 April 2019 - Throwback Thursday: "A CrossFit Road Map for the Beginner Athlete"

It’s time for our second Throwback Thursday blog, another chance for you to re-read a blog from many moons ago, or maybe even read it for the very first time!

For this week’s Throwback, we present: “A CrossFit Road Map for the Beginner Athlete”, originally posted on 8 November 2014.

Yes, I know, technically, we should have posted this one first, but the Intermediate Road Map is my favourite blog!

CrossFit 1864 is growing! We have lots of new faces WODing with us these days, many of whom are completely new to the ‘Sport of Fitness’.

So, for all our new CrossFitters out there, Phil and I thought it would be a good idea to put together a list of things that you will find and do over the next few months, based on our experiences as both coaches and athletes.

Think of it as a sort of road map for this first leg of your CrossFit journey…

September 2014 with Ben, our very first member! Suffice it to say, we didn’t have Coach David to take photos back then…

As a Beginner CrossFitter, you will…

  1. Try to compare yourself with other athletes. The ultimate rookie error, avoid this at all costs. When you walk in to the box, you walk in to do YOUR workout, with YOUR lifts, YOUR weights, scaled and adapted based on YOUR ability and background. No one else’s. Similarly, the gains and improvements you will make by focusing on your training will be.... take a guess?! YOURS and you will have earned them for yourself.

    Furthermore, don’t be intimidated by the more experienced CrossFitters. Instead, learn from them. Ask them questions and ask them for advice. It might be hard to imagine, but even that one beast CrossFitter who is sprinting across the floor on his hands and deadlifting your 1RM for 20+ reps was once a beginner and had the same questions and concerns as you. They might just have a few words of wisdom to share…

  2. You will be confused by a progression, movement or an instruction the coaches give in class. You will lose count during a WOD, and you will mess up the order of the movements, finding yourself heading out for a run when everyone else is starting their wall balls. This is inevitable – don’t stress! The more classes you attend, the more you will pick up the rhythm of each session, the faster the progressions will become second nature, and the more adept you will become at counting rounds, reps, sets, intervals and seconds of rest. You will even figure out the most efficient way to strip a barbell of its plates so you can clear your kit away in record time! As long as you put the effort in, your coaches will be happy. Just like point 1, ask questions if you're unsure! And if you can’t remember what number you’re on, do an extra rep… it will just make you a better athlete in the long run ;)

  3. You will learn an entirely new vocabulary. You will find yourself saying things like ‘mob’ (pronounced Mobe), tekkers, and Rx. You will become a passionate advocate for the Acronym (EMOM, AMRAP). You might even be able to tell someone that you’re working on your snatch without giggling (although I still struggle). These words will sneak themselves into your daily conversation. Just be prepared for your non-CrossFit friends to either not understand a word that you’re saying, or get a bit frustrated with you constantly banging on about CrossFit…

  4. You will start eating more. Just like an über fast, luxury sports car burns through fuel, your body, which is being put through some intense workouts, will need loads more fuel (aka food) than you had pre-CrossFit! And just like that luxury sports car, you need to give it the good stuff. Don’t know what we mean by this? Speak to a coach!

  5. You will ache. Some days, stairs will be a challenge. Other days, getting out of your t-shirt will seem impossible. This is what we call DOMs.

  6. You will struggle. CrossFit. Is. Not. Easy. I cannot emphasise this enough. There are loads of movements, both skill and strength-based, to learn and these movements are not normally picked up quickly. It took me 18 months to link together 10 double unders. 18 MONTHS. Not only is CrossFit a great strength and conditioning programme, it’s also a great test of character.

  7. You will fail. Sorry to rain on your parade, but eventually failure will happen. I read somewhere that in Olympic lifting (and CrossFit), you will have more bad days than good...

  8. Then you will succeed. ...But when the good days arrive, they’re f*cking awesome.

  9. You will make new friends and meet interesting people that quite possibly would have never crossed your path pre-CrossFit. Many of you have experienced this already, but CrossFit is not just about getting your sweat on and lifting heavy weights. It’s about the community. It’s about the people you interact with that, even though you might not expect it, will have an impact on your life. They will encourage you and push you when you don’t think you can go on in a workout, then they will share a beer with you to celebrate afterwards. Get involved in your community, introduce yourself to people before class and don't let yourself miss out on this important element of CrossFit!

  10. You will start to approach problems in your life differently. This sounds a bit far-fetched, but I cannot emphasise enough how true it is. And the best explanation I have found of this change is from an article by CrossFit Kindred Owner and Life Coach Cindy Lau…

“…Fast forward to a conversation I had last year with my own life coach. I was already well on my way to my dream career: I was launching CrossFit Kindred as well as my life coaching practice. But I was afraid of taking the final plunge and quitting my successful, secure career as a software engineer at Google. “What happens if I fail?” I asked my coach. “Won’t it mean that my dream just wasn’t meant to be? I’d have to go crawling back to software engineering, and I don’t know if I could face that.”

My wise coach asked me: “So…you do CrossFit. What would failing look like in CrossFit?”
I responded: “Dropping the barbell during a lift.”
My coach: “And what happens if you drop the bar?”
Me: “Well, I just pick it up again.”

And therein lay another key lesson for me. Obviously, if I encounter failure during a CrossFit workout, I’m not going to conclude, “Oh, well. I failed. I guess I just wasn’t meant to be a CrossFitter!” I’d regroup, learn what I did wrong, and come back stronger on the next attempt, or on the next day. Similarly, I realized that, if I really wanted to make my dream career a success, I couldn’t let myself give up at the first sign of failure, or let that failure determine my beliefs about myself and my capabilities. I decided to go all in, and commit myself fully to my dream.”

I hope this list is helpful for all of our new CrossFitters. Now go enjoy the journey!


WORKOUT OF THE DAY

A) Conditioning
2 x 12 minutes on : 2 minutes off, alternate between i) and ii):
* Nasal breathing only, gears 1 to 2

i) AMRAP
500m Row
50ft Single arm overhead walking lunge, left arm (22.5/15 kg)
50ft Single arm overhead walking lunge, right arm (22.5/15 kg)

ii) AMRAP
400m Run
15 Toes to bar (or 20 Abmat sit-ups)

B) Positional awareness
3-5 rounds for quality:
30 second left side plank
30 second right side plank
100m kettlebell front rack carry, heavy
* Nasal breathing only
* Aim for full breaths

02 April 2019 - WOD

WORKOUT OF THE DAY

A) Conditioning
4 x 5 minutes on : 2 minutes off, alternate between i and ii
* Nasal breathing only, gears 1 to 3

i) Pick a monostructural movement (row, bike, run)

ii) AMRAP
15 Wall balls (9/6 kg)
15 Burpees

At the beginning of each rest period perform:
5 cycles of mouth inhale & mouth exhale
7 cycles of nasal inhale & mouth exhale
9 cycles of nasal inhale & nasal exhale

B) Positional awareness
3-5 rounds, for quality:
30 second forearm plank
30 second hollow hold
30 second overhead barbell hold
* Nasal breathing only
* Aim for full breaths

01 April 2019 - Join us for Rock Climbing, Sunday 7 April

Join us for our next CF1864 Box Social, Rock Climbing! We’ll be headed to Building One+ in Bermondsey on Sunday 7 April at 2 pm. See you all there!

WORKOUT OF THE DAY

A) Strength / Conditioning
Every 3 minutes, for 21 minutes (7 rounds):
15/10 Calorie rowing sprint (12/9 Calorie assault bike)
5 Deadlifts @ 70-80%

B) Strength / Gymnastics
10 minutes to get as far as possible:
1, 2, 3...
Strict pull-up
1, 2, 3...
Strict handstand push-up
* Rx+: Weighted strict pull-up + Strict deficit HSPU

31 Mar 2019 - mumWOD

Wishing a very happy Mother’s Day to all the mums of CrossFit 1864!

WORKOUT OF THE DAY

Engine Work - the mumWOD Edition

With partner, alternate complete rounds to get as many rounds as possible in 30 minutes of:
300m Row or 0.6 km bike
21 Kettlebell swings (32/24 kg)
15 Goblet squats
9 Burpees
* Each round should be performed at a sprint pace (remember you get to rest when your partner works!)


Specialist Sundays

A) Skill Work
3 sets of 3 tall jerk + 3 Push jerk (Behind the neck, in split)

B) Olympic Lifting: Jerk

Every 90 seconds, for 6 minutes (4 sets): 2 Pause jerk + 1 Split Jerk
* Start at 70% of 1RM jerk and build
* Pause is in the dip


C) Olympic Lifting: Cleans

Every 2 minutes for 10 minutes, perform 3 reps (drop and re-set each rep)
* Start at 70% of 1RM clean and build

D) Accessory Work
Push press (Behind the Neck): 4 x 5 @ 70% of push press


Barbelles Lifting Class

A) Strength
Zercher Squat: 4 x 6

B) Accessory

B1) Bulgarian Split Squats: 3 x 10
B2) Ring Dip Negative (or Strict): 3 x 5

C) Handstand and Headstand Practice

30 Mar 2019 - Our First Gymnastics Strength & Skills Session

WORKOUT OF THE DAY

Competition Class

A) Skill & Technique

00:00 to 10:00: Practice freestanding handstand drills
10:00 to 20:00: EMOM x 10 perform 3 Snatch, touch & go
20:00 to 30:00: Practice handstand walking drills

B) Conditioning

20 minute AMRAP of:
400 m run
Max Strict Muscle-ups (or pull-ups)
* Wear a weight vest if you are feeling like a ninja
* Every time you come off the rings/bar run another 400 m


Gymnastics Strength & Skill

A) Flexibility

10 minutes of flexibility work:
5 Bridge-ups
30 seconds pancake
20 seconds bottom of a dip hang

B) Strength

20 minutes, for quality:
15 Push-up
10 Strict chin-up
5 High box jump (step down & reset)
* Scale up/down as required

C) Midline

10 minutes for quality:
20 Hollow rocks
20 Superman rocks
10 Broad jumps (Stick the landing on each rep)


CrossFit

A) “Strict Nicole”

20 minute AMRAP of:
400 m run
Max Strict pull-ups
* Wear a weight vest if you are feeling like a ninja
* Every time you come off the bar run another 400 m

29 Mar 2019 - WOD

WORKOUT OF THE DAY

A) Strength / Conditioning
4 x 2 minutes on : 2 minutes off
6 Power clean @ Heavy as possible
In remaining time row or bike for distance @ 90% effort

B) Strength
4 x 2 minutes on : 2 minutes off
5 Front squats @ heavy as possible
In remaining time perform as many single arm dumbbell rows as possible
* Switch arms every 10 reps
* This couplet is for quality, not speed

28 Mar 2019 - Throwback Thursday: "A CrossFit Road Map for the Intermediate Athlete"

Wouldn't dream of WODing shirtless when you first started, now couldn't imagine a torture greater than doing a 20 min AMRAP choking under the oppression of a cotton tee? Check out #9...

As promised, for the coming weeks, every Thursday blog will be dedicated to the CrossFit 1864 archives, re-visiting blogs we wrote in our earlier years.

For our first throwback, we present “A CrossFit Road Map for the Intermediate Athlete", originally posted on 27 November 2014…

Congratulations! You’ve just passed your 6 month milestone at CrossFit 1864! But if you think that as soon as you hit the 6 month to 1 year+ mark, things all click, you can do anything with a barbell you want and every day you set foot in the box, you have a positive mindset, realistic goals and, post-WOD, you know exactly what to do to help your body recover fully… Oh boy, have you misunderstood.

This blog is dedicated to our more seasoned CrossFitters, those who are beyond the CrossFit honeymoon phase, know their way around the box, and have the progressions and warm ups down pat. Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about you guys!

Here is the road map to the second leg of your journey. The part where you’ve finally turned off of the rolling, curvy country roads, left behind the stops and starts of the city traffic and are now cruising down the motorway, easy, breezy, but wondering when you’ll hit the next speed camera, traffic jam or road construction (are you also wondering how much longer I can carry this road trip analogy? Answer: AS LONG AS I WANT.)

What happens when you have guzzled the proverbial CrossFit KoolAid and now the pitcher sits in front of you, completely empty…

A CROSSFIT ROAD MAP FOR THE INTERMEDIATE ATHLETE

1) You will become a Mobility and Mashing expert (at least in your eyes). You will own more foam rollers and resistance bands than your physiotherapist and have more lacrosse balls rolling around your living room than the English Lacrosse Team has in all of their clubs.

2) Whenever you plan a holiday, you will automatically check for the closest box. Sometimes booking your drop-in session will come before booking your hotel room…

3) You will have partitioned out a space on your kitchen counter where your protein mix, greens powder, fish oil, pre-WOD and other various supplements sit alongside no less than three shakers. You’ve read the blogs, you’ve tried the free samples, you’re convinced that the money is well-spent. Just don’t lose sight of your nutrition basics, because supplements are just that… Supplementary, not replacements!

4) Similarly, you will have cleared a space in your bathroom cabinet next to your cotton buds and toothpaste, where Sudocrem, Climb-on, arnica cream, a callous shaver, icy hot and Epsom salt now take pride of place. In the experienced CrossFitter’s world, there is nothing more satisfying than an Epsom salt bath and sorting out your hands after a wall ball and toes-to-bar-laden WOD.

5) Your PBs will lessen in both degree and frequency. Gone are the days when you would hit a 10 kg PB on your back squat a week after you just hit a 5 kg PB. These days, PBs will start to be won and lost with change plates and over months instead of weeks. What does this mean? The ‘Novice Effect’ has worn off. That doesn’t mean that your progress has stalled! Speak to your coach about how you can vary your lifts with different methods. Most importantly, remember, a PB is a PB, whether it’s 10 kg or 1.0 kg. Often you’ll find that when the PB takes a bit longer to achieve, it will feel that much more amazing.

6) You will share a cue that once worked for you with another athlete during a session. This cue might just help them get a PB, they will be ecstatic and you will be elated that by sharing your experience, you helped someone hit their goal. This feeling is what we get to experience every day as coaches. Isn’t it flipping amazing?!

7) You’ll forget where you started. Struggling to hit that sub-4 minute Fran? Keep failing your bodyweight snatch? Frustrated?! Well, let’s take a trip down memory lane to when a sub-8 minute Fran was a mere glimmer in your eye and you were lucky to get a 40 kg thruster over your head 5 times, let alone 45. Or when your attempts at snatch looked more like getting assaulted by a barbell than putting it overhead in one smooth lift. I’ve never been a massive fan of trending (#YOLO, #fitfam #WhatMakesMeHappy, #etc etc, I’m too old for that shit…), but I do like #ThrowBackThursday because, when things get frustrating and progress seems to be stagnating, I can remind myself how far I’ve come. And this isn’t just about your numbers! It’s about your knowledge, your community and your overall health. Remind yourself often where you began and how far you’ve come.

8) You will get frustrated when a new joiner can’t seem to understand the order of the WOD. Re-visit #7. You were there once, so be patient and help where you can, just like an experienced CrossFitter helped you.

9) You will find yourself more willing to WOD shirtless than you ever would've dreamed of 6 months ago.

10) You will find yourself in a clique. The ultimate mistake of the intermediate CrossFitter, avoid this like the plague. I know that finding your perfect training buddy is like finding a four leaf clover and trying to train with someone you barely know sounds like an absolute nightmare. I also know that many people can only train in the morning or the evening, so you will inevitably end up working with the same group of people on most days; but when possible, try attending a different class. Try mixing up the group of people you lift with. Don’t wait for a face you don’t recognise to introduce themselves to you; instead, embrace the American origins of CrossFit, run up and high five them first! You never know when the clique you spend every day with will move to other cities or need to change their class time because of work, or when you end up working with someone new and actually find that they encourage you just as well, if not better, than your other training buddies. Be open to new experiences and new people. Because you Just. Never. Know.

So, what do you do when that first pitcher of CrossFit KoolAid is gone??

Well, you make a new batch and chug that down too, savouring every gulp and reminding yourself how good that first pitcher was, how great you’ve got it and why you drank the whole thing to begin with.


WORKOUT OF THE DAY

A) CondItioning

For time:
800m Run

-- then --

8 rounds of:
10 Handstand Push-ups
10 Toes-to-bar

-- then --

800m Run

* Time cap: 35 minutes