Part One: Crossfit and Paleo……a journey into health and fitness

 

Part One: Crossfit

 

In most any survival situation health and fitness are factors that are extremely important. Several years ago I read a book written by Sylvester Stallone and he made the statement that once you turn 40 – it’s decision time. He said that around the age of 40 if you don’t start taking health and fitness seriously things can go downhill quickly. Back then I agreed with him and set out to try to change my life so I could stick around as long as possible.

Since my teenage years I have lifted weights on and off.  I have joined many gyms as well as worked out at home on my own equipment. I have been doing a Filipino stick fighting art called Balintawak for close to 10 years. I have also tried the popular workout system P90X. After all the hours and hard work in the gym – I just never felt like I could truly call myself “fit”.

 

I had heard of Crossfit in a magazine and online when looking for a solution to my yearning for something different. The closest Crossfit place was almost an hour away and the cost was up there. My research told me that Crossfit was what I needed. It was “real world fitness”. Perfect for the survivalist – as well as many police, military, and firemen.

 

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So – what exactly is Crossfit? Crossfit is a strength and conditioning  system which specializes in nothing. Crossfit provides a fitness program which combines a wide array of exercises and movements to create the ultimate non-inclusive athlete, soldier, police officer, SWAT member, or fireman. When I say non-inclusive I mean that Crossfit does not specialize in any one aspect of fitness. We run, we lift heavy things over distance as fast as possible, we perform gymnastics movements such as push ups, pull ups, handstand push ups, and burpees.

 

The end results of following the Crossfit “lifestyle” is a high level of fitness.

 

 

Let me give you a few examples:

 

If you take a marathon runner, a long distance bicyclists, an Olympic lifter, and a Crossfit athlete and had them compete in a series of competitions  – the results would be interesting.

 

Generally speaking – if all four of them competed in a 5k road race running for time – likely the marathon runner would win, while the Crossfit  athlete would come in 2nd,  the bicyclist would come in 3rd, and the Olympic lifter would come in last.

 

Next, if they all competed to see who could deadlift their own body weight the most times – the Olympic lifter would clearly win, followed by the Crossfit athlete, and the marathon runner and bicyclist would finish at the rear of the pack.

 

Then, if they all had to bike in a race of 20 miles – the bicyclist would clearly come in first, followed likely by the Crossfit athlete, then the marathon runner, and the Olympic lifter would come in last.

 

Now – did you notice something here? The Crossfitter never comes in last. In fact the Crossfit athlete usually finishes ahead or most of the others. This is due to the overall stamina, strength, flexibly, power, agility, accuracy, and speed conditioning that results of the Crossfit training.

 

 

I like to call Crossfit “real world fitness” because it actually helps you succeed in real life. Not too many times in your life are you going to have to bench press something outside of the gym. You WILL have to pick something up. You WILL have to lift something over your head. How many times have you heard of someone bending over to pick up a pencil off the ground and throw their back out? Crossfit training helps prevent these types of injuries by preparing your body with a huge variety of movements.

 

When accepting the challenge to participate in Crossfit you have kissed the days goodbye of going into the gym and doing some bench presses, pull downs, barbell curls, leg extensions – and heading home. No more riding the stationary bike to no where for 30 minutes and thinking to yourself – “Self, yup, I just really did something.” No – rather you will be engaging your body in a diverse combination of movements and challenges such as pull ups, running, Olympic lifts, jump rope, climbing ropes, push ups,…….more running, etc. This is all in one workout that may take as little as 6 minutes or as long as 45 minutes. Variation and inconsistency rules as your body struggles to adapt to the workouts – it improves and becomes stronger…..and more fit.

 

Now – make no mistake about it. Just about anyone can do Crossfit. Young kids to senior citizens – all movements and exercises can be modified and scaled to fit your own ability.

 

My experience with Crossfit at the age of 42 has been positive. I am not going to lie – it is hard work. If getting fit was easy there would be far fewer belts out there screaming for help as many Americans today push maximum density. I workout 3-4 times per week. There are workout that I leave thinking “That absolutely sucked…..but I DID IT!!!!”

 

I have found that my life has changed dramatically since starting Crossfit. Just a couple weeks ago my wife asked my to go get the vacuum cleaner from upstairs. We have a Kirby, which is not the lightest unit ever made. As  was walking down the stairs carrying the Kirby in my right hand – I suddenly realized that either this thing has gotten lighter or I have gotten stronger. It literally felt 10 pounds lighter. Guess you can tell I don’t touch the vacuum much.

 

 

In Summary – At 42,  I am stronger than I have ever been in my life. I have more endurance and I feel that I am more “capable” than ever. From a preparedness perspective – Crossfit is a great tool for the Survivalist.

 

Part II will be tomorrow where I discuss my experience with the Paleo Diet.

 

 – Rourke

 


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7 Comments

  1. John, great write up! I discovered Primal/Paleo lifestyle over two years ago and will never go back to conventional wisdom. At age 50, my joints no longer hurt, I’ve got more energy than ever before, and enjoy life now. I’ve never tried cross fit. My workouts are lifting heavy things, moving slowly (55% max heart rate), and sprinting. I like to mix it up and keep it fun. Your approach is definitely great for SHTF functional fitness my friend! Be strong to be useful. Your family will appreciate it in times of chaos…and even lifting that vacuum.

    Keep doing the stuff,
    Todd

  2. I was the First Sergeant of multiple Army National Guard units during my last 2 tours of active duty. I had a few soldiers that were into Crossfit. I never really knew what that entailed. Thanks for explaining. Anyway, both of these guys were in excellent physical shape. One was a police officer, one was studying to be a nurse, but I believe he worked on an ambulance crew. I still keep in touch with them over Facebook. They are really into Crossfit. I won’t call it their religion, but I will say that it is more than just a workout program. I wish I was healthy enough to try it. Unfortunately, I suffer from serious spinal conditions from parachute landings early in my military career. Painful as it is, I still exercise every single day. I just had to modify my PT (Physical Training) program to match my disabilities. I can’t say how my doctor knows, but he catches me exceeding my limitations frequently. Similar to Crossfit, AIRBORNE was a mentality that drove soldiers to push harder and achieve more than the other units in the Army. I am under the impression that arthritic conditions (degenerative disk disease) will only get worse over time and that when I stop, I will be sidelined forever. So, for now, I keep singing that old REO Speedwagon song “Keep Pushing On”.

    Please forgive me for asking, Harry, but I am curious as to how your health is holding out. I did not have nearly that many jumps.

  3. I am a full time fireman, and half the guys on my crew do crossfit. I workout with them sometimes and am always terribly soar afterwards. have put thought into doing the crossfit regularly, think this might be the straw . thanks

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