By Rich Froning, Jr.
Rich, I am thinking about trying CrossFit, but I have one question. Do I really need to do only CrossFit to see the best results, or can I do it for maybe a couple of my workouts every week and then do my normal workouts on other days?
CrossFit is the answer. Our whole goal in CrossFit is to increase your functionality as a human being. I guess you could do your normal workout with CrossFit, but then I think you’re missing the whole point of it. CrossFit will make you stronger, faster, healthier and overall more fit. The only way you can really appreciate what I’m talking about is to start doing it yourself. After just a couple weeks, you’ll see that you won’t want or need any other type of exercise. CrossFit literally covers all the bases!
I do want to be stronger and have better endurance, but I’m also very concerned with looking better. When I saw your cover and the pictures inside the last issue, I was blown away and said, whatever I need to do to look like that guy, I will do it! What kind of results can I expect to see in terms of my appearance from training CrossFit style?
With CrossFit, appearance isn’t what we’re going for at all. However, by doing it you’re going to start looking good and feeling good at the same time. Especially if you also commit to eating healthy, you can expect to see some gains in lean muscle mass and you’ll also get much leaner. You won’t get huge and bulky looking, but if looking lean and athletic is what you’re after, that’s typically what you will start seeing in the mirror.
Do you always eat the same thing before training, or does it depend on what the WOD is?
It depends on if I’m hungry or not; my diet is not as dialed in as it should be. That being said, any time you are going to be training hard, you want your body to be adequately fueled. That means a good balance of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats. Many CrossFit athletes follow the paleo diet. You can do your own research to find out more about it, but the bottom line is that it’s no grains. That means no bread or wheat products, and no processed foods in general. All beef is grass-fed, and eggs are cage-free. Many others eat gluten-free, and insist that they not only perform better in their WODs, but also feel better and healthier in general. The premise there is that many of us have gluten allergies and don’t even know it. So a typical pre-workout meal might be something like three cage-free omega-3 eggs and some fruit like an apple or blueberries, or a serving of grass-fed beef with a sweet potato and some veggies. After training, I like to have Amino X by BSN, which is mainly amino acids. A very popular post-workout choice for CrossFit athletes is a whey protein shake like Syntha-6 Isolate by BSN along with a piece of fruit like a banana. So the basic idea is similar to pre- and post-workout nutrition for any type of training that’s demanding: fuel the body for the workout, then afterwards replenish what your body uses up.
Rich, what type of clothing and footwear would you recommend for CrossFit workouts?
I’m a Reebok athlete right now, so of course I’d recommend the Nano 2.0 shoe. Those are great all-around shoes. You definitely don’t want anything with a raised heel like Nike Shox. A shoe with a flat sole like the Reebok Nano is a more natural foot position. The various toe shoes are also very popular. The exception to this is for workouts that you do on strength days, which are made up entirely of weightlifting. For that, I recommend the Reebok CrossFit Oly shoe, specifically designed for Olympic weightlifting. You can run in those too, but if you’re going to be doing both running and weightlifting in the same WOD, you’re better off with the Nano. As far as clothing, you can wear whatever you’re comfortable in. You definitely don’t want anything that will restrict your movement, so clothing needs to either be loose or something that stretches. Being a Reebok athlete, I wear their shorts and shirts and like them a lot.
If certain exercises or parts of workouts are a lot tougher for me than others, would you recommend that I do extra work or practice on them at other times, or should I still only do them as part of my scheduled WODs and hope that they get better over time?
Practice is a huge part of CrossFit. If you’re having trouble with something, add it to the warm-up or cool-down. Example: at my gym, CrossFit Mayhem in Cookeville, TN, if people can’t do double unders, they have to do 50 before they can start the workout or 50 before they leave. Practice makes perfect! But to me it makes sense to do it along with a WOD, so you have the rest of the time between WODs to recover.
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