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Laying the Foundation – The Next 8 Weeks

By Josh Singer | In Article, Blog | on March 26, 2017

How to Make the Most of the Next 8-12 Weeks

So the last several weeks we were focused specifically on preparation and readiness for Open WODs 17.1 through 17.5. And we got after it! Great job everyone. Whether you hit a new max squat weight or just learned a new skill, order or even jumped onto a 20 inch box for the first time, these last few weeks were AWESOME!

Let’s talk about what to expect moving forward.

The new cycle will take focus on 3 major areas of weakness for our gym as a whole:

Basic Strength, Gymnastics & Aerobic Capacity

I called this cycle “laying the foundation” because our long-term goal is now Open 2018, which is a year away, so we have several months to make major gains before we have to focus up on Open WOD specific skills again. I’ll touch on how we are NOT going to approach the next several months and why in point 3 below.

  1. Strength – We will focus on both powerlifting and olympic movements, building overall strength in the long term over 2-3 months for this cycle, but also focus on your posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes) where I’ve seen 99% of MoCo CrossFit athletes lacking strength and stability. We will also have a major focus on single leg strength, which is not only useful for anyone who wants to be a successful runner or basketball player or normal average walking human during the daytime, but it will help to increase strength in other major lifts as well. We could squat, squat, squat all day, but if you knees are buckling when the weight gets heavy (you know if this happens to you), you’re doing yourself a disservice by not addressing those single leg weakness and weakness through the posterior chain.
  2. Gymnastics Basic Skills – How many of us want to do either HSPU or kipping-something or a muscle up or even just a ring dip or pull up? Well you can’t do that without having a basic understanding of how your body moves in 3 dimensions. We’ve touched on several skills already through the Open Prep cycle, but we are really going to delve into a specific progression of gymnastics movements this cycle. 
  3. Aerobic Capacity – Often, CrossFitters fall into a trap mentality of thinking they need to do fran or a fran style workout every day to get better. Not true. I’ve actually found the best long term results by having a good base to work off of later. And there’s good reason and science behind proper periodization training. Charles Poliquin wrote,
“High ­intensity workouts lead to a large release of growth hormone for elevated fat burning. Short­ term this is great for fat loss. Long ­term it’s useful as well because you’ll have a more responsive flight or fight system. However, if done too frequently without adequate rest, it can lead to a depressed autonomic nervous system and overtraining.” (Poloquin, 2015)

So for the first several months, you may see a lot of 85% effort style workouts or repeating rounds in the metcons where the idea is to both push intensity but also maintain consistency over time. There will be plenty of high intensity stuff in this period, but the goal here is building that consistency over the long term, not blasting your adrenals day in and day out.

The Elephant in the Room – Why Men & Women BOTH Need to Lift Heavy

Typically I don’t see the following become a concern in most male athletes minds, so I will address the ladies directly, although the same concept applies to guys looking to be in shape so don’t be fooled gentlemen!

– you won’t become “jacked” by lifting heavy and becoming stronger. You actually NEED to lift heavy and push the weight in the gym across time if you want to become more lean! Reason?? The more muscular (“toned”) you become, the more energy you will be burning at rest, specifically burning fat, so even 12 hours after a workout, your body will still be technically working at burning fat due to some science that I won’t go into but can talk to you about specifically if you’d like to delve into that (see these 8 reasons why you should lift heavy as a woman HERE).

If you do want to get “bulkier,” which some ladies want to do, first let me tell you it is incredibly difficult just based on your body composition and chemistry. Guys have enough trouble already trying to “bulk up” as I’m sure any naturally skinny guy could tell you as he’s tried and failed in the past. In order to get “bulky” as a female, you would need to eat an INCREDIBLE amount of carbohydrates and protein, and even then, you may not really even gain much overall mass, just based on a lower natural level of testosterone and other hormonal differences in your body as well as other factors like sleep, training volume etc. The point here is this – men and woman BOTH need to lift heavy weights consistently to GET healthy, and STAY healthy over time.

A Somewhat Controversial Conclusion

Here’s what WON’T get you stronger – This may seem obvious, but if you don’t come into the gym, or find a way to workout on the go if you’re traveling (which we are happy to give you a travel WOD type of workout if you are), you will not get stronger and will not lose weight, etc.

It amazes me just how quickly you can see the INCREDIBLE results you want by simply starting to get into a routine. MoCo Athlete Bill in the below picture has already made huge progress in the gym because he comes in and just gets AFTER it.

It amazes me equally how much people get frustrated by not seeing results after working out maybe once a week for 8 weeks. If it sounds like you’re being called out for not coming into the gym enough, well you’re missing half the point.

Look, we’re all struggling to find time to make it into the gym. None of us are Games athletes (yes, many hearts just dropped, but let’s be realistic), so we have LIVES outside of the gym and gym-related activities. But, and if you can’t be honest with yourself about this then you’re already behind the 8-ball. If you WANT something, you CAN and WILL make it work.

If you don’t have time to come into the gym because you have 10 babies and 3 jobs and etc., etc., [insert your life here that makes you busy], I respect your life abilities first of all! Secondly though, if you’re in that type of a situation and still want to get into shape, it is possible, you just have to be organized and disciplined and ask for help when it’s needed.

I speak for all of the coaches at MoCo CrossFit when I say if you need a home workout program with minimal or no equipment for a few days a week for a few weeks because you just can’t leave the house, AWESOME! Let’s do it. Let’s get after it together. Let us know and we’ll help you get that rolling. But you won’t see results if you don’t reach out, sit at home in your busy life feeling sorry for yourself and make an effort.

Is that a blunt comment, yes! Absolutely! But we all need honesty these days – there’s no reason to sugar coat this, because there’s always someone in a busier situation and a tougher life than you. If you want or need help, we’re here for you and we WANT to help you get into the best shape of your life. Our goal is to get you to the place you want to be in your fitness journey. So let’s start that this coming cycle, together!

Do you have goals for the next several weeks at the gym? How does that last section apply to you and your life? Leave a comment below and let us know!



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