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Fitness philosophy- does this strike anyone else as crazy?

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Fitness philosophy- does this strike anyone else as crazy?

Old 12-22-05, 06:03 AM
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>>Physical Culture
Getting Fit, Even if It Kills You

Annie Marie Musselman for The New York Times

By STEPHANIE COOPERMAN
Published: December 22, 2005
WHILE many gymgoers complain that they might not survive a tough workout, Brian Anderson can speak from experience. For his first CrossFit session, he swung a 44-pound steel ball with a handle over his head and between his legs. The aim was to do 50 quick repetitions, rest and repeat. After 30 minutes, Mr. Anderson, a 38-year-old member of the special weapons and tactics team in the sheriff's office in Tacoma, Wash., left the gym with his muscles sapped and back pain so excruciating that he had to lie in the driveway to collect himself.


Forum: Fitness and Nutrition

Robert Presutti for The New York Times
In Central Park, Tariq Kassum, 31, a research analyst, and Norma Loehr, 37, a financial executive, work out.
That night he went to the emergency room, where doctors told him he had rhabdomyolysis, which is caused when muscle fiber breaks down and is released into the bloodstream, poisoning the kidneys. He spent six days in intensive care.

Yet six months later Mr. Anderson, a former Army Ranger, was back in the gym, performing the very exercises that nearly killed him. "I see pushing my body to the point where the muscles destroy themselves as a huge benefit of CrossFit," he said.

In the last year this controversial exercise program has attracted a growing following of thousands nationwide, who log on to CrossFit.com for a daily workout, said its founder, Greg Glassman. Participants skip StairMasters and weight machines. Instead they do high-intensity workouts that mix gymnastics, track and field skills and bodybuilding, resting very little between movements.

The emphasis is on speed and weight hoisted, not technique. And the importance placed on quantifiable results has attracted hard-charging people like hedge fund managers, former Olympians and scientists. But some exercise experts are troubled by the lack of guidance for beginners, who may dive into stressful workouts as Mr. Anderson did. (He had not worked out regularly for two years.) "There's no way inexperienced people doing this are not going to hurt themselves," said Wayne Winnick, a sports medicine specialist in private practice in Manhattan, who also works for the New York City Marathon.

Other critics say that even fit people risk injury if they exercise strenuously and too quickly to give form its due, as CrossFit participants often do. For people who like to push the limits of fitness and strength - there are many police officers, firefighters and military personnel in the ranks of CrossFit athletes - the risks are worth it, because they consider it the most challenging workout around.

The short grueling sessions aren't for the weekend gym warrior. The three-days-on, one-day-rest schedule includes workouts like "Cindy": 20 minutes of as many repetitions as you can of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 squats. "Fight Gone Bad" entails rotating through five exercises, including throwing a 20-pound ball at a target 10 feet away. And only veteran CrossFit devotees even attempt, and few complete, "Murph," a timed mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats and then a second mile run. (A weighted vest is optional.)

Mr. Glassman, CrossFit's founder, does not discount his regimen's risks, even to those who are in shape and take the time to warm up their bodies before a session.

"It can kill you," he said. "I've always been completely honest about that."

But CrossFitters revel in the challenge. A common axiom among practitioners is "I met Pukey," meaning they worked out so hard they vomited. Some even own T-shirts emblazoned with a clown, Pukey. CrossFit's other mascot is Uncle Rhabdo, another clown, whose kidneys have spilled onto the floor presumably due to rhabdomyolysis.

Mr. Glassman, 49, a former gymnast from Santa Cruz, Calif., walks with a slight limp because of a knee injury, and at 5-foot-7 and 185 pounds admits he should lose weight. He began developing CrossFit more than two decades ago, but he says that he spends so much time running the business now that he no longer regularly does the routines. At first his program was a hard sell to clients who weren't keen to climb ropes or grapple with gymnastic rings.

Then in 2001 he launched CrossFit.com and began publishing a monthly journal and holding seminars at his California gym. People from around the world have come to learn Mr. Glassman's techniques. Today CrossFit has more than 50 affiliates in 21 states and 5 countries, Mr. Glassman said. And CrossFit.com has 25,000 unique visitors a week, according to WebSideStory, a Web analytics company in Seattle.

Mr. Glassman's followers call him Coach and share a cultlike devotion to his theories.

"We are all drinking the Kool-Aid," said Eugene Allen, another Tacoma SWAT team member who introduced Mr. Anderson to CrossFit last summer. "It's hard not to catch Coach's enthusiasm."<<


I think this is nuts, but then I'm the idiot who rides a friggin bicycle 200-300 miles every week, so who am I to judge? It's just the big benefits of being able to do 100+ pushups or pullups are lost on me. But that's me.

Have any of you guys heard of this? And the ultimate punch line is that the originator of this fitness program is a bit overweight:

'Mr. Glassman, 49, a former gymnast from Santa Cruz, CA walks with a slight limp because of a knee injury and at 5'7" 185lbs. admits he should lose weight.' My guess is that his weight and height would make him overweight on most weight charts. Amazing.

And this is the big Cross Fit guru dude. I'm sure this makes sense to somebody. Somewhere.

Last edited by patentcad; 12-22-05 at 06:17 AM.
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Old 12-22-05, 06:09 AM
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your link didn't work
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Old 12-22-05, 06:19 AM
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Sorry, those NY Times links do that. I pasted the bulk of the article in the message body - and if you go to nytimes.com you can find the rest of it (but what I posted is the jist of the piece)...
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Old 12-22-05, 08:18 AM
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This sounds to me like another fad for people looking to get glory out of doing something different or sensational. The article points out that a lot of its participants are in the professions that had a high adventure/risk content. This is not as much about fitness as it is about getting some endorphin high from doing risky things.
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Old 12-22-05, 08:20 AM
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I think it is a good concept. It's just plyometrics unless I missunderstood. The problem is that it's taken pretty far down the continuum. It does appeal to the ex-military/armed forces type. I have a friend that thinks if you don't puke it wasn't all that good a workout. I think that comes from the basic training days, where they were brainwashed into thinking that was the way to get fit. Moderation sounds like the key....
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Old 12-22-05, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by barleyrocket
I think it is a good concept. It's just plyometrics unless I missunderstood. The problem is that it's taken pretty far down the continuum. It does appeal to the ex-military/armed forces type. I have a friend that thinks if you don't puke it wasn't all that good a workout. I think that comes from the basic training days, where they were brainwashed into thinking that was the way to get fit. Moderation sounds like the key....

It might appeal to the overly macho ex-military types, but not most of them. I am ex-army and I never puked in Basic training, neither did anyone in my unit that I know of. Granted that worked us hard in Baisc training and most days you were dead tired but it was from an entire day of training.
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Old 12-22-05, 01:51 PM
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>>I think it is a good concept<<

See? It DOES make sense to somebody. Incredible.
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Old 12-22-05, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by patentcad
I think this is nuts, but then I'm the idiot who rides a friggin bicycle 200-300 miles every week, so who am I to judge? It's just the big benefits of being able to do 100+ pushups or pullups are lost on me. But that's me.
Yes, but I bet that you also keep yourself hydrated and supplied with carbohydrates to reduce/eliminate muscle break down. I think these type of exercise draw a lot upon glycogen reserve, and when they exercise they don't replenish it. As the result you get trips to the hospital.
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Old 12-22-05, 02:45 PM
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It's a sickness - an addiction. I've seen it several times among triathletes, especially those who aspire to qualify for the Kona Ironman. One guy I would talk to at the pool used to brag about continuing to run even though he had multiple stress fractures in his leg from overtraining. He wore his stupidity like a badge of honor.
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Old 12-22-05, 02:55 PM
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Sounds very much like Russian Kettle Bells to me. There's a few enthusiasts over at bodybuilding.com. Never used them myself. But this guy is nuts to think that there is no technique with them . . . that's just utter insanity.

I've seen a few short weightlifting videos with people using them. I think they'd drive me nuts.

More info. on kettle bells here:

https://www.vaultworld.com/prsport/ta4104.html
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Old 12-22-05, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by patentcad
The short grueling sessions aren't for the weekend gym warrior. The three-days-on, one-day-rest schedule includes workouts like "Cindy": 20 minutes of as many repetitions as you can of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 squats. "Fight Gone Bad" entails rotating through five exercises, including throwing a 20-pound ball at a target 10 feet away. And only veteran CrossFit devotees even attempt, and few complete, "Murph," a timed mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats and then a second mile run. (A weighted vest is optional.)
"Cindy"
Pull Up
Push Up
Squats

"Fight Gone Bad"
Throwing a 20-lb ball

"Murph"
Run
Pull Up
Push Up
Squats
Run


While I see the benefits to being able to do these things - why time how many pushups you can do..?
For me, when I was "timed" for pushups - I was pumping up and down improperly and poorly.. and if I kept doing this for months and months... wouldn't their be a chance of some bodily system being damaged more than regular and proper pushups, primarily muscular or skeletal?

Limits of fitness and strength don't have to be tested/pushed this way. Last time I checked - climbing Ventoux on a bicycle wasn't a walk in the park. Neither was participating in a triathlon - so....

I dunno - I really felt that it was more an advertisement than article.

-simplyred
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