CrossFit nothing new…

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Ancient Greek Javelin Throwers

While the trademark CrossFit is considerably new (registered in 2000) it’s methods and concepts reach even further back than the first Olympic games in Greece in 776 B.C.

At that time fancy machines were not around and people prepared their bodies with non-specific training, lifting stones and animals, running, jumping and throwing.

This to me sounds very like the methodology of CF in which we incorporate high-intensity interval training, Olympic weightlifting, plyometric, powerlifting, gymnastics, calisthenics, strongman training, and other exercises.

The difference of then and now is that people were differently preconditioned. Manual labour was more common and people were not sitting the majority of the day behind a desk and instead of cars, horses were used. Running barefoot or in sandals and moving more provided for stronger feet and core. Nutrition was by definition non refined and organic. People of that area are still considered as the most tough and durable of all time.

So why not mirroring what worked best for them. To that I say yes, but slowly and progressively as for the reasons I wrote above (we evolved according to our surroundings ie. padded shoes etc.).

I’d like to use the Analogy of Milo of Croton.

Legend has it that this Italian Olympian wrestling champion was incredibly strong and reinedd most competition he attended in 540 B.C. It is said that Milo lifted up and carried a small calf every day since he was a boy. As he grew older the calf grew with him to become a fully grown bull.

Let’s imply this to our own training: starting light, Milo lifted the calf over and over for years which indicates to work on volume and technique before intensity.

Don’t miss workouts: be consistent like Milo. Milo did not pick up a bull every year; instead he lifted the animal every day over years. His power, intensity and performance grew slowly day by day. This I believe is the correct way to longevity.

CF will probably never become easier for you. Yes your performance goes up, managing heavier weights, faster runs etc. but fatigue at least for me always feels the same. 

Balance and simplicity

The sport industry has many facets and all could be studied for years. Complicated methods and ‘proven studies’ say one thing while other studies ‘prove’ another way. That goes for nutrition over strength and performance training, metabolic conditioning to the field of sport psychology. I advocate embracing simplicity. Let’s go back to what worked centuries for people like the ones in ancient Greece.

“When you first start to study a field, it seems like you have to memorize a zillion things. You don’t. What you need is to identify the core principles – generally three to twelve of them – that govern the field. The million things you thought you had to memorize are simply various combinations of the core principles.”

—John T. Reed

The same goes for anything i.e. nutrition, human mechanics etc. There are certain simple guidelines which help us on our way (Ie. Caloric intake: eat more calories than you burn = increase weight/same as you burn = stay the same weight/eat less than you burn = decrease weight) but in the end it comes down to the individual and his/her goals. What works for one person does not necessarily work for the other person.

Just experiment, maybe do some Yoga, start running, swimming, focus on weightlifting. There are only so many ways to know if you do the ‘right thing’.

Do you feel better? Do you perform better? Are you happy with what you see in the mirror (for some people important but it’s also a good indicator on how you react to your training).

Probably the most important thing is: do you have fun? Enjoy the journey.

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