December Odds and Ends

As 2022 comes to an end, we’re pleased to present our December Odds and Ends! We use these posts to answer questions we receive from members in the gym. Got a question of your own? Ask away! We encourage it; it’s House Rule No. 7!

December Odds

I’m not getting sore anymore. Do I need to do more work?

               NO NO NO NO NO. Soreness is a poor indicator for progress. While it is unlikely that you’ll make progress without ever experiencing soreness, it is not a requirement. There are many factors that can cause soreness. For example, exposing yourself to and loading a new range of motion will likely cause soreness. Pay attention to your performance. If that’s still improving (lifts are going up, you’re moving better in metcons, etc.) then you have your cake and are eating it too – progress without soreness.

I’m worried I’m overtraining. How do I know if I am?

               Unless you’re doing a ton of exercise outside the gym, it’s unlikely you’re accumulating enough volume to constitute overtraining. That said, it is possible that you’re over stressed. Training is stress that we deliberately apply to ourselves to elicit change. Add in work stress, family stress, life stress, etc., and it’s easy to see how it can become overwhelming.

               Symptoms of it: lack of energy, lack of motivation, constantly achy, exhausted but not sleeping well, lack of appetite

What’s with the bands and chains?

               My training program calls for them and I do what I’m told. I’m kidding, you should always understand WHY you’re doing something, and that goes for me too.

               Bands and chains provide what is called “accommodating resistance.” Rather than turning this into a post on the subject here’s a brief synopsis:

  • Accommodating resistance changes the strength curve. Most of us decelerate towards the end of a lift. If we didn’t, the bar would fly off us at the top. Using bands and chains trains us to accelerate through the whole lift and prevents the bar from flying off.
  • It allows me to lift a high total weight with less stress on my joints than straight weight.
  • It allows me to add more variety to my training. Rather than just high bar, low bar, front, and overhead squats, I have lifts with different chain weights, band combinations, and both.
  • Studies have shown that there is really no difference between using accommodating resistance or not in terms of absolute strength development. However, using it does yield more power development than straight weight alone. If I can get all of that without stressing my joints as much, that’s a big win.

Are we doing any nutrition challenges next year?

               Yes, look for one in February. Everyone and their mother does one in January, and motivation is high with the new year. We’re going to implement one right as motivation is waning. Stay tuned.

What is the biggest issue you see with CrossFit now that it’s “corporatized” its operation?

               HQ is shaking up their leadership once again, but that doesn’t really affect us on a local level. If anything, their goal seems to be attempting to help affiliates flourish. It’s certainly a noble intention, even if the actual implementation doesn’t help me.

               The biggest issue I see has not changed in the last decade. If anything, I would argue it’s gotten worse. It is and always has been education around programming. Most fitness certifications focus heavily on theory and don’t provide any hands on experience. CrossFit broke that mold and taught its coaches how to instruct movement. They went the opposite way and focused on practice, not theory. I would argue that you need both.

               Rather than educating coaches on programming, instead there is now a marketplace where affiliates can purchase cookie cutter plans for their gym. Programming is viewed as an undesirable task for the owner to outsource, rather than as an instrumental part of the gym’s brand. I strongly believe that every gym should have a coach that is interested in programming and does it for the gym. That is how you best serve your clients. Why do I care what other gyms do? Because for better or worse, all CrossFit gets painted with the same brush. When other gyms injure their people or don’t help them improve, yes, it provides an opportunity for us to set ourselves apart. But, it also dilutes the CrossFit brand, and that bothers me.

               Are you interested in programming? Stay tuned. We’re hoping to launch a 1-day programming workshop in January. See you in the gym.

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