I’ve been friends with Merle McKenzie from Crossfit USA in Berlin, CT since December of 2009. I have a lot of respect for Merle and the conversations we’ve had have opened my eyes about Crossfit and the limitations of other types of training. It had been on my mind to get in with Merle and do some REAL Crossfit training with his expert guidance for a while.
Yesterday I went to his box and had him put me through a workout. All I can say is: WOW! Crossfit is the real deal!
I’ve been reading a lot about Crossfit on crossfit.com and I’ve come to really understand and respect the philosophy and methods. Now that I’ve trained Crossfit with high level coach I realize a lot of what’s been missing from my own training and most training methods in general.
Crossfit is absolutely INTENSE! The fatigue and aftershock I experienced from the workout I did is like nothing I’ve EVER experienced. Nothing. Not sparring for an hour with little rest, not rolling in BJJ class, not 20 rep squats, not 20 rep deadlifts, not even my IKFF Kettlebell Cert with 10 and 20 minute timed sets (as intense as that was) was as completely debilitating as this workout.
And, on paper, the workout wasn’t even that much! Here’s what I did:
- 500 meters on the rower
- 40 air squats
- 30 situps
- 20 pushups
- 10 pullups
When Merle told me that’s what I was going to do, I thought to myself: “Is that going to be enough?” It was enough! LOL
I did the workout itself in less than 10 minutes – and spent over 20 minutes either hovering around the bathroom or in the bathroom “hanging out” (laying on the floor). I have never, ever felt that terrible from exercise in my life! I was absolutely debilitated!
So, here’s what I learned from my first “Merle Brand” CrossFit workout:
The intensity I’ve been training at hasn’t been as high as I thought – nor ANYWHERE NEAR what I’m actually capable of. I don’t intend to feel as terrible as I did yesterday after any workout on a regular basis (not even CrossFit) but I now have an understanding of what an insane level of intensity feels (and looks) like. In Super Squats, Randall Strossen talks quite a bit about the intensity necessary to trigger a massive testosterone increase and the level of effort you need to put into your 20 rep squat set. I suspect it’s something like I got yesterday with Crossfit. It also makes me think of the 30 and 40 rep squat sets that Dr. Ken Leistner has mentioned. I expect that squatting 300-400lbs for 20-40 reps without racking the bar until the end would be as debilitating. What I’m not sure of is whether or not the average person can generate the intensity I got from CrossFit doing squats. What I did learn. though, is what that intensity FEELS like. Now I know it exists and I can seek it out.
There MUST be truth to the hormonal cascade that is supposed to be produced by CrossFit (and other super high intensity training). Like I said, I was absolutely HOSED UP after that workout. The only thing I can think of that comes close to describing the feeling I had is it’s like when you’ve had WAY too much to drink and all you can do is lay on the floor wait to feel better and/or vomit. It was that bad or worse. My thinking is there is no way to can cut into your body’s homestasis THAT hard and not experience a dramatic hormonal response.
One dimensional training is not enough! I am NOT out of shape. I’d admit that I’m not in my best shape ever, but I am by no means out of shape. The point is powerlifting, kettlebells, running, sparring, jiu jitsu and teaching kettlebell classes did not prepare me for even the most tame and basic CrossFit workout. Point made, Merle. Sign me up.
So, there are some of my thoughts on CrossFit. My experience yesterday makes me happy I decided to get a CrossFit Level I Cert in August and thrilled there is a great CrossFit gym right down the road from me!
Originally posted on my site: [http://adamfarrah.net/first-crossfit-workout]