First and foremost, I wanted to congratulate and thank everyone who was involved in the Open this year. You guys smashed it and even though it was a weird year, a lot of members took part in it, with or without equipment, and showed up every Saturday for our big Zoom class alongside our friends The Wick and P10 Fitness.
So thank you guys, you made this 2021 CrossFit Open edition even more special!
Also, I hope you enjoyed the 3 weeks and 4 workouts because we might meet them again soon… 😉
As I am writing this it is the 4th of April, and the gyms will reopen officially in one week (12th). CFLDN was running outdoor classes in the alleyway for the last two weeks and every single class was fully booked in a few seconds. This makes me believe that you guys are hungry and super excited to get back in the gym, and this is great!
Now, it is my role to tell you to be careful when you restart, especially with something like CrossFit (high skill movements, external loads, and intensity). If you haven’t done anything in the last 3-4 months, please take it easy, 2-3 days max per week, with 2 rest days between each session would be recommended. And if you have moved and played with some DBS or bodyweight exercises, be careful with high-skill Gymnastics movements, especially the vertical pulling ones (Kipping Pull up, T2B, Muscle-ups, etc…). Indeed, your joints (and your body) will need a readaptation phase to be able to work at their full potential.
Be gentle, follow the programming, or work on tempo strict movement in Open gym first, before jumping on the rig for a set of 15 Kipping pull-ups.
Programming-wise, like last year after the first lockdown, we will be entering a Re-build period. The goal will be to gradually increase the load, movement skill, and intensity in order to prevent injuries, get that self-confidence back, and (re)build solid foundations before attacking some higher skill stuff later on!
For our members, the schedule is already up on the WodBoard app, and there are plenty of classes! 🙂
So get ready, I can’t wait to see you there very soon!
Juan , one of our Senior CrossFit and nutrition(PN1) Coaches gives you some useful tips and hints
Nutrition Coach PN1
1: Sleep is the big mama when it comes to recovery, we all are very excited about getting our lives back and finally getting back to the gyms…but remember to try to not overdo it, give your body the time to recover, and adapt to training. Getting 7 to 9 hours a day of sleep is crucial for adaptation.
2 Responsible nutrition, after a year of lockdown and not being regular with our training you might have gained a few pounds…and that is ok. Just remember that our body needs nutrients to recover and adapt from training. Need help with that? Get in touch with Juan
3 Enjoy the process and listen to your body, at the beginning you probably don’t need more than 3 sessions a week remember that your body needs time to recover and adapt, respect any niggles that you might have. And remember we are here to help you with that process.
If you want to train with us at CrossFit London, get in contact
Crossfit, as it’s taught at Crossfit London, is a devastatingly effective physical fitness regime. Interestingly while it obviously builds muscle and skill, its biggest adaption is in your brain! Are you looking to reduce stress, meditate or up your mental game, This is the place for you!
CrossFit London’s unique combination of skill development, against a background of general modal domain gains (strength, aerobic capacity), developed and practiced with high-intensity creates the ideal environment to begin to develop your capacity to deal with stress.
One interesting aspect of our regime is the development of flow or as Csikszentmihalyi, says “The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile” . Our workouts aim to create a balance of perceived challenges and skills. This balance is crucial in developing flow . When people are allowed unprepared into a crossfit class the challenge is often bigger than their skill level. This creates anxiety and stress. These are probably the very reasons why someone goes to a CrossFit class.in the first place. However, if the class is under programmed or too easy when the beginner’s skill level exceeds the size of the challenge, it becomes dull and boring.
At Crossfit London, we support our beginners by steering them through our fundamental process, which gives our clients the basic survival skills they need.
This preparation also explains why our sessions are designed to develop flow. The literature identifies numerous elements in developing flow. To promote flow feedback needs to be almost instant. Our trainers provide in the moment feedback and you can measure your progress against established standards so you know what your goals and aims are. Whilst you may have a muddle of internal aims, during the workouts we give you the targets you need to chase while making sure they are amended to your specific skill level.
Whilst in a normal gym you meander between machines, or chill out to music is a dance class, CrossFit workouts require you to merge your actions and awareness. You are there, in the moment. When pushing a weight above your head 30 times, you need to be present in the task. You don’t really have time to think about yesterday or tomorrow’s work problems. You need to be there in the room, with your weight and your skill and the challenges. The internet is stuffed full of adverts claiming that their weird mind training can give you flow. If there is one truth in mind training it’s that as a stand-alone thing, it’s worthless. Mind training needs to be coupled with challenges!
We work to make you and the movement one. We aim to build your physical and mechanical dominance. We strive to make every movement feel like an extension of your body. We get you to practice, practice because our moves are worth it. You can grapevine till the cows come home, but it’s the power lifts, the Olympic lifts, and basic gymnastic moves that boost your genuine physical capacity. We get you to focus on the process. It’s just that in flow and work and relationships, process is queen! By constantly challenging you, your workouts and skills begin to shape the language and the thoughts you use. This influences the way you interact with others and your relationship with yourself. Every jogger who secretly knows they cannot do a pull-up or run any faster or handstand subconsciously accepts their weakness and it often carries into real life. Many of our clients succeed in the workplace because, by coming to us, they have already been to hell and back. There is nothing to fear in a zoom presentation!
By coaching effectively we genuinely give our clients, not only a physical gym but a mind training gym too! We know this, as Crossfit London was the first-ever Crossfit affiliate in the UK ( actually the 8th anywhere in the world ) and we know our stuff. Our staff are experts, with years worth of teaching and training practice, and we know our stuff. See you soon!
Pretty well anyone, who isn’t quite ill, can jog a bit!
It’s actually, not that difficult with a bit of basic training to get almost anyone into a simplistic exercise class. I was forced to teach basic circuit classes in 1998 as part of my initial introduction into the world of fitness teaching, and its theory was to keep it really simple and really basic “as long as their heart is elevated it’s a great workout”.
It is quite correct that basic aerobic fitness is a useful thing and that it helps bring down some of the crippling costs of the NHS. However, to make fitness “walk off the street”accessible the powers that be decided to trash the moves. It didn’t matter if you couldn’t squat, or a push-up. If you could do a ‘half jack” and elevate your heart rate you were fit!
Trashing fitness standards leaves you weak and vulnerable in what is after all a very harsh world.
Jogging and spinning on a bike does not train you to pull your family from a burning house, or pick up your children and run with them to the hospital. An emphasis on specialism produces awesome endurance runners who cannot haul their luggage and superbly strong strongmen who would collapse after jogging a mile. At Crossfit London we look for the middle road; unfortunately, it’s a hard road.
Many people embark on fitness regimes that consist of a muddled mix of sports-specific rehabilitation and bodybuilding drills. If you are injured – you need rehabilitation drills If you are developing your golf putt – you need sports-specific drills. If you like posing on a stage wearing fake tan and teeny weenie panties – body-building drills are for you.
Of course, all training should have an aesthetic output: your body should express what it can do. Is there any point in having a Cadillac chassis with a lawnmower engine? (Actually, some people think there is: and they are so very, very special)
We think it’s second-rate to embark on a core conditioning and training regime without a clear idea of what you are going to achieve. Immature goals such as ‘reducing my 10k time by four minutes’, or ‘upping my deadlift by 8%’, – while seemingly precise and accurate – are distractingly narrow for the fundamental ‘underpinning’ training that most people need (that said, we can easily get you those targets too).
We simply aim to generally prepare you for all types of challenges, by measuring and designing training against three standards.
Crossfit fitness standard 1
There are ten recognised general physical skills. They are:
■ Endurance (cardio/respiratory) ■ Stamina (the ability to effectively use energy) ■ Strength ■ Flexibility ■ Power ■ Speed ■ Coordination ■ Agility ■ Balance ■ Accuracy
You are as fit as you are competent in each of these ten skills. A regime only develops fitness if it improves each of these skills.
Improvements in endurance, stamina, strength, and flexibility come about through training. Training improves performance through physical changes.
Improvements in coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy come about through practice – which improves the nervous system.
Power and speed are adaptations of both training and practice.
Use this standard the next time you go for a spin class ( how strong, flexible, powerful and coordinated does sitting on your ass on a bike really make you?)
Crossfit fitness standard 2
We think your training should prepare you for real life. The implication here is that fitness requires an ability to perform well at all tasks (even unfamiliar ones) combined in infinitely varying combinations. In practice, this encourages you to put aside any prior notions of sets, rest periods, reps, exercises, order of exercises, routines, etc. Nature frequently provides largely unforeseeable challenges; train for that by striving to ‘mix stuff up’.
In practice you turn up to training a bit nervous, not knowing what to expect.
It helps build will and bravery.
Crossfit fitness standard 3
Whoever invented the human body was a bit of a ‘worry puss’– they felt that one energy system just wasn’t safe enough. Rather like the householder who has a real fireplace, electric storage heaters, and gas central heating. Some would call that greedy, but a cautious person would call it prudent.
The human body has three energy systems. One for fast reactive movement (diving under a car to save your three-year-old toddler), a slower, more extended, but still, a pretty snappy system (for running 350 metres, then diving under a car to save your three-year-old toddler). Finally, there is the long term ‘trickle’ energy system (the one you use while shoe shopping, running 5k, miles away from any toddlers).
For people who have little experience of toddlers, these ‘metabolic engines’ are known
as: the phosphagen pathway, the glycolytic pathway, and the oxidative pathway.
■ The first, the phosphagen, dominates the highest-powered activities (100 metre sprint), those that last less than about ten seconds.
■ The second pathway, the glycolytic, dominates moderate-powered activities, those that last up to several minutes (400-800 metre run).
■ The third pathway, the oxidative, dominates low-powered activities, those that last in excess of several minutes (5k run, walking, shopping).
Total fitness – the fitness that Crossfit promotes and develops – requires competency and training in each of these three pathways or engines. Balancing the effects of these three pathways largely determines the how and why of the metabolic conditioning (or ‘cardio’) that we do at Crossfit. Favoring one or two to the exclusion of the others, and not recognising the impact of excessive training in the oxidative pathway, are arguably the two most common faults in fitness training.
As an overriding principle, Crossfit views the needs of an Olympic athlete and that of our grandparents as differing by degree not kind. One is looking for functional dominance the other for functional competence. Competence and dominance manifest through identical physiological mechanisms.
At CrossFit London we scale load and intensity; we don’t change programs.
In objective terms, this could mean trying and failing to master skills like the muscle up
The muscle-up is simply a visible test. Do you really have strong arms and a tight core? Do you have the will power to train for a move that’s genuinely hard? The advantage of a bicep curl* is that on day 1 you can do it, albeit empty-handed. All you have to do is add weight. Day 1 there’s no chance that most people can muscle up. But here is the thing. We are basically a school for adults. We teach you the functional physical literacy that you were deprived of. We have drills galore to help you learn, like this one, and expert trainers to support you.(* BTW, it’s ok, you get to do some bicep curls too!!)
We have some training drills on our facebook group if you fancy checking it out. If you want to come and train, drop us a line
It is a Crossfit London tradition to stage a special workout on Remembrance day ( this year 8th November)
This year we will be doing something slightly different. Whilst the arrangements are not set in stone, the challenge for that weekend will be to workout every hour, on the hour for 24 hours.
This is inspired by the run 1 mile every hour on the hour for 24 hours challenge.
Whilst there will be lots of detailed arrangements, we thought you’d like an advanced warning of this challenge so you can have some thinking time of how you will do it.
At its most basic level, you can simply, from home, run (walk) one mile (1k, 400m?) every hour, on the hour starting at either 9, 10 or 11 am on Saturday 7th November. This means you will have either 1 or 2 hours after the challenge ends to get breakfast, shower, and get to a memorial near you for the 11 am silence.
If running isn’t for you You may fancy 100 burpees every hour on the hour., or 20 squats, of 10 minutes of cindy, Whatever. Obviously, please don’t disturb your neighbours and make sure its Covid safe!!
In our original plan, we had hoped to open the gym, but with the 2nd lockdown, you’ll do this as a personal thing!
You may fancy 100 burpees every hour on the hour. Obviously, where ever you do this, don’t disturb your neighbours and make sure its Covid safe!!
The amount of Crossfit training to produce fantastic results was recently studied by Cavedon et al., in the recent report:
“Different amount of training affects body composition and performance in High-Intensity Functional Training participants”. Click here for the full report
It concluded ” that, in CF participants, a higher amount of weekly training improves most notably lean body mass and increases performance in association with increased skeletal muscle mass. CF participation is especially effective in reducing fat mass vs. age- and BMI-matched physically active controls”
The real thought provoker was the amount of time you probably need to invest in becoming super Crossfit gorgeous. Our coaches will tell you that people who come 2-3 times a week, do really well. Crossfit, at Crossfit London tramples over anything you can do in a park pretending to be a soldier, and certainly puts jogging to shame. To get fit, you need a skill set, you need to use weights, you need disgusting cardiovascular stimulus and you need our insane programming.
This report looked at less than 10 hours a week as “low training”and more than 10 “High training”. In other words if you want to be a GREAT Crossfitter, you need to spend about 18 hours a week:
EIGHTEEN HOURS A WEEK.
The participants were chosen from people doing 6-18 hours a week. The maths works like this. If you followed the Crossfit pattern of 3 on 1 off , that means 5-6 wod classes a week PLUS supporting classes, such as olympic weightlifting, gymnastics, powerlifting and mobility.
Probably 3 hours a day!
I hate to break it to you, but the super performers are above you because they put the work in. The good thing is, if you come just once or twice a week, the results can be magical. It’s just that at 18 hours a week, it’s more magical.
Make sure you talk to the training team about building in those extra classes if you want more magic, but be delighted with your skill set and fitness if you only come once or twice a week.
Never before has the need to be fit been more obvious! Get fit, get healthy.
Getting super fit requires lots of mini changes, nudges and tweaks. One of the do anywhere changes you can make is playing with your breathing. Y0u cannot always do 10 burpees in a tube train, but you can certainly review and train your breathing pattern from behind your mask.
I’ve written a lot about breathing here and I’d suggest everyone learns a few of the basic breathing techniques Ive detailed. Most of them have been around for years. For those of you too lazy to follow links, a classic breath technique is “the square”. Breath in for a count of 5, hold for 5, out for 5, hold for 5, repeat. well done, you are now a breathing expert.
One of the interesting things about breathing is the use of your nose, rather than your mouth. Many breath commentators would prefer it that you breath through your nose at it cleans the air, and injects Nitric oxide into the breath taken in, (and this enlarges the “air tube”). Breathing through your nose drives air into your lungs and maintains pressure in your lungs too. Your nose acts also warms and humidifies the air you are breathing in as well as trapping airborne particles and bacteria!
But I know the question you all want to ask.
Can you do a Crossfit wod with your mouth closed. Actually, let’s make it more fun and aggressive. Can you do a Crossfit wod with your gob taped shut.
This was the challenge given to 10 Crossfitters back in 2015. They were given some tasks including the wod “Helen” which is run 400m 21 kettlebell swings, 12 pull ups x 3. Anyone who knows anything about workouts knows, FOR CERTAIN, that you need at some stage to pant and most of the time breath through your mouth! If you keep your mouth closed and breathed through your nose, you’d probably die.
The results, almost no difference ( and bear in mind these were people who just had tape whacked over their mouths, many for the first time). So it’s a bit of a disappointment, no one died, no one had to walk slowly.
The take home proposition is, if breathing through your nose doesn’t reduce performance (that much), but has a health advantage, maybe you should play with it.
2 min 50 sec
2 min 50 sec
-13 sec (-2%)
I should say, its probably a better idea to practice the breathing drills that are linked above, first, and I’d play with breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth, especially if you go for a run outside, otherwise people will think you are really weird!
If you want to chat about breathing, most of the coaches have an insight!