So I started CrossFit about a year ago and I thought it might be interesting to review progress after a year. Essentially I go 2-3 times each week except for breaks for climbing, travel, injury and illness.
CrossFit is hard. Doing it on your own is harder. I’ve got to meet and train with a really exceptional group of people and spent some truely great moments with them. Scott and Heather for getting me through “Murph” and William for pushing me the last 30 seconds of “Fight Gone Bad”, the Turkey Day workout to name just a few.
Lots of climbers say they’re concerned about putting on weight. I’m still around 200lbs and 9-10% bodyfat*. I actually look leaner than I did a year ago and the measurements don’t reflect this as they are biased towards my lower body which didn’t have a lot of fat to loose anyways. I’ve actually turned a not insignificant amount of upper body fat into muscle.
Diet really matters. I started off the year on a high carb, vegetarian and fish diet. After several months I started playing with the Paleo Diet for athletes and gave up the vegetarian thing – just to get more protein. Really eating the wrong thing and doing a workout really sucks. I’m not saying you couldn’t be a vegetarian and get this to work but I haven’t figured out how.
So has it worked?
Undoubtedly I’ve got better at almost all the functional exercises, especially lifting overhead and pretty much any other exercise that involves pushing. My rowing times have improved by about 10% as have the running times I actually have numbers for. Suggesting that my aerobic performance certainly hasn’t deteriorated despite doing less long duration running and biking.
Climbing specific stuff is harder to assess as alpine climbing is very much conditions dependent and I hardly ever repeat routes. But I spend a lot less time worrying about getting pumped on rock routes and more figuring out how to do the moves. I can certainly do a lot more pullups that I could a year ago. After learning to kip I’ve doubling the number of kipping pullups and can now manage a dozen with a 20lb weight.
I’m hoping to repeat a few of the CF workouts I did in when I started, like “Cindy” and “Helen”, the next month and see if I’ve improved. Numbers to follow.
* All bodyfat measurements are relative. These were taken with a Tanita IronMan bodyfat scale. These scales measure impedance from left to right foot and thus are bias towards the % of fat on the lower body. Last year a foot to hand measurement read 3% higher and a Tanita measurement the same day.