So as part of my next, newest experiment with fitness and nutrition, I’ve embarked on the CrossFit Football program, meant to turn me into a powerful athlete slowly but surely, as long as I stick with the tenets of eating lots of clean meat/starches, lifting 4 days a week, resting, and bringing intensity to the conditioning WOD’s at the end of each lifting session. This week, (and these week-to-week measurements tend to be highly inaccurate), I put on 2-3 pounds of muscle without gaining any body fat (181-182 lbs currently, and my pants don’t fit any tighter around the waist). The one weight increase I attempted (squats up from 205 to 210 lbs for 3 sets of 5) went successfully. Based on my first week, here’s what I’ve liked, disliked, and what I could work on to make the program work smoothly for me and be sustainable for the rest of 2012.
Things I’ve Done Well – Focusing on good form. I’m going with lighter weights than I usually do, but I’ve been giving myself good mental cues on squats especially. Butt out, chest up, eyes ahead on the down portion, knees out, drive from the heels on the up portion. Rippetoe says: “The spine is best at bearing a load in an arch.” So there.
Also, I’ve gotten into a groove with cooking large amounts of food in a day. My lunch for the week is a chicken coconut curry (3 lb diced chicken breasts, 3 cans coconut milk, 2 onions, and 1 tbsp curry paste in a cast iron pot, slow cooked with veggies of your choice for at least 4 hours.) Makes 6 servings for me, or 1 for John Welbourn. I plan a weekly menu in advance and spend the better part of a day prepping this and some hard-boiled eggs. Dinners are a bit more random, but nothing soothes my muscles like ground buffalo, usually in shepherd’s pie form. 1 casserole dish holds 1 lb of buffalo and 1 lb of mashed sweet potatoes, so that’s 2 servings done right then and there. I also buy a couple salmon fillets to round out the rest of the week’s meals.
Things I Can Work On – Sleep. The biggest lesson from this week is that I don’t sleep nearly as much as I thought I did. I averaged 6.7 hours a night this week, and I’m getting into the habit of an afternoon nap, but that’s inconsistent. I’d love to know that I can make up for my 1-2 hours of deficient nighttime sleep with the same amount at around 2-3pm, or that I can make up for a sleep debt by getting in a big 11-12 hour snooze when I have a free morning, but is that true? Not sure.
The other thing I can work on is intensity during the WOD’s. It’s never going to be the same as when I’m in the little gym with a handful of other people, and the only person I’m competing with is myself, but I could try harder. I’m slightly limited in some WODs because my strength fails faster than my conditioning, but that’ll improve over time. And yelling/grunting/dropping weights is slightly discouraged at the Y.
Final thing to work on: mindset. This is obviously the toughest, since I’ve been training with a body shape outcome in mind for the past 3 years or so. I’ve rarely done a program to think, exclusively, “I’m focused on a goal of lifting X pounds or getting this WOD done in under X minutes.” It’s always been about body fat and weight and that sort of stuff. But shouldn’t form follow function, and not the other way around? If I eat and work out like someone who would like to (by the end of 2012) deadlift 450, squat 350, bench 250, and clean/press 200, I should ultimately look that way, right?
Next time: My swimming misadventures continue. And, how much dairy is too much? Should I chug the half-gallon of whole milk in my fridge after the next workout? It’s tempting…