I was watching a video with Greg Glassman, founder of CrossFit, the other day and he said something enlightening. (If you have watched at least one other video with him in it you will know this is not uncommon.) He said, “I know I am going to make you better.”
I wrote something similar to this a month or so ago, but I thought I would write a quick blog on this particular video because I feel it is something that everyone should understand.
When you come into our gym, our goal is to make you better. Better by definition is, “of a more excellent or effective type or quality.” Glassman elaborates, “Do functional movement at an intensity that’s a match for your psychological and physical tolerance, restrict your carbs, get adequate protein, enjoy fats, and see what happens. You’ll come out better.”
This is the exact prescription to getting better. The first part of that sentence talks about exercising. Multi-joint movements (functional) are just as effective in building muscle but provide a person with a higher calorie burn, coordination and movement efficiency as well as a cardio aspect that is missing from isolated movements. The cardio comes from the intensity that is applied to each day’s workout. Like I have said in videos and blogs before intensity is relative. Each person is going to have a different intensity level, and for some, this may take longer than others to find, but finding the one that works best for your mental and physical state is what drives results. Without intensity, you are only treading water.
The second half of that sentence talks about nutrition and explains it pretty well in only eight words. Restricting carbs could mean many things, but what I believe him to suggest is to not overeat carbs, avoid processed types and refined sugars. The American diet is full of ‘low-fat’ fad diets that force a lot of processed crap into our daily meals, as well as the need to indulge in too many sweets. Carbs are the primary fuel source for your muscles and body. Without them, daily function and exercising would be very difficult and results would suffer. Carbs are also the fuel source of many diseases and cancer so eating too many carbs increases your chances at these diseases. Learning which food sources to get your carbs from and when to eat your carbs is a valuable lesson and something we can teach at BayWay CrossFit.
Glassman finishes the sentence saying to eat enough protein and to enjoy fats. As I mentioned before too many food items now are ‘low-fat’ which usually means, ‘we added sugar to make this taste better.’ We know sugar is bad and causes disease so why do we keep eating these? Fats don’t make you fat, sugar does. Fats can be used as energy in your workouts, and they also help you feel full by slowing your digestion. Your body will digest processed carbs super fast leaving you feeling hungry soon after you have finished eating. A perfect example is a bowl of cereal.
Eating enough protein is one of the hardest things to do for most people. Most studies show that the average person needs between 60-80% of your body weight in grams of protein per day. Example, a person weighing 200 pounds would need between 120-160 grams of protein per day. That is about six regular sized chicken breast per day and is the reason so many people have trouble eating enough protein. Eating somewhere in that ballpark each day is almost necessary for anyone who works out on a regular basis and wants to see results in fat loss and strength. As I stated in a blog post I wrote, Plant-Based or Not, choosing the meats you eat is very important because certain meats or too much meat has been linked to some health issues as well.
Better is improving in an area. What is true about our program is that it will have you growing in any area of your life, in and out of the gym, if appropriately applied. Glassman says, “I know I am going to make you better. What do I mean by better? You get to decide.” Following the CrossFit program through the guidelines listed in that first sentence, you will be better. It doesn’t matter if you listed exercise, sport, being a better dad or employee. The program will make you better. And I agree.