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Rest Day

Micheline G. deadlifting like a boss

Holiday Schedule Reminders

TOMORROW 12/31 (New Year's Eve)
On: 6, 7,8, 10, 12p, 430p, 530p, 630p
Canceled: 730p, 830p 

THUR 1/1 (New Year's Day)
On: 10a, 11a*, 12p, 430p, 530p, 630p, 730p, 830p
Canceled: 6/7/8am

Using CrossFit for Weight Loss

By Chris Fox

CrossFit can absolutely be the only physical activity you engage in as a means to the goal of losing unwanted body fat. At CFSBK we program each class to include a warm up, strength training, and a conditioning piece. The warm up gets you ready to train. Strength training builds lean body mass, which includes building stronger muscles and bones. High intensity conditioning work complements your fitness beyond simply being stronger, increasing your work capacity. Strength training and (relatively) high intensity conditioning training stoke your metabolism both during and after your training is over. It is not necessary, and can perhaps be harmful, to add an excess of “cardio” (i.e. low intensity conditioning work) to your training. The type of stress induced by chronic cardio (especially in the absence of strength training and good nutrition) elevates cortisol levels which break down lean muscle and halt protein synthesis. This in turn can make losing unwanted fat tougher than it needs to be, if not impossible. More important than the volume of conditioning work is what and how much you eat. In fact it’s probably more than half of the equation.

What and how much do you need to eat? If you’re struggling with weight then intermittent fasting is not the answer, and neither is bulletproof coffee, or eating strictly low carb. You don’t need a fancy new high hype diet. If your goal is to be healthy and lean then you simply need to start by eating balanced meals made up of primarily quality foods in appropriate amounts, spread throughout the day. 

First prioritize protein. The USDA claims that women need 46 grams per day and that men need 56 grams. This is utterly insane. Those amounts are surely enough for sedentary people with no body composition or performance related ambition to simply exist, but they are not enough for you. Aim for about a gram of quality protein per pound of lean body mass each day, spread throughout the day. This is a pretty standard and accepted guideline in the strength and conditioning world. You’re training like an athlete so you should eat like one. As a rule, don’t just crush a 48 oz porterhouse and call it a night. Your body would rather digest smaller amounts at a time of protein at a time. What do we mean by quality protein? Eat clean animal foods like eggs, poultry, pork, beef, fish, game, etc from the best sources available to you. If you’re a *vegetarian you should consider upping your overall intake. Your body has a harder time assimilating vegetable based protein so it may be prudent to overdo it a bit. 

As a CrossFitter, your meals should be relatively balanced, meaning you should be getting calories from protein, carbs, and fat. If you try and workout while cutting carbs to a minimum you’ll notice after a week or two that your performance declines, aka THE DREADED LOW-CARB FLU. CrossFit requires glucose. If you don’t consume it, your cortisol levels will elevate in response to the increased stress of training in a carb depleted state and you’ll maintain or gain fat.You need some carbs to perform and recover. We’d maintain that getting your carbs from gluten-free sources is better, and that leaves a ton of options. Potatoes (sweet and white), beans and legumes, rice, fruit, corn tortillas, and of course, veggies. How many carbs? The same prescription as your protein (about 1 gram per pound of lean bodyweight) is on the low side and a good place to start for weight loss. (If you’re primarily a strength athlete then you do not need as many carbs and that 1 gram per pound may be plenty. You’ll need plenty of protein, some carbs, and a bit more fat). After a few weeks there you need to gauge your recovery. If you’re feeling frazzled, not sleeping well, and not recovering, consider upping carbohydrates a bit at a time until you feel better. Last is fat. Eat enough to feel satisfied. You want a number, I know. Aim for about one half gram per pound of lean body weight. If you’re on the higher end of the carbohydrate spectrum then you’ll need fewer calories from fat. If you’re on the lower end then you’ll need more. Have some quality fat at each meal. Animal fat (*from pastured animals. If you’re eating conventionally raised animal food then opt for leaner cuts and add some vegetable fat. Avocados, macadamia, coconut, and olive oil should be the primary sources. Nuts and seeds can also be used for a variety and seasoning. Spread your meals out a bit, maybe as many as 3-5 times a day depending on your schedule and hunger levels. There are plenty of resources out there to help you get an idea of how many grams of what are in what but I like the free version of FitDay.  

CrossFit combined with proper nutrition and recovery can help you become fit and lean. Hard work and proper refueling and recovery are opposite sides of the same coin. The strength training and conditioning you perform at CFSBK can be all the training you need, especially if you’re a five days a week person. If you’re coming 2-3 days a week then add in some activity on your days away from us. Interval training is very effective and takes little time. Bodyweight circuits, kettlebell intervals, erg sprints, bike sprints, track work, there are plenty of options. Keep the work on the short side and keep the intensity up.

So, the K.I.S.S. rule is the place to start with body composition changes. It doesn’t have to be (and probably shouldn’t be) whatever the next fad diet is. Basic nutritional principles put into consistent practice may very well be all you need to reach your goals. 

*I personally have run the gamut from being a chubby, sugar addicted adolescent to a skinny, yoga-addicted vegetarian/vegan as a young adult, to the version of myself I have been for the past 15 years or so. I am by no means going to make the cover of any magazine that has SIX PACK ABS on it and neither am I going to the CrossFit Games anytime soon, but I have been able to steadily increase my strength and fitness over the years while controlling my body fat, both to respectable levels. The single most important aspect of my diet that has changed has been moving from first a sugar/processed food diet and then a vegetable-based diet, to one that includes animal products as sources of protein and fat. The balance that it has brought me has been incredible. I stopped craving foods all the time, started adding muscle to my frame and recovering much better. Aches and pains diminished. I’m sick far less frequently and I’m more resilient overall. I was a moral vegetarian/vegan for years and firmly believed in the health aspects of avoiding meat for a long time so I understand the mental and emotional battles of considering eating meat again. My best advice is to simply consider that adding some ethically raised animal food to your diet may be of benefit to you. Self-experimentation is a must.

Are you doing the 2015 Look Feel Perform Better Challenge? If you missed the Kick-Off and Q&A Meeting on Sunday, learn more here. We're starting everything on Saturday, January 3, and the deadline to complete all the sign-up steps is Monday, January 5th. 

The Ultimate Guide To Paleo Buzzfeed
When Plants Attack: A Time-Lapse The Atlantic
The Year in Pictures 2014 New York Times

Reader Comments (24)

Wednesday's Programming

Front Squat

Fitness: 3 x 3 Linear Progression
Add 5-10 pounds to last week.

Performance: Work up to a Heavy Single (80-90% of 1RM), then Max Reps at 75% of 1RM (capped at 20)

Post loads to comments.

For Time:
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
Hang Power Snatches

For Time:
8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
Hang Power Snatches 115/75
Perform 3 Muscle Ups after each round of snatches

Post time and Rx to comments.

December 28, 2014 | Registered CommenterDavid Osorio

More Smolov fun/misery from yesterday:

450 5x5

Holy hell. In case you were wondering, 25 reps at 450 is all kinds of intense. My head was swimming during the squats yesterday and my legs are completely dead today. Couldn't stop eating last night and this morning. Thanks to Jake for the encouragement.

3x 60 second plank holds with 55lb plate

December 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Katz

Awesome article Fox. So much valuable info super succinct. Thanks!

December 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

Really like the article, Fox. Alex and I are going to be trying out the CFSBK-modified Zone diet (she'll start when the challenge begins, I'll start when Smolov ends) - hoping to lose some weight but keep my strength up, if possible - make those bodyweight movements a bit easier in time for the Open.

December 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Katz

6am with Jess and Melissa

Thanks for the article Fox. Very comprehensive and readable.

Yesterday's meathead work. Partnered with Elliott on the bench. I hit 215# once and then 15 reps at 160#. This was the first time I was not able to hit all 20. Congrats to Elliott for hitting his last rep after pushing for about 4 minutes. Hit 285# X 5 on the deadlift. Still lots of room here but focusing exclusively on form this progression.

Made it through two rounds and 5 thrusters. Kind of kicking myself for not pushing harder. First round of thrusters was unbroken and the second was 8/7. Pull ups were both broken up 10/5. First round of pull ups should have been unbroken and I should have rushed back to the bar quicker between rounds.

Excited for the Challenge. I took some nice fat pics with a frowny face which I will officially submit soon. Post challenge pics will be taken glamour style at the mall with lasers in the background. And I will be utilizing props of some kind.

December 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMattyChm

Great article, Fox. I whole-heartedly agree with Fox's commentary. If anyone is debating incorporating meat into one's diet, I'd be happy to chat about making the switch! I was vegetarian then vegan for a total of 12 years: never felt better than when I started eating meat! Plus meat is soooo delicious. (Right, Sam Peltz?) There's also a lot to be said about the positive environmental impact of eating local and in season which may be appealing for those who are vegetarian for environmental reasons.

Found a gym I really like in Michigan called Crossfit Novi--great coaching, dynamic workouts, and very clean and friendly! PR'd with a 120# deadlift today and a 105# back squat yesterday. I've finally gotten over the fear of lifting more than 100 pounds. Did some hand stand push up practice by using a box which was very challenging and fun. I'm excited to come back to CFSBK in a few days though.

Happy New Year!

December 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAllie B.

6am. Lovely little private session with Melo as I was the only one doing Wednesday's programming. Front squats: 135x5, 185x3, 235x2, 255x1, 265x1, 210x11. Melo noticed that I'm not getting much of a bounce out of the bottom on my front squats. I find doing so much more difficult with front squats than back squats. Something to pay attention to. Hit 200x11 for the rep-out last week, so I'm might pleased with 210x11. Keeping my elbows up in the rack position is the weak link. They just want to collapse forward at the end. Perf metcon Rx: 11:02. Power snatches were unbroken and merely served as a bit of spice between muscle up courses. Used a 2-1 rep scheme for the MUs except the first round (3) and last round (1-1-1). No failures, but lots of rest near the end. Just took a 30min morning power nap. Looking forward to a longer nap this afternoon.

December 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeter

Yesterday's 4:30 class.
Bench 5x115, 5x145, 5x180, 5x 180, 4x180 (F), same place i failed last week using same weight.

DL 5x320, used switch grip for work set.

WOD used 35 lb dumbbells b/c of wrist injury. 2 rounds + 15 thrusters. pull-up rhythm was off today and i was swinging all over the place.

Thanks for the article Fox. I have a tough time eating enough protein each day. Any thoughts (and/or article recs) about incorporating protein powder? Good idea? What kind? When?

December 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBen Aug.

Ben - I've been trying to get a ton of protein in lately. Eggs + meat is good in the morning, and I've also been trying to do a mix of Greek yogurt (high in protein) with a scoop of protein powder at night for an extra punch. But mostly I'm just eating a ton.

December 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Katz

Micheline G. killing the blog! Mich is one of my longest running clients and a super badass gal. TFBA.

Ben A - Thanks for the good idea. The short answer is yes, protein powders can be useful. I'll do a write up soon.

11am lifts
Felt good. Most I've squatted without a belt in a long while.

Deadlifts (aka 5 sets of doom)
All hook grip. All fairly painful. All done. Next week at 340 is the final week of this cycle for me, thank Beelzebub.

Hollow Rock

To apparently fly in the face of the above article, I didn't plan well and all I had to eat afterwards was half of a shitty toasted buttered roll and a serving of BCAAs.

December 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFox

7am today

front squats: 205x3x3
I don't know if I understood something new today or just have gotten stronger, but I concentrated on keeping my midsection tight and upright and these suddenly seemed easier than ever, although it's a PR for a 3RM. I might have 215 next week.

metcon: 8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 burpees and hang power snatch with 95#, 7:14, with a failed muscle up attempt at the beginning

cashout: first minute of nose-and-toes was in two sections, the last one was all in one, but my "exit strategy" of crashing on my face might have made it a no-rep. Ring rows were pretty horizontal and 10,5/8,4,3

December 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAlex C

Fun day of testing with Dr. Sean Pastuch at CrossFit King Island Park today:

Back Squat: #125 for 17 unbroken reps
Deadlift: #185 for 8 unbroken reps
Unilateral Kettlebell Shoulder Press - 35# for 6 bilaterally before started arching my back and stopped
Muscle Clean - 85# for 11 (this was my best score in regards to my potential and my actual scores)
Farmer's Carry - 70# each hand for 14 - 10 meter lengths

Big day. Very emotional. Yup, I was terrified the entire time and yes, I totally cried when I get in the car---mostly an overwhelming wave of joy.

I have been cleared for the suck! A year later. I'm well within my capacity to drastically increase my loads and my weight restrictions and depth restrictions on squatting, deadlifting and overhead no longer apply. I almost fell over when he told my that my 1RM BS is most likely 200+. SAY WHAT?!

Coming away from this I discovered that I am a poor carrying athlete with risk for injury. So, dr. Sean and Ro will most likely be adding all that nonsense into my training.

The biggest obstacle moving forward will be my brain. I am still terrified of ending up back at square one. This year has been long, with set backs and gradual progress. 2015 will hopefully bring a return to group classes --although I don't plan on training without my good ol coach Ro. Not ready to be totally free from those training wheels.

A good end to 2014.

December 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGD

12pm with Jeremy and MeLo.

Great pointers from Melissa on T2B. So close to getting the kipping version of these.

LBBS- 200 x 5 x 3.

WOD @ 53# in 9.42. I must figure out how to get faster at burpees. And how to land on my feet instead of my toes, which would probably help.The hang power snatches felt fine but Fox noticed my right hip and knee were doing something strange each time I was at the hang position. Need to figure out this mobility stuff as it really is a limiting factor for me.

December 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

Oh Gracie! I'm so happy for you!!! x

December 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

What a great article, thanks Fox.

December 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPigeon

1 mile jog w 20# backpack to noon class -- plus a ton of other running around from place to place. Really just an ideal day.

Warm up 1-ish
x2 plus another round of t2b:
(5) strict t2b straight legs
(10) push ups
(10) OHS 33#

45x6, 95x5, 125x3
150x1 - decent speed but upper back curving. Could be time for a belt

10-9-8...2-1 of
Hang power snatch @53

1st set of 10 unbroken
9,8,7 shit show in 3 sets each - arms burning somehow
6 - unbroken but reset in the high hang each time
5,4,3,2,1 touch and go and cruising

This was tough. Thanks Charlie for being the girl to chase!

December 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

Fox, thanks for the very thoughtful article. I was happy to see beans/legumes as a recommended food - albeit in the carb category. Do you have thoughts on which types to consume and soaking/cooking for optimal health?

When I first started reading that legumes/lentils were not-Paleo, my heart sunk since my ancestors have been dining on them for as far back as I know (although the modern Indian diet does not win Olympic medals). I am an omnivore without doubt, so I get a lot of animal protein, but have been unsure on how to think about the lentil family...so much mixed information out there.

December 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAsha

Haha.,, and beat! Though I guess that means my time was 8.42. Lauren, you did a rep-out too, remember?

December 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

Left work a little early to hit the 5:30pm class with Whitney and Jeremy.


ran out of time so stopped there. Still doing all of these with a pause at the bottom.

Then, 11x90. Had one or two more in me but somehow managed to get totally loose at the bottom of my 12th one and then started laughing, My head was not in it today.

2x225....feeling pretty good today. Will probably finally go up next week.

Conditioning: Got exactly 3 rounds with chest to bar on the slippery rogue bar. My heart was not in this and I've literally been complaining about having to do it since yesterday. It's amazing how much mood and attitude can affect the way I feel during a workout.

December 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLil JB

Dropped in Crow Hill to train with/Watch Muhammed Bagaliev. He took 13th in the 85kg at Worlds this year. He is SO FAST.

Jerk, 1RM, -5%, -10%x3
379! PR!

HBBS, 5RM, -5%, -10%x3

I want to try and get back there a couple more times before he leaves. It makes such a difference when you're training next to someone who is in another league of better than you.

December 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJakeL

Fantastic article, Fox. Thank you.

6am. Bench press 195x5x3. Barely got that last rep up. Thanks to Matt for letting me take my time and finish, plus the good tip to squeeze that bar tight to get an extra rep.

Deadlift: Cleared by the doc last Monday so I'm going to slowly get back to my normal DL weight. Bumped it up to 255 this week and had no problems. Probably should have hit 275 today instead.

WOD: 2 rounds + 10 reps Rx. I probably could have pushed just a little bit harder here but this was a tough one. Definitely had Fran cough for a little while after.

December 30, 2014 | Registered CommenterElliott

Thanks Fox, looking forward to the write up. Matt K., I've been trying to eat 2 eggs OR a Greek yogurt every morning. Tomorrow I'll go for both.

December 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBen Aug.

Ah! Thanks Charlie. I forgot. We do lots of stuff...
And I was wondering about your time. It had to be 8-something

December 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

Had some time tonight for snatch work.

2 Snatch Push Press + 1 OHS

Pause (below knee) Snatch

Working on my bunked first pull (knees forward). Was able to use my lats tonight in a way that clicked. Thanks, Jake!

December 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFox

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