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Sunday, July 20, 2014

What is crossfit? Interview with sponsored athlete, Jamie Trainor

Let’s face it… crossfit is EVERYWHERE!  The crossfit games are on ESPN and it’s talked about in almost every fitness magazine. I’m sure at one point or another you have heard someone talking about crossfit.  There are crossfit gyms popping up everywhere and chances are, you probably have a close friend or family member who is constantly talking about their WOD.  For those of us wondering, “What exactly is crossfit ?” We have you covered!  Today we are sitting down with sponsored athlete Jamie Trainor, who trains at CROSSFIT ABQ, to give us all in the in’s and out’s of this fitness trend that has captured the hearts of millions across the country.  

Sponsored Athlete, Jamie Trainor

  Me: Jamie, it seems like a lot of people have started crossfit.  Can you tell us what crossfit is exactly? 

CrossFit is a premier strength and conditioning program defined as ““constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement.”  What does this all mean? We believe that the most efficient way to create elite fitness is by keeping workouts short so the intensity level can remain at a peak, and always varying the movements in workouts. Routine is the enemy.  Essentially CrossFIt is the “sport of fitness”. Workouts are always timed and recorded so that the competitive environment drives the intensity level to a point that can not be attained in other workout settings. CrossFit is a mix of Olympic Weightlifting, technical gymnastics, and a variation of cardiovascular movements like running or rowing. 

The goal with CrossFit is to optimize physical competence in each of ten recognized fitness domains. They are Cardiovascular and Respiratory endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance, and Accuracy. We believe that when growth happens in these domains an individual becomes a better overall athlete. CrossFit is not just for athletes, in fact it was designed to enhance an individual’s competency at all physical tasks, whether that is taking out the trash or being able to pick up your baby and carry it without becoming fatigued or injured. We believe in functional fitness, functional by means of being tangible to everyday life activities. CrossFit is also the principal strength and conditioning program for many police academies and tactical operations teams, military special operations units, champion martial artists, and hundreds of other elite and professional athletes worldwide.

Me: Wow! That's interesting, I definitely didn't know all of that.  I hear people talking about wods?  Can you tell us what a wod is? 

WOD stands for workout of the day. Workouts are usually 5-10 minutes long so that the intensity level can be maintained throughout the entire workout. There are a few different types of WOD’s that you may run across, first is the AMRAP this stands for “as many rounds or reps as possible”. For example it could be a 12 minute AMRAP of 10 pull-ups, 10 burpees, 10 powercleans. The idea is to go as hard as you can for the entire twelve minutes to attain the most reps possible. Your score might look something like 7+6, that means you completed 7 full rounds and 6 pull-ups. The second type of workout you might run into is RFT, this stands for rounds for time. In this particular workout you will be given a set workload and your job is to complete the work as fast as possible. For example, the workout may be 4 RFT of 3 muscle ups, 6 hand stand push-ups, 9 power snatches. Your score would be the time is takes you to complete. A good time would be around 4-6 minutes. The third and most infamous WOD style is the dreaded 21-15-9. One of the most famous CrossFit wod's is called “Fran”, and she is an absolute bitch. In this you will complete 21 thrusters & then 21 pullups, 15 thrusters & then 15 pullups, and finally 9 thrusters & then 9 pullups.  A good time for this is under three minutes. This is the worst three minutes a CrossFitter will ever experience.  While we do keep our workouts constantly varied, we do have what are called our benchmark workouts like “Fran”. These workouts are done every six months or so and are used to gauge how much the athletes overall fitness has improved. 

Me:  Okay, that sounds REALLY intense.  Crossfit can seem pretty intimidating as it is, what is your advice for those who think they wont be able to keep up?  

My advice to those who are intimidated would be to jump in with an open and positive mindset. Some days in the gym are far better than others, sometimes you take 30 minutes to finish the workout sometimes you take 3, all that matters is that you finished. When you do your first WOD class you will see that the group is there to encourage others, often times coaches will make it a rule that you must cheer on the whole group until every last athlete is finished.  Also I would find a gym that fits your style. Obviously the community is different in each and every gym.  Take the time to find a gym that fits you.  Some gyms are more aimed towards competitive athletes, some are targeted towards every day people just trying to live a healthier life. You have to find the right gym, when you do you will find that the community will become some of the biggest supporters you have in your life. 

We are all here for different reasons, but the community aspect should be priority number one. I also recommend signing up for a foundations program if your new box offers it.  The foundations program usually lasts about 4-6 weeks and it's entirely new crossfitters. It goes at a slower pace and teaches you to do all the movements both safely and efficiently. Definitely a great way to “break the ice” of getting in the crossfit world.
Me:  Can people use crossfit as a way to lose weight? 

Of course they can! And I would say about 90% of people walk into a crossfit gym trying to lose weight. But you have to keep in mind that it takes time and dedication to lose weight. Nutrition is going to be a huge part of your journey in weight loss. It is hard to outwork a poor diet. If you eat clean food and do 5 WOD classes a week than you will more than likely lose weight! However of the 90% of people that are interested in losing weight, their focus generally switches toward being healthy instead. 

What I mean by that is, by stepping on a scale you really learn close to nothing (the numbers don't mean anything, its how you look and feel) It's more about how your clothes fit or how you look at yourself when you look in the mirror.  It's about being confident in yourself and loving who you are on the inside and out. It's so much deeper than the scale, many times people first start to notice they aren’t losing weight, but they are looking so much better, or their clothes fit so much more perfectly, that’s because your building muscle and muscle weighs more than fat, you may be able to fit into those old jeans but you have only lost 5 pounds on the scale. Don’t be discouraged, in fact I discourage most people to even step on a scale at all!

Me:  What is a typical crossfit class like and how long are they? 


A typical crossfit class is only an hour long. Usually less than 10 people with one or two coaches. The class usually consists of a “light” warm-up, followed by a skill or strength session , finishing off with a WOD usually less than 20 minutes long. Sometimes you may even stretch for twenty minutes, but don’t be fooled stretching is just as important as every other physical aspect of fitness. The class is always upbeat and exciting with everyone encouraging and cheering you on as you finish the workout. The music is blasting and its you against yourself, except you have the whole class that wants you to succeed just as bad as you want it for yourself. You will find that you get so much more done in an hour at a Crossfit gym than any hour you ever spent in another gym. 

Me:  I know a few people who do crossfit and they follow the paleo diet.  Do you have to follow paleo if you are doing crossfit? 

The paleo diet is the best diet in my opinion for individuals who are strictly focused on losing weight. However being a competitive athlete, it is hard to consume enough calories with paleo. For me its more about just trying to get enough food in my body each day, especially recently as I've been put on a squat cycle to improve my Olympic lifts. I try to eat the paleo approach as far as the cleanliness of the foods I eat, but I do tend to eat a lot of bread and unnecesarry carbs. In my opinion your fitness should not keep you from eating the foods you enjoy, I'm not saying eat pizza and breadsticks every meal but if you cheat a few times a week you shouldn’t beat yourself up over it.

Me:  What got you into crossfit? 

My whole life I had mostly been in or around the gym community, but it was always at a global gym, and it was so boring. I dreaded going to the & gym running on a treadmill with no purpose or curling dumbells for 3 sets of 10. One day I was at the gym and I noticed a guy doing some very different workouts and I asked him what he was doing and it turned out he was a coach at a local box. I went to my first class and haven't stopped going since. I was hooked to the competitive nature of the sport. I was so intrigued, I would spend hours and hours watching crossfit videos trying to learn everything I possibly could that could help me become a better athlete. I felt as though it filled a missing part of my life. My first workout was a couplet AMRAP of wall balls and snatches. I couldn’t believe how out of shape I truly was. Everyday was a new challenge and it never got an easier, but I got better and I became more conditioned and all I wanted to do was be the best crossfitter on the planet. Luckily my first coach happened to go to the reebok crossfit games that year and she gave me motivation to really engulf myself in the competitive side of the sport.  From the second I walked into that box, I felt at home and I never looked back!

Me:  You seem so passionate about it!  Why do you love it so much? 

I love crossfit because it gives me a purpose and direction in life, of which I was missing for so many years. For years growing up in high school, I struggled with severe drug addiction and completely destroyed my life. My body was abused everyday as well as my mind. I was slowly killing myself each and every day, now I am more alive than ever and I'm truly humbled by everything crossfit has done in my life. It gives me new goals and dreams that I strive to achieve everyday, sometimes you fail & sometimes you win, but all that matters is each and every day I leave the gym with that same fire burning inside. 

Me:  That is so amazing! What have been some of your crossfit accomplishments?

EmbraceFit sponsored athlete
      - 4th place “Fittest of the SouthWest” 2014
      - 2nd place Boxtoberfest 2013
      - 4th place pre-regional competition Crossfit Carbondale 2013
      - 16th “Battle at the Rock” Castle Rock CrossFit
      -Top 12% finisher in the world wide open

The overall goal for me is to make it to the Southwest Regional and hopefully qualify for the Reebok CrossFit games in the next 4 years. I have also registered for the BarnYard Brawl here in town in August, and the Raid Games in Miami in September.

Me:  That is very impressive! Last but not least, tell us a little bit about where you train? 

I recently switched to CrossFit ABQ when I first met my sponsor at my last competition in El Paso.  I moved there because the history of competitive success is unrivaled in the state. My coach Ben Abruzo is an incredible programmer, he even had a team podium at the CrossFit Games in 2011. I love this new gym and it's doing wonders for my weaknesses as an athlete. I get to train with 2 badass individual regional competitors AJ Bales and Whitney Cappelucci  multiple times a week as well as tons of other amazing competitors like Matt Booth and Joe Vigil. I look up to them and I learn so much from their training and I'm very fortunate to get to have the opportunity to train with them. 

  Well, there you have it!  Crossfit 101 for those of who didn't know a thing about it! Thank you Jamie sharing all this information with us! And for also sharing part of your story! You are inspiration to all of us and I know we will be seeing great things from you! 

Crossfit Couple Jamie & Shelby