MgoFitness - You're Either Getting Better, or You're Getting Worse

Submitted by xtramelanin on May 9th, 2017 at 8:47 AM


Last year about this time we had a pretty rousing discussion about what folks are doing to get in and/or stay in shape.   A number of you have some pretty dedicated workout schedules, and also it was inspiring as many also were going to start racing, running, lifting, etc.   Bikini season is just around the corner, and there's no time to start like the present.

1.  So the first question is:   What are you doing as it relates to cardio fitness, weights, and diet to try and stay healthy?  Are you going to do any races, either modest or more strenuous? 

2.  And in recognition of one of the signs we had up in the locker room at Yost, "You're Either Getting Better, or You're Getting Worse", the second question is:  Looking back over the year, have you gotten closer or further from your fitness goals?

Have great day.




May 9th, 2017 at 8:51 AM ^

After a good decade of doing very little and eating not so much poorly as excessively, this last year was the first one where my teenage investment into athleticism stopped winning and my 34y.o. softness started to show. I guess I could try to get better. But that try verb...ick.

PB-J Time

May 9th, 2017 at 8:54 AM ^

I'm a runner. While I often do other forms of exercise, this is what I obviously focus on. I try to incorporate weights and yoga or other dynamic stretching as well.

Over the past year, my running times have gotten better and better. While I've accepted I won't get back to my 5k time in high school, I'm under 20 minutes which makes me happy. Ran a 10 mile race in 70 minutes in the fall, which is a high accomplishment for me.

Just had a(nother) kid so not much time for any exercise now, but fortunately the older one enjoys hanging in the stroller for a run so that's what I've been up to.

It's said that in order to set goals and reach them you need to write them down so here are running goals I'd like to accomplish, perhaps this year, but certainly by the end of next:

5k-under 19:30

10k-under 42

Half marathon-1:35

And no, I have never run a marathon and have yet to have the motivation nor desire to.


May 9th, 2017 at 9:01 AM ^

I had a goal to break 1:30 in the half. My training consisted simply of running 50 miles per week, with 5 days of ~8 miles, including one tempo run, and one day of longer running. Ran a 1:26:51. Had my best 5k, 5 mile and 15k times. Only complaint was the amount of time spent running. I think you could hit your goals following a similar path. Good luck!

Prison Mike

May 9th, 2017 at 9:05 AM ^

Good luck PBJ! Consistency is key to success in running. I'm 4 year post-college running and I'm currently running faster time than I've ever run. Just keep trucking along and grinding out the miles.


My goals for the remainder of the year are:

3,000 miles for 2017

5k: under 14:40

1/2 marathon: under 1:08

Resistance training and stretching at least 3 times per week (I never ever stretch) 

Nobody Likes a…

May 9th, 2017 at 8:55 AM ^

I try to keep it simple. I walk on my lunches (this is more for mental health), 80 minutes of elliptical on days when I’m not lifting and 60 when I am. As far as lifts go I do the stronglifts 5x5 program. I’m looking to change this up through the summer to focus on functional strength and mobility/flexibility.


May 9th, 2017 at 11:33 AM ^

80 minutes a day when not liting and 60 when you are?!?!?  Please tell me you are on a 4,000 calorie/day diet.  I have done an hour a day (2 30 minute sessions) on the elliptical since the begninning of the year and have lost around 30 pounds (I did have an unrelated injury that made me take a two week break in March) while being more selective in my diet.  I have done an extra 20 minute session at the very end of the day once or twice, but I have found it to be counterproductive.


May 9th, 2017 at 6:25 PM ^

80 minutes on an elliptical? That seems like a lot. I was diagnosed with arthritis in my left knee in January and have been building up strength in my leg since. I'm up to 30 minutes on the elliptical followed by 20 minutes of HIIT on a bike. I've lost 20 pounds since I started. It doesn't get easier past 60.

Baby Fishmouth

May 9th, 2017 at 8:57 AM ^

I'm getting better from 5 years ago, but worse from 20 years ago.  I decided to go big or go home.  I'm registered for Ironman Maryland in October, and will do a marathon during the summer (Kensington or San Fran.)  I'm built like a fire hydrant, so this will be fun.


May 9th, 2017 at 9:57 AM ^

Good luck on the Ironman! I am doing the half distance in Benton Harbor in August, and I am also a fire hydrant type (my squat is a lot more impressive than my run and swim times). So far I've found the leg strength really carries over on the bike.

I have never competed in distance athletics before, so the training for this has been a major change for me. I am really enjoying it and am mostly pleased with my progress (still a little concerned about running the half marathon).


May 9th, 2017 at 8:58 AM ^

I have a running background and have been into triathlon for a couple of years. I've had two races this year, neither of which went as I would have hoped. Despite that, I feel like my overall fitness is high. I've seen improvement on the bike and on the run. If only I could get better at swimming . . . 

Be safe out there, and fruitful training to you all, MgoBrethren.


May 9th, 2017 at 4:07 PM ^

What kind of swimming training are you doing?

I helped my friend prep for the swim portion of the tri. He was an okay swimmer, but his stroke was so inefficient. It was small tweaks to his technique that really improved his swim time.



May 9th, 2017 at 8:58 AM ^

Still doing Crossfit as regularly as my constantly changing work schedule allows, which is up to 3 times a week. I've gained about 15 lbs in muscle over the last 18 months, and I'm in the best shape of my life.

I generally follow a low carb, moderate fat, zero sugar diet.

For the Crossfit naysayers, go suck an egg. Every article or "study" alt the dangers of Crossfit has been debunked, and Crossfit headquarters has even won major court cases against weightlifting organizations who were found to have fabricated entire studies in an attempt to squash the Crossfit method and organization.


May 9th, 2017 at 9:09 AM ^

if you are young and healthy and don't care how your knees will feel when you are old like me.  i used to do all that crossfit shit but we called it plyometrics back then.  i love the CF concept and incorporate it into my resistence training - i.e., tabata sets, five minutes of HIIT in between different exercises, but all that jumping up and down on boxes and hi speed olympic lifts - fuck that shit.  i wish i could undo all that plyo shit and be able to jump rope and do wind sprints in the soft sand still.

uncle leo

May 9th, 2017 at 9:54 AM ^

I thought articles in late 2016 and early 2017 were still relatively current?

No, it's not plain silly. 

Yes, no shit. Every form of fitness has a risk associated with it. But when you take YEARS OF VERIFIED SCIENCE with form and technique and say "screw it!", that risk of injury... INCREASES! 

I can take almost every single one of the Crossfit moves and explain why it's dumber than a normal, structured move. 

Just think logically man. You can admit that it's helped give you muscle definition and lose weight, any HIIT exercise will. And no one will think less of you if you admit that you do exercises without any proper form. 



May 9th, 2017 at 12:49 PM ^

Every single day I work out and get coached on my form. You know what's great about Crossfit done properly? No coach will allow you to go heavier than your experience level. Heck, some of the movements I still only use the bar because I'm not skilled enough to add weight. Recycled articles can be dated yesterday, and they're still old material.


May 9th, 2017 at 6:13 PM ^

Sorry, you're just an uninformed hater parroting other exercise competitors. Bad coaches exist in everything but crossfit isn't inherently bad. It's a lot healthier than the bodybuilding routines most people do and marathon training.  Any crossfit gym worth a damn coaches technique over intensity. Remember when Iowa put 10 kids in the hopsital with rhabdo and the strength coaches were all 'whats rhabdo?' Should college football be shut down because their coaches suck? Crossfit btw teaches everyone about rhabdo. And as for your increased risk of injury, every study not conducted by a competitor spitting out fraudulent results has shown crossfit has a very low incidence of injury. In fact it has been used for military PT in studies and was shown to have less injuries and a higher pass rate. You're just wrong.


May 9th, 2017 at 10:15 AM ^

"Crossfit is great, if you don't give a shit about form and want to greatly increase your chance of injury."

@uncleleo: You can say this about any lifting program. Hell, you can say this about running. If you do not focus on proper technique in any physical movement, you increase the chance of injury.

CrossFit is great, if you focus on proper technique. Running is great, if you focus on proper technique. Powerlifting, olympic lifting, jerking off, is great, if you focus on proper technique.


May 9th, 2017 at 10:27 AM ^

Clearly you have never been taught a proper kipping or butterfly pull up. It's a common gymnastics movement. Done properly, there is no "yanking your back".

This is the problem with CrossFit haters. You see something that looks ridiculous, you hear someone getting hurt and then you bash it, yet never trying it or having proper training in it to see for yourself.

It's 2017, try it and come to the conlusion yourself, don't be a sheep and go with what everyone else is saying / doing.


May 9th, 2017 at 1:09 PM ^

One fundamental thing of the argument kid. Cross Fit's structure is not a natural movement. They teach you moves that go with the natural body motion and go against it. 

This is wildly incorrect, and more than a little silly.  


May 9th, 2017 at 6:18 PM ^

You know what's unnatural?  A strict pull-up...Oh shit a lion's chasing me, thank god there's a tree here, hold on let me make sure I pull myself up by keeping 90% of my body still. Kipping is a method of turning horizontal momentum into vertical momentum using the entire body, it incorporates more muscles into the movement and allows for more work to be done.  It is mechanically superior. Also there is zero strain on the back. I'm tall and skinny with a weak core and I feel it pretty easily when my spine gets out of a neutral position when under load yet I've never come anywhere close to hurting my back when doing a kipping pullup.


May 9th, 2017 at 9:42 AM ^

Olympic style lifting is no more risky to your knees than any other lifting. Box jumps, ok, that can wear and tear, but when incorporated with functional fitness movements it is beneficial.

That being said, if you're already walking on bad knees, full on CF is probably not wise. But good on you for using functional fitness in general. In my opinion it is the best and most effective way to stay fit.


May 9th, 2017 at 6:23 PM ^

If you have bad knees CF is great for you if you have a great coach. Learning how to squat properly so you don't hurt your knees in day to day life and strengthening the muscles around the knee are the best thing you can do. Never squatting is just going to make you weaker and more fragile as time goes on. Learning to squat from some hack in a globo-gym who has you go down only a couple inches and puts you on a leg press machine is going to be even worse for you.


The only part of a box jump that is dangerous is jumping off the top of the box and bouncing off the ground back onto the box in high reps. Most people just step down from the top of the box which is not stressful on the body at all. If you're young and competitive go ahead and bounce but that's not the norm.


May 9th, 2017 at 12:58 PM ^

I watched a guy tear his Achilles doing box jumps, because most things in Crossfit are for time and it's faster to bounce off and on the box. Turns out Verkhoshansky was right: stepping off a box and springing up to max height is super taxing and you should do it for very low reps and with great care.

My goals have changed radically, so it's hard to say whether I'm better or worse. Last year (and for several years before that) my goal was to be able to dunk. I achieved that goal in the spring, felt like I had touched god, then moved 7,000 miles and treaded water for the rest of the year. About a month ago I decided my new goal would be to do a solid handstand, a backflip, and a human flag. I am closer than I was a month ago, and it might be the most fun I've ever had training. 



May 10th, 2017 at 1:08 AM ^

I gave crossfit its chance for 6 mo's about 5 years ago.  Im also a Cert PT and amatuer bodybuilder.  please find me any S and C coach who wants you to do power cleans for time.  The focus and only focus during your lift should be your lift.  There is nothing in the gym besides cardio that is most effective when its done at a high speed.   


May 9th, 2017 at 9:45 AM ^

Oh, I've read probably hundreds of articles and 99% of them are recycled material. So, yes I can definitively say every article has been debunked. Anti-Crossfit ideas are not new and continue to be negated every time they're rehashed.

uncle leo

May 9th, 2017 at 9:56 AM ^

HUNDREDS of articles? Lol.

Stop coming up with these ridiculous numbers.

As I said before, just think smart. Cross fit does nothing to teach the concept of form. You do as much ridiculous shit in a short amount of time. Obviously, the risk of injury is going to skyrocket. Will it help you get muscular? SURE! But quit denying that it's much more of a strain on your body.

I Love Lamp

May 9th, 2017 at 10:11 AM ^

They look absolutely ridiculous. You can't tell me that improves your strength like the standard. All measures of exercise will break down your body in some way, but I don't want to look like a dipshit doing it.


May 9th, 2017 at 10:20 AM ^

They do look ridiculous but they have a place. When you're in a workout that is being done for time, you want to be as efficient as possible. There is no denying that kipping or butterfly pull ups increase efficiency and saves energy, allowing you to complete the set of pull ups faster.

Every CrossFitter focuses on strict pull ups, strict chest to bar, strict toe to bar, strict handstand push ups, etc, which does increase their strength, making the kipping or butterfly even easier.

That is the problem with people who don't know about CrossFit, they see one funny fail video or GIF of a guy doing "0" pull ups and assume that is all CrossFit does.

Dig in a little and you will see that CrossFit does focus on increasing strength and does exactly what most lifting programs do.


May 9th, 2017 at 6:36 PM ^

It improves your strength the same way drop sets improve strength, by doing more reps with less weight. They also work a greater number of muscles, are more technically difficult, and are more cardiovascularly challenging , crossfit is all about full body movements training the body as a whole. You don't look like a dipshit when you learn the efficient way of doing it, only if you don't know what you're doing and are flailing away.


May 9th, 2017 at 1:14 PM ^

Cross fit does nothing to teach the concept of form.

This simply is not true, at least not w/r/t to CrossFit as a monolithic entity.  There are bad boxes that probably don't do a good job teaching their athletes form, but I've attended two separate gyms, including my current one.  Both required a month of training sessions to work on the correct form for various movements *before* you could begin any of the actual workouts, and in both, in the actual workouts, at least one coach constantly monitors each athlete's movements to ensure correct form.  I'm routinely being corrected for just that reason.


May 9th, 2017 at 5:43 PM ^

As a 44 year old CrossFitter of the last 4.5 years, I'd add this to that part of the discussion:

I'm not a great athlete.  Never have been, never wil be.  But I am a pretty self-confident person, and most would say I'm pretty logical in how I going about decisioning things in my life.  

I've seen all kinds of nonsense in CrossFit gyms over the years.  I travel a bit for work, and try to drop in at various boxes (gyms) while on the road.  So I've seen firsthand the WIDE variance in capabilities of the coaches (and even the owners).  Level 1 Cert over a single weekend ($1k fee) is all you need to be good to go as a coach in the industry, and a $3K fee makes you an "affiliate" (gym owner).  Pretty low barrier to entry, and therefore you get a somewhat random set of outcomes on both programming and coaching.

Then you have the location-specifc culture. In my experience, nearly every CrossFit has a very (VERY) strong culture/community.  What varies is the vibe: some are loaded up with douchey jocks (and/or coaches) who think pushing others into places they either aren't ready for or (in my case) should never, ever go constitutes "good coaching" or "good teamwork."  But I'd also say that (in my experience) very few CrossFits are this way.  Those that are tend to jump off the page as such.  And thank goodness they are so obvious, because these are the ones that are more prone to get people (especially 'advanced beginners') injured.

So I go back to my self-assessed strengths of self-confidence and logic. In the context of my athleticism, and at this stage of life, I see no value in doing the movements that require me to go upside down (as one example).  Handstand pushups?  Toes to Bar?  Nope.  In 4.5 years I have not attempted a single one.  At a douchey CrossFit, that might qualify as being a complete puss.  And I give zero fucks about that.  ZERO.  I'm not ever, ever going to risk spinal or brain injury (and they do happen!) for the sake of working out.  Not going pro in CrossFit, have gone pro as Husband & Dad.  Simple set of motivations there.

I'm thankful that I have had awesome coaches. Awesome.  Everyone loves their CF coaches, but some of them do suck.  So what to do?  Ask around town about who the most technically proficient coaches are.  Go meet them, tell them what your goals are, tell them how you want to be coached.  Stand there for an hour, watch them coach, and watch the community.  If they're dicks (or promoting dickish behavior), move on.

You're the paying customer. Don't let the "community" cause you to lose sight of that. Do what makes sense for your body. Figure out a reasonable band for what constitutes your personal limits and hold to that.  Sure, it ought to "hurt," and injuries can happen.  But if you keep your eyes open and your wits about you, you can very simply avoid the supposed systemic injury risks that people want to point to with CrossFit. It isn't harder than that.

I'll say this: as a 44 year old banker (I'm either behind a desk or on an airplane most days), I am way, wayyy fitter than I was at 24.  Faster. Stronger. More endurance. More coordination. More skill. More ability to do functional things around my house, for my family, etc. The projection for the likely arc of the back half of my life looks radically better than it did at 39.  CrossFit is the primary reason for all of that.

If you find a good box (where the coaches keep on you about technique past the intro class, and also where you feel confident saying 'no' to something outside of your range), enjoy the "no pain, no gain" approach, and commit to the lifestyle change, CrossFit is a great option for a large number of people.


May 9th, 2017 at 6:47 PM ^

Exactly. Shop around, there are people who are good and bad at their job in every industry. Drop in on the gym, they might even have a free class. Read yelp, do some googling.


I'm 38, tall, skinny, weak, and asthmatic. I always thought I was a pussy and that's why I'd wash out of conditioning for high school basketball, but after a year of crossfit and still dreading any run longer than 400m I went to the doctor and figured out I just have bad lungs that function half as well as a normal human. I deadlift less than most girls and I can barely run a half mile, I'm just a shitty athlete. I've been crossfitting for 10 years and I'm resigned to the fact that I will always finish last. When I see a workout that I know I can't do, I scale it down. When someone cheers me to go faster I ignore them. When I get tired and my form starts slipping I slow down. When I start to feel pain in a bodypart I work around it and/or take time off. People need to take some personal responsibility. And all things considered I feel 100x better when I'm reguarly crossfitting than when I'm not. Crossfit is far less dangerous than sitting on the couch all day, far less dangerous than jogging multiple miles every day, and far more effective than the ridiculous, traditional bodybuilding bodypart splits most people do.


May 9th, 2017 at 6:33 PM ^

Crossfit has done more to teach form than literally any other exercise routine. The barbell industry and many other related fitness industries have exploded because of crossfit. Every power lifting and olympic lifting coach that hasn't been blinded by fear of a competitor has praised crossfit for bring an unprecedented number of people to the sport and many of those coaches have partnered with crossfit to help improve the coaching. Crossfit preaches form before intensity, but with thousands if not tens of thousands of gyms opening some suck, that's the individual coaches fault not the methodology.


You don't do 'ridiculous shit,' is your only experience with crossfit watching knuckleheads post videos of themselves goofing off in the gym? That's like watching Harbaugh at a camp have kids throw footballs from the sideline through the uprights or playing shirtlress peruball and saying 'wow what a horrible coach, that's just ridiculous shit not football.'


Anybody who eschews form to do more work faster is hurting himself and that's on him. I've known many a person (always a guy) who shows up in the gym with a huge ego, sees a girl kicking his butt, and refuses coaching trying to keep up.  That's not on the coach, that's the individual.  Anyone working out smart isn't engaging in risky behaviour.


Crossfit is more of a strain on your body, the point of exercising is to strain your body.  You strain it and it adapts. One of the main tenets of crossfit is that high intensity in short periods is more beneficial than low intensity in long periods. That doesnt mean you're more likely to injure yourself. Jogging 10 miles a day is plenty injurious.