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Alan O'Donnell
11-05-2008, 10:53 AM
So I have a confession. I kinda just don't like doing met-con workouts.

My question is basically how many of them I should slog through, given my athletics goals.

Background: I was a very competitive soccer player in high-school, but decided not to play in college. I graduated in 07, so it's been about 6 years since I played at a high level, and my endurance is completely and utterly gone. Not a scrap left. I still look like a soccer player though: 5'10", thin, very strong legs, about 175 lbs (I think it's the thick legs, I have a sixpack etc. and don't see how I could weigh much less than 165).

I started working out at Crossfit Boston this past March, was out of the country all summer, and started up again about a month ago (so about 3.5 months total time crossfitting). I've made great strength gains over the past six months (I couldn't do any pullups when I started, and I got my first strict muscle-up a couple days ago, etc.), but I frankly suck ass at the met-con stuff. It hurts my soul - I love love love the gymnastics stuff, and I enjoy working on heavy lifts, but I just get no enjoyment whatsoever from met-con. I think I'm too used to breathing heavily in the context of chasing a ball to do it in a gym. I have trouble really pushing myself since I kind of just don't care that much - I'd settle for a 12 minute fran time if I could do a free-standing HSPU.

Does this make me a terrible person? Given that I mostly care about getting really good at gymnastics/capoeira, is it reasonable to ease up a bit on the met-con, or should I just suck it up and get good at it again? I'm wondering because the met-con really knocks me out and limits the time I have to work on gymnastics when I'm fresh.

Kind of an open-ended question, sorry about that, but I'm curious what you guys have to say. Thanks, Alan

joe waguespack
11-05-2008, 11:26 AM
I think it will all depend on what YOU want to do. Of course if you were a professional athlete then there would be workouts/exercises that you would have to do wether you liked it or not, or if you were preparing for a specific contest of some sort then I would say suck it up and do what you have to do. But if you are training for sheer enjoyment and the health benefits then do what you want. If I was walking around with a natural six pack and didn't have the problem of gaining bodyfat easily the only thing you would ever see me doing is strength based barbell and kettlebell workouts, because thats what I enjoy. Unfortunately being genetically pre-dispositioned to being a chubbo, met cons are kind of a necessity in my routine, but I still usually make them something I can enjoy like barbell complexes or high rep KB work (still metabolic but with a strength/power endurance focus) If your goal is to be good at gymnastics, then focus on that. All of that "kind of being good at a bunch of things, but not great at any of them" Crossfit stuff, isn't the training gospel. In order to be really good at something , specialization is needed. Do what you want is the bottom line, if you hate met con work, don't do it. If you like gymnastics and strength work dive in head first. Besides I would venture to say that many of the gymnasts I have seen are in much better shape and have better athletic abilities than a guy that can do a 2:00 Fran. Just my opinion.

Jacob Rowell
11-05-2008, 11:30 AM
Sounds like you have fairly specific goals which don't include CrossFit. I own a CrossFit gym, but I'll freely say, if you're not looking for what CrossFit offers, why do it? You're spreading yourself unnecessarily thin if you're putting time and effort into something you don't: A) want to do and, B) need for any particular reason.

Most people who come to me are looking to get "fit" generally speaking. We're a little strength biased, but still, offer a quick effective solution. You want something entirely different. Go lift, work on your gymnastics skillz, and enjoy yourself.

Gant Grimes
11-05-2008, 12:13 PM
If stapling your lip to your desk isn't consistent with your goals, would you still do it?

You're fortunate to have Jon Gilson and EC at your disposal. They are both knowledgeable and can recommend something for you. If it's not CF, they will probably tell you that.

Júlíus G. Magnússon
11-05-2008, 02:31 PM
It sounds like you should definitely drop the metcons all together.

Mike ODonnell
11-05-2008, 04:10 PM
Who let in another Irish person from Boston? Damn......this place is going to turn into a bar.....:D

Craig Brown
11-05-2008, 05:06 PM
It's really a case of whatever works for what you want to do. I like met-cons, but they negatively impact some things I like. I also ride my bike as my main form of transit, so I get some coverage there. Currently with some chronic hip/low back issues I can't really do anything heavy...weirdly enough I'm doing a form of density training that is working great. Who'd a thunk it?

Goals determine the program.

Craig

Alan O'Donnell
11-05-2008, 07:06 PM
Thanks for the responses everyone - they were interesting to read, I was expecting more of the "suck it up" variety.

I'll definitely keep going to CF Boston (everything about the place is awesome, including Jon and EC), but I'll try limiting the met-con. Hopefully I can find some soccer leagues to play in and do my endurance work that way.

Steven Low
11-05-2008, 08:50 PM
I choose to focus pretty much all of my training towards bodyweight strength and gymnastics skills + explosive leg stuff for Parkour. I like that so that's what I'm going to do.

I don't do metcons because it's not on my list of priorities (if I do they're generally short). I don't run X miles because I don't like running long distance because I think I need endurance.

Do what you want to do. Period. If you ever feel like you don't like something.. don't do it. Or at least evaluate whether it may be helpful or not long term to your goals.

Garrett Smith
11-06-2008, 06:40 AM
I'm in a very similar situation to yours.

My interests right now, strength-training-wise, revolve around OL and gymnastics. I find that too much metcon of any sort really sucks a lot of life (and thus progress) out of those two pursuits.

For conditioning, right now, my needs are fully met by weighted hill walking and/or walking with DB exercises (HeavyHands) and the odd GS KB workout (I'm working on getting one solid KB workout in a week). I find the walking is not only relaxing and gets me outdoors, it also gets the HR up for a longer period of time and it doesn't interfere with my other workouts at all--I look at it almost as active recovery.

If you don't like it, don't do it--because your brain will eventually rebel. Don't think of it in a negative way, as in "limiting metcon", think of it as doing the things you LIKE to do. If you get a hankering for a metcon, then do one--but don't overdo it if you haven't done much in a long time--that could be ugly.

Ie...don't do Murph your first metcon back...bad idea. We've been over that before here.

Gavin Harrison
11-06-2008, 08:27 AM
Some conditioning may be useful, but only the context of increasing the amount of work your can do specifically towards your goals. Intervals are probably great for this, without getting in the way of what you want to do. Increased work capacity = more energy to spend in the gym + quicker recovery out of the gym = more fun :D

Eva Claire Synkowski
11-06-2008, 11:05 AM
hey alan!

why dont you talk to neal? join us lifters pre-6 pm class - or if another time during the day when the gym isnt packed (i.e., 6 AM) - and just do your own thing. he is all for strength and gymnastics, and im betting he will work with you to figure out a solution. we had the "weightlifting club" - which is essentially what you want - but we didn't have enough interest to keep it going. (obviously, most people who come to crossfit want to do crossfit metcons!)

Arden Cogar Jr.
11-06-2008, 11:13 AM
This is all great advice. I have very little to add.

Do what you enjoy. If you have a goal, strive for that goal.

I'm a middle aged walking port-a-john that can lift really heavy stuff and wield an axe with the best. I want to have some less than port-a-john like qualities as I advance in years.

You like gymnastics and weights. Nothing wrong with that. I would find a way to get some met-con through those two.

I hate running. Do I run - no. I do extended sets of kettlbell exercises (snatches, swings, long cycle clean and jerk - Grivory sport). I do some strong man movements (nothing like a good carry, drag and log to make you feel human - takes about 90 seconds to complete, but man your heart rate is at 180 for a long time afterwards. Actually, a lot of the strongman movements for 90 seconds are awesome met-con - trying clean and pressing 135 pounds for maximum reps in 90 seconds. Or something like that.

I even enjoy doing my olympic lifting drills with light weights for extended number of sets for limited repetitions. I recently did 11 sets of 3 with 135 on tall snatches. I rested about 25 to 30 seconds between sets. I had to do the last two sets of full lifts as I was completely hammered. That's about as close to Isabel or whatever it's called for a while. The heart rate stayed at 130 and higher for the entire duration of the session. It was awesome. Didn't keep track of time, but I might next time.

I also do my event training as met-con. It's awesome.

Just throwing things out there that you can do as met-con, that falls within the parameters of the stuff you enjoy. The met-con, as I see it, is for fitness.

If you want the beefcake, that's your perogative. Don't feel like less a person for admitting it. I too was there when I was single, young, and had higher androgen levels.

They say age breeds wisdom. I say age causes naturally declining testosterone levels which brings about wisdom, common sense and an understanding of reality. But that's just me.

All the best,
Arden

Alan O'Donnell
11-06-2008, 07:10 PM
Hey EC :)

I'll talk to Neal, pre-6pm sounds good.

Gant Grimes
11-07-2008, 02:05 PM
hey alan!

why dont you talk to neal? join us lifters pre-6 pm class - or if another time during the day when the gym isnt packed (i.e., 6 AM) - and just do your own thing. he is all for strength and gymnastics, and im betting he will work with you to figure out a solution. we had the "weightlifting club" - which is essentially what you want - but we didn't have enough interest to keep it going. (obviously, most people who come to crossfit want to do crossfit metcons!)

What the hell? I give you a plug and you ostracize the lifters? People who want to move the iron have to get there at 6 am? You need to end that discrimination right now! Have the metcon fools come up at 6 am; they're gluttons for punishment.

Daniel Labuz
11-07-2008, 02:47 PM
I don't dislike met-cons, I just don't do them often because it's hard to put them in a lot of the times in my training schedule. I need to work on strength mostly, but I also need to work on endurance and power.

There's a time and place for met-cons, maybe 3 or 4 a month, but even then I don't get that many in, and I try to train at least 20-23 days a month. Sometimes I'm up for trashing myself to the point where I can't remember what the last 2 minutes were, but I think it's best to be mentally into what you want to do for training that day instead of following crossfit or whatever, but that's my opinion. I get the whole hopper concept, but if you're not a crossfit athlete it really doesn't help you to trash yourself that much if you can't even get your sport specific stuff done as well

Eva Claire Synkowski
11-10-2008, 05:25 PM
What the hell? I give you a plug and you ostracize the lifters? People who want to move the iron have to get there at 6 am? You need to end that discrimination right now! Have the metcon fools come up at 6 am; they're gluttons for punishment.

huh? i think you misunderstood. 6 AM is when one of our crossfit classes occur and it is the most crowded. they have priority to weights/bars.

pre-6 PM class is when i suggested to alan.

Gant Grimes
11-11-2008, 07:45 AM
huh? i think you misunderstood. 6 AM is when one of our crossfit classes occur and it is the most crowded. they have priority to weights/bars.

pre-6 PM class is when i suggested to alan.

Excellent! The feud is over.

I still suck at rowing. Just not as bad.