December 2016 - White-Hot Performance & Robust Health, Blackbrook Style.
CrossFit, while labelled the sport of fitness, is really just a very effective training philosophy that moulds people of all shapes and sizes, all ages and backgrounds into superbly conditioned athletes, capable of completing any physical task required of them. Initially the go-to fitness program for military units and champion martial artists, it has spread to the mainstream and is now practiced not just by the elite, but also by students, grandparents, nursing mothers, office workers and pretty much anyone and everyone with a genuine desire to improve their life. These beautiful people all train side by side, straining together to complete the workout of the day; this creates an unbelievable training atmosphere - one that simply must be experienced. This training atmosphere, and indeed the creation of the entire CrossFit community was possible largely due to CrossFits’ scalable nature... Scaling is simply the act of altering certain movements and weights so they are applicable to the individual. It is this feature that allows grandmothers to train alongside professional athletes, and CrossFit benchmark workouts to be adapted and utilised in nursing homes.
CrossFit is the original high intensity training system, with its origins tracing back to the 70’s. It has many years of evolution behind it, and due to its long-standing tried and tested methodology, other fitness models and high intensity (HIIT) programmes have yet to catch up and remain largely ineffective in comparison.
CrossFit is the only fitness program to actually clearly define fitness. This definition makes use of 3 different standards. Collectively, these define the CrossFit view of fitness.
There are 10 recognised general physical skills: cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, agility, balance, coordination, and accuracy. The first standard states that you are only as fit as you are competent in each of these skills. Favouring one or two to the exclusion of the others is arguably one of the biggest faults in fitness training... Think about it - a powerful rugby player is ineffective on the pitch without agility, balance and coordination…
The second standard is the rather logical (yet seemingly rarely held) view that fitness is actually about performing well at any and every physical task imaginable, not just one or two… For example, it’s great to be strong, but not at the expense of losing your breath whenever you climb a set of stairs; and it’s great you can run a long way but not if you struggle to carry your sleeping kid through the front door…
The third standard is about making use of all the energy pathways that drive human movement, not just aerobics - think being able to sprint as well as run long distance… Because, you know, if you’re ever in trouble, running away slowly might not be the best option… And let's face it, if you're a Blackbrook beast you won't need to run from anything anyway...
Now, there is another aspect to the CrossFit brand of fitness that should be of great interest and immense value to all of us. CrossFit have observed that nearly every measurable value of health can be placed on a continuum that ranges from sickness to wellness to fitness. For example, a blood pressure of 160/95 is pathological, 120/70 is normal or healthy, and 105/55 is consistent with an athlete’s blood pressure; a body fat of 40% is pathological, 20% is normal or healthy, and 10% is fit. We observe a similar ordering for bone density, triglycerides, muscle mass, flexibility, HDL or “good cholesterol”, resting heart rate, and dozens of other common measures of health.
Health and fitness are most definitely linked...
What is Blackbrook method? As awesome as CrossFit is, we have identified a couple of flaws... Blackbrook method successfully removes these flaws, improving upon an already great training system… Think of Blackbrook Method as CrossFit 2.0
“Although only open a year, I have been fortunate to witness first hand the progress made by all members, including myself. I've trained at other Crossfit boxes and can safely say that nowhere else comes close…” ~ SM
Some of our improvements: - We operate in an individualised, very personal small group setting. Large group sessions frequently seen in other CrossFit gyms typically mean less attention to their members needs... It’s hard for one coach to monitor 25 people… And if you train on your own in a regular gym you won't get coached at all unless you’re forking out £40+ per hour for a personal trainer… - Mobility/flexibility is an excellent pursuit, but here we understand that it must be coupled with strength… There are two main types of flexibility - passive range of motion (think stretching), and range of motion under tension. If you’re someone who actually intends to use their flexibility in a functional manner (should be all of you) then you want range of motion under tension... - “The six pack is made in the kitchen…” We’ve broken the complex subject of nutrition down and turned it in to easy to implement, step by step, weekly habits for our members to adopt. When they have this dialed in, we can then add in some ridiculously effective supplements to make the act of fat loss and/or muscle gain even faster.
“Neil really has helped me so much... I have lost a lot of unwanted body fat using his nutrition and supplement advice, for this I am very grateful” ~ Alison Reed
- And then there’s the programming improvements… CrossFit is almost all conducted in the sagittal plane (up and down). The lack of work in the frontal plane has lead many CrossFitters and high intensity trainers towards shoulder problems... Incorporating work in all planes of movement makes for a bulletproof athlete. - There are 3 types of muscle contraction; CrossFit only really makes use of 1… To stay healthy, the primary function of a muscle must be trained, or at the very least considered… - I could go on about the different types of grip, the energy systems, lack of unilateral work, rotational work, etc, but my nerd-talk would put you in a f***ing coma… Just join. Just strap in, light the fuse, and enjoy the ride knowing full well that our method is bloody brilliant!
"I've been training at Crossfit Blackbrook for just a few months, and already it has had such a positive impact. Not only in terms of my strength and fitness (which has come on in leaps and bounds), but in my general sense of wellbeing…” ~ Lauren Johns