Everyone has a goat in CrossFit that prevents them from reaching that next level in their performance. The key to getting over this road block is in smart programming. This means going above and beyond what you have done previously and may take a lot more effort then what you typically do.
I have separated this post into two parts. Part one will go over what results I got, and how I got them. Part 2 will explain the steps for creating a similar program tuned to your own goals.
Before I get into the “how’s” I want to show you the results I got in just 5 weeks of smart programming.
This is a perfect example of what smart training can look like. Before I explain what I did to get these results it’s important to note the 3 sources vital to any program in CrossFit;
3. Training Program
My “goat” was strength. I was respectively strong for my weight, but in a sport with no weight classes, that meant nothing. I needed to get stronger and quick since the CrossFit sectionals were approaching. So I began to hack a program like a mad scientist cracked up on too much coffee, and was blown away with the results!
Below, I break down the 3 segments and show what I did for these 5 weeks.
Diet is huge! You can see some crazy ass results by simply controlling what you stuff in your face. For me, I needed size to add weight to my lifts.
Marty Gallagher is a known expert in this field, training some of the best power lifters of all time, one of his students alone (Kirk Karwoski) broke 70 world records. He says that one of the 3 requirements to gaining significant amount of strength besides periodization and no missed workouts is adding a significant amount of lean muscle mass. In his words:
“It takes a 10% increase in lean muscle mass to net a 50% increase in strength, and that’s being optimistic, period. Any “fitness expert” who claims otherwise is either delusional or a shyster.”
In researching for ways to hack my diet I almost always stumbled across eating more protein. It was always “If you are not gaining weight, you’re not eating enough protein”. Well, shit. How much freakin protein can I eat? Turns out… a shitton.
In the past I tried the GOMAD approach; drinking a full gallon of whole milk every day. Yes, I gained a lot of weight but it wasn’t all lean body mass. As Marty claims, its lean body mass you need to increase NOT overall weight. So this time, I turned all my focus towards protein. I kept fat and carbs on board to prevent a mutation of sorts, but this diet was majorly protein. Below, I outlined my strict eating times, and towards the bottom of the post you can see how much food I would intake on an average day.
My typical meal plan looked like this:
[box] 10:00 AM – Shake (3 cups milk, banana, 3 Tbs peanut butter, scoop of whey)
11:00 AM- Builders bar
1:00PM – Lunch (ex. 7oz chicken, apple)
3:00PM – Builders bar
5:00PM – Dinner (i.e., 5-6oz buffalo meat, applesauce or veggies with olive oil)
8:00pPM – Dinner #2
10:00PM – Snack (3oz chicken, handful of nuts).
12:00AM – shake
1:30AM – Dinner #3 (yep… I’m a night owl)[/box]
It’s important to note that this SUCKED the first week or two. I never ate this much, so it was not easy to get used to. However, ever since then I can’t eat less. My appetite permanently soared after this program. As you will see below, my overall protein per day was close to 270 grams. Yeah… a shitton.
This was a biggy. Personally I feel supplements are highly underrated and underappreciated. There are thousands of articles on supplements which makes it relatively easy to research what will help you achieve your goals. I researched this topic for a while and wound up settling for 3; creatine monohydrate, L-glutamine and cissus quadrangularis (CQ).
Creatine monohydrate was for lean body mass gain and strength increases. It works by increasing the synthesis of ATP used to fuel muscle contraction. It also helps with water retention in the muscles. I started with 6g morning and night, with no loading phase.
L-glutamine is typically taken as a recovery agent for tissue repair. I used it for a slightly different use; intestinal repair. I got this idea from reading the four hour body, originally brought about by strength coach Charles Poliquin. Basically, your intestines don’t absorb all the food you eat, instead, think of it as having small holes or leaks, which let some of the food go to waste. Well, since I needed to eat a crapton, I did not want it to go to waste, by taking 10g of glutamine every 2 waking hours until 80g was reached, it made sure those “holes” were patched and all food was absorbed.
Lastly, CQ was something I read from author Timothy Ferris in the four hour body. CQ is a medical plant from India shown to reduce fat gain from overfeeding. I would like to experiment slightly more with this supplement but it did seem to work.
My supplement plan looked like this:
[box] Creatine monohydrate: 6g wakeup, 6g before bed.
12g/day. L-Glutamine: 80g for first 5 days. 10g @ every 2 “waking” hours until 80 was reached.
Cissus Quadrangularis: 2,400mg 3x/day.[/box]
3. Training program
I like to think about smart training in the “weakest link” mentality. Your program will only be as strong as your weakest, or less relative to your goals, source. My diet and supplements were rock solid, now I needed a solid training program.
I surfed around the net for a while to find a supplemental training program. I did many things prior such as the strength bias and powerlifting programs with good success, but I wanted something better this time. When I started to research online, I found many of the top competitors doing Olympic lifting strength programs. I found the reason for this to be simple: instead of working raw strength (power lifting) Olympic lifting improved raw strength, but also power, explosiveness and speed, which in turn multiplied the effect of increasing strength.
As Marty claims, one of the 3 requirements for adding a significant amount of strength is a periodization training model. Basically this just means a progression model of training, where the loads and lifts become heavier and heavier and the progressions change as the program continues. I started searching for such programs in the Olympic lifting realm and immediately found Russell Burgener program on his mikesgym.com webpage. My friend was also doing this program around the same time and was seeing awesome results so I decided to give it a go. It was a combination of Olympic lifts, progressions and squats.
Conclusion and videos
With all of the sources in place I was ready to nail this thing. After just over 5 weeks the results socked me in the face. The videos for the lifts are linked below. This was the real thing. I drew up my program, set my goals and worked like hell to get them. What you’re seeing below is me finally reaching those goals (notice the screaming… 😛 ).
***[box] UPDATE: This is now a couple years later and can snatch 250lbs.. this stuff works :P… 6/1/14[/box]***
This was not magic or luck, but rather a well thought out template for programing. In part two of this series I will explain how you can create a program just as I had, and how you can foolproof it to make your goals inevitable.
Your thoughts are more than welcome! If you have any questions or feedback please leave a comment, or click the “contact me” tab on the top of the navigation bar.
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