Cross Fit describes its strength and conditioning program as “constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement,” with the stated goal of improving fitness. Work-outs combine movements such as sprinting, rowing, jumping rope, climbing rope, weight lifting, and many body weight exercises. The equipment used during work-outs include barbells, dumbbells, gymnastic rings, kettle bells, medicine balls and boxes for box jumps to name a few. These elements are brought together in numerous creative combinations for work-outs. Classes typically include a warm-up, a skill development segment, a high intensity work-out and a period of stretching.
Examiner: What’s your sport participation background?
JE: I played high school sports mainly basketball and baseball. I’ve participated in a lot of different sports through the years. Currently I play softball on the weekends in a men’s league. I also mountain bike and my family are big fly fisherman.
Examiner: How long have you been an athletic trainer?
JE: For three years. I had joined a Cross Fit gym and was working out there. I fell in love with the programs. I started doing it more and more and entering Cross Fit competitions. One night I was sitting at dinner with my dad and because he’s an active guy I suggested that he try Cross Fit. He said, “I don’t want to get hurt. You guys are like taking working out to an extreme level and I just want overall fitness and not to hurt myself.” This was where Cross Fit Longevity was kinda born, out of this conversation at the dinner table. The idea of developing a Cross Fit program geared towards the older athlete. I hate to put an age on Cross Fit Longevity because there are 30 and 40 year olds who haven’t done anything physical and they can be just as out of shape as someone who’s active in their 60’s. I try not to limit the age limit of the class participants.
Three years ago I received my level one certification through the Cross Fit trainer program, then I opened Cross Fit Longevity with the hopes of encouraging older athletes to become active in this particular program.
Examiner: What other athletic trainings do you have?
JE: I’m Cross Fit level one certified, Cross Fit football certified and Cross Fit endurance certified. I have kept my trainer credentials focused on the Cross Fit Arena.
Examiner: Are Cross Fit programs franchised?
JE: They are affiliated. To put a Cross Fit sign on my gym door I pay an affiliate fee, which gives me the Cross Fit name. All the gyms have a different flavor and Cross Fit is open to letting trainers run them however they wish.
Examiner: You can orchestrate your gym anyway you wish.
JE: There’s eight different Cross Fit gyms in Santa Cruz and they are all different. They all cater to different personality types and they have different programming. I run mine pretty heavily based on strength and conditioning. Other gyms may be more heavily focused on gymnastics and endurance.
Examiner: Describe the principles behind Cross Fit and how it’s different from other work-outs.
JE: The difference from a traditional gym work-out is that Cross Fit takes a lot of different disciplines. In our work-outs there are Olympic lifts, slow lifts which are like back squatting, front squatting, dead lifting, power and strength moves. Clients also develop a lot of gymnastic moves for example, pull-ups, push-ups, rope climbing, wall ball. Cross Fit training takes all those to mix and match the work-outs. Every work-out is different.
Cross Fit is an overall system of training that builds on a hierarchy;
- Diet: Lays the molecular foundation for fitness and health.
- Metabolic Conditioning: builds capacity in the three metabolic pathways aerobic, lactic acid, and phosphocreatine pathways.
- Gymnastics: Establishes functional capacity for body control and range of motion.
- Weight lifting and Throwing: Develops ability to control external objects and produce power.
- Sport: Applies fitness in competitive atmosphere with randomized movements and skill mastery.
People that join a gym typically end up spending most of their time training in an oxidative state. They get on an elliptical machine for an hour and a half and watch t.v.. This raises their heart rate up into a certain level but it doesn’t do much but elevate their heart rate. There’s no spike in their heart rate then recovery. Cross Fit training builds capacity in the three metabolic pathways: phosphocreatine, glycolytic and oxidative. A metabolic pathway is just a method the body uses to produce ATP, the body’s storehouse of energy which is utilized by muscles. A person is as fit as their capacity in each of the three pathways.
Examiner: Is training as a group another differing feature from other gyms?
JE: The community aspect is absolutely another large part of Cross Fit training. Everyone kinda knows when people come in, at what times, and what classes they are taking. They cheer each other on. If someone is struggling through a work-out and someone else is done with their sets that person will come over and cheer on the others encouraging them to finish. The sense of community is a big piece of the work-out process.
Examiner: You currently run a very popular program in Santa Cruz, Cross Fit – Longevity. Is this a regular part of Cross Fit’s programs or a pilot program?
JE: It’s a pilot program. I am the only person running a Master’s program out of all the Cross Fit sites.
Examiner: In the nation or locally?
JE: In the nation. Some sites offer Master’s classes like one class a day. But the programming is not really geared towards them. They just kind of do the same work-outs with lighter weights. My program is focused on things that are happening in older athletes. They need a lot of strength in their legs, glutes, and hips so we focus on getting that strength back first. You can’t have balance, agility and coordination unless you’re strong enough. The first three months of the Longevity Program is to develop strength and technique. Once the base strength is established the athlete is able to do a lot more.
Examiner: Who is your target senior audience? What inspired you to run this program for clients in the 50 plus years age group?
JE: It was really all around my dad. It’s a demographic that has been missed. People have this impression that these work-outs are only for military, first responders, young kids and that the programs are really intense, hard on the body. My dad is sixty-six years old. He’s in incredible shape and he was the one that said, “You have to target this age group. We are the one’s who need it the most.”
Examiner: If you were talking to a group of seniors who fit into the following categories: a) Dropped out of an exercise program in their 40’s b) Never were into exercising. c) Were competitive athletes years ago but stopped regular exercising after starting their adult work life. What would you say to these folks to motivate them to try this type of program?
JE: I would say you can’t afford not to do this. It’s for your health. You can’t do any activity three hours a week and receive the benefits this gives your fitness. Someone can sit in front of a computer fourteen hours a day and one hour a day should be devoted to their fitness.
Examiner: For people concerned about injury, what are the types of preventative measures you take?
JE: I tell them I’m not here to injure them. I am not in their body so they need to communicate to me. If their muscles are tight, if their hamstrings or back is bothering them, we work around it. I will work to come up with an alternative that’s lower impact, but still receiving the benefits of training their energy pathways. If someone tells me that they have tendontious in their elbows then we will just work on squats and not pull anything on that day. I understand that people have aches and pains and modify work-outs to the clients particular needs. Each day during the warm-up I check in and ask how they are feeling and if there is anything I should be aware of.
Examiner: What are the mental/physical hurdles seniors may face when they engage in this program? How do you help them through the early stages so they continue to remain inspired and believe in their abilities to gain fitness in their later years?
JE: I give them a lot of feedback and the community keeps them motivated. There’s such a variety of skills within a Cross Fit program you can’t master any of them so I think people stay motivated and inspired by their progress. They shoot for personal goals. I see clients who may start off dead lifting 45 lbs. and can’t believe they can lift that much. Months later the person has improved to the point of lifting 113 lbs, that’s a big change. People see themselves becoming stronger and the progress of their health I think that’s what inspires them.
Examiner: Do you have any favorite stories, quotes or tips that has given your career guidance?
JE: I love the people that come in to my classes. I think it’s more inspiring for me to see these people come in and make progress in their overall fitness and strength. They may not believe they can do it and then they do it. The people that are consistent, that give the program a shot and work hard are the most inspiring. It makes me realize that what I am doing is totally worth it. It can change peoples outlook and lives. Going through a work-out they don’t think they can get through and getting through it, can carry over and empower other areas of their lives.
Strength: Power Clean 2/2/2/2/2/2 (try and touch and go on the second power clean)
WOD: 6 Rounds
6 Push press
6 Toes to bar