The other day I was invited to do a workout with one of our classes at Integral CrossFit. I love it when I get this invitation since, like most coaches, I have to train alone most of the time. The problem however is that I don’t always have the time to warm-up before we start the workout. This particular workout was long enough that I could use the first round as a warm-up and progressively increase the intensity as I felt I could.

One movement in the workout was Box Jumps. I started with a scaling progression of step ups—rather then jump ups. As I was doing the step ups I noticed that I favored one leg over the other, this was true of the step down. It took a conscious effort on my part to switch legs. In the second round I was able to do jump ups and step downs, it was much slower due to a fear of failure more than a lack of leg strength.

Rather than being irritated or worse embarrassed with myself for the time I was taking doing the jumps I remembered how far my experience with CrossFit has brought me, and how much farther I can go.

When I started CrossFit in 2009 I was about 300 pounds, with approximately 40% body fat. That 120 pounds of fat was not equally distributed and created a problem with finding my body’s center of gravity (this is my theory not hard science, as far as I know). I have a hypothesis that having a disproportionate amount of body fat causes problems with our joints more from a balance perspective than from a pure force perspective—force of course being weight. In other words we over fat people have more difficulty with the proprioception of our center of gravity and balance which causes us to not always have proper joint alignment—a feature of proprioception, since there are no proprioceptors in fat as there are in muscle and the surrounding fascia.

In 2009 I couldn’t, due to fear of falling/pain, jump over the crack where the rubber gym flooring meets. I still have this fear/problem with jumping. Some of this fear, I’m sure,  is an artifact from the time when I was over fat and some is based on pain avoidance.

How do we overcome this fear? I think that one way is to spend more time doing more lateral movements—Carioca, shuffles—while at the same time adding a distraction to the brain, like having to use the hands. To test this theory and to encourage more lateral movements we brought a Spike Ball game in and added it to the warm up. I’ll be coming up with some initial assessments to be able to track our progress in moving better.

The take away for me is that when we lose fat through diet and exercise we need to assure that the exercise portion include multi-planar movements to remove the possible residue of fear we may have from not being balanced. Multi-planar movements happen in sports like tennis, soccer, volley ball… but not in cycling, swimming, running…