Workout of the Day:
Front Squat
3-2-1-1-1
and then,
Three rounds for time of:
10 Front Squats (60-70% of today’s 1-RM)
20 Burpees
30 Sit-Ups

Yay Burpees!
Yay Burpees!

The Myth of the Fat-Burning Zone
Written by Mark Riebel

An old article from the CrossFit Journal has this same title, and I’d like to give a quick synopsis here if you’re not a subscriber (which you should be).

How many times have you heard that in order to really burn fat, you’ve got to work in heart rate range of 50-70% of your maximum for at least 30 minutes? There’s even convenient charts posted on nearly every piece of cardio equipment in all the traditional gyms you go to (if you’re cheating on us here at Invictus), so it must be true. Fortunately for us, it’s not.

Yes, it is true that fat makes up the bulk of your body’s fuel for most of your daily activities and in low-intensity aerobic exercise where you’re either working for long periods of time or not breathing exceptionally hard. This fact is where the idea comes from that you must be in a certain sub-maximal heart rate range to maximally burn fat. The problem is that this is a misunderstood point.

If I work at a slow and steady pace for my prescribed 30 minutes on the stairmaster while I watch TV, I might burn, say, 100 calories, approximately 50% of which are from fat. Now, if I do that same 30 minutes at a much higher heart rate (and therefore intensity level), I could burn about 300 calories, of which maybe only 30% are fat, with glucose and glycogen making up the bulk of the rest (a small amount of protein gets burned as well). “See, you burn more fat at an easier pace!” the exercise magazines will tell you. But anyone with some basic math skills can see that more total fat was burned in the high-intensity workout (90 calories vs. 50) than the lower one, and the first workout merely had a greater percentage of calories burned from fat.

Most of you will be thinking at this point, “But our workouts aren’t that long, so there’s no way we can burn this many calories!” This is a forthcoming post in itself where I’ll tell you a bit more about geeky science things like exercise post oxygen consumption and why you get much more bang for your buck with the style of workouts we do instead of watching television on the stairmaster for 30 minutes. For now, though, trust in the programming and try to hold back your snickers when someone tells you about weight loss and the fat burning zone.

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ShaneFATCole EllisCarla Mactony m Recent comment authors
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shanef
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shanef

10K today!

Mark Riebel
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Mark Riebel

AT,

Where’s our team on the site? I looked on the pulldown menu and it wasn’t on there. Shane said he was having the same problem. Anyway, I started off with a 2K this morning…only 98K more to go.

ShaneF
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ShaneF

I’m trying to register for the C2 Challenge but Crossfit Invictus isn’t listed on their drop down menu of teams available to row for. Should I just type it in or is something amiss?

POS
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POS

Thanks for the post AT, posting something about the challenge was on my bucket list. Be smart with that shoulder. Carla Mac, welcome aboard! As Adam said you can row anywhere as long as you log your meters. I row at home before breakfast and then pre-wod and also post wod. I agree that FS to Burpees was a nice burn by rep 15. Time 8:03 with 150# on the bar. Did a Oly WOD prior to the Met-Con today. You can row on your off/rest days everyone. A great way to watch others workout while you row merrily down… Read more »

Carla Mac
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Carla Mac

OK…I have signed up on the Concept Rower site and joined the team. I will row 2,500 meters per day for the next two weeks at a minimum to add some miles.

AT
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AT

POS – I have been out of commission ever since the games with a shoulder thing…I am going to start easing into things again…starting today. I haven’t done my 100K challenge yet…that is on my “bucket list”…right now I just kicked off marathon training for the Carlsbad Marathon. I will try to chip in 5K on the rower today. Everyone should row at least 500m before or after the workout. 500m takes the slowest person 3 minutes and is a great way to warm up. The contest officially starts tomorrow. Here is a link with the details. http://www.concept2.com/us/motivation/challenges/team/frc.asp Go to… Read more »

Cole Ellis
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Cole Ellis

Nice post Mark – keep up the good work.

Carla Mac
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Carla Mac

I will contribute to the rowing team. I may be out of San Diego by the 25th of this month if my house sells…but I’m good for some major miles on the Concept 2. I have one at home…does this count or do we need to rack up miles on the gym rowers so it will be recorded?

Today’s workout was a butt kicker…I thought. Going from FS to Burpees gave my legs a challenge.

PR on FS today at 82K

WOD: 13:54 with 50K on the bar.

Mark Riebel
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Mark Riebel

Tony,

My guess is that the only time considered by critics of shorter, more intense workouts would be the time spent directly on the WOD. You are right about the structure of our classes keeping your heart elevated for most of the time. We try to keep the traditionalists happy too 😉

tony m
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tony m

Mark-
wonderful begining here.
when someone has a heart-ache about the short duration for our WOD’s and the “fatburning zone”, is it taken into account the amount of the time we spend warming up, dynamic stretching,the Oly lift time,etc?
i know i spend about an hour in the gym when i come in, and i will bet that if i had a heart rate monitor on the whole time, most of that hour would be spent in or well above my 50-70% zone.
or are the exercise “gurus” just taking into account the time doing the actual WOD?

Lizzle
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Lizzle

You guys are so smart . . . makes me want to sniff you.

POS
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POS

Perfect segue today. Today marks the start of the Fall Rowing Challenge by Concept 2. Crossfit Invictus has an online rowing team. Adam T set it up and you can sign up and contribute. If we have 10 people row a total of 100,000 meters in 30 days we will earn a chance at wining a new C2 rower. This is such an obtainable goal, just think if you ge to the gym a bit early and want to warm up, sit on the rower and pull 1 or 2K and at the end cool down with another few K.… Read more »

Mark Riebel
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Mark Riebel

Richard,

You’re right that there is some increase in aerobic capacity when you train mostly anaerobically, though the reverse is not true. Again, that’s why we prioritize for the anaerobic side of things. Aerobic training will improve your efficiency is oxygen uptake and fat burning (this means you burn less fat for the same amount of work–usually not something you want when considering fat), as well as a host of other adaptations. We primarily see long aerobic training as a benefit from the mental fortitude side of things, so it’s definitely something to visit from time to time.

Richard Madrid
Member
Richard Madrid

Mark, Also, doesn’t all the short, intense training we go through also help us sustain maximal aerobic effort, say like running a 3-5 miles? I haven’t run months, actually, haven’t run since the last Navy PRT back in April and the other day i ran a 5k in 25 minutes and wondered how much crossfit actually played a role in that run for me. I never felt stronger during a run than i did that day and it the last half of the run i felt the strongest. So don’t all the brief, intense workouts we do also help us… Read more »

Mark Riebel
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Mark Riebel

Kind of forgot to wrap that up…

This doesn’t mean that endurance work has no purpose. Particularly for long-distance athletes such as yourself Christine, longer time domain workouts are something that need to be trained. We visit these occasionally to get some aerobic work as well as developing the mental fortitude it takes to just keep going. But from what we’ve seen, nearly everybody will see larger improvements in fitness by training in relatively short, high intense workouts.

Mark Riebel
Guest
Mark Riebel

There’s a typo in the last paragraph. It should read “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.” Christine, as far as the longer workouts go, you have to find the right balance between duration and power output. Most of what we do focuses on the shorter end because you’re able to put out much harder for brief periods as opposed to long ones. As time goes on in the workout, eventually you’re forced to slow your pace because your body simply can’t keep up with the effort level. An example would be something like Grace. If you’re tasked with 30 clean and jerks,… Read more »

christine
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christine

Hi Michele! Did the “longer WOD” part give me away?

Cynthia
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Cynthia

But I like Snickers….

Michele Vieux
Admin
Michele Vieux

Crazy C, is that you?

christine
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christine

Thanks for the post Mark. Had to laugh because by the time I read the last paragraph, you addressed my exact thoughts. Wouldn’t longer WODS at the same high level intensity be much more productive? I look forward to the forthcoming post.

FAQ - Workout of the Day (WOD)

What does WOD mean in CrossFit?

WOD stands for Workout of the Day. Most CrossFit gyms post one workout each day for their members and online followers to complete. Invictus currently offers THREE free programmed WODs each day (shown above)... and even more personalized and online supplemental programs through Invictus Athlete.

Which program is right for me? Can I move between them?

One thing that sets Invictus apart from other CrossFit gyms and online training programs is that we recognize everyone has different fitness goals, abilities and needs. Be sure to pick which programming is right for you so you can get a great workout that meets your needs.

What does 30X0 mean? (How to read the WOD)

Another thing you might notice that’s different about our programming is that we use ‘tempo training’ - almost always in the Fitness programming and in various cycles for the Performance and Competition programs. Those extra numbers (ex: @30X0) might seem confusing at first glance but you’ll totally get how it works and why we like to use it after reading this. Trust us, you’ll soon witness the many benefits firsthand. Learn more about tempo training.

I need help with some standard movements and warm-up ideas!

Whether you’re new to CrossFit or have lots of experience with the WOD, our coaches will help you get the most out of every workout. It doesn’t matter if you struggle with a particular movement or if your goals are pushing you toward the higher skilled and more elusive movements, our professional coaches support everyone with advice and feedback.

They have worked with all athlete levels and know what it takes to get people moving to the best of their abilities. Whether it’s burpees, double-unders, muscle-ups, or tips for the Assault Bike - we’ve got a coach who can help you.

Don’t worry, we’ve got your warm-ups covered, too. Our coaches are constantly learning from other modalities and love to use what they learn in innovative warm-ups focused on both preparing for the workout at hand and maintaining the body for a pain free life. Check out this full body routine to keep your joints functioning and free of inflammation. We also post warm-up suggestions in the Workout of the Day for each of the programs that are tailored to that day’s movements.

Workout on your own and don’t have much time for your warm-up? Here’s a couple of quick and simple ones for your shoulders, squat day, deadlifts, and everyone’s problem area, the thoracic spine.

What if I can’t lift the weight or do the movement as prescribed?

Scaling is part of the beauty of CrossFit because it enables workouts and programming to be tailored to anyone’s ability. When it comes to weight, you can and should ALWAYS scale the weight down if it is unsafe for you to lift it, or if it changes the intended stimulus of the workout.

Here are some rules of thumb for scaling weight in metcons (lifting for time). For gymnastics movements, there are some simple scaling solutions as well. If you are unsure, reach out to your Invictus coach! We are here to make sure you get the safest and best workout possible - proper scaling allows for that.

How many days per week should I train? / How many rest days should I take?

At Invictus, we offer programming 6 days a week, Monday-Saturday and we realize not everyone’s schedule - or training needs - are the same and therefore, you must use your best judgement and listen to your body when it comes to deciding how often to take a rest day.

If you have been doing CrossFit for a while now, you recognize that our program excels due to the high intensity component. With that being said, one thing you have to keep in mind is that you can’t sustain that high intensity every single day; otherwise your body ends up breaking down.

You can learn more about how often someone should take a rest day in this article.

What does EMOM stand for?

EMOM stands for Every Minute on the Minute. When you see that come up in a workout, you have up to one minute to complete the exercise required. Normally what’s prescribed won’t take the entire minute so you also have whatever is left of the time to rest until the next minute starts and you do the next set of prescribed work. And so on.

What does AMRAP mean?

AMRAP means “As Many Rounds (and Reps) as Possible” in a certain time period. For example, the workout might say...

AMRAP in 10 minutes of:

30 Double-Unders
20 Pull-Ups
10 Thrusters

So you would keep going through the cycle of those three exercises until the 10 minutes is up. Your score is the number of complete rounds plus any extra reps you did. So if you did four complete rounds plus 15 Double-Unders in the fifth round, your score would be 4+15.

What does OTM mean?

OTM stands for “On the Minute” and is the same thing as an EMOM. When you see that come up in a workout, you have up to one minute to complete the exercise required. Normally what’s prescribed won’t take the entire minute so you also have whatever is left of the time to rest until the next minute starts and you do the next set of prescribed work. And so on.

What does NFT mean?

NFT stands for “Not for Time” and means that you shouldn’t rush or try to go fast, but instead, focus on technique, skill, form or whatever you are working on for that movement.

How heavy should my first set be?

You might also be wondering where to start your first set if, for example, the workout of the day calls for 5 sets of Deadlift x 5 reps. Is the first set a warm-up or is that the first working set? Here’s our recommendation for how to properly build to your starting weight and what we consider warm-up sets and working sets.

How can I figure out my 1RM?

We frequently use percentage references in prescribing the number of reps to perform, so it’s essential that you have a good idea on most of your maxes.

Let’s say it’s been awhile since you have attempted a 1RM; maybe you had an injury a few months ago, or maybe you just somehow keep missing the 1-RM test days, or maybe you just forgot to write it down in your log book. If you have a multiple-rep max, you’re in luck. There’s actually a simple equation you can use to calculate an estimated 1RM based on the max number of reps you can do at a given weight.