Half a year of CrossFit and how it affected my life in filmmaking

Posted by on Nov 4, 2016 in Blog, Filmmaking

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As I described in a previous blog post I wanted to change up my life. I wanted to start a better lifestyle: Sport and healthy food, in order to better my creativity and my work capacity off set as well as on set.

Filmmakers oftentimes just sit around in editing booths cutting away hours of raw film into a piece of sometimes more – sometimes less art. Since we also have long shifts of at least 8 – mostly more than 10 hours of work, we also tend to just eat whatever is edible and fast at hand. And moving our bodies? Come on we all know we don’t move much in our carefully chosen seats!  All in all: Filmmakers don’t live the kind of lifestyle our bodies are designed to live. This not only goes for filmmakers but also for many other jobs in the modern society. Considering one of my early gurus for learning about gear and cinematography Philip Bloom still suffers from a seriously back injury as a consequence of carrying heavy tripods and gear the wrong way, I am sure what I am doing is right.

My conclusion of 1 month of CrossFit and filmmaking was sort of like: “I can finally start doing two workouts a week and I don’t see myself quitting anytime soon.” Well… 3 weeks into 2 workouts a week I wanted and needed more. Since I was visiting a mobility class every week twice a week wasn’t enough to satisfy my needs no more. So I got myself an upgrade to 4 times a week. Which is pretty solid. That’s 3 WODs and a dedicated class of mobility every week. I rolled pretty much up until now with this setup for the last six months.

Nutrition in CrossFit

As for nutrition I sort of developed my own style of the paleo diet, which is the diet CrossFit recommends. Thing is I don’t quite agree with all of the paleo guidelines. I absolutely agree concerning processed food and sugar! That’s just one of the things which are killing our society. Eating lots of sugary, processed food which contains nearly no nutrients at all, except for sugar and fat. It was a huge factor of why I gained so much weight and felt dizzy and tired every time I ate something. What we eat is what fuels everything we do. If we eat shit, we create shit and we are not able to deliver the work we want to deliver. However, I also think that whole wheat bread and a well balanced muesli is nothing bad for your body. Actually, on the contrary! The fiber you gain by eating whole wheat products and muesli is pimping up your digestion, which is the place where 90% of our nutrients are absorbed in our bodies.  And for the rest I normally just go by Paleo and CrossFit standard prescription: meat, veggies, nuts and seeds, some fruits, little starch, no sugar. It’s simple to remember and actually relatively easy to follow.

I also take some supplements by Foodspring which are made in Germany high quality supplements and snacks tailored for a fitness lifestyle. When in comes to supplements I go by the rule: They are supplements and stay supplements. They supplement my healthy lifestyle. They never replace a meal for me. And that’s in my opinion the only way to eat supplements.

CrossFit and Filmmaking

I have done my fair amount of CrossFit now and I realized that it actually is so beneficial for our lives on Set. I mean: What do we do? We lift crates, Pelicases and Tripods off the ground, which is basically a Deadlift. If we get them to a higher position we Power Clean them. If we pick up our precious cameras it is sort of a Kettlebell. We push a Light up on the C-stand – strict press. And building an engine is always helps on long shooting days or when the shooting location is lets say in the 5th floor and there is no elevator – which is quite common in Germany. Ever tried to hold a Movi or a DJI Ronin for longer periods of time without an easy Rig? Yeah. You’d better be fit, son! Or else you’re gonna have a hard time!

I pretty much feel like it’s the sport designed to be done by a filmmaker. Nearly every movement we do in CrossFit is helping me to do physically better on set. And the best thing is: I’m having so much fun… yeah sorta… you know what I mean right? Fun in a WOD… not so much, but the feeling after you pushed yourself beyond your limits, or at least the limits you thought were your limits, is incredible! And it really helps your mindset, as a filmmaker. How many times do we find ourselves facing unmanageable obstacles? With CrossFit you learn to tackle them and get not intimidated by them. The only one stopping you from achieving your goals is you! Not your budget. Not that the Camera has not quite the right amount of dynamic range. Not that there are not enough crew members to back you up. Not that there is not enough time… well yeah that probably. Just kidding. The only thing holding you back is you.

That translates for so many businesses, but I think in the filmmaking industry we oftentimes just focus so much on what we could have achieved, if there wasn’t something holding us back. Most of the times that actually was just us not focusing on the right things. CrossFit helped me to understand that. I feel like I’m still struggling sometimes, however it’s a process – you don’t become a Roger Deakins over night, just as much as you don’t become a Rich Froning over night. It takes time and dedication! As long as you pursue your goals you’re gonna get a step closer to them!

What Changed?

Changes. Yeah there are some. Despite of the obvious one I lost around 8 kg of weight while gaining muscle mass – I mean I’m still a “Lauch” but I gained quite some muscle as well. My posture completely changed! Normally, I’m living the desk job life – sitting 8 hours in a chair editing and color grading which has been killing my posture for my whole life. I mean let’s face it: the time we enter school we start sitting around way too much leading to poor posture not only for filmmakers. Developing muscle mass where my job and lifestyle have deteriorated it helped a lot curing my bad posture. Taking mobility courses in my CrossFit Box as well as doing yoga and mobility at home helped out big time as well!

An indicator of how well my cardio vascular strength and fitness have changed is my resting heart rate(RHR). When I decided to start a better lifestyle, I had a RHR of 68 measured every day by my Fitbit wearable. This was in January 2016, looking at it now I’m sitting at a RHR between 51 and 52. It’s something you don’t quite take into consideration, because you don’t feel it and you don’t see it, but it’s a huge factor when you want to determine how strong your heart has become through your training.

RHR

Where does my CrossFit journey go?

At the end of my last filmmaking blog I wrote that I cannot see myself stopping doing CrossFit any soon. Well yeah. Still the same – actually I just went to the unlimited pack. As much CrossFit as I want! Feelsamazingman! I still have not done any benchmark WODs yet, though. I want to hit the infamous “Fran” and I am really looking forward – in a masochistic, strange way – to the opening hero WOD when my box moves into the bigger place: MURPH – hell yeah!

#dontstopuntilyoucanliftthehammerofthor


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