Why do you workout? It’s an important question to ask yourself. We all have our reasons, it is important for you to know yours. No matter what you are training for, what you want to see is results. You want to see yourself inching closer to that goal, closer to your reason “why”. Let’s talk about four keys to success that will help you along the way.
The first key: Consistency
Being consistent doesn’t necessarily mean being constant. You don’t have to come every day to be considered consistent. Two workouts a week for six weeks in a row is just as consistent as five a week for six weeks. In both of these scenarios we have established consistency and have made training a priority. Now, depending on our goals, we might need to push our consistency level up from two times a week. Regardless, we have achieved consistency in our training, which is a foundation to having long-term success.
Both of these scenarios are better than coming every day for three weeks followed by a two week hiatus. This irregularity in our attendance makes it difficult to see the changes we seek. This is because real results take time, and the net effect of yo-yo training is often neutral or even negative. Life has a way of making it hard to get to workouts consistently. Personally, I like to schedule out the workouts I’m planning to attend in advance. I sit down on Sunday, go through my schedule, and figure out what will work for me that week. Then, I schedule new things that come up around that training schedule. I make my training a priority. By prioritizing your health, you will see the changes you want.
You don’t have to come every day. But consistent effort leads to consistent results.
Key number two: Intensity
Let’s take a quick refresher in high school physics.
Power = (Force × Distance) ÷ Time
Force = Mass × Acceleration
Power and intensity are synonymous when it comes to exercise. There are many ways we can increase intensity (power) as you can see from the equations above. You can increase force by lifting more mass or by moving the same mass with greater speed. You could increase the distance the weight has to travel or the distance you have to travel. Or we change the speed in which we do things. Generally, decreasing time and moving faster will increase power and thus increase our intensity.
There are two points I want you to take out of this. First, there are a lot of factors to intensity, and therefore many different ways we can make sure the intensity is correct for us. Second, a fitness programming that is progressive and strategic (like at CrossFit Nexus) will target these different areas of power, these varying intensities in different ways.
It is important communicate with your coaches and understand what the goal of the programming is for any in particular WOD. If you’re the athlete who comes in and adds as much weight as they can and just powers through the workout every day and ends up sore for half the week after each workout, chances are you’re not working at the correct intensity. By going too heavy, you’re probably missing the benefit of the workout as it’s written and possibly even reducing relative intensity! To say it another way, by going too heavy, the workout actually becomes less intense! However, the same is true about going too light. If a person consistently keeps the load too light, they won’t expand the margins of their fitness. Either way, going too easy or too hard will result in slow, inefficient progress.
To see consistent improvement listen to your coaches, trust the process, and understand that it’s necessary to vary intensities and challenge your body in different capacities.
The third key: Recovery
The lost art of recovery is what can help you stay consistent. Taking some time to do extra work at home by foam rolling, stretching, and incorporating some mobility drills. Making this a habit will help facilitate your body’s recovery process and help you feel ready to attack the next WOD you attend.
In addition to this, the most important and often overlooked component to recovery is sleep. Getting the right amount of good, deep sleep will allow our body to repair itself and feel rested and ready to take on the day ahead. A chronic lack of quality sleep adds stress to your body. This can disrupt hormone regulation and lead to stagnant results in weight loss and performance. Find ways to ensure you are getting enough sleep for your body to keep progressing to your goals.
Our final key: Nutrition
The final key to success, and arguably the biggest, is nutrition. Nutrition is the base of CrossFit’s theoretical hierarchy of development. Without proper nutrition the whole pyramid will collapse. I’m a strong believer that 80% of your results you see in any training program will come from what you eat. Whether your goal is to build muscle, get stronger or lose body fat, nutrition will be the foundation of your success. The common saying “you can’t out-train a poor diet,” is simple and accurate. No matter how hard you try, if you are only focusing on training you are not going to see the results you should. Build your foundation in nutrition. Slowly but surely do a little bit better with it each day, staying consistent with your previous successes. This will turn your healthy habits into a lifestyle. This lifestyle will give you the results you want.
It’s not any one thing that makes us successful in our fitness program, but a culmination of our efforts. They feed off one another; help build each other, like our CrossFit Nexus community. Together, they make up a healthy lifestyle. Together, they will give you the results you seek.