11.May.2015

When to "GO HARD", and when to "PULL BACK"

It's a pretty common theme around the CrossFit community that "going hard" on your workouts is cool and is what delivers results.

Now, don't get me wrong, intensity will definitely deliver results! However, there is a time and place for it, and that time and place looks different for each individual.

At CrossFit Five Cities, we not only strive to push our athletes to be better, but we strive to educate them on; proper mechanics, proper intensities, proper pacing, proper loading, proper breathing, proper daily workout intentions, and what this looks like for them as individuals.

There is no such thing as a "one size fits all" workout program, or a one size fits all barbell load, or workout schedule......etc. Therefore, it should make sense that there is no one size fits all high-low intensity/effort day.

It takes a lot of practice (failures blended with some successes) to figure out how to blend your workout efforts with your own individual lifestyle, sleep patterns, stress levels, nutrition, recovery....etc.

Athletes who work with me in an Exclusive Program Design setting understand this very well as we don't build any program until we sit down to discuss specific goals, lifestyle, schedule, sleep patterns, stress levels, training history, nutrition........to name a few. It is important for an athlete to understand that if you work three, 12hr. night shifts in a row, your body and CNS are a train wreck on that 4th day. While it's easy (and understandable) to want to come into the gym and crush your workout because you haven't trained in 3 days, that is  actually the exact opposite of what you need to do. That athlete needs to rest, get proper nutrients in the body, hydrate, come into the gym and do 30-45min of Z1 activity, and THEN (maybe), do a short, low intensity, low CNS demanding WOD at 70-80% effort.

On Wednesday of last week, A C5 athlete came into the gym during OPEN BOX and started warming up for the WOD. He did the first strength related piece and realized that his body wasn't responding the way he wanted it to. He was feeling drained and not "on point". This athlete made conscious decision to NOT do the WOD, and did a short Z1 piece on the rower and some mobility instead. I think I was more PROUD of this athletes decision with this situation than I was to watch him hit a back squat PR the previous week!

Did missing the WOD that day and doing Z1 and mobility instead make him weaker? Did his fitness digress because of this? Absolutely NOT! If anything, he will see MANY MORE PR's in his future because of this decision. His body is already thanking him and he's probably performed better everyday since then!

In conclusion; LISTEN to YOUR body! BE PRESENT! If you're tired, take the day off. If you're feeling great, push the limits! It's so easy to get caught up in the hype that surrounds that little dry erase number on the whiteboard that gets written next to your name each day. In reality, that number does NOT dictate who you are. It's a score that get's written up for the hour and will be erased before the end of the day.  If you can focus on understanding when to "go hard" and when to "pull back", I can guarantee you will find MUCH more success on your Fitness Journey! 

Remember, this journey is for the rest of your life, understanding that you may need to adjust the sails a little each day to accommodate YOUR life and YOUR goals is what is required for REAL RESULTS!

Make it a great week of fitness friends!!

~Chad