Arguably the biggest debate for CrossFitters – Intensity vs. Volume – which is better?
We all see social media plastered with CrossFit athletes working out hours per day, multiple sessions, and strength work upon strength work. AMRAP 7, rest 2 mins, AMRAP 7, rest 2 mins, AMRAP 7, rest 2 mins, AMRAP 7, rest 2 mins (you get the idea) – with the athlete completing tons of movements, tons of reps, and dying on the floor at the end. They look incredible – from their body to their inspirational quotes attached to the video snippet or reel of images. But what you don’t see is their purpose behind this – are they a CrossFit Games, Regionals, or on-the-cusp-of-making-it athlete? Then it’s most likely their job to be at this fitness level and training at that volume. They have coaches, programmers, nutritionists, and body specialists keeping them safe and in top performance shape. They also have an off-season – where they dial back the training schedules, loosen their strict training diets, and just live life.
That’s where the majority of us fall – we’re training to be better at CrossFit to be better at life. You don’t need to spend hours at the gym or double sessions. You don’t need to weigh, measure, and track every single piece of food that goes into your mouth. You just need to trust the process. I don’t care how cliche you think that is…it’s the truth. You pay your membership because you believe that what you’re getting is good for you. You’ve already shown that you trust your coaches and programmer. So why are you veering off course and buying or copying someone else’s training plan that doesn’t know you, doesn’t know your goals, and certainly isn’t invested in your success. More than likely, every coach at your gym knows you, at least a little bit. But I can promise you, that every coach at your gym wants you to be your absolute best – whatever that means for that particular day, week, month, or year. Each coach is invested in seeing you get better and making sure you do it safely.
When you pick up some extra training guide and stack it onto your gym’s programed WOD, you’re doing yourself a disservice. The programmed WOD is designed not only to challenge you in a particular way that day, but it’s built on a cycle that plays off the WODs you’ve recently completed, and the WODs that are yet to come. They are not blindly picked out of some magic hat. When you add in your own programming, you often sacrifice the intent of the programmed WOD. There are days when we come into the gym and roll our eyes because we see a 5 AMRAP as the WOD after some strength work and think “I can’t believe today is just a 5 minute workout. I’ll never get fitter from that.” That is exactly where you’re wrong – we’ve done hundreds of WODs and workouts in CrossFit and we can tell you, if you played that 5 AMRAP the way it was supposed to be played, you’ll have NOTHING left when that clock hits 5:01. The flip side, if you sandbag the 5 AMRAP because you don’t want to be tired for the 45 mins of your own lifting after, then you missed the entire point of the 5 AMRAP and you honestly did waste your time. Or maybe worse, you have no energy left to get yourself to that dark place during those 5 mins because you already worked out and now all you can do is “just keep moving”. Again, you missed the entire point of that 5 AMRAP. If you really feel like you need your own programming, speak with a coach and see what options are available.
No one got fit in one day. It’s the little things that we do day by day that add up and make us better. It’s good days and bad days – both in training and in life. It’s not hours in the gym and fancy “individualized” programming. Those things are very important for athletes that are training for a higher level. They aren’t training to be more fit and functional in life. And they certainly aren’t training at that level long-term. We want you to be healthy, fit, and active for the rest of your life. And if that means that you scale back the weight when life outside of the gym is burdening you, then that’s what you do. Or you miss hitting a PR on “PR day” then you brush it off and just remind yourself that it wasn’t your day. You don’t need to make up for it by adding in accessory lifts that will tackle those weaknesses that robbed you of that PR.
“The goal is to get fit, make it the best hour of your day, stay safe, turn up the music, high five some people, and blow off some steam. So remember that. Relax. Have fun. Work out.” – Pat Sherwood
If you’re not having fun, then what’s the point?
15 air squats
8 sit ups
ME Cal row
15 air squats
10 push ups
ME Cal row
12 sit ups
8 push ups
1 mile run
rest 2 min between amrap
DB Isabel (70/50)