Friday, March 29, 2013
I knew I liked the CrossFit box I chose, but when I read something like this that they post on Facebook... I am all the more confident I have chosen very well.
I feel like this is super important for EVERYONE to keep in mind, no matter what workouts you do. I know that I have had times when I was overtraining with my home workouts (Bodyrock, Zuzka, Loving Fit, etc).
It's so hard sometimes, when you love to work out, to take breaks and rest but recovery is truly the most important component of any fitness routine. Seriously.
"Guys, please read - more is not better in CrossFit!
Let’s talk about training, recovery and adaptation for a moment. The reason we train is to elicit an adaptation; one of improved fitness, body composition and ultimately health. At the box, this adaptation is triggered via stress; the stress of the WOD. In 1936 Hans Selye, M.D. wrote a paper called A Syndrome Produced by Diverse Nocuous Agents; this paper looked at how cells changed following exposure to “nocuous” (harmful) stresses. The point to take from this paper is you as the athlete; experience the same stages in response to a stressor (training) as the cells he examined.
There are three basic stages to this adaptation: alarm, resistance and exhaustion. We as coaches strive to keep you in the first two stages and you as athletes should work to remain in the first two stages; we’ll talk about how you set yourselves up for success in a moment.
Alarm – this is the stage where you experience a new stressor or an increased level of a stressor. An example would be to go from being sedentary to working out (a new stressor) or to go from running three miles twice a week to five miles three times a week (an increased level of a stressor). During this stage, your body’s goal is to cope with the new stressor. This stress is critical in improving your fitness; no increase in stress means no improvement in fitness – this stage is critical to initiating fitness gains. Part of CrossFit’s magic is the constantly varied nature of the WODs; they do an excellent job of ensuring new and increased levels of stress to drive your adaptation.
Resistance – also called the adaptation stage; this is the stage where you begin to have metabolic changes to help you deal with the stressors you are exposed to. This can take anywhere from days to months depending upon the frequency and scale of the stressor (training). This is the stage where demonstrable fitness gains occur, a new deadlift PR, stringing together thirty double unders, etc.
Exhaustion – this is the stage we NEVER want to find ourselves in and yet it’s super easy to slip into it. This is the stage where the frequency and / or magnitude of the stressor overwhelms or exhausts your ability to adapt to it. This is “overtraining”.
Overtraining is counterproductive; it results in injury, and inability to make progress (adapt) and a decrease in fitness and health. You will hear your coaches tell you time and again that more is not better! They are trying to protect you from yourself and overtraining. Your adaptation does not come during the training; it comes during your recovery. Blunt your recovery and you blunt your adaptation / improvement in fitness / capacity. Most of this is under your control – nutrition, sleep and amount / volume of training being the primary ones. CrossFit is unique in the variety of movements, loads and time durations it asks the athlete to perform under. It does a superior job keeping you in the first two stages, when properly applied. It’s very easy to think an open gym day means you should come in and work snatches for an hour or double unders or another goat or time spent before or after class is well used for this as well but that is not always the case. If you are not progressing as you want or you are beginning to get a tweak here or there, LESS volume is what you need. Dial in your nutrition, get 8+ hours of sleep a night. Nothing outside of steroids is more anabolic than proper nutrition coupled with adequate sleep; allowing for full recovery. Rest days, nutrition and recovery allow you to train harder and see the results of your efforts. The path to general physical preparedness is a slow and steady one that takes time. Do not be impatient; understand how the training affects you physiologically and set yourself up for success by ensuring you don’t slip into the “exhaustion” stage of overtraining! – Don"
Thanks for reading, if you made it this far :)