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. These keys get results.
Pillar 1: Consistency
Consistency doesn’t mean constant. You don’t have to come every day to be considered consistent. 2 times a week for 6 weeks in a row is just as consistent as 5 times a week for 6 weeks. In both 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 2 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 then coming every day 3 weeks followed by zero attendance for two weeks. This yo-yo in our attendance makes it hard to see results. This is because results take time, and the net effect of yo-yo training is most often neutral or negative. Life has a way of making it hard to get to workouts consistently. I like to schedule out the workouts I’m planning on attending the week before. 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 can see the results you want. You don’t have to come every day. But consistent attendance leads to consistent results.
Pillar 2: Intensity
Lets take a quick refresher in high school physics.
Power = (Force + Distance) ÷ Time
Force = (Mass) × (Acceleration)
Power and intensity are synonyms when talking about working out. Thus there are many ways we can increase the power we are generating in a workout. As you can see from the equations above Changes in distance, time, mass or acceleration will all have an impact on our power we generate. So each of these can be thought of as a tool for adjusting our workout’s intensity. You can increase force, by lifting more mass or accelerating the same mass faster. You can increase the distance the weight has to travel, or the distance your body has to travel (longer run, higher jump). If we change the speed in which we do things (Run the same distance but faster) this will change our intensity. There are two points I want you to take from this. First, there are a lot of factors to intensity. There are a lot of different ways that we can tweak our workout so that the intensity is correct for us on any particular day. Second, a well designed fitness programming that is progressive and strategic will target different areas of power, these varying intensities, in different ways. It is important communicate with your coach and understand what the goal of the programming is for any particular workout. If you train on your own, make sure you vary the training intensities. If you train with the same weight, same reps, same speed every week you are just spinning the hamster wheel and will struggle to see results. Trust the process and understand that it’s necessary to vary intensities and target your body in different capacities.
Pillar 3: Recovery
This can go a long way in helping you with our first pillar: consistency. Taking some time to do extra work at the gym or at home to help facilitate your body’s repair will keep you healthy and ready for training. Time spent foam rolling, stretching, working on mobility drills will all help improve your ability to perform during your training sessions. All three of these techniques will help increase blood flow to the areas targeted and that blood flow will help your muscles recover. Many times when we are sore from training we decide it’s better to not do anything and just give our body some time to recover. I highly encourage rest days, but it is important that we still move our body on these rest days to encourage blood flow and recovery. Another key to recovery is ensuring we get adequate sleep. Deep sleep will allow our body to repair itself and feel rested and ready to take on the day ahead. Lack of sleep adds additional stress to your body. This can disrupt hormone regulation and lead to stagnant results in weight loss and performance. Try working on sleep habits to help you consistently get the sleep your body requires. This will help you keep progressing to your goals. Our final pillar is also an important part of recovery.
Pillar 4: Nutrition
The final key to success, and arguably the biggest, is nutrition. Nutrition is the base of the CrossFit’s pyramid. Without nutrition the whole pyramid will collapse. I’m a strong believer in 80% of your results you will see in any training program will be because of nutrition. Whether your goal is to build muscle, get stronger or lose body fat, nutrition will be the foundation of your success. The common saying is, “you can’t out train a poor diet.” It’s 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 a solid 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 nutrition into a lifestyle. This lifestyle will give you the results you want.
It’s not one thing that makes us successful in our fitness program, but a culmination of things. All of these pillars are related. The pillars feed off one another. Without one of them our success will become unstable. Together they make up the solid foundation for a healthy lifestyle. When you effectively implement these 4 pillars into your training program, your success will become a certainty.