Most Of Life Is Showing Up
“Most of life is showing up. You do the best you can, which varies from day to day.” - Regina Brett
What’s the secret to long term, sustainable progress in the gym? If I had to provide one simple, actionable piece of advice, it would be this: show up! We’ve all heard it before, but the saying really does hold true, especially in the realm of fitness, health, and longevity. When it comes to improving physical capacity, strength, technique, flexibility, etc. frequency of exposure is a critical variable for success. What we see here at the gym is that there is a direct through line from class attendance to improvement in all the meaningful ways we measure progress and success (better performance, body composition, technical skill, recovery capacity, etc.). Simply put, there are no shortcuts or replacements for doing the work, week in and week out. You can give maximum effort two days a week, but you’re not going to see the same progress as someone who is also working hard and training 4-5 days per week. There are a few caveats here of course: we’ve all got different schedules, goals, and recovery capacities. Let’s look at each of these individually:
Schedules: Your schedule might be such that you can’t train every day, even if you’d like to. You don’t need to train everyday to get better, but you do need to be consistent. We recommend 3x / week as a minimum effective dose to aim for. This might mean coming in at 6am if you’re busy in the evening, later at night after a long day at work, or on Saturday morning before your weekend plans kick in. Recognize we all have the same 24 hours in the day and plan your workouts accordingly, even if that means setting the alarm a little earlier than you’d like. Progress or excuses, the choice is yours!
Goals: What are your goals? What are you training for? How do you measure success? Taking time to answer these questions will help us mold and adapt our programs to best meet your needs as an athlete. Most people are simply training for the rigors of daily life and don’t have a particular sport, event, or competition on their calendar. If you do play a sport, are training for a race, or have some other specific pursuit in mind, CrossFit should serve as your general preparatory training that supports all those activities. CrossFit should enhance, not detract, from your other physical pursuits, so there is likely a need to be mindful of both weekly volume and intensity, especially when in-season or near competition. If you’ve got specific goals, talk to a coach about a smart plan to achieve them and how to best incorporate CrossFit with any outside physical pursuits you may have.
Recovery Capacity / Experience Level: CrossFit is hard. There’s a learning curve when it comes to getting better, and progress can be slow and difficult at times. Rarely does someone come in with the baseline level of fitness and skills required to train 4-6 days / week, nor do they need to. With that being said, the body is amazing at adapting to the stresses placed upon it. Train 3 days per week until your body acclimates, then consider adding another day. After doing that for a few months, maybe you consider adding another day to your weekly routine. Taking the incremental approach is the best way to avoid burnout and injury. Gradually increase the demands you place on your body so that your capacity to recover from training can keep pace. Allow yourself plenty of runway for steady development and sustained results.
We must remind ourselves that daily movement is both restorative and essential to our health, fitness, and wellbeing. In order to maintain vital physical traits such as flexibility, strength, and work capacity, we need to practice and train the fundamental human movements that we focus on daily in CrossFit (push, pull, hinge, squat, carry etc.). The other side of the coin when it comes to increasing your training frequency is the need to manage intensity appropriately. Here’s the motto to live by: long-term consistency trumps short-term intensity. Not only is it okay to take an easy day or leave something in the tank for next time, we encourage it! Priority number one is showing up and moving; let your coaches help you navigate the other relevant variables that drive progress.