There is balance that we must find with fitness and health.
When we think of fitness, we often think of performance. How much you can lift, how fast you can run a 5k, how many pull ups you can do?
Health is tied into longevity. Does it really matter how many pull ups we can do if we destroy our shoulders and cannot lift our arms overhead when we are 80 years old?
We can find the balance between fitness and health by looking at how we workout. We all want to look good now. But don’t we also want to feel good now and decades from now?
There is a misconception that we need to go hard and heavy every single day and only rest when we can’t go anymore. This is not sustainable for years on end.
High intensity workouts are great! They spike your cortisol (which can be an addictive feeling). But once you get addicted to that cortisol spike, it’s hard to see the benefit in any other type of workout. And that can be dangerous to your health and fitness.
Let’s talk about 3 types of workouts to balance your training so that you can be as fit and as healthy as possible.
- High Intensity Workouts (1-2x/week)
- Structural Workouts (2-3x/week)
- Foundational Workouts (1x/week)
High Intensity Workouts are what you think of when you think of traditional CrossFit. These are metcons and interval training where we push ourselves to the limit with minimal recovery between efforts (not sustainable efforts). These are fun! Physical and mental burnout are a risk when these are done too frequently.
Here are two examples:
Metcon (metabolic conditioning)
3 rounds for time: Run 400meters, 21 kettlebell swings, 12 pull ups
Interval training: 250 meter row + 20 burpees, Rest 2 minutes, repeat for 5 sets
Structural Workouts: These are essential for joint health, aerobic capacity and more!
Think light weight and high reps, aerobic work, and tempo training. Tempo training increases tendon strength. These workouts will not burn you out. The value in these workouts is priceless. Anyone who incorporates these properly into their weekly routine will see performance improvements in their high intensity workouts.
We do structural workouts when you see squat 5×5 33X1. This is tempo training. 33X1 means 3 sec lower down, 3 sec pause at bottom, up quick and 1 sec pause at top. So your muscles and connective tissues are under load for about 8 seconds per rep. 5 reps x 8 seconds= 40 seconds per set. 5 sets of that and you have essentially kept your body under load for about 5 minutes. Form and fatigue usually dictate how much weight you will use. You want to use the most weight you can while maintaining proper form. Surprisingly this will not be heavy weight! But you will see tremendous strength gains from this type of training.
You have seen these types of workouts when we pair farmer walks with other movements and ask you to keep it at a conversational pace. Most times when the coach asks you to work at 75% or keep a conversational pace, we are working in this zone.
These workouts do not spike your cortisol, so it could be tempting to do more. But that is the novice mistake.
Foundational Workouts: Most people want to skip these all together. However these can be the most important of all. The foundational workouts are very low intensity, skill practice sessions and even breath work.
Want to get better at double unders? The high intensity workout is not where that is going to happen. You will see skill improvement in a planned session where you are keeping your breathing under control.
Gymnasts spend lots of time in this zone. Even elite gymnasts spend lots of time bear crawling, wall walking, practicing a skill over and over again with several minutes rest between efforts.
Ready for a professional coach to guide you through a safe and effective individualized workout program? Book your free call here.