IS MORE BETTER?posted October 05
I was recently approached by a new-ish member who had just signed up for our Paleo Challenge (funny, he doesn’t look newish). He said he wanted to make the most of the five weeks, and was hoping to land a spot atop our plyo box podium when we celebrate the winners. I was excited to hear how committed he was, but needed to make sure he understood the healthiest way to achieve that goal. And keep in mind, this is someone in the general membership, not someone preparing for the Crossfit Games.
He wanted to know how much he should work out. What is the story on the two mandatory rest days per week, as outlined in the Challenge contract? Should he do two workouts per day? Bottom line, will more exercise lead to better results?
Since I’m writing a blog about this, you can probably guess what my answer is.
The point of the Paleo Challenge, and our goal as a gym, is to help you create a lifestyle of greater heath and fitness. And by “health and fitness” we’re talking about your: body composition, biomarkers of longevity, human movement and athleticism, prevention of disease and illness, and just feeling freaking good each day physically and mentally. If you are taking steps to improve these factors with your diet, don’t handicap yourself with unnecessary stress.
Check out these two weekly plans. Which one seems healthier?
A. Crossfit metcons 5-6 days a week.
B. Crossfit metcons 2-3 days a week, with 2-3 days of strength training and 1-2 days of walking, hiking, yoga, sports, or rest.
Again, you can probably guess where I’m going with this.
Some high intensity days, some low intensity days, some rest days, and a solid diet… hmmm… sounds an awful lot like our hunter/gatherer ancestors. Plus, the top two indicators of health an longevity are muscle mass and strength. Aerobic capacity (“cardio”) is down the list, around number seven. And we just went over how this correlates with body composition.
Ultimately fat loss happens with food. You will not burn off that ice cream and pizza with more exercising. You will only burn out. I’ve posted about the detrimental effects of stress before, and exercise is exactly that – a stressor that must be managed as such. Otherwise, consistently elevated cortisol levels will cause you to hold on to body fat.
“You mean there’s ways to improve my aesthetics and athletics WITHOUT feeling like The Hulk used me as a hackey sack, while I lie in my own sweat and tears after a workout??”
This is the reason we offer such a variety of classes at Crossfit Hollywood. In addition to our regular Mixed Level and Beginner classes, we have:
Yoga – A great compliment to our programming that improves flexibility, body awareness, and relative body strength.
Foundations – Refining your barbell lifts, keeping intensity low, and making strength gains.
Sports Enhancement – Using unilateral, isometric, and manual resistance strength work to enhance your body’s structural integrity and athletic movement patterns.
Burn – A fun option to occasionally mix into your week, focusing on bodyweight movements and exposure to the aerobic pathway.
So, to make a long story short (I know, too late) more is not always better. Let diet and strength work be the pillars of your wellness. Get some conditioning, and get yourself some R&R. And, as always, keep the communication lines open with your coaches.
Train smart. Live well.
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