MECHANICS, CONSISTENCY, and INTENSITY. For the best results in any workout program, these three things need to be in place, AND in that order. We have already discussed in the past how important mechanics and consistency are in movements. Now, let’s discuss intensity, the third factor, that pushes us to that place where we start to adapt not only physically, but also mentally.
What is intensity? What does intensity look like? Is it how high your heart rate is? What about how loud you’re screaming? Intensity is defined as, “The measurable amount of a property, such as force or power.” To us, this means how much power is being generated in a certain amount of time.
For example, let’s say the WOD is “FRAN.” Most of us have recently gone through this and felt some sort of intensity if it was done properly. Let say I decided to do FRAN and took my time, I went through all the movements with the proper range of motion and consistent movement and finished it in about 15 minutes, resulting in breathing hard, but for the most part, I am ready for another workout. Now take the same workout, but let’s say I go in and hit it as hard as I can, while maintaining proper range of motion and am consistent in my movements, but I finish “FRAN” in 2:30. My result from experience, there is nothing more I will be doing, except laying on the ground waiting for my arms to feel normal again and I won’t be thinking about doing anything else for another 45min at least. Therefore evaluating the two different ways I approached the same WOD, will they produce the same result?
The answer is no, and here is why. The second approach to the workout produced more power because I was able to get the same amount of work done in a shorter amount of time. This trains the body to push those limits and in turn forces adaptation. The more power one can produce the fitter that person will get and see better improvements.
So what does this mean to you? It means that you should approach each workout with the mindset of producing the most power that you can produce while keeping mechanics and consistency in place. For some, this may mean scaling certain movements to allow them to produce the best result and most power for that day. An example would be something like pull-ups or toes-to-bar. If there are 50 in the workout and you have recently been able to get one full toes-to-bar. The best way approach this workout would be to scale the toes-to-bar to get them done quicker or scale the number to 15. Over time the body will continue to get stronger and eventually you will be able to get 50 in one set because you have learned to push.
One last thought before I conclude, something that stuck out to me about what every athlete said about their training while watching the CrossFit games. They all mentioned the intensity of their training was the same as if they were competing. They were used to that level of intensity in their training and therefore were prepared for what they were going to experience at the Games. There are a lot of people that have the same physical capability as these games athletes, but they are a rare bread in their mental ability to withstand discomfort which has been incorporated in their daily training. With that being said, the amount of time you spend in the gym does not equal results. It is the about of power you produce in that time spent at the gym that will keep you progressing.