To many CrossFit is a General Physical Preparedness program, a way to be ready for anything at all times, if this is our goal then training programs become irrelevant, the work can be random. However, I don’t believe that the majority of people outside of the emergency services and military think of GPP when thinking about their fitness goals within CrossFit, it’s not the reason why we work so hard in the gym everyday. Most of our motivation directs toward gradual progression towards a specific goal, we want to see improvement in our fitness over time. if this is your goal, training cycles are more than warranted, they are a necessity. Here are some reasons why a training program that cycles through a progressive plan will prevail over programming on the spot or without a thoroughly thought out plan, a randomized approach.
“Every battle is won before it is fought” – Sun Tzu
If our training sessions are battles (they definitely feel this way sometimes and rightfully so) the cycle is the war plan. This is why a macro yearly plan must happen first, if this plan is not put in place nothing we do has a backbone or point of reference and we will run into unintentional mistakes. If nothing else, having a plan helps to direct our focus; to be properly prepared is to have confidence in your actions, and having confidence in your actions is key to more efficient and effective training sessions.
Varied not random
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln
The precision of a training program lies in the ability to be well balanced, with proper planning and constant refining we can include balanced variance. Without proper planning, our program is random training and therefore cannot be varied. This is basic probability, if you’ve ever been to a casino and played your luck at roulette you know your odds are far better at guessing the wod the next day than guessing on a random number where the ball will end up. A truly varied program is somewhat predictable given a little bit of research into its history, a random program is unpredictable and cannot be tracked as diligently. The refining process is therefore a lot more manageable and precise when evaluating a well thought out training program.
The fine line of adaptation: DOMs vs plateaus
“Man is an animal who more than any other can adapt himself to all climates and circumstances.” — Henry David Thoreau
Adaptation is our best friend and our worst enemy in training, it is a necessity and a curse, a very fine line. When training we experience change and we grow, if we change too much we fall apart and if we adapt too much to the changes we become stagnant. Rapid change includes things like Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMs) and too much adaptation yields plateaus. A training program will never be free of the aforementioned and even if it could be we wouldn’t want it to be. Overtraining and plateau’s will happen if we are doing our best to navigate our training, if they weren’t occurring the program wouldn’t be as effective. True progression happens in our response to these occurrences, do we adapt our training and our program to our physical adaptations? As soon as we start thinking about our response we revisit preparation and we start all over again. Then the question becomes how much can I live between overtraining and plateauing without running into those edges and as we grow the edges get closer and closer together.
People pay for programming and come to class because the necessary steps to develop and maintain a program that elicits progression requires a lot of boring, unsexy, legwork. Preparation is a boring answer but it’s what is necessary to facilitate our goals, because as the old adage goes, a goal without a plan is a plan to fail.