It’s pretty common to walk into a CrossFit gym, or any other knock-off high intensity gym, and see workouts written in complete randomness and then asked to perform them either “for time” or as an “AMRAP.” This is known as task or time priority.
You’re given a task to do and told to perform it as fast as possible, or you’re given a time domain and asked to do as much work in that given time as possible. Either way, what these workouts are asking you to do is test yourself.
At Salvation, we’re making it part of our mission to educate the fitness world about a secret to health and fitness longevity…. STOP TESTING EVERYDAY. If your program at its foundation is made up of high intensity “metcons” then you’re not only going to decrease your performance, you’re going to ruin your health as well.
Think about it this way, when you do a workout for time, you’re using an energy system in your body that was designed for the survival of a stressful situation. Think of a zebra running from a lion before it gets its throat ripped out. The energy you’re displaying in that workout is not being trained in a way that will make you better in the future. It’s simply getting you through that day’s work out. I would probably bore you with the physiological reactions to this type of stress, but it doesn’t take much thinking to understand that fearing for one’s life on a repetitive basis is not good. And this is exactly what your body is going through in these workouts.
But, why do so many people buy in to this type of training? Because they have been tricked to think that constant high intensity is the answer to their fitness goals. That and when they finish the workout laying on the floor like a dead fish, they use this as a justification for a “good workout.” When really what their body is saying is, we survived! Many people are just addicted to the stress response. They get a hit of adrenaline and cortisol, hormones that are activated in the fight or flight response, and then they have a buzz from those chemicals flowing through their body. Well when you do that enough… guess what? It takes more and more to get the same dose response. So, you go back in the gym digging yourself deeper and deeper to feel the same level of stress response. Once again, I hope I don’t have to explain how this doesn’t lead to actual fitness.
With the rise of CrossFit and other high intensity models, we’re highly concerned with the long-term ramifications that this type of training is going to have on the clients that have been sold this. Many have tried and been washed out now thinking that fitness just isn’t for them. Studies are referred to as justification for high intensity to try to keep people on this band wagon, but if you dig deep, these studies aren’t showing the whole picture. Most of them are six-week high intensity interval protocols delivered to overweight college kids. Once again, there’s no reference to how this affects the individual long term or how this individual might exercise like this forever. Do we really want to make the foundation of our programs come from such limited information?
Don’t fall victim to the fitness industry and the catchy marketing built around it. If you want to make fitness part of your life and not just some temporary pit stop then what you prescribe is highly important. Just throwing some exercises together that you found on Instagram and then performing them “for time” is a short-sighted approach. Educate yourself on the body’s response to exercise. Learn about how to progress your fitness over periods of time, not just the for the “workout of the day.”
If you’re interested in learning this information so that you may make fitness more a part of your life forever, then please feel free to reach out to us. We will do a free consultation to discuss how your fitness can be enhanced to improve your life. We will assess your movement and give you the proper prescription to meet you where you’re at and then take you to whatever you define as your highest physical expression.