Becoming healthy, getting into shape, and building strength are delicately woven together and serve as a journey. No amount of progress or change will be visible overnight; results take time and most importantly only come with dedication, determination, motivation and knowledge.
It’s difficult to achieve the results you desire if you are not properly educated on what is needed to get there. All too often people will plateau their results or fall off completely simply because they are not aware of the bad habits that are preventing them from moving forward.
What habits will halt your progress and keep you from feeling and looking your best?
Inconsistent in amount of days you work out per week
While it’s important to take rest days so that our bodies can recover and refuel, taking too many can actually derail our progress. All too often, people take a day off from exercise whenever they feel sore, thinking that’s what their bodies need. However, it’s in those moments that what your body really needs is to keep moving! Aim to commit yourself to 3-5 consistent training days per week.
Never changing your routine
Routine is the enemy when it comes to seeing progress and results. When we continuously engage in the same exercises, the same number of sets, and the same number of reps, our bodies become used to the workouts and therefore begin to put in less effort. When our bodies put in less effort, our muscles don’t put in the work needed to progress and build strength.
This also applies to those who “pick” which workouts to show up to. Not only do you lose out on improving in other areas by doing this, but you are also putting your body as risk. How? Variance provides balance. If you always skip squat day but never miss a deadlift or pulling day, your backside becomes dominant and you create a recipe for body imbalances.
Not eating enough
Healthy food is your friend! Eating less isn’t going to help you lose weight, it will cause you to lose muscle and might even cause you to gain or store weight you don’t want to. Our bodies need food to refuel, especially before and after working out. Without eating enough, our bodies begin to feed off our muscle tissue and lead to us feeling sluggish and fatigued. Eating more of the right foods will not lead to weight gain, but will lead to the body you want and better recovery from workouts.
Focusing solely on cardiovascular exercises
While cardiovascular exercises are very important and necessary, focusing the majority of your time on cardio isn’t going to get you the results or body you want. You will actually begin to lose muscle tissue become weaker. Strength training, however, is extremely effective when it comes to burning fat and building muscle mass.
Performing functional exercises and compound exercises like the squat, press and deadlift deliver the most profound results. Now combining your cardio and weightlifting? That’s the recipe for fitness and improving your capability to do more work in less time!
Working out to the point of exhaustion every time
Of course it’s good to push ourselves to the extreme every once in a while, but doing so every single time you train is a recipe for failure. Your body will become too exhausted, drain your central nervous system, and won’t have the means to recuperate, leading to an increased risk of injury.
Mixing up your training stimulus is an extremely important piece of the puzzle. At Railroad, we do this everyday. Some days we go short and fast, some days we go long and sustained, some days we mix in intervals, some days we pace, and some days we go at max effort. Some days we will just lift, some days we will lift after a workout, and others we will lift within a workout.
It’s not random, it’s deliberate. Life is unpredictable and will demand different things of you (variance). To achieve the best results for body and performance think about it like this: 20% of time should be spent practicing, 70% of time should be spent “training,” and 10% should be what we call “compete” or go for it.
Practice: Very low heart rate and not on the clock. Loads are extremely light and there is a deliberate focus on improving, whether that be in positions or technique. No stress.
Training: Implementing the aspects of “practice” typically under a duress setting. (You’ve practiced your kettlebell swing a dozen times, now let’s incorporate them within a workout while still focusing on quality of movement, but moving with a purpose as well).
3 rounds for time:
400m run (or row)
25 air squats
25 kettlebell swings
Spend most of your time here. Not only does training deliver the highest value for results, but combined with a healthy diet, it gets you the body that you want too!
Compete: Go as fast as you can and push up towards your highest output possible.
Those who don’t train CrossFit typically will hear the buzz words “high intensity” and immediately think we “compete” everyday. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Let’s debunk this myth here:
- No matter how in shape you are before CrossFit, it is more than likely that even a practice session will whoop your butt. Yeah, it’s that good.
- New athletes to the program will spend the first 90 days focusing on consistency (showing up 3-5x a week) and mechanics (learning the movements and moving well).
Simply put, new athletes are blending practice and training within their first 90 day period.
- High intensity is relative. Each athlete works at their own intensity. 68 year-old Fred’s intensity is different than 32 year-old Abby’s to 20 year-old Elena’s.
We respect all of that. Intensity isn’t a one size fits all for everyone and understanding intensity is a major key to success and moving the needle in the right direction.