We train to be better versions of ourselves. For some of us being “better” means being healthier. We lose weight, gain muscle, and look damn sexy. For others, being “better” means we lift more weight, move faster, or endure pain longer.
Believe it or not, these are two goals that are diametrically opposed to each other. In my #OPEX Total Coach Program, I have learned that training for “health” presents a much different program prescription than training for “performance”.
Yesterday, I set a new personal record on my 1 rep max high bar back squat at 335#. I train to see what my body can do. I train to find the limits of my performance and then go past those boundaries. However, training for performance is not without risk. Throughout my pursuit of athletic excellence, I’ve faced a couple setbacks that severely reduced my quality of life. For example, I was barred from crossfit training for over a year because of a partial disk herniation. Some doctors were telling me I’d never lift again. It was a scary and nerve racking experience, but this is the risk you run when you push your body to its outer limits.
Which brings me to the focus of today’s post. The majority of us aren’t getting paid to be athletes. Most of us simply want to experience life feeling good in our bodies, and be confident in our body’s capacity to move with strength and grace. We want to slow the process of aging and not be prevented from doing cool stuff like taking long walks on vacation and not succumbing to exhaustion.
At Steelworks Strength Systems, we recognize these two different end goals for our clients and have created two distinct tracks of programming. We stress the importance of controlled volume and intensity in lifts. In crossfit, we value form, technique, and time under tension over lifting super heavy and moving your body at speeds inappropriate for current level of fitness. A crossfit workout doesn’t need to be super intense to produce amazing adaptations in fitness. In fact, long, steady, and easy work has tremendous benefits for EVERY level of athlete.
“Why do I train?”
Understanding the answer to this question is essential towards progressing yourself towards YOUR goals. If your goals is to have better blood work at the end of every month, you don’t need to be finding your one rep max back squat. If your goal is to lose fifty pounds, you don’t need to be doing incredibly intense workouts. However, if your goal is to make it to Regionals or the Crossfit Games, you might need to be training twice a day at the gym and doing some downright nasty workouts.
Training to improve your health will produce a program that is very different from a program that looks to boost your athletic performance. Firmly establish a clear end goal in your mind before you set out on any fitness training program.
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