This post will cover some of the "why" behind our workout programming at Lead. It will shed light on what we are currently working on and what the future of our workouts look like.
Programming is a hotly debated subject in many fitness and coaching circles. There are no doubt millions of published online workouts, hundreds of thousands of trainers, and probably just as many opinions on what the best way to workout is. In reality, though, there are a few basic principles of what makes a fitness program effective and safe. Most of the other stuff is just gimmicks and tricks.
OUR GUIDING LIGHT
For our staff and our program, we start with the end goal in mind. What is it we are trying to accomplish? This sets our beacon on the horizon. It's our guiding light.
Through forced C-19 closures, we had an opportunity to really hash out what it is we wanted as an end result for our clients. This is what we came up with.
We want our fitness program to help you:
- Increase your lean muscle mass
- Decrease your body fat percentage
- Reduce and/or eliminate your injuries
- Help you learn higher-level skills
- Help you develop a high work capacity
- Avoid plateaus and stagnation
- Increase your longevity and quality of life
We are in a uniquely advantageous position to help you achieve these goals for several reasons. One, we see you all on a near-daily basis. We can witness the effect the training is having on you and make immediate adjustments. Secondly, we are in a position to receive and act on your feedback in a quick manner. By spending time with you all on a regular basis and seeing how the program is working, we can continue to tweak it and edit it so that we get our desired outcomes.
DRAWING FROM EXPERIENCE
We are fortunate at Lead to have a diverse and experienced staff when it comes to training knowledge and experience. Drawing on experiences from collegiate sports to thousands of coaching hours and thousands of our own personal fitness workouts, we are able to narrow down what works and what doesn't. The methods we use and believe in include CrossFit training, traditional strength and conditioning elements, endurance sports protocols, and more. It's by taking the best of the best from these different disciplines that we can forge a routine that creates balance, health, and long term fitness progress.
A BIG PICTURE VIEW
What does it take to progress your fitness? In the short term, and as a beginner, just about anything works. But eventually, the magic wears off and progress can grind to a halt. This is when most people throw in the towel. And it's understandable. What used to be new PRs every time you walk into the gym, turns into spending most days wondering if you're getting less fit!
Humans adapt and we are dang good at it. So in order to prevent adapting (and thus stagnating), we need to keep things fresh. Mix up the routine. So that's exactly what we do. CrossFit is built on 3 main tenets: 1-Functional Movements, 2-Constant Variation, 3-High Intensity. It's a beautifully simplistic way to keep driving positive adaptations through constant variation of your workouts.
But even CrossFit itself is a style of fitness. Especially circa 2020. What started out as a bare-bones workout method with low volume and tons of variation has evolved into a training regimen for the sport of fitness. (Now I could talk for hours on the merits of this evolution, but that's for another time. Here is a good primer on what CF set out to do when it was created.) It ends up featuring a lot of the same movements, the same modalities and creates a specific outcome. Further issues arise when people push too hard, too often and injuries spring up and stick around for far too long.
Your typical gym-goer doesn't have the necessary lifestyle (sleep,stress,work,family,etc), nutritional habits, or background to train in a competitive manner. Now, we aren't saying it's possible or that people shouldn't aspire to this. We've just seen it taken on too haphazardly that it almost always leads to burnout, injury, and frustration. (If you personally have goals of achieving highly competitive levels of fitness, the best thing you can do is talk to and potentially hire a personal coach.)
Since our mission is to provide you with the outcomes we listed above, it becomes our duty to create a program that can balance the beautiful efficacy of CrossFit with the principles of strength and conditioning, to provide you a well-rounded routine.
In order to achieve our goal, we develop a master plan that lays out the phases of training we want to go through during a year. It might seem obvious to some, but doing the same thing over and over all year long is not a good way to see long term progress or to avoid injury. You have to mix it up. Along with mixing up the routine, there is also a need for consistency among certain skills or physical abilities you want to train. For example, if you want to gain strength in the pull up, you can't do it once every 5 weeks when it randomly pops up in a workout and expect to get better. That's where strength and conditioning principles really help.
OUR PLAN & TRAINING CYCLES
We've developed a plan for you (post covid) that is meant to build your fitness and improve your body composition, along with all the goals we listed above. We will spend several weeks at a time going through "Phases" or "Cycles" of training that have a particular focus. Within these Cycles, you'll experience traditional CrossFit style workouts almost daily, along with certain types of strength training and skill training work.
We are presently in week 3 of our current cycle of training. It has a hypertrophy bias. This means that our goal, for the time being, is to maintain the aerobic capacity that we built from the last cycle while increasing the amount of lean muscle mass. (read more about specific Hypertrophy work and it's benefits in our recent blog post here)
Improving muscle mass has numerous health and aesthetic benefits that are generally well known, however it also has distinct advantages from a performance standpoint. The primary performance advantage is that increasing a muscles size gives it a higher potential for force production. The key thing to remember here is that increasing muscle mass does not automatically mean you are going to see an increase in strength. In most cases strength gains will not be actualized until an athlete has gone through a strength biased cycle. As in most things patience is rewarded, in the short term enjoy the aesthetic changes and trust that the strength gains will come with time.
This style of training also helps improe tissue quality. Tissue quality can be defined as the health and functionality of muscles and tendons. This means that doing bodybuilding style exercises will improve the overall condition of specific muscle groups and joints reducing aches and pains and potential chance of injury.
Once we finish our current cycle of training in 3 weeks, we'll transition into another cycle with a different focus. We'll provide more detail and info about it as we go and look forward to sharing more of the method to our madness. We'll be starting up podcast episodes soon discussing FAQs in regards to workouts so if you'd like to have a question addressed, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be sure to discuss it in our next episode.
OUR CURRENT TRAINING FORMAT
Monday - Lifting - Hypertophy Focus aka Increase Lean Mass
Tuesday - Upper Body Strength Development & CrossFit Gymnastics
Wednesday - Aerobic Endurance Conditioning - CrossFit style
Thursday - Upper Body Strength Dev. & CrossFit Interval Training
Friday - CrossFit conditioning
Saturday - Coaches Choice :)
ONE FINAL NOTE:
We are currently not utilizing the Level Method program for several reasons. Initially, we are hesitant to put people through a bout of Assessments coming off a 2 month hiatus from the gym. Also, we are contemplating how to integrate it into our current training routines so that it is beneficial to you and useful for clients and staff alike.