“Intensity is the independent variable most commonly associated with maximizing the rate of return of favorable adaptation.” -Greg Glassman, Founder & CEO of CrossFit
The true battle every day is just getting to the gym, once you have made it the hard part is over. CrossFit is a program that delivers a different workout each day and prepares you for the rigors of life. The camaraderie between members creates an atmosphere designed to bring out the best in everyone, and the results are proven. So why do you not look or perform the way you want?
CrossFit’s program is based off the “Intensity” of the exercise. The more work you get done in a shorter amount of time = results. Many studies have been done on high intensity exercise that has shown it is one of the best ways to exercise. Some of the benefits are increasing metabolism, burning fat, building muscle, lowering your resting heart rate and getting it all done in under an hour.
Where most people go wrong when training is assuming that their loss of breath or high heart rate is indicative of their intensity. For example, when I am riding a roller coaster I have both a high heart rate and shortness of breath, but this is not due to the intensity of my exercise and I am not going to see any of the physical benefits listed above by riding a roller coaster all day.
With that being said I do believe that intensity is relative to the physical and psychological tolerance of each person. For example, someone new to CrossFit is not going to apply the same amount of intensity to a workout as someone who has been in class for six months. The example I like to use when describing intensity levels to someone new is, “Everyone starts out as a baseline Honda Civic with goal of becoming a ZR1 Corvette, both in performance and aesthetics. You can redline (intensity) the Civic but it will not compare to the Corvettes redline speed (intensity).” Here at BayWay we believe the path to intensity (becoming the Corvette) is through mechanics and consistency. This is why within the first couple months of CrossFit your body has not transformed into Rich Froning’s or Julie Foucher’s.
It is important to understand the prescription of your own intensity level and work to improve it in each workout. Look around at the class after a workout. Notice the people who look and preform the best and how they are finishing each workout. Do they look as if they just jogged a mile or do they look as though they just sprinted 400 meters four times? Which one are you? This could be the limiting factor to many peoples aesthetic and weight loss issues.
My challenge to you is in your next workout make sure you are one of the people finishing as if you just sprinted your fourth 400 meter dash.
****Again I want to stress the importance of building a base of consistently making it to class and learning the mechanics and technique before applying intensity. Without this we are just another program for people to criticize. So if you are in your first couple months and feel that you are lacking results but still question what a “snatch” is or what the different scaling options to a “pullup” are just know that you are still on your road to building your base and results are soon to come.