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How to Optimise Your Training



The goal of this post is to provide information and education to help our members better understand what they want from their training, why they want those things and how to appropriately utilise their training time and the services we offer to optimise their results.



We'll be focussing on 3 main areas throughout this post. In the first part we'll be taking a look at the different variables that influence your capacity to train, including how often you are able to train each week and what level of volume and intensity you can train to maintain consistency and long term progress.


The second part of the seminar will look at goal setting. Specifically, why setting ourselves goals can be beneficial, how to set goals that are relevant to you, and the importance of knowing what you want out of your training.


Finally we'll be looking into the variables that can be utilised to help optimise your training time based your capacity to train and your individual goals. This will include an overview of the services and classes available at the gym and how best to implement them into your routine to get the best long term results.



Understanding your Individual Capacity to Train

Before setting any goals It is important to understand your own productive capacity to train. Your productive capacity to train is a combination of two main areas:


- How often CAN you train?

The time you have available based on your lifestyle and other priorities in your life. This will be affected by your work, family life and other hobbies and commitments and can be significantly different from one person to another. It's important to fully understand that your lifestyle, as well as how you prioritise the things in your life, will dictate the time you have available to train and that this can have an impact on the results you are able to achieve. Understanding and accepting your own personal circumstances is helpful not just when setting realistic goals, but also to prevent any unnecessary stress caused from comparing yourself to others or not being able to progress at a rate that is unrealistic for your personal lifestyle!


- How often SHOULD you train?

This includes all the individual factors that contribute to your ability to train productively from day to day/week to week/month to month, while making sure you can adequately recover between sessions so that each training session you do is has a positive training outcome. For optimal progress our training sessions need to be productive as well as sustainable over the long term.


We can split the variables that will affect our productive capacity to train into two groups:


  1. Variables out of our control that have an impact on our capacity to train.

These are the things that we have no control over but should be aware of and understand that they play a part in our individual ability to train and recovery:

  • Genetics
  • Training Age (background and experience in sport and physical activity)
  • Age
  • Pre-existing injuries/limitations in movement


  1. Variables that we can control that will affect our capacity to train.

These are the things that we can manipulate to help improve our ability to train productively and recover adequately. In order of importance these variables include:

  • Diet/Hydration
  • Sleep and Rest
  • Stress
  • Active Recovery (mobility, stretching, walking, light movement)
  • Bodywork (Massage, foam rolling, etc)


By focussing on these things we can have a huge impact on our capacity to train by allowing us to either increase our training volume or get more out of each individual training session. We shouldn't underestimate the power of the first 3 things on that list. If any one or more of your diet, sleep or stress levels are not looked after consistently, likelihood is you can benefit much more by getting those things in check than you can from adding extra training volume to your schedule.



Setting Goals to Make a Positive Difference

Why do we set goals?

  • Provide a reason for what we do
  • Make ourselves accountable so we increase effort and our chances of success
  • Give direction to what you're doing
  • Provide motivation to succeed
  • Sense of achievement during and on completion


How do we set Goals?

A common way of setting goals is using a method  called SMART goals. SMART goals are:


Specific - What are we going to achieve?

Measureable - How do we know we've achieved our goal?

Achievable - Is our goal realistic (and ideally challenging)?

Relevant - Why do we want to do it? Will it improve quality of life during and on completion?

Time bound - When will we do it by?


An example that ticks all the boxes for a SMART goal might be, "I am going to do my first ring muscle up in the next 2 months"


SMART goals have become a popular way of setting goals and the hope is that by doing this we increase our chances of success. If you're going to set SMART goals you definitely need to be fully committed and bought into the process and have a plan of how you're going to achieve your goal otherwise the journey towards your goal can become frustrating and stressful.


SMART goals are not the only way of setting goals and are not necessarily the best way for everyone. It may be that we have a target that meets some of the criteria of a SMART goal but not all of them. Not all goals need to specific and time bound but they should definitely always be relevant to YOU. Thinking about the relevance of your goals, the time and effort that needs to be put in to achieve them, and the happiness they will create, during and on completion, are so important for helping us stay on track and allowing us to enjoy the process. The journey that takes you to towards your goal can often be as important or more important than the goal itself!


Training Optimisation

Once you have a better understanding of your capacity to train as well as the goals or direction you want to be moving, we can then look at the factors that are going to allow us to optimise our training time.


Before we look at specific variables, it's first important to think about your current training routine, the progress you're making and whether or not you actually need to make any significant changes? If you're training is working well for you, you're happy with what you're doing and the results you're getting, then any changes you may want to make probably need to be the smaller things that might have a marginal effect in the short term but can lead to a noticeable difference over a longer period. If the things you are currently doing are not working for you, that's when we can start to look at making more significant changes to our training.



How You Train vs What You Train

We're going to look at 2 main areas that play a part in our training optimisation. The first is 'How you train', and the second part is 'What you train'.

  1. 'How you train' includes the general qualities of how we carry out our training. They are relevant to everyone and tend to be associated with effort and concentration. They can be small things that may make a huge difference.
  1. 'What you train' includes the specifics of the actual movements and content of your training. They are relevant to individuals based on more specific goals.

It's easy to get obsessed with what things we're doing in our training, but actually for the more general goals of improving fitness, getting stronger, looking better and feeling healthier, provided you're regularly doing a well structured training programme that includes a broad mix of functional movements, weights, intensities and durations, it's the HOW you train that is going to have the biggest effect on your training outcomes.



In order of importance, 'How You Train' can be broken down into the following:

- Quality of training

Mechanics -> Consistency (of those mechanics) -> Intensity.

The foundation of 95% of your training should follow this hierarchy. I.e. make sure that the majority of all of your training is based on quality movement. Increasing your intensity (speed/weights) at the expense of your technique/range of movement leads to negative training outcomes.


- Consistency of training in the long term

Consistently training for a sustainable number of hours each week over a long period is always preferable to sporadic periods of high to low volumes of training. This is why understanding your capacity to train and finding something you enjoy is so important. It can help us maintain appropriate training volumes without burning out, losing motivation or getting injured. All of which will lead to inconsistent training habits.


- Intensity

Assuming we have the two above factors in check, Intensity is the variable most associated with positive results and the reason CrossFit has been so successful in getting people into the best shape of their lives. Our training is designed to be challenging and, provided you're willing to put the effort in, the results can be phenomenal.

A simple measure of intensity is the perceived effort you put into your training. For something like strength exercises we're referring to the weight being lifted. In a WOD you can think of it as how fast you're going or how hard you're pushing yourself. As a rough guide, we want around 75% of training to be at 80-90% effort (very high but not maximal effort). Regularly training at 95%+ effort can often lead to poor quality of movement and chronic fatigue - both factors that we want to avoid. Regular training at intensities of 75% or less will often lead to stagnation and lack of progress in the long term. There are certainly benefits to both maximal effort training and steady state training but these intensities should generally be making up a small amount of your overall training volume.


- Training with Intent

Your training should be done with focus and purpose to ensure you're making the most out of each session. A few areas of focus that can help you with this include

  • Know what you're capable of. Take an interest in your training, the weights you lift, the effort you put in and how you feel after doing it. This will help you to work with the most appropriate weights/movements that allow you to appropriately challenge yourself and make long term gains.
  • Approach each part of your training with a good idea of what you want to achieve. You'll need to know your capabilities to do this, but it will help you get into the right frame of mind before and during training. Set yourself some challenging targets for the session to avoid going through the motions and working at lower intensities.
  • Virtuosity or 'doing the common uncommonly well'. Move with the intent and purpose of getting better in all that you do. This includes your warm up and movement preparation and not just the main part of your class training (i.e. the stuff that's written on the whiteboard)! You should be putting as much effort into these things as you do your main strength/skill work and WODs. It will create good habits, get your body's muscles working efficiently, help keep you free from injury and set you up for a more productive session.
  • Listen and ask questions. We'll give you guidance on each part of training we do in a class. Listen to what your coaches have to say and don't assume you know everything. We have a load of valuable experience and knowledge to offer. If you're unsure on what the best weight/movement/approach is for you on a certain element of training then please come and ask a coach for advice. We love having the opportunity to help you.



What you train

The actual specifics of what you train will be mainly determined be your individual goals. Our CrossFit classes are designed to sustainably improve your all round strength and fitness while helping to keep your physical and mental health consistently in the best place possible over the long term. If you have individual health and fitness goals beyond this, that is where it's important to look into the more specific content of your training.


In order to help you do this we have developed an extensive timetable of different classes that allow you to tailor your training more towards your individual goals. To assist in knowing what the most appropriate classes for you are, we have designed our Optimising Your Training Chart as a reference tool. The chart provides you with a recommendation of which classes are best suited to you based on your training capacity and individual goals.


For more individual coaching, education, accountability and motivation on anything training and diet related we have a range of more individualised services available where you can work with our team of Coaches to help you progress.

These include:

  • Training Optimisation - Monthly 1-2-1 meeting with a coach, including your own training programme outline and ongoing support and accountability.
  • Personal Training - Hour long 1-2-1 training sessions with a personal coach. Can be individual sessions for a specific focus or block booked for long term progress and accountability.
  • Nutrition Coaching - sustainable nutrition advice that fits within your lifestyle and provides ongoing coaching and accountability to keep you committed and on track.
  • Personal Refresher Course - a series of 4 Personal Training sessions designed for members to get extra coaching and progressions on areas of their choosing.



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