Consistency or Intensity: What’s more important?

Consistency or Intensity…which is going to get you to your goals faster?!

Especially this time of year where workouts can be harder to squeeze in between Holiday obligations, what will get you the most bang-for-your-buck for your fitness?

Right now, everyone can likely fall into one of the these three categories:

  1. You are consistent but lack intensity
  2. You have intensity but are NOT consistent
  3. You are consistent AND have intensity

One of them will produce results (but oftentimes much slower than we’d like), one of them will produce results quickly followed by the majority of us quitting because it isn’t sustainable, and one of them will produce results that are ideal for both our short and long term lifestyles.  Each one offers its own positives so let’s start out by acknowledging that doing any of the above is a good place to start!

But let’s break them down:

High Consistency, Low Intensity…

You show up 5 days a week, Monday-Friday.  You complete the workout at a “slow & steady wins the race” pace regardless to workout format (from a 20:00 AMRAP to 3 sets of 4:00 AMRAPs).  You dab some sweat off your brow and carry on with your day.

This consistency is great.  Showing up can be the hardest part so the act of getting in 5 days a week is a big success and will certainly help you see progress in the long run.

Yup, low intensity with high consistency will help you get fitter but it is going to take a while.

High Intensity, Low Consistency…

So if the prior means a long road for progress, this must mean instant results, right?!  Kind of…

Approaching your workouts with High Intensity will help you see faster results.  The science behind interval training supports a faster change in aerobic and anaerobic capacity, calories burned and overall cardiovascular fitness.

However, without consistency (showing up to class 1-2x per week and going 100% all out), your progress may be stunted by injury before anything else.

Giving 100% effort is tough and can make you feel more sore, leading to you needing a handful of days to recover before you feel like you can come in and do it again.  We don’t really recommend this strategy especially because random bouts of going all-out can increase your chance of injury.

So if we had to pick one over the other, High Consistency and Low Intensity is a better place to be than random consistency and High Intensity.

If you need a starting place, Consistency is where you need to begin…then we can work on Intensity.

Consistency and Intensity, in harmony…

Like we just mentioned, establishing a consistent routine is the best place to start.  Whether you are a super newbie or have been a member for a while, showing up consistently just makes you better.  Consistency can look differently for each person depending on your workout experience.  Anywhere from 3 days a week (Mon, Wed, Fri) to 5 days a week can produce positive results.

Once you get the consistency down, we can add in intensity.

Generally, we don’t recommend coming more than 3-days in a row.  This is to help you continue giving your best intensity every session!

By day 3, your body is probably pretty sore, your nervous system is a fatigued and your overall energy levels certainly feel less than they did on Day 1.  So why push it directly into a 4th and 5th day?  Instead, taking a day off to rest and recover and then getting back to it the following day will help you feel better and keep your intensity higher!

Why do we even need Intensity?

We said that consistency in general is better than just intensity, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need intensity too!  Consistency will help you get those goals in the long run…your long-term, 1-year out goals can be reached through your consistent habits.  But sometimes it can be discouraging to stay the path and see the light at the end of the tunnel in the middle of that long-term timeline.

Intensity helps you take slightly bigger leaps to get you to that goal, shortening the timeline and keeping your motivation higher!  Sprinkling in Intensity throughout your consistent routine is the way to balance the two harmoniously.

If you are coming regularly on Mon, Wed and Fri, choose one of those days to be your High Intensity day.  That may mean scaling or modifying a workout to allow you to maintain a high-intensity stimulus.  Our coaches are pros in helping you figure out how to do that, so just ask them for help!

If you are a 3-on, 1-off, 2-on, 1-off routine person, 1 High Intensity day is also great and you can likely handle 2 days even.  You will be able to make the most of your High-Intensity days coming off of our rest days (so, Monday and Friday could be good days to get after it!).

So, get consistent, add intensity, and see your progress excel!

Core Stability

Core, core, core.

We are always talking about keeping our core tight, stabilizing the core, training the core, but what exactly is the core? The core is comprised of muscles in the front, side, and back of the midsection. All these muscles work together to create core stability which is required when working out, especially when it comes to CrossFit. Every time you pick up a pair of dumbbells, get under a heavy barbell, or swing a kettlebell, your core is firing to prevent excessive spinal motion (i.e. rounding your back, overextending, or leaning to one side). Needless to say it plays a very vital role in CrossFit! 

If you want a nice visual explanation check out the Instagram post from Squat University to the right.

In order to support any kind of heavy load properly we need to have a strong and stable core. Like I said, you have probably heard us talk about this a lot, and I have even seen some people put in some extra work to train their core.

People sometimes perform exercises such as sit-ups, GHD sit-ups, or strict toes to bar/hanging knee raises thinking it will give them a stronger core. Unfortunately these exercises do not build a stronger core, they just build strength in that particular motion and aesthetics. If you were trying to build your toe to bar or sit up ability they would be great options, but they will not help you support heavy weights.

In order to build core strength we have to perform movements that train the core to resist motion. Some good examples of this are planks, single arm exercises (presses, carries, RDL), and heavy carries or walks (yoke, dumbbell, barbell). Training these types of movements is going to help increase our core stability. We like to recommend the The McGill Big 3 For Core Stability – Squat University, as a starting point for addressing the core as a weak link. Core stability is ultimately what we need when it comes to supporting external loads which we do A LOT of in CrossFit.

Do Sit-ups Work?

In CrossFit we are always trying to focus on how to improve our physical performance. While having a 6 pack may look great, it does not have any correlation to becoming physically stronger. Do not be fooled by a lot of these flexion movements (sit ups, toes to bar), they will not help you build a stronger core. Do not get me wrong, I am not bashing any exercises that are of that nature, they serve their purpose. When it comes to getting stronger though, we want to make the most of our time and ensure that we are following proper training protocols in order to do so. This is why we need to perform movements that help us prevent excessive spinal motion.

Performing core strengthening movements like the ones we have discussed above can be fairly tricky. Details such as proper bracing and movement patterns need to be on point for the exercises to be the most effective. These movements are not simply the type that you just do them and they work wonders, they take a lot of concentration to be effective. In saying that everyone can perform them and everyone can benefit from them. So please ask a coach to give you some good core exercises to help train your core!

Odd object carries over sit-ups for core stabilization.

Who am I?

Your life is your story. Write well. Edit often.

What’s the story you tell yourself? It’s always evolving and changing based on your experiences. The facts about your past can’t change, but the story you tell yourself about them absolutely can.

Rewrite Your Story

Rewriting your story isn’t about denying the bad things that happened or pretending that they’re good things. It’s about finding meaning in the events of your life, to recognize the learning and growth. It’s about how those events made you who you are. It’s about appreciating that person and taking ownership of where you want to go next.

Fitness Leads to Happiness

Fitness sits on a spectrum that starts on the left with sickness, then moves to wellness, next to fitness, and finally to happiness. We’ve experienced it firsthand, both in our own lives and with our members. When people are healthier and fitter, they are happier.

Wellness to Fitness to Happiness Spectrum

That’s not to say that bad things don’t still happen to us. We’re in the middle of a 100-year pandemic with COVID-19. Not many saw that coming. The world is a rough place. It will knock you down. We just have to keep getting back up. We have to prepare for the fight in whatever form it comes next. Our fitness is the tool that helps us. We need to be stronger than the world is bad.

So what monsters do you face in the story you tell yourself? We know they seem too big to overcome. We once thought ours were too. We can help you start to rewrite your story. Time to exercise your demons – they’ll be doing jumping jacks before you know it!

Who am I?

I want to be healthier and stronger, both physically and emotionally. I want to be a more functional human being and a better version of myself for as many years of my life as I can. I want the same for my family my friends and my community. 

I want to embrace the journey and learn from my mistakes. Failure doesn’t define who I am, because it paves the road ahead for me to become better. And I want to be associated with the community that encourages me, supports me, and values my success as much as their own.

I am a member of Fern Creek CrossFit. And this is where I go to get healthier, stronger, and feel great.

The Deadly Quartet – Dr. Norman Kaplan

The Deadly Quartet - Dr. Norman Kaplan

CrossFit Founder Greg Glassman has been highlighting the importance of Dr. Norman Kaplan’s paradigm-shifting 1989 paper “The Deadly Quartet” for more than a decade.

In this talk from 2007, Glassman explains Kaplan’s findings: The frequent coexistence of obesity, hypertension, glucose intolerance and hypertriglyceridemia suggests a shared pathogenesis, and “what’s causing heart disease is not dietary fat intake but excessive consumption of carbohydrate.”

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