Last week we touched on a simple way to plan for and prioritize breakfast when you live a busy life and are often on the go. This was important, because we know that nutrition is the foundational layer of our fitness pyramid. NUTRITION > METABOLIC CONDITIONING > GYMNASTICS > WEIGHTLIFTING > SPORT. Any level of the pyramid above nutrition can ever be maximized if the nutritional foundation is lacking. We can take this concept up the pyramid as well. Your sport or your weightlifting will never maximize if you do not have a solid grasp of your gymnastics/calisthenics. Afterall, how can you move an external load properly if you can’t move your body in the fashion that you want to? When moving external loads you are simultaneously moving your body. Right? Next, comes our topic of the day, metabolic conditioning.
Second only to your nutrition, conditioning is more important than gymnastics + weightlifting capabilities and sport. If you google “metabolic conditioning” you will find many definitions, all similar. Essentially, it means well rounded conditioning across all of your body’s energy pathways. These are the phosphagen, glycolytic, and oxidative energy systems. The definitions do not refer to weights, calisthenics, or monostructural movements. As CrossFitters we take all of the above and use them in ways that blur the lines between the 3 systems knowing that we will gain a broad, general, and all-inclusive fitness. How do we keep this simple? How do we make the most gainz? I think the answer to this is simple. Show up!!! Keep it varied and don’t skip days because of what the workout may be, only skip days because it is your pre set rest day. And if you are a day skipper don’t complain about your results.
You see, often times, the simplest workouts, the ones that we don’t want to do, are the low hanging fruit. We often like to show up on days with difficult movements that present a challenge. Movements that cause us to slow down because of faults or inconsistencies in our technique. On these days we rarely make a tangible increase in our fitness. The low hanging fruit consist of workouts that are approachable. They require a high effort and less technical skill. Running (sprints and distance), biking, rowing, air squats, wallballs, burpees, pushups. This is not an all inclusive list however you get the idea. We can make huge strides in our phosphagen system (bouts of energy 15 seconds or less) by running 100 meter sprints and by hitting heavy clean singles, but which one has more room for error? Which one takes less of a toll on the body? Which one, when done with poor technique may actually cause you to miss your mark of training the phosphagen system? Now I am not telling you to not clean heavy. In fact that is personally my favorite thing to do right now. What I am giving you is a perspective on maximizing your progress. If you are skipping the days where we put out the low hanging fruit then you are greatly missing out. In fact, you may be getting worse.
When I meet with members one on one the overwhelming majority say that their key goals are to feel better and live a longer healthier life. The quality of your metabolic conditioning determines your work capacity. Your work capacity is your ability to do things with your time on this earth. Continuing to be mobile and productive when the majority of the population is getting sick, immobile, diseased, and reliant upon others for survival. Think about that goal. What helps you achieve that goal? Remember, you can’t maximize that goal without nutrition and you can’t build up the movement ladder properly without great conditioning. With that in mind, learn to recognize and take advantage of the low hanging fruit in the programming, because sexy doesn’t mean better. Often it means more complicated, and when things get complicated we often get complacent. I say grab the apple that just fell off of the tree and run with it!!!