Here at LiftOff CrossFit we promote balance and health alongside improving human performance, fitness and longevity. To do that we must find balance!
Life is a constant juggling act to find true balance. Finding balance means that all things are equal and we are emotionally and physically at a point of equilibrium, something that can be incredibly difficult to do and which is almost impossible to measure…do we ever really find true balance in life? Deep ay!?
Well lets assume we can find balance but dig a bit deeper into what balance actually means and how it is one of the most individualised concepts.
As fitness and health professionals it is our job to ensure that we help people find balance. In the physical sense this means for most people, being in a position that they have General Physical Preparedness (GPP). Or in layman terms, the ability to be a generalist, to use their body to run, jump, lift, throw and land in different positions, over different time frames and at different loads. Heavy, light, long, short, slow, fast etc etc. This is the true original intent and idea around CrossFit.
*The original intent of CF was to create people who could do anything thrown at them
To do this we have to address all facets of physicality. Here at LiftOff CrossFit we do that by following a structured programme design that is periodised through phases of accumulation (higher volume of work and time under tension, with longer ‘easier’ conditioning pieces) which progress into phases of intensity (higher intensity work with less volume).
These phases are crucial to allow our bodies to adapt over long periods of time. Constant high intensity will only work for a short period of time, this is where many coaches and gym’s go wrong – too much mindless intensity and a fear of programming ‘easier’ and ‘boring’ work. To avoid this work is to lie to your clients and yourselves as coaches…to create truly long lasting adaptation we have to be smarter in how we approach exercise.
We at LiftOff CrossFit focus on creating structure so that all planes of motion are covered. Through our resistance training and that in our conditioning work we develop a solid base of aerobic endurance, leading into aerobic power. We tend to stay away from true lactic power/endurance in the classes here. If you don’t understand what this means or would like to discuss it further feel free to contact me, but for now lets just say that in a group format this will mostly be a waste of time for many. When designed properly it will take more than the hour we have in class. Remember, class workouts are not for elite athletes!!
So we have given an overview of the physical balance we want to achieve. Now onto the tricky lifestyle balance. This covers everything outside the gym and is arguably much more important. Too many people are focused on the programming and what they are doing in the gym. However they still do not have the basic lifestyle stuff nailed.
Lets be clear, if you want to adapt and improve in the gym, you must have your lifestyle balance on point. To make adaptations there a few key things that must be in balance to make this progress:
- Sleep: Our bodies crave routine. Go to sleep at the same time and wake at the same time as much as possible, aim for 6-9hrs unbroken sleep a night between 2100-0700 as you prefer. See here for more.
- Water: Hydration is SO important. Aim for half your BW in ounces water. So a 135lbs male would need 67.5oz (1.9L) of water per day. Simply times your BW in pounds by 0.5 for your target.
- Digestion: It does not matter what you are eating, if you can’t digest it then it won’t do much for you. CHEW your food thoroughly, eat in a calm state and follow good food hygiene practices. See here for more.
- Stress: Be aware of your stress levels (this includes exercise and emotional stress) and know that the human body can only adapt to so much stress at one time. See here for more.
- Happiness: This matters! If you are unhappy in general then everything will be hard. Make sure you are taking yourself and your happiness seriously, we only get one life, it is not a drill!!
- Sunlight: Try and get as much sunlight as possible on your skin. Tough in the winter here in the UK, so I use Vitamin D supplementation. Important for immune function and bone density but also helping our bodies Circadian Rhythm.
- Blood Flow: Move every day, even if it just a short walk or something nice and easy. Blood flow promotes good health and will help boost immune support and fitness!!
If you are not PB’ing, are constantly picking up niggles, have bad skin, excess body fat, feel overtrained, have low motivation, low sex drive, low mood and get sick a lot…address these basics (using the above guide). They will almost always be the cause of what is going on! They are the absolute basics for humans, yet in my experience almost everyone is deficient in many of them.
The problem is that modern day life doesn’t leave us much time for these basics. We are all caught up in the rush of life and neglect our bodies in the process.
I full immersed myself in this however and became lieterally obsessed with the basics. It got me to a point where training was immense, I was not sick for a solid 9 months (after full on flu kicking in every 3-4 months for the last four years) and felt great.
However I totally sacrificed my social life and took it a bit far. Now if you are a pro athlete, getting paid top dollar then that is what you need to do. However I am talking about the rest of us normal folk.
You need to find a balance that works for you. Over the summer I made a conscious decision to take a look at my own balance and as a result worked hard to rebuild social relationships with friends and family.
I had long neglected them in the pursuit of an extra kilo on my Snatch or a few extra calories on my ten minute assault bike test. For me this meant letting myself relax and enjoying a few beers at the weekend, missing a few days training to go walking in the hills. Mainly it meant prioritising family and friends over the gym and accepting that the odd missed session would not kill me or my progress. Things that were impossible before.
This was my battle of balance. It doesn’t mean I have thrown the basics out! I still adhere to them 95% of the time and I can’t emphasise enough how much your quality of life will improve if you slowly start to build them into your life too. They seem so small and yet are so so so important. I can only say this as I have experienced it myself.
To be clear, I am asking you all to have an honest look at your lifestyle. Is it truly balanced? Do you train at 100% and then go out 2-3 times a week drinking and sleeping poorly? Do you constantly eat poor food, in a rush without mindful practice? Do you have a habit of not drinking enough in the day? Are you like I was…over obsessed with training and/or your aesthetics?
You all have your own individual battles of balance. Look at that basic list and pick out what you struggle to do day to day and slowly chip away at it. Then find the things that make you happy and do them as much as possible whilst building strong relationships with loved ones.
If you have ANY questions on ‘the basics’ then get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to find out more about joining the best gym in Bishops Stortford then have a look at our website in more detail.