Top 6 things you’re doing wrong

What is a good workout?

What a good workout is for any individual can be totally different. You should however be after a stimulus that will move you toward your goal. A good workout will: have a specific training goal, which will elicit an improvement neurologically or physically, will improve upon one or more specific physical skills, will train the appropriate energy system associated with that physical skill and finally will include movements/load that allows for that to happen. Read through the list below if one of the scenarios sound like you an answer you would give then I guarantee you aren’t getting the best results for you time… these are real responses and they are quite common. Never fear though there are some solutions below as well and of course we are always here for you at CFJG!

Real life answers from people who are frustrated by the results they aren’t getting

  • “I did 30 minutes on the elliptical today, yesterday and plan to do it again tomorrow”
  • “I got a good sweat.”
  • “I burned my 500 calories now I can eat a piece of pizza tonight.”
  • “That was a great workout it was so hard”

Top 6 things you’re doing wrong when trying to get fit and how to fix them…

1. Training the same energy system constantly.

Is this you?

o   Do you do the same 30 minute thing every time you go to the gym? If that is you, you’ve taught your body how to plateau… nice work.

o   You modify weights or movements to things so you “just keep moving” when the workout calls for a heavier weight.

The Fix

o   You have to build greater intensity in order to improve. You simply cannot be as intense at any one moment in 30 minutes as you can be in 1 minute for example.

o   Commit to being at the gym for the same amount of time but make sure to workout at different speeds, different loads and different movements regularly.

o   Not sure what movements or how to change up your workouts? Meet with a coach.

2. Exercising to burn calories.

Is this you?

o   Do you exercise so that you can eat what you want? Or not feel guilty about eating crap?

The Fix

o   Understand that fitness is NOT measured in calories, calories expended or the difference between the two. Fitness is measured in capacity in 10 general physical skills. If you’re trying to improve your fitness, the amount of calories becomes irrelevant, the methods to produce fitness become relevant. That my friend is where the results are found..

3. Judging quality of workout by the amount of sweat.

Is this you?

o   I soaked my shirt in sweat, Yay!… Sweat is your body’s way of cooling your core temperature. It has no bearing on your fitness success. You may or may not sweat during a shitty workout, and you may or may not sweat during a great workout.

o   If you’re only going to try and sweat chances are you’re missing out on training the phosphogen and glycolytic systems and detriment your fitness… you can join the crowds of people who waste hours of time on ellipticals, bikes and treadmills not making progress.

The Fix

o   Don’t get caught up on sweat or not sweat. Go lift some weights, train shorter durations at higher intensity. Get great workouts!

4. Thinking that feeling beat or worn out is a measure of a good workout/duration of effort.

Is this you?

o   “Murph… what a great workout”, “10 rounds for time: 30 wall balls, 15 deadlifts, 20 box jumps, 1 pull up… amazing workout…” If you want to be burnt out you can do just about anything and be worn out… do Zumba non stop for 2-3 hours and YAY you’ll be burnt, bored and no fitter for it. Likewise doing some grueling Murph esk WOD doesn’t mean that it’s better than a 2 minute all out effort. If you think that going longer is better… do you know which energy system you’re using for a 12 minute workout? 30 minute workout? 2 hours? The same one for each… oxidative. If you are training the same energy system you will miss out entirely of the benefits of training the others.

The Fix

o   Most people enjoy training in one time domain most… suck it up and train them all. Fitness requires competency in all time domains 1s to 3 hours(though you can train for 20 minutes and be just as well off).

o   Regardless of system you’re trying to work at a high intensity level for whichever time domain.

o   Feeling worn out doesn’t mean you’ve improve any of the 10 general physical skills, it just means you’ve spent energy, if you want to just spend energy there are a million moves you can do including banging your head against the wall(don’t do that).

5. Thinking more workouts is better

Is this you?

o   I just need to train more… more days a week, more times per day, “NO DAYS OFF”. Training consistently is important. Training many times is not necessarily better though. Consistently having 2 intense workouts a week is better than 7 low intensity workouts. Somewhere in the middle lies perfection, it’s a little different for everyone.

The Fix

o   Strive for intensity first then as you sense your recovery is improving add volume slowly. I’ve been doing CrossFit for nearly 10 years and even with 2-3 days a week of training I’m still improving… you can improve for a LONNNGGG time without adding volume.

6. Training low power movements

Is this you?

o   Do you bicep curl? Do you use machines? Cardio equipment only? Have no idea what power is or how to measure it? Training movements that don’t allow for large loads, to travel long distances and quickly.

The Fix

o   Isolation movements can be useful tools as you become an intermediate or advanced trainee but until then stick to the compound/functional movements that produce high amounts of power. Movements like the Deadlift, Squatting, Rope Climbs, Rowing…

A good workout will… improve the 10 general physical skills, train a specific time duration that coordinates with an energy system, be intense (measured in foot(pounds)/second) and most importantly BE COMPLETED.

Brian Zimmerman

Owner- CrossFit Jungle Gym


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