3 Keys To Reaching Your Health & Fitness Goals - Part 2: Breathe Hard
It’s no secret that exercise is an important part of health and fitness. It’s often the first deliberate action people take when they want to change their lifestyle in favor of improved health and/or physique. But, if you’re coming here first, we want you to pump the brakes a bit. Notice that the title of this post is “Part 2”. Go back and check out Part 1: Fuel. Then come back here. Ready? Good!
After reading Part 1 of this three-part series, you’ll notice we prioritized the fuel you put in your body before we mentioned anything about how to exercise. That is by design. The supporting expression is one we very strongly believe in: “you can’t out workout a bad diet”. Understanding this priority is key to making any real, long-term change.
PART 2: BREATHE HARD
When it comes to exercise, the nature and dose of exercise that is appropriate for your health and fitness goals is a little more complicated. Let’s assume you’re approved by your doctor for vigorous cardio and aerobic efforts. If so, we can make a few simple and general recommendations for anyone looking to improve their fitness.
One way to simply state our recommendations is this: We want you to breathe hard. Get your body into a state of exertion so you elicit a cardio-respiratory response (as in, your heart rate and therefore breathing rate increases). Do more of this, and you’ll start to see improvements. What to do, how often, and exactly how hard, you ask? Keep reading!
What Do I Do?
Start with “Functional”. Functional movements are important because they correlate to real world capability. We don’t just want to look awesome, we want to beawesome!
Basic functional movements like squats, deadlifts, and overhead presses, all of which you learn in our beginner’s foundations course, set you up for success in your everyday life. Practice doing these movements well, and you’ll be moving through life more efficiently, with fewer aches and pains that are usually due to poor movement habits.
With the basics mastered, we can move on to more “specialized” movements. Doing moves like rope climbs, tire flips, sled pushes and handstand push-ups (all of which you’ll be able to do in some form or another after several months of consistent training) are really fun, empowering, and help us build things like core strength, spatial awareness, and coordination. These are all things that can really make a functional difference in your life – mentally and physically!
At CrossFit Aevitas, we believe the minimum effective dose to increase your general fitness is to breathe hard (like, really hard) at least 3 days per week for 10-15 minutes. That may not seem like much, but if the nature of your workout incorporates compound-joint, functional movements performed at high intensity (aka: CrossFit), that’s really all you need.
So, why aren’t our classes only 15 minutes? Well, because there’s more to sustainable fitness than just actually breathing hard. You need to properly warm-up, practice some skills required to execute the movements properly, and understand the strategy or overall point of the workout that day to get the desire stimulus.
High intensity is all the rage these days. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) studios are popping up all over the place because of the impact high intensity workouts have been shown to benefit body composition change. Unfortunately, some of these studios are missing the mark when it comes to truly high intensity stimuli.
At Aevitas, our WOD (Workout Of the Day) can be as long as 40 minutes (just like most HIIT classes) or as short as two. Two? Really?! Yes, two. Usually the short workouts involve moving a moderate weight (less than bodyweight) for 30-50 repetitions, coupled with a bodyweight movement (pull-ups, push-ups, etc.) This quick yet elegant combination produces a training effect that is virtually unparalleled. It leaves your body metabolically wrecked, sending it back to the drawing board to build capacity for the next time this fight with fitness happens, which will likely be a week or two away.
Longer days may seem “intense”, but by definition they are not as intense because of the duration that the work is being done across. The correct term here is “difficult”. Understanding the difference between intensity and difficulty is an important premise in effective training. Mixing the range of “high intensity” and “high difficulty/duration” is really how we optimize training results.
Fortunately, as an Aevitas athlete, you don’t have to worry about this – you just need to show up! Our coaches program these fluctuations in training duration into our regular WOD schedule to ensure your body adapts to a wide range of intensity and duration. We will get you breathing hard, and we will vary the intensity for you. You just need to be there putting the work in.
So now you’ve got the basics of diet and exercise figured out. That’s it, right? Not quite. Stay tuned for Part 3: Me Time, coming to the blog soon! In the meantime, go sign up for a WOD (or if you’re new, sign up to get into our next Launchpad program)!