Before you even get into this article — IF YOU ARE A CROSS FIT FAN — take a deep breath, get a chug from your water bottle and swallow a big “chill pill.” I know as soon as we get talking WOD — known as the “Workout of the Day” — and we bring up anything that might rough up the feathers of Cross Fitters, folks lose their minds. I know because I have great friends who are Cross Fit Trainers and THEY go crazy when we start talking programs. It’s like I’m taking away their MURPH! (For those of you not in the Cross Fit world, you’ll need to look it up!) Trust me when I say I’m not against Cross Fit. I ALWAYS say, “There aren’t bad programs — just bad coaches!”
What I want to bring up and discuss is the purpose of program design and the way folks go about it. To me, it’s to provide the individual/team with a plan to help them achieve a specific goal. In today’s world it seems that it’s becoming an ancient relic. Our society is so caught up in “what’s next.” “what’s cool” and “what’s on my feed,” that we somehow forgot to focus on “right now” and “what’s right.” Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc., has changed the way we approach everything in life. It has even changed the way we exercise.
To start, let’s look at the concept of “Workout of the Day” (WOD).
The whole idea is based on randomization. This is where the routine varies from day to day. Basically there is no rhyme or reason to the workout other than to workout. One day I could be doing a jump rope workout (aka, coordination, plyometric, conditioning) and the next I could be doing some crazy interval with a lot of pull-ups and push-ups (strength and conditioning).
I’ll be honest here and say this concept hasn’t been at the top of my favorites list for ways to set up programming, but we do use a type or “organized” randomization in our boot camps. In our sessions, we’re always changing what we are doing — but we do have a plan based on movement elements and how we function (that’s for another article another time!). Over time, I have come to see some benefits to randomization.
What is the benefit? FITNESS. By not getting locked into a rigid program, it keeps things fun and exciting, and no matter what you do (running, lifting, jumping rope), anything that gets you to move is good for us. If your goal is to exercise, have fun, burn calories and improve your fitness levels, randomization may be perfect for you.
Now, if you want to hit specific goals, that might be a different story. For example, let’s say you wanted to prepare for a marathon. Would you just go out and run every day with no idea of distance, pace or time? Or would you start with a simple running program to help guide you along? For the most part, you would probably go with the latter. For argument sake, let’s say you did choose the first option (just run). How would you know if you were prepared? How would you know if you were recovered? If your goal is to train for a specific outcome, then periodization (putting together a plan) should be applied.
The concept of periodization utilizes Hans Seyle’s General adaptation Syndrome (GAS) Model. Simply put, when we put stress on the body, eventually the body will adapt. If we apply more stress with no recovery, rest or way to rebuild and we become exhausted, we may end up over-trying and/or having injuries. The goal of the plan is to be able to move from one cycle to another building off each other, all the while monitoring their progress to ensure adequate stress and recovery.
Even with differences, I have seen areas where both actually have some things in common:
1. Both promote some type of movement or exercise;
2. Randomization states that it’s “training for the unknown.” If this is true and you do it over and over every day, you’ll start to become consistent in your workouts. The same can be said with periodization where next week builds of the previous week on a consistent basis;
3. Whether it is long term (macro cycles) or short term (daily), they both have a goal. If it is a daily goal it is usually to finish as fast as you can or do as many as possible (fitness or exercise, aka staying in shape). If it is long term, it is to focus on a specific distance, time or weight in a competitive environment where there is an organized body of rules (sport).
The key is, no matter if you are in the “random way of doing things” camp or the periodization model of program design, find your WHY you want to move, feel better and be your best! Once you know your why, we can help you find the HOW!
Mark “Coach Rozy” Roozen is owner/director of Coach Rozy Performance - Powered by AVERA Sports Yankton. He can be reached at 817-219-2811, email him at email@example.com or you can find more information at www.coachrozy.com about training programs, bootcamps and athletic & sport development.