The Periodization Debate For Crossfitters

Over the last few years there has been a debate brewing among the Crossfit community on whether or not Periodization has a place in the Crossfit fitness regime. As a coach it is our job to review and understand the latest trends in fitness and figure out how and why to apply them or frankly not to apply them at all.  This is one debate we think is worth discussing.

Periodization by definition in the sports world, is an planned approach to training that involves progressive cycling of various aspects of a training program during a specific period. It is a way of alternating training to its peak during season. The aim of Periodization is to introduce new movements as you progress through the macrocycle (yearly) to specify your training right up until you start the season.   This theory believes that our body changes throughout the year and annual Periodization takes advantage of these biological rhythms, which in the end will produce larger gains to your metabolism.  The macrocycle plan is broken out in 3 main blocks, preparatory, competitive, transition.  The argument for Periodization to be incorporated into CrossFit is that, CrossFitters only train in the competitive phase.

To that point, the core of Crossfit training tells you to go as hard and as fast as you can. As a  Crossfit community, we are passionate group of self motivated go –getters, who not only go after our WODS with passion and vigor but our entire lives.  As we push through our daily lives at work, home, and even “play”  trying to accomplish more and more each time, with increasing intensity without ever taking a break.   The coach’s at The Ocala Gyms Crossfit Pinnacle, we believe that fitness is a way of life and encouraging our members to incorporate fitness  for the mind and body.   As a part of the WOD’s we ask you to work in a recovery day for your body but are you giving your brain a recovery period to from the intensity as well?

Here are some great tips for Mental Periodization Training Micro,  Meso, & Macro  Cycle Tips for Max Results by a fellow CrossFitter, Dawn Fletcher, that The Ocala Gym CrossFit Pinnacle staff agrees with and we believe these tips are worth sharing.

  • Take at least 2 days off every 8-day cycle, with at least 1 of them a full day off (outside of your box without Googling ‘CrossFit’ at all) & the other off day may be an active recovery/light day.
  • If it has been a month and you have done nothing else active besides CrossFit, fix it. It is already too late if it’s been a month.
  • Every 60-90 days take 3 days off in a row. Get out of your CrossFit routine, try a new sport or activity or just fully rest and recover.
  • Every 6 months, take 5-7 days off in a row. Especially after a competition or a hard cycle of training.
  • Implement 20 minutes a day at very minimum of quiet alone time. Turn the phone off, get away from the computer, close your eyes if you’d like and just let your mind wander. Take deep diaphragmatic breaths and just be thoughtful. *You can do this with a purpose (meditating on a certain topic, prayer etc.) or you can just let your mind go wherever it  wants. Just be alone and quiet every single day with no interruptions. I take about an hour, daily
  • Attend yoga, pilates, tai chi, meditation or another ‘eastern exercise’ course that forces slower movement. If it is uncomfortable, do it until you get comfortable.
  • Play pick up sports, surf, climb, ski, hike, swim…all without a specific goal or time domain. Just enjoy the process. As often as possible outside of your CrossFit WODS.
  • Implement ‘play days’ into your training schedule (or your clients). Flip tires, climb ropes, play dodge ball, throw sandbags, or make up games. None of this should be done for a score.
  • Have a hobby that is strictly for relaxing purposes only (read a book, play music, journal)

Bottom line is that Periodization creates balance in your life! If you need help trying to implement Periodization into CrossFit life, talk to one of the coaches at The Ocala Gym CrossFit Pinnacle.

 

Other references:

http://catalystfitness.typepad.com/green_army_wod/2011/11/periodization-for-crossfit.html

http://www.livestrong.com/article/550812-the-periodization-of-a-weight-lifting-training-program/

http://www.catalystathletics.com/articles/article.php?articleID=53