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Fitness Theory and Practice. CrossFit's rationale & foundations. Who is fit? What is fitness?

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Old 03-11-2008, 06:23 AM   #1
Steve Liberati
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Is 3 on -1 off too much?

Chris from Conditioning Research thinks so. He points to Art DeVaney's latest post suggesting we would do well to look at optimal human activity patterns in terms of a "power law" distribution. Basically the harder you workout, the more rest you should take.

Overall, its a good question to ask ourselves....and whether "routine is the enemy" should apply to frequency as it does to movement patterns.


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Old 03-11-2008, 06:40 AM   #2
Moran Bentzur
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Re: Is 3 on -1 off too much?

I would guess that for most people who take crossfit seriosly but not religiously (and are not crossfitters by profession) 3-1 is something to aspire to, yet is not always attainable for long periods.
I know I try to do the WODs but some days just don't workout like I want and sometimes I miss workouts. This is random and happens once or twice every couple of cycles so it fits the "routine is the enemy" applied to frequency.
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Old 03-11-2008, 08:08 AM   #3
Aaron Moburg-Jones
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Re: Is 3 on -1 off too much?

My guess is that for optimal health, 3-1 is too much. For optimal performance (at least for now) it is about right for the highly trained crossfitter (I trust Glassman who seems to have experimented with different schedules to optimize performance). For optimal health we would probably be better off exercising a really hard 2 or 3 times a week and spending 2 or 3 times a week on long duration low intensity activities such as hiking, easy biking, walking, and manual labor.

This seems to be the consensus of people who use and paleo/evolutionary model to determine optimal human health and activity.

I myself opt for performance ... and I don't have time to hike 3 hours a day twice a week.

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Old 03-11-2008, 08:24 AM   #4
Frederic Giraud
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Re: Is 3 on -1 off too much?

I completely agree that randomness is our friend, but as Aaron just pointed, for performance enhancement such schedule ( 3on 1off) seems to be pretty good where it allows the trainee to train hard and at maximum intensity for the 3 days then take one day off and rinse and repeat.

But in terms of optimal health everything should be randomized in my opinion. IF schedule, fruits/veggies you consume ( here the season makes it a bit less randomized but still), training schedule, sleeping schedule ( with the 8h sleep/nite the minimum).

The more everything is scheduled, the more your body has the possiblity to adapt to it, the less broad your develpment will be, IMO.

So in this regards, I wouldn't say that 3on-1off is too much, but too repetitive. I'd throw in 5on-2offs/ 2on-1off-1on-2off-1on/ 3on-1off / 3on-2off-1on-1off / etc ... and change the pattern each X week, where x would be the number of weeks before your body could start adaptating.
"The results are in the intensity. The magic is in the movement. The art is in the programming."
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Old 03-11-2008, 08:28 AM   #5
Tom Fetter
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Re: Is 3 on -1 off too much?

At the advanced age of 45, 3/1 has worked better than I'd thought it would with WODs ... though sometimes my body calls out demanding an extra day off for recovery.

On the other hand, my current SS cycle doesn't quite leave enough time for recovery on a 3 workouts/week schedule. Pretty much each week I've found myself taking an extra recovery day between workouts somewhere, and shifting the remaining workouts on a day further.

I suspect that were I to really optimize my diet, neither program's occasional extra recovery days would be as necessary.
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Old 03-11-2008, 09:29 AM   #6
Jake Dent
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Re: Is 3 on -1 off too much?

Originally Posted by Tom Fetter View Post
3/1 has worked better than I'd thought it would with WODs ... though sometimes my body calls out demanding an extra day off for recovery.

Same here. I like 3/1 and every once in a while I take an extra day. Also, I find that taking that half intensity week every 5 or 6 weeks is imperitive to not getting burned out.
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Old 03-11-2008, 11:31 AM   #7
Susie Rosenberg
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Re: Is 3 on -1 off too much?

This brings to mind something I've been thinking about a lot, that of seasonality and periodicity.

Olympic and professional athletes have SEASONS, for which they train to a peak, or a series of peaks, to coincide with their "A" level events. They maintain a base of fitness year-round, but start gearing up for their season. They don't eat as strictly or train as intensively in their off season.

Eating with the kind of discipline needed for peak performance, and training as hard as needed for true peak performance, is a significant mental, emotional, and physical stress, which is precisely why athletes have seasons.

I'm not even sure that it's healthful to aim to maintain a year-round absolute peak.

So short of that, my feeling is what most of us mere mortals should aim for is "near peak": a level of fitness that supports health, gives a feeling of vitality and wellbeing, skirts serious injury and overuse, and enhances wellness.

To that end, I think mixing Crossfit workouts with strength-building, and as Coach says, PLAYING different sports, is ideal. Hiking, swimming, kayaking, cycling, running for pleasure, are all, as Martha Stewart says, Good Things.

If competing for the record for the shortest Fran time is the carrot that leads you on, then go for it as long as the process brings you joy and enhances your spirit.

Then, when you've nailed the record, take a week off and go for a walk in the woods.

Those who hear not the music, think the dancers mad.
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Old 03-11-2008, 11:55 AM   #8
Bob Guere
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Re: Is 3 on -1 off too much?

After my recent overtraining experience, I agree it might be a bit much for those of us who can't always make it the priority. (i.e getting enough rest for the 3-1 ratio).

My plan right now (starting today) is to come back with the 5k, see how I feel tomorrow (my heart arrhythmias) and do a scaled WOD if I do feel good, same for Thursday. After Friday's rest, I plan to come back and do a 1 on, 1 off, 1 on. Then rest, and the next do 3 to 1 again and see how I feel. I'm also back on Fitday to track my macros instead of just blocks (I hear ya out there Jay!) for my potassium/magnesium/calcium balance. Oh, to be 20 again.

Mind you that is if "life" doesn't get in the way, which it always does, and is welcome. After all, isn't "life" the reason we do this?
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Old 03-11-2008, 12:07 PM   #9
Ben Moskowitz
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Re: Is 3 on -1 off too much?

I like what Dan John has to say about recovery (NWFS)

Also at in his "opus," he writes about a training versus recovery worksheet.

Rate your workout on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being pushing super-aggressively on a CF workout. Two workouts? Each one counts for up to 5 points.

Now rate your recovery: sleep, nutrition, social time, alone/prayer time, I think that's all. Did you get 8+ hours of sleep? That's a two. Only four hours? one point. ten hours? 3 points....etc...check out the "opus."
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Old 03-12-2008, 06:41 AM   #10
Damon Stewart
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Re: Is 3 on -1 off too much?

I've got a 2 year old and a 5 month I find it's critical to listen to my body. I rarely do 3/1 but often do either 5/2 with Wednesday being a fun/skills day or 2/1/2/2. During the summer time I'll go 3/1 but if I need a rest day I take it. I can't remember the last time I get 8 straight hours of quality sleep so it would be easy for me to be under-recovered.
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