More Is Not Better

More is not better. Let’s say that one more time: More is not better! That sentence is particularly true in regards to CrossFit as a training program. In this case, the “more” we are referring to is an increase in training volume. On the surface, it’s easy to fall into the mindset that if one trains more they will see an increase in their fitness level.  However, as an athlete, you must put into perspective what you may be sacrificing in order to complete this extra work.
Performing multiple workouts in the same day does not go without its benefits. These advantages are particularly important for athletes who are preparing to compete in a multi-day competition. When programmed correctly, an increase in volume can play a key role in a competitor’s success. However, unless a coveted appearance at the CrossFit Games is looming on the near horizon, it is unnecessary to be putting in this extra time. These added training sessions often lead to a higher risk of injury, a decline in your motivation to work out, and overtraining. If you’re an athlete hitting multiple workouts in the same day, are you attacking each of those training pieces with everything you have? Or, are you letting off the intensity on your first workout to save some gas for the next one? Don’t fall into the thinking trap that “more is more”; you could end up sacrificing intensity for volume.
As Greg Glassman, the founder of CrossFit, once said, “Be impressed with intensity, not volume.” CrossFit, by its own definition, is “constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movements.” The part of that definition that needs to be focused on in this case is the term “high-intensity”. Intensity is defined by the amount of power an athlete produces during any given workout, and power is defined by the amount of work performed per unit of time. Performing a workout at high-intensity means giving it 100% effort, exhausting every ounce of energy you have toward completing that work. Intensity is what produces results and gains in an athlete’s fitness. You aren’t doing yourself any favors by hitting a training component, whether it is a strength piece, metcon, or endurance session with at only half effort.
Hans Seyle’s General Adaptation Syndrome states that when the body experiences a homeostatic disruption it triggers a response inside the body, which leads to adaptation. This is the foundation of the Overload principle of physiological training. In order for an athlete to see improvements in any domain of fitness, they must work harder than what their body is used to and force their body to adapt. Performing workouts at 70% intensity will not yield an athlete any substantial fitness gains.
Every individual has different goals and it is important to remember what those goals are. For athletes aspiring to compete at the CrossFit Games, an increase in volume may be what they need to get them to that level, but that process must be one that is well thought out and planned. If you began your fitness endeavor with the intention of being a fitter and healthier version of you, than there is no need to try and replicate the training schedule of those who intend to compete in CrossFit as a sport. Keep your focus on pushing the intensity of your workouts and not the volume of them.