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The training program and why it’s not gospel

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Have you ever been prescribed a session by your coach and you just couldn’t complete the exercises given to you? You were only able to get one muscle up instead of the three put down, or you snatched 55kg but kept missing the 60kg on your program?

Well here’s the home truth, no training program should be set in stone and absolute, in reality it is a guide which should be used to describe best aspirations for the session ahead. No good coach worth their salt would expect you to be able to follow that program to an absolute tee 100% of the time.

We’re all human, and that means we are going to have days where we feel pretty rubbish. You might be coming down with a cold, you’ve got a deadline, had a miserable day at work, you’ve had a god-awful sleep the night before, or any other reason; whatever it might be you might not feel 100% up for it. But that is ok! So rather than push your way through it and attempt to stick the plan where you risk hurting yourself, or allowing your technique to absolutely crumble, just take a deep breath and think to yourself about the most sensible and pragmatic way forward to get the best out of your training at that point in time.

On some days it might actually be worth having a quick stretch and taking yourself home to rest; that’s it, nothing more. On other days it might be reducing those squats from 5×5 on 100kg to 3×4 on 80kg. To counter that, making informed and intelligent adjustments to your program also goes for days where you might feel particularly awesome. They don’t come along very often so sometimes you need to seize the moment and push yourself a little further to see where you’re at. Going for 8 pull ups instead of 6, or trying a power clean at 80kg instead of 75kg. It’s all relative and understanding more about yourself and your body. That being said, most coaches wouldn’t want you to max out every other day either so the structure is usually there for a reason.

In summary, when things aren’t going right, dial it back a little, focus on one or two things, and try to go home having achieved at least one positive. Most importantly, definitely don’t feel guilty about it! If you’re working to the program around 80-90% of the time, then that’s a great indication that things are going right. An excellent coach understands, this and will appreciate you making the right decisions and communicating that to them.

A training program should be thought of as a guide and a guide only, especially when considering it as a tool that a human being, not a machine, is using to progressively improve performance. It should be flexible and realistic. Feel free to chat to any GW coach about this whether it’s down in a CrossFit class or upstairs in the S&C zone. We’re all here for you guys and your goals are our goals!