Understanding Prescribed

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by Douglas Chapman

The term prescribed when it comes to workouts has become a badge of honor and a way of validating a person’s performance.  The weights prescribed are geared toward having a high power output and a theoretical “maximum” cyclic rate. If Fran is thought of as 45 thrusters at #95 and 45 pull ups and let’s say the “best” time is 2:00 (120 seconds) which results in each rep in 1.33 seconds per with no time loss for transition. Add transition time between stations and then the cyclic rate is faster. We seem to hold performances like this as the standard. It is far from it. How many people can do a 2:00 Fran? Very very few. A 2:00 minute Fran is a mixture of genetic potential, training and a god like tolerance for discomfort. How many people can really move that fast?

People often frame their success in terms of the extreme. The all or none relationship between, train for the 2:00 Fran or Boston Marathon or be top 10 in the CrossFit Games or Hawaii Ironman or make it to the platform in the Olympics or why bother?. All of these are worthy goals and attainable by about the same percentage of people who have 2:00 Frans. Success and failure is often measured by people in terms of how close they are to the super elite performances and not on an accurate assessment of their current and true abilities. Your ultimate success depends on being there and getting better all the time.

Should a person feel “bad” about their performance doing Fran in 7:00 with #45 and jumping pull ups. Depends. If the last time the individual did Fran was with a #15 training bar in 12:00 then no – it is an absolute success. If the person is coming off of a car accident and inconsistent training as a results, they should have a lot of pride for toughing it out. If your last time you did Fran was 5:00 and your slow down is from a drinking and taco bell bender then you might want to rethink your life. Ultimately framing your performance in terms of you of yesterday is better than comparing to elite performers. (Though comparing to the best out there is cool from time to time.)

Prescribed weights are guidelines. Guidelines dependent on several factors. Everyone who attends a CrossFit level 1 hears the mantra: Mechanics, Consistency, Intensity. Poor mechanics are a recipe for bad things. People who cannot have good mechanics in a movement needs to devote time to scaling the load and practicing the movements.  Consistent training is the pathway to intensity. Training often enough to make good movement a habit and taking time develop the strength base to handle higher levels of intensity is essential to good training. Intensity is where all the good things come in. Working toward high levels of work capacity decreases body fat, increases lean muscle mass and tend to move health measurements in the right direction. Intensity without mechanics and consistency is like giving a 4 year old loaded gun.

The “right” prescription for each individual. First check your ego at the door. Second, take time to learn how before you blast off. Your ego boost should come from doing it right, then doing it fast. Understand fast is relative. Fast relative to Graham Holmberg or fast relative to what you did the last time? You know the answer. Enjoy the journey: Being better all the time is the quest. A life long journey of good health and quality of life does not happen in 2 months. It happens from a commitment to being better all the time. Consistently better all the time.

Your prescribed weight makes you better. Your prescribed is what you need to pull you along the journey of excellence.  Your prescribed weight is what is right for you!

Thank you to Hyperfit USA for this great article.

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