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Training Vs. Competing – Is There a Difference?


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Do you struggle with not knowing when to train hard and when to “dial it back”?

Whenever trying to get in better shape there definitely needs to be variance in programming. So many people we meet get confused with this, so today we wanted to discuss TRAINING VS. COMPETING.

TRAINING VS. COMPETING

Is there a difference?…and should there be?

Well to be “straight” (as you know how we do). Yes, yes and another big strong YES, there without a doubt should be a difference.

Training is what prepares you for competing. Competing should be an isolated effort that is pulled out when you want to test those skills.

But the key thing here is that if you don’t BUILD THOSE SKILLS, you will likely be missing a key foundation of true fitness mastery.

Let’s take a look at a movement that shows up regularly in our programming, kipping pull-ups.

This is a dynamic movement which utilizes momentum and power from the hips which allows you to “rep out” more reps and elevate your heart rate. It has it’s place in training, but that is dependant on the stimulus of the intended workout (which at NTC changes day to day, and week over week).

At times on our board athletes may see STRICT emphasized. And one of our coaches may instruct athletes to use a band and focus more on pulling with the lats vs. resorting to kipping because it is more “advanced”. It’s tempting to choose the more “dynamic” movement, as your inner drive since achieving a kipping pull up tries to convince you that doing them strict will somehow be “sub-par”. However we beg to differ, and actually think from a base strength perspective STRICT should be a more valued skill.

You can’t win a marathon, if you continually run 100m sprints!

This is where trusting the programming, and riding the daily waves comes in.
Training varies because stimulus varies. And this is intentional.

Sprinting 100m daily will NOT make you a better endurance runner. Could it enhance it, possibly, but this is also a great example of “trying to win the race daily”, instead of putting in the work to cross that 10K finish line unwinded, and injury free.

Another example, single leg box step ups. During the open we saw these and there was a way to do them to move quicker, create less stress on the lead leg and manage fatigue. Great for competing!

Which is great when competing, however not the emphasis when in our training element. The function of a single leg box step is just that, a unilateral movement focussing on one leg. When we do these in training we want to ensure the lead leg is doing most if not all of the work from leaving the ground to full extension on top without using the opposite leg for assistance.

Now we are sure you can understand that if you build that absolute strength, isolating each leg in a this unilateral movement that it would directly transfer to you repping out more reps during competition and heck even making your legs leaner!

Why focusing on various training periods is super important for overall development.

As a progressive athlete keeping a normal training routine is an essential part of the journey. Tia Clair Toomey and Matt Fraser train more than 250 days a year to compete for 6 days at the CrossFit Games (yes they have a few “testers” in between but the bulk of their training is to compete in the CrossFit Games).

Competing is your reward for all the hard training you have put in. Now if competing is not your thing, no problem! Train hard (eat smart) then take a look in the mirror and you will see the training has paid off.

If you are competing all the time how are you able to train?

Each Open I take something away that I want to achieve or get better at. For the last 2 years, no wait 3,4, lets just say for the last little while the Bar Muscle Up has been by nemesis.

I decided to FINALLY train to get better at it. Instead of just thinking the skill will just appear one day. I faced any and all obstacles head on that prevented me from achieving it. And this past open was my best “performance” yet with them. And I personally think it was because I focused on the foundational elements that help one really succeed. Nutrition, Mobility & respecting the training waves and really trying to execute the focus that appeared daily.

This is not to brag but to give you an example. I still have a lot of work to do but the foundation is laid down for me to build on.

We want you to take a few minutes to think about the two questions below.

What are you currently training for?

Can you outline exactly how you will get there?

If you don’t have an answer we’d love to sit down with you for a complimentary goal session.

You can’t “reach the party” if you don’t know the address.
Coach D


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