“The circuit-based approach can be likened to squeezing the toothpaste only from the middle of the tube and is a useful strategy for only a given period of time.” – Paul Laursen and Martin Buchheit
High-intensity group fitness programs such as CrossFit, Orange Theory, and F45 are designed to train and develop General Physical Preparedness (GPP). GPP may be defined as the capacity to perform any given physical task across various domains, intensity, durations, circumstances, sports, and even activities of daily living. In other words, GPP is a state of readiness.
Prior to CrossFit, GPP training was overlooked and neglected. Very few people, including elite-level athletes, were doing constantly varied functional movements at high intensity. Rather, people were in LA Fitness, Planet Fitness, and Gold’s Gym doing cardio, split routines, and supersets. As a result, people were unable to develop work capacity across broad time and modal domains (i.e. fitness). No one was doing Clean and Jerks, Handstand Push-ups, Rope Climbs, and Sled Pushes. No one was doing workouts for time, prioritizing mobility, or eating for performance. People were simply going to the gym, hopping on the Elliptical for 30 minutes, hitting three sets of 10 reps on all the machines, and calling it a day.
Fast forward to present day – there are ~15,000 CrossFit affiliates worldwide, Orange Theory has more than 1200 studios across the globe, and F45 is right in the mix at over 1300 locations. GPP training has become mainstream. Everyone is doing high-intensity, circuit-based training. Everyone is squatting, lunging, hinging, pushing, pulling, and carrying. Everyone is significantly fitter.
Although some folks are new to GPP-style training, or have yet to even experience it, the majority of people have been members at these facilities for years. They’ve cultivated sufficient levels of GPP, learned and developed new skills, and achieved most, if not all, of their initial goals. These folks are hungry for more! They want to develop and refine their skills, learn more complex movement patterns, get stronger, build muscle, run faster, and jump higher. Unfortunately, in most cases, GPP training will not move the highly trained and experienced fitness enthusiast toward those advanced goals.
“While resistance-based HIIT circuits do a good job of squeezing from the middle of the tube, after some time they are an ineffective strategy for achieving any sort of outcome.” – Paul Laursen and Martin Buchheit
GPP-style training and resistance-based HIIT circuits often neglect various principles of training such as individuality, specificity, overload, and progression. These types of programs do a great job of squeezing from the middle of the tube, but eventually, that strategy becomes ineffective. At some point, individuals need to adopt a new approach; they need to begin squeezing from the end of the tube. They need to focus the majority of their time, energy, and efforts on one area.
“Highly trained athletes require a more-focused target approach (i.e. separate HIIT, power, strength, and speed work) to get all the toothpaste out.” – Paul Laursen and Martin Buchheit
Highly trained, experienced, and disciplined fitness enthusiasts need more than GPP-style training in order to achieve their goals. The reason: their goals require more structured, purposeful, consistent, and periodized training regimens. Performing constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensities is an incredibly effective means at enhancing fitness and improving overall health, but it doesn’t get all the toothpaste out. It doesn’t maximize the efforts or accelerate the results, at least not in the pursuit of specific performance, strength, or aesthetic goals.
Individuals whom are interested in achieving very specific outcomes need to engage in very specific training. For example, if someone wants to pursue strength, specifically increase his/her 1RM Front Squat, he/she needs to follow a strength cycle designed to develop absolute strength in the lower body. If an individual’s goal is to build muscle, he/she needs to engage in hypertrophy-style training (e.g. split routines). If someone wants to lose weight, he/she needs to prioritize longer work intervals, low-to-moderate intensities, and increasing physical activity throughout the day. Obviously, regardless of the desired outcome, nutrition plays a vital role in the process. However, that is an entirely different discussion that we will not be diving into today.
Moral of the story: GPP-style training is not the be-all-end-all solution to all things fitness. Yes, GPP-style training (e.g. CrossFit, Orange Theory, and F45) is an incredibly effective means by which to cultivate greater fitness, learn a broad range of physical skills, and enhance overall health, but eventually, for some folks, it becomes an ineffective strategy. The pursuit of specific, performance, strength, and/or aesthetic goals, requires a more-focused target approach:
- Periodized annual training plans (i.e. macrocycle)
- Phases dedicated to training specific energy systems
- Cycles designed to develop specific components of fitness
- Specific work-to-rest ratios, intensities, loads, and volume
- Deload periods to promote adaptation and recovery
- Separate HIIT, power, strength, and skill sessions
If you’re someone who is ready for more, ready to develop and refine your skills, learn more complex movement patterns, get stronger, build muscle, or run faster, it’s time to make a change – it’s time to evolve.
At Ballistic Performance, we offer one-on-one virtual personal training and programming specific to you. We call it “CUSTOM,” and it’s exactly what you need to pursue and achieve your goals.
In CUSTOM, you’ll receive:
- Initial fitness and mobility assessments
- Programming that expands upon your strengths, targets your weaknesses, and most importantly moves you toward the desired outcome.
- Weekly check-ins to provide accountability, guidance, and education
- Video and Zoom analysis of technique
- 24/7 access to your coach via the TrainHeroic app
- Access to the Ballistic Performance Armory (video vault), the Ballistic Basics Ebook, and the private Facebook group
Are you ready to elevate your training?