How to Maximize Your Fitness ROI - Part 2
There are three important factors that go into maximizing the return on investment that we make into our health and fitness: efficiency of the program, number of training sessions per week, and most importantly, our nutritional plan.
In Part One of this series, we looked at what the return on investment would be from doing 1-7 workouts per week and eating a standard nutrition plan. We also assumed that all workouts were CrossFit, the most efficient fitness program.
The end results: when eating a standard nutrition plan, even if we train really hard and work out a lot, lasting favorable results are not seen often. Initially, we may see some favorable results, but do not continue to see ongoing improvements. In fact, regression often follows the initial improvements. More simply, improvements can be made quickly, but they don't stick around long.
So what do we need to do to maximize improvements and earn results that stick?
Check out the table below.
Assumptions and Notes for Table 2
Assumption/Note 1: Athlete has 4+ months of CrossFit Experience.
Assumption/Note 2: Each individual is different. Favorable and unfavorable results are not rules, guaranteed or promised. Some may have constant improvement with fewer training days. Many will not.
What does this mean?
Following a whole foods and/or macros nutrition plan will yield a far better short- and long-term return and will be amplified with consistent exercise.
- Simply by doing CrossFit, challenging ourselves and eating well, we can have small improvements that last. This may be getting a little better at running and push-ups, lifting around the same weights and our clothes fitting just a little better. Minimal results are better than no results. But I know that's not what you're looking for.
- For many people, doing 4-5 workouts per week will maximize ROI; get results and keep them for the long haul. (Keep in mind assumption #2.) This may be improved endurance, strength and flexibility (to name a few), the ability to do skills that once seemed extremely difficult or impossible are now ones that you're able to do. Clothes fit better and keep fitting better. Friends, coworkers and family start taking notice. Health and fitness has definitely improved.
- For many people, doing 3 workouts/week consistently is a good place to start. There may be short term improvements and maintenance of those improvements, however it may not yield long-term consistent improvement. Moderate improvements would be breathing easier during workouts, lifting a little bit heavier and a little bit of weight loss and clothes fitting a little better. It's progress, which feels good, but it may feel like it's happening very slowly, and at some point it may not feel like it's happening anymore.
Many long time CrossFitters who have had varying schedules, some months with 3 workouts/week, others with 4-5 workouts/week have said that 3x/week CrossFitting is maintenance and 4-5x/week is when results and improvement happen.
To maximize Return On Investment, do three things:
- Eat foods that will get favorable results fastest,
- Perform the most efficient fitness program (CrossFit), and
- Train consistently (3-5 days/week)