December 10

Why has CrossFit, Insanity and P90x been so successful…?


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Are you getting better, or just getting beasted?

In my opinion there are two reasons. The first reason is that they’re actually pretty effective. Insanity and P90x being better for complete raw beginners, with CF being a scaleable thing that everyone should get a good training effect out of with the right coach.

But the second reason is really the important one – you feel absolutely beasted after a workout. Totally ruined, written off and empty. So it must working right?

The common wisdom is that if you’re not struggling, if you’re not in a sweaty heap after a workout, and if you’re not CRIPPLED with DOMS the next day, then you’re not progressing.

I see it all the time in commercial gyms too (..and some semi private places are guilty of this as well) – classes with no real structure or progression just designed to leave you feeling ‘eff’d up!


Now don’t get me wrong, if that’s your first exposure to training and getting in shape – it’s not the worst in the world. It might even be a pretty good option. But if you’ve been attending those classes or doing that style of training for long periods of time, chances are – your results are starting to tail off.


See, the reason why that happens is that there’s a very limited scope for increasing results with unplanned weekly beastings. Most of those classes keep you firmly in the anaerobic range (you know that 12-20 rep range circuit where your muscles feel like their going to explode and your heart will smash right outta your chest).

It’s been shown time and time again in studies that results with that kind of training peak after 4 weeks, before gradually tapering into a plateau around week 6 (the infamous tabata study is a prime example).

So after 4-6 weeks, if you’re not changing the stimulus or loading, you’re probably not progressing. And just changing the exercises or order of things does NOT equal “progression”. Of course the implication here is that for 4-6 weeks it’s a very effective form of training, and it is. But it’s not a year around system.

Hell, it’s not even a “system” at all. It’s just a part of a system. A system most of the people running those classes and camps don’t even realise they’re a part of. You can see a bit more about that “system” (The Physical Capacity Pyramid) here in this short 49 second video. It gives an overview of each of the levels of training you should be doing, and why they’re important;



For me, the system that wins long term is one that moves people thru those phases. It makes sure they’re sleep, nutrition, recovery and stress management are at least passible so they stand a good chance of recovering from workouts and not feeling eff’d all the time.

It has an element of nutrition coaching and habit change management to ensure long term success and sustainable progress for the person in question, and examines a persons individual movement issues and limitations by identifying fundamental movement tests they should be able to pass.

Once that’s all boxed off , you can worry about getting fitter, stronger, more powerful and dropping body fat. The REAL goal most people have when starting this kind of stuff is to feel and look better (getting laid is a HUGE part of it, maybe it’s even ALL of it – don’t lie).

But unless you enjoy the training, and can see real long term results, the chances are you’re not going to stick with it, you’re not going to get results, and you won’t get laid.

So REALLY, unplanned beastings are cock blocking you from getting action. And that’s not cool.

That’s why progression, planning and results body physically (how you look) and numbers wise (strength, fitness etc) are important. Without them, you’re just “exercising”.

Next time, I’ll talk about why “exercising” is the same as a night in with the laptop and a bottle of lube, and why “training” is like Hugh Heffner going out and banging everything around him.

Until then, you can grab onto a free 6 week progressive program here that covers off all the elements of the physical capacity pyramid here;


PS – not too long now until The Alpha Strength Challenge OFFICIALLY launches – there’s already 12 personal trainers signed up to take part in it, because it’s just THAT good.


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