Practice, Train, Compete: A Guide for Perpetual Progress

For sustainable progress over time, categorize the domains of fitness into three primary components: practice, training, and competition. Each component serves a distinct purpose in the overall fitness journey and helps individuals target specific aspects of their physical abilities.

  • Practice:
    • Objective: Skill Development and Mastery
    • Perspective: Inside the body. Analyzing the differences in the way small changes feel during a particular movement or skill.  i.e. What happens when foot position is adjusted?  Is this an improvement on the quality of a movement or skill?
    • Focus: During practice sessions, the emphasis is on refining and mastering specific movements and skills. It’s about building a solid foundation and improving technique.
    • Intensity: Lower intensity compared to training and competition. The goal is precision and quality of movement.
    • Example: Working on the mechanics of a snatch, practicing double-unders, or refining handstand push-up form.
  • Training:
    • Objective: Goal-Oriented Workouts
    • Perspective: Zoom out from the smaller pieces to larger more encompassing attributes.  i.e. Where/when does technique start to breakdown as intensity increases?  What adjustments can be made to stay in line with the intention of the workout while keeping the larger vision in mind.  
    • Focus: Training sessions are more structured and goal-oriented. The aim is to improve specific physical attributes such as strength, stamina, or power through intentional programming.
    • Intensity: Moderate to high intensity, depending on the training goal. Workouts are designed to be challenging based on the focus(es) of the workout.
    • Example: Completing a series of interval runs to enhance cardiovascular endurance, lifting weights to increase strength, or performing high-intensity intervals to boost power.
  • Competition:
    • Objective: Testing Skills and Pushing Limits
    • Focus: Competing, whether against oneself or others, involves putting skills and training to the test. It’s an opportunity to challenge personal limits and showcase the culmination of practice and training efforts.
    • Intensity: High intensity, as competition often involves pushing physical boundaries and performing at maximum effort.
    • Example: Participating in a CrossFit competition, completing an assessment/test/time trial, or setting personal records in various movements.

Setting the Intention:

Before engaging in any of these components, it’s important to set an intention. Individuals are encouraged to consider factors such as recent nutrition, sleep quality, and overall activity levels when determining their approach to practice, training, or competition. This intentional approach ensures that the chosen component aligns with the individual’s current physical state and desired outcomes.

By incorporating these three components into a well-rounded fitness routine, you’ll become a more adaptable athlete who excels across various domains of fitness. The practice, training, and competition framework allows for a holistic and intentional approach to physical development, promoting overall health and functional fitness.

More context will be helpful here.  Take the following framework as a starting point.  Adjust over time.  The assumption is that long term health and functionality are the overarching themes.

The bar graph illustrates the distribution of workouts based on their orientation and perceived rate of exertion. Out of every 10 workouts, 6 are practice-oriented with a perceived exertion of 70-80%, 2 are training-oriented with a perceived exertion of 80-90%, and 2 are competition or test-oriented with a perceived exertion of 90-100%.