Our Golden Ratio
by Erik Castiglione
Hi everyone, I’ve been incredibly delinquent in my writing lately, and for that I apologize. I’m getting back on track with this article.
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a little bit of math nerd. Using math to solve problems is fun for me, as is pattern recognition. Theoretical math is also really interesting. Take, for instance, the Golden Ratio (also called the Divine Proportion). This ratio is achieved when (a+b)/a is equal to a/b, and is denoted by the symbol φ. It is a ratio found a lot in nature – it gives snail shells their spiral pattern, and it can be found in the ratio of smaller to larger branches in a number of trees.
Leonardo Da Vinci used this ratio when drawing his Vitruvian Man, and our own ideas of what makes someone physically attractive have a lot to do with how their bone structure and facial proportions fit this ratio. There’s a lot more that I could talk about with the Golden Ratio, but hopefully you get the idea.
When it comes to CrossFit, and training in general, we have our own Golden Ratio. This ratio is 23/1. CrossFit classes last 1 hour, which leaves another 23 hours in the day. What we do in those other 23 hours greatly impacts our 1 hour in the gym, and our fitness and health in general. This includes our sleeping habits, eating and drinking habits, mobility work, and activity level outside the gym.
If you’re not regularly sleeping 7-8 hours a night, it’s going to be harder for you to recover from a tough hour in the gym. This will make subsequent workouts less productive. Furthermore, this can add to your overall stress. Training is a stress on the body, and too much stress can drain you. The body doesn’t distinguish whether the stress is good or bad; all it sees is the cumulative amount. Some is good, it causes you to adapt. Too much is bad.
I’m sure everyone has heard the saying “you can’t out-train a bad diet.” This is true for the most part. If you’re eating highly processed foods, you’re not going to recover as well from a hard workout. To make things worse, you won’t have the right fuel to help your body perform at its optimal level during your next workout. This means that your training is going to be less effective. Finally, if you’re trying to lose weight, you’re going to have a much harder time if you’re not watching your diet (more on this in future articles).
As far as mobility is concerned, foam rolling and dynamic stretching before a workout are great steps, but they’re only going to get you so far. If you have serious mobility problems, such as an inability to lock your arms straight out overhead or hit full depth in a squat, a simple pre workout routine isn’t going to be enough. If you don’t take some time outside the gym to work on these issues, you won’t be able to correct your problems.
Finally, if you’re very active outside the gym, it could have an impact on what you do inside the gym. If you play in a recreational sports league and constantly get hurt playing games, it’s going to keep you from working out while you heal. If you have a job that requires a lot of manual labor, or if you’re busy with kids all day, it’s going to be harder for you to muster the energy to work out. While most of these things can’t be avoided, it’s important to be aware of the impact that they have. Always keep our golden ratio in mind. I’ll be expanding on nutrition and mobility in future posts, but that’s all for now.