The Definitive Guide to Nutritional Periodization For Mixed Modal Athletes

By Evan Peikon
This article is for those looking to maximize both performance, and body composition concurrently. If you clicked this hoping for a cookie cutter plan then save yourself 15 minutes and close your tab. On the other hand, if you are willing to put in some effort and apply the info presented below it will go a long way. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way….

To start, the human metabolism is not static, nor are your needs in terms of fuel on a day to day basis. Since training volume/intensity, and consequently recovery demands, vary from day to day it only makes sense that your nutritional prescription match said fluctuations. Why then do we simply recommend someone consume X,Y&Z amount of calories/macro nutrients per day and call it good? If you are willing to put the time in to periodize your training then it only makes sense to do the same with your nutrition.

That being said, in this article I’ll discuss how to…
Calculate/ match you caloric intake with your training volume on a day to day basis, make adjustments relative to your goals, and choose macro-nutrient ratios that are appropriate for your individual makeup.

*Note- the same information presented in this article can be applied to make adjustments when increasing or decreasing volume from training cycle to training cycle (ie- a higher volume base building phase will require more calories than a deload week, a higher intensity phase will require a larger % of calories from carbs than a lower intensity phase with the same total volume etc).

So without further adieu….

Step 1:
In order to begin this process you must first calculate your BMR (basal metabolic rate), which is the amount of energy your body expends while at rest (ie- the minimum amount of calories you must consume for your body to perform basic metabolic functions).

In order to calculate BMR I use the Mifflin-St. Jeour formula, which is touted as the most accurate method for BMR/TDEE calculation (another option would be the harris Benedict formula, though it is slightly less accurate). *

Note- the number you receive from the calculation is simply a starting point based on a large data set/ average human metabolic function. Metabolic Efficiency/Inefficiency, as well as damage can influence this number. As such, you may need to do some tinkering down the line.

Formula for Men:
[10 x Body Weight (kg) ] + [6.25 x height (cm)] – [5 x age (y)] + 5
Formula for Women:
[10 x Body Weight (kg) ] + [6.25 x height (cm)] – [5 x age (y)] – 161

BMR calculation example:
Sex: Male
Height: 5’10’‘ (177.8cm)
Weight: 200lbs (91kg)
Age: 24
[10 x 91] + [6.25 x 177.8] – [5 x 24] + 5 = [910] + [1111] – [120] + 5 = 1,906 calories

*Note- you can find calculators online that do the math for you, but I found it relevant to include the calculations so you know what the back end process entails. 

Step 2:
Once you establish your BMR it is time to figure out how many calories you need to consume on a given day in order to recover/ maintain your body weight (relative to your training volume/ intensity).

Training Volume/ Intensity Multiplication Factor
Rest Day BMR x1.3-1.4
Active Recovery/ Low Volume Training BMR x1.5-1.6
Moderate –> High Volume Training

2x Day Training Sessions

BMR x1.7-1.8

BMR x1.8-1.9

In order to figure this out you simply need to multiply your BMR by the activity factor that corresponds with a given type of day. So for example… At my height, weight, and age my BMR is 1760 calories. In order to figure out how many calories I need on a high volume training day I would multiple 1760 x 1.7-1.8. Which, would equate to 3000-3200 calories.

*Note- volume/ intensity are subjective measures. As such, you should try to step outside of your own frame of reference and be honest with yourself when assessing the demands of your training. 

Step 3:
Once you establish the amount of calories you need on a given type of training day it is time to apply an adjustment factor based on your goals.

Goal Daily Expenditure Adjustments 
Gain Muscle Increase calories calculated in step two by 5-10%
Maintain Weight Consume the amount of calories calculated in step two
Lose body fat Decrease calories calculated in step two by 10-15%

Since my goal is to gain muscle I would require an additional 5-10% increase in calories each day. As I previously stated in step two I need 3000-3200 calories on my high(er) volume training days (lets call if 3100 for the sake of keeping it simple). In order to apply the adjustment factor I would multiply 3100 x .10 (assuming I wanted to go with an aggressive 10% increase), which would equal 300 calroies. I would then add this number onto 3100 (you would subtract it from your total if the goal was weight loss). So, of my high(er) volume training days I would then consume 3,400 calories which would facilitate an increase in body weight.

Lets take this one step further now and factor in different macro nutrient ratios….

Step 4:
In the fourth, and final, step you will calculate how many of each macro nutrient (proteins, carbs, and fats) you will consume each day.

Approach Ratios 
High(er) Carb Pro: 25-35% Carb: 40-60% Fat: 15-25%
Moderate Carb Pro: 25-35% Carb: 30-40% Fat: 25-35%
Low(er) Carb Pro: 30-40% Carb: 20-30% Fat: 30-50%

*Note: %’s are relative to the total # of calories you are consuming. Protein, carbs, and fat contain 4,4,&9 calories per gram respectively. So, if you are consuming 2000 calories per day with 40% coming from carbs you would consume 200g carbs per day (ie- 2000 x.4 = 800 calories from carbs. 800 cals/4 cals per gram = 200g)

When deciding how to divide you macronutrients it is important to consider what your goals are, your total training volume, how well you tolerate carbs, and what your individual food preferences are. For most people i’d recommend starting with the moderate carb approach, seeing how you respond and then adjusting as needed. When deciding what % range to use within a given approach set your protein at 1-1.2 grams/ lb of body weight and then divvy up the carbs/fats as needed (you can go higher on the protein if desired, but know that it will not increase protein synthesis by any means if that is your reason for doing so).

Also of Note- the high(er) your intensity is (with total volume being equal) the larger % of calories you should consume from carbohydrates as no level of lipid adaptation will allow you to perform higher intensity work with fats as your primary fuel source.

So for example….
In the previous scenario I stated I need 3400 calories on my high volume training days. If I were to set my protein intake at 1-1.2g/lb i’d take in ~800 calories from protein (ie: 200 grams of protein) which would equate to 25% of my total calories. Since I am lean and tolerate carbs well I aim to take in ~40% of my daily calories from carbs, which would equate to 340 grams. Thus leaving the remaining 35% of my calories as fat, which would come out to 130 grams. Keep in mind this 25/35/40% (p/f/c) is simply what works for me, it is not a recommendation. I’ve gone as high as 60% of total calories from carbs and as low as 20%. Based on experimentation i’ve settled on ~40-50% as a sweet spot where I feel good, and perform well- the point being there is no hard and fast rule. You need to find what works for you based on your current training demands/ individual makeup.

What about post workout nutrition?
I’ve already covered this topic in depth. So, instead of going down that rabbit hole again I will simply recommend you check out an article I wrote titled, “Post Workout Nutrition for the Fitness Athlete” which you can find HERE.

Putting it into practice:
As I previously mentioned there is a high level of variability in metabolic function from person to person. Because of this you may need to make adjustments to your nutritional prescription after applying the formulas above. However, i’d recommend you follow them as closely as possible for 2-3 weeks before doing so (in order to get a baseline). Once you are ready to make adjustments you can titrate the calories up or down (or adjust the macro ratios) based on changes in bodyweight, as well as how you feel in and out of training. Also note that it may take some trial and error to match your training volume with the correct activity factor, so be willing to make changes.

*Note- There are various iphone apps that make nutritional tracking simple. Before you start playing around with the formulas outlined above I suggest you track everything you are taking in for a week first so you can control as many variables as possible/ see what your current intake looks like (If you are far off the numbers outline above I recommend you make incremental changes rather than completely overhauling your nutritional prescription all at once). Once you do begin to implement changes I also suggest making a general skeleton for what you need to take in on a given type of training day to keep a reference/ streamline the process.

Sample Days:
Below i’ve included some sample days to give you an idea of what constituted high volume, low/moderate volume etc. I’ve also included a snapshot of my nutrition plan to give you an idea of how i’ve applied the information above. *Workouts programmed by HPA coach Ryan Hughes.

High Volume Training & Nutritional Rx:
A. 1 PS+ 2 Sn+ 3 OHS; build to a tough set
B. Clean. Front Squat. Split Jerk; 1.1.1 every 90s x10 sets
C. Deadlift; build to a moderate 5 reps
6 Rounds For Time:
5 Unbroken Ring Muscle Ups
5 Unbroken thrusters @135
3 Sets:
2:30 Assault Bike @90%
2:30 Assault Bike- easy pace

Meal 1- 5 XL Eggs in 1 tbsp butter ,12oz sweet potato
Post Workout- 30g Protein/ 60g carbs (via whey/ highly branched cyclic dextrin)
Meal 2- 8oz 85% Beef, 1.5 cups white rice
snack- 1 Quest Bar, 1 small handful nuts (~30g)
Meal 4- 8oz 90% Bison w/ 1 tbsp oil, 12oz sweet potato, Grilled vegetables
Totals: ~3,300 cals 190g Pro, 330g Cho, 135g Fat

Active Recovery Training & Nutrition Rx:
40 Minute Row @2:20/500m
20 minutes low effort skill work & mobility Active Recovery

Meal 1- 5xl Eggs in 1 tbsp oil, 4 slices ezekiel bread
Meal 2- 2x 4oz Turkey Burger in 1.5tbsp oil 12oz sweet potato
Snack- 1 scoop whey 1 cup berries small handful macadamia nuts (~30g)
Meal 3- 8oz 85% beef, 14oz white potato
Totals: ~2850 cals 180g protein, 250g carbs, 130g fat

High Performance Athlete  was established in July of 2014 as resource for coaches in athlete in various fields of sport. Our Goal is to educate those in the fitness community about methods of optimizing performance via best practices in hopes of helping others real self actualization. HPA brings proven training methods, enhanced nutritional prescriptions, & lifestyle intervention/ recovery protocols to the table that cannot be duplicated.  If you are interested in working with an HPA Coach check out our services page where you can find more details regarding our exclusive coaching services, nutritional consultations and more.  If You’ve Enjoyed Reading this article you might also be interested in… Health Vs. Performance: Underfueling, Stress, & Recovery Post Workout Nutrition For Fitness Athletes

Recommended Reads


By Evan Peikon
One of the questions I get asked most often is what books I recommend for gaining a functional understanding on energy system production, programing, training, anatomy and physiology etc. In an attempt to avoid typing up an additional dozen emails on this topic each month I figured i’d put it all on print for current and future reference.

To start… I predict these questions often stem from the belief that all the knowledge I possess on said topics has been learned strictly through books, certifications and the likes. As such I believe that many coaches are under the assumption that reading said materials will give them a functional understanding of programming, and by gaining said information they will possess a framework for designing programs/ applying knowledge.
Unfortunately this just isn’t the case. Over the past five years i’ve read a minimum of three books per month with the average being closer to four. This equates to 180 books on the low end, with ~240 being a more accurate number. Is this extreme necessary? Absolutely not. The point i’m trying to make is that no single book will teach you how to program. The majority of what I know has come through extrapolating what i’ve read, designing theoretical models around it and applying it with my athletes. ie- Experience, trial, and error.
However, this is not to say that reading is not a necessary component to the learning process. It is absolutely critical as it serves as the base and frame work for further development. Ie- Do not read expecting to find the answers to everything you want to know. Read so you have a sufficient knowledge base which will allow you to figure out the answers yourself.

So without further adieu, here are my recommended reads which i’ll break into categories based on the type of information they contain (note- this list is by no means all inclusive, but if you want to maximize time spent reading then these are the the books i’d tackle first). 
Tier One:
As a starting point I usually recommend coaches and athletes purchase an introductory level anatomy and physiology textbook (you can find some used ones cheap on amazon- they are all fairly similar)- Obviously you do not have to read them cover to cover, but you should read the chapters on energy production, cell signaling, and hormonal response to exercise at the very least as they are the most important, and least understood, topics when dealing with program design. That alone will put you ahead of many coaches out there (and it will not be overly technical as the into level books are designed for first year students w/o an established functional understanding on the topics).

Tier Two:
 Once you get that general base you can start digging into some of the well known strength & conditioning texts-. They’re all fairly technical, and boring, but they do contain tons of great info. Also note that this list is not all inclusive- these are just some of my favorites and cover a wide range of topics(no specific order)

1. Supertraining
2. Science and Practice of Strength Training
3. Periodization
4. The Lore of Running

Tier Three:
Tier three contains other books I have found applicable to training, or understanding the hormonal/physiological impacts of training/stress. This list can go on for pages, so to keep it concise I included 10 books I really enjoyed/ found most useful (in no specific order)

1. Adrenal fatigue- a 21st century syndrome 
2. the biomechanics of sports performance 
3. Food, Nutrition, and Sport Performance II: The International Olympic Committee Consensus on Sports Nutrition.
4. Anatomy Trains
5. Lactate threshold training 

6. why zebras dont get ulcers 
3. Pain: The Science of suffering
8. The science of running
9. Healthy Intelligent Training 

10. Special strength training manual for coaches 

Also of note….
Once of the best resources for me has been research journals and databases. A lot of the cutting edge info isn’t in books yet, so these are invaluable. Many of them are pricey, but there are a few free ones of there as well; and if you have any friends/ relatives who are currently in a university you should be able to get access through them. 

Current Reading List
As of late the majority of books that have occupied my time are physiology/pharmacology texts, neuroscience books (specifically neuroplasticity as that is an area of interest), Quantum physics, and economics. Currently i’m reading “Fooled by randomness” by Nasim Taleb and “The Mind & Brain: neuroplasticity and the power of mental force”, both of which I highly recommend. Though these books are not technically training related, I’m a strong believer in learning from other fields as there are many parallels and ideas that can be extrapolated to sport. Below i’ve included my top 5 non-training related reads of 2014.

1. Anti-Fragile by Nasim Taleb

2. Black Swan by Nasim Taleb
3. Thinking Fast & Slow 

4. The Feynman Lectures on Physics- volume 3.
5. The pharmacological basis of therapeutics

The Hierarchy of Training

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 7.23.56 AMBy Evan Peikon
Before getting started with the “HPA Hierarchy of Training” we need to define some terms….
Hierarchically Nested Combinatoriality – An explanation of properties at any one level of complexity having risen from a particular small subset of properties at any one level of complexity below.

Parsimonious Theory- A theory that involves simple explanations, yet still accounts for the larger picture.

Why are these terms important?
Put simply, they are the basis of the hierarchy. If we apply these rules two things become apparent:

1) Each tier (or level) of the pyramid builds off of the level below. For example; take absolute strength and muscular endurance. While muscular endurance is a CRITICAL component needed to excel in crossfit, one must have requisite strength before this becomes a factor. Consequently, if someone has great muscular endurance, but poor absolute strength it is a completely different issue than is someone has great absolute strength and poor muscular endurance (relative to their competition). The former athlete lacks a proper foundation, the later needs to build upon that foundation.

2) We can go on and on all day breaking things down and getting lost in the details. But,   at the end of the day a sound, yet simple, theory can be extrapolated to various situations and still hold true. That is the goal of this article; not an all inclusive end all be all piece of literature. Consequently, the Hierarchy (seen below) does not include all aspects/ characteristics of training, nor will it apply to all sports. However, it contains the foundational elements required for training in The Sport of Fitness.  

So now that we’ve gotten that all out of the way we can move forward….
Enter The HPA Hierarchy of Training:
Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 3.37.19 PM

Tier One:
Low Intensity Aerobic Base Work:
There comes a point in every Crossfit Athlete’s career when they hit a plateau and stop progressing. This is when one needs to go back to the drawing board and rethink their training. It is also where most go wrong… way wrong. In a sport that defines itself by the credo of “Constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensities” it’s no wonder that most stick to those principals in training. If you want to get better at high intensity work, you should do more high intensity work or perform at a high(er) intensity. Right? WRONG.

This logic is equivalent to middle distance runner who is great at the 600-800m training to get his 200m time faster in hope of it improving his mile (rather than building a larger base so he can preserve his speed- more to come on this concept in another article).

In actuality, what many Mixed Modal Athletes are lacking is a strong foundation of low intensity aerobic work. While many in the CF community demonize LSD (long slow distance) work, it has myriads of benefits. I’ve already written extensively on the mechanisms and “why’s”; so if you interested check that out HERE.

However, there are better and worse ways to build an aerobic base (Theres is no right or wrong). Just like in strength training, building an aerobic base requires well thought out programming/ progressions. You would never just pick random weights up and do whatever set/ rep scheme comes to mind at that very moment. So why do athletes just go run a random time/ distance or do a long “met-con” every other week and expect their aerobic capacity to significantly improve?
It only makes sense that you would need a well programmed progression to build your aerobic capacity without losing strength or affecting your recovery.
While there are many ways to do this, we have developed our own protocols based on what we have found to be most effective with our clients, which we will cover extensively in our soon to be released seminar series.
In the mean time- If your interested in receiving programming aimed at improving your aerobic capacity or any other weaknesses check out our Free competitor’s blog (link)

Absolute Strength:
Contrary to what many will tell you (Cough. Rudy Nielsen of Outlaw. Cough), absolute strength is NOT everything in the Sport of Fitness. While it is critical in our sport, up to a point, there comes a time where an additional level of strength will NOT help you.

This is not to say that competitors in our sport do not need to be strong though. That would be absurd. If you can’t lift the weight you cant play the game (ie- Josh Bridges on the heavy DL’s at the 2013 games). This is why absolute strength lies at the bottom of the hierarchy. It serves as s foundation for the CP-Battery and Muscular Endurance which are elements of Tier Two in the hierarchy (Note- In reality I would classify CPB as Tier 2a, and Musc End as 2b. Meaning Muscular Endurance falls higher up on the pyramid). Conceptually this may be hard to grasp, and will go against what may have had ingrained in their minds for years. However, we’ve written extensively on this topic already. So instead of going down a rabbit hole here i’ll defer you to the following article/link…. “ATP-CP Battery: Why Absolute Strength Isn’t Everything In the Sport of Fitness”.

Tier Two:
Based on the principals of hierarchically nested combinatoriality, as well as the diagram featured above, it should be quite apparent that higher powered aerobic efforts build off development of the aerobic base; and muscular endurance/ CP-battery development build of the acquisition of absolute strength. What may be less apparent based on the diagram though is that Aerobic base development will tie into improving muscular endurance/ the CP-Battery (as will absolute strength with high powered aerobic work), though it will happen in an indirect fashion. This section will be dedicated to exploring those “Tier Two Topics”.

High Intensity Aerobic Work:
As previously discussed, low level aerobic work serves the purpose of providing a base to layer high intensity work upon. However, what we have not yet mentioned are the specific functions of high(er) intensity aerobic work. Which are sport specific developments in the realms of aerobic development, fuel usage, pacing, and composure under breathing/fatigue with mixed modal pieces.
From a programming standpoint this is where things often go awry. If incorrectly prescribed high(er) intensity aerobic work can become lactic work, which is damaging to the nervous system, as well as the aerobic system (this distinction is especially important when developing aerobic threshold progressions). This will not only hamper strength gains, but it will also denature aerobic enzymes and hurt the adaptations we are aiming to foster. Because of this it is critical that high(er) intensity aerobic work is prescribed in correct work to rest ratios, the movements/ number of contractions allow for sustainability, and the % effort are correct relative to the individual’s level of aerobic development.

ATP-CP Battery
As discussed above, there comes a point where increased levels of strength will not improve performance within the sport of fitness (barring events such as 1RM’s). This is where the development of the CP-Battery picks up the slack. The reason you ask? That is due to the CP-Batteries ability to regenerate creatine phosphate between efforts. In the Sport of Fitness we rarely do one maximal lift, rest 3-5 minutes, take another attempt, then move on. Instead we do subsequent near maximal lifts in quick succession (ladders), or have to move heavy, near maximal, weights with a high turnover within a workout. This is why absolute strength is NOT the issue (unless you are weak enough where you cannot move the weight at all, as discussed in the tier one topic section). The issue is whether or not your body can re-synthesize the phosphates required to make the lift quick enough (or at all) within the given work piece. Consequently, the CP-Recovery system would be a more sufficient name for this sub-topic.

Muscular Endurance:
In actuality i’d place muscular endurance one tier above the ATP-CP Battery in terms of a CP (creatine phosphate) based hierarchy, but conceptually it makes more sense to place it on tier two when factoring in energy systems (the “why” is beyond the scope of this article; but if you are interested I will cover this in the future- however, you should note that aerobic base development ties into muscular endurance development on a cellular level).

Tier Three:
In middle distance running (think 1600m to 3200m) the 80/20 method is a common approach to training. This means that 80% of training is performed at a low intensity, and 20% is performed at higher intensities (in terms of total weekly volume). Does this sound familiar?

Knowing this we can now create a parallel to the hierarchy where the middle distance runners 80%/20% are equivalent to tier one/ tier two respectively (ie- 80% of training is constituted by low level aerobic base work while the other 20% is made up of higher powered aerobic work). So what makes up the third tier in a middle distance runners training? Sharpeners. This is where the middle distance runner gets to layer in some pure speed work, feel out their game pace/ engine and SHARPEN the base they have progressively built through the season.
Consequently, sharpeners serve a similar purpose in the training of mixed modal athletes. Though, they take a different form to match the demands of our sport.
For those looking to compete in Crossfit sharpeners can be used to blend short, power based, work pieces with longer efforts, which will help them excel in that ~7 Minute “Grey Zone” where the lines between energy systems/ fuel usage become blurred. They can also be used to develop pain tolerance, develop ones game pace, or teach the body to use lactate efficiently as a fuel source (via the brooks cycle- aka the “lactate shuttle”).

The Big Picture (Tying It all Together):
When taking a step back/ looking at the big picture we first need to assess an athlete before applying this knowledge. Not only in terms of where they sit physically on the hierarchy, but also where they sit in the year relative to their priority competition.
Does the athlete in question need to build a foundation, or sharpen/ build upon what they already posses? These are big picture questions that I cannot simply answer for you; and in reality one should already know the answers to these questions. However, this is not always the case. Which is why it is critical that you, or your coach, not only implement an effective assessment protocol, but also design a periodization plan around it and follow evidence based training protocols to allow you to reach you goals in the most efficient/ effective manner- all of which will be covered in the next installment of “The Hierarchy of Training” article series, as well as our  upcoming seminar series.

The Coaches Roundtable with James Taylor of OPEX (formerly OPT)

In this installment of “The Coaches Roundtable” James Taylor from OPEX (formerly OPT) sat down with us to answer a few questions fielded from our readers. Before we get started, here is a short bio for those of you may not be familiar with Coach James….

James Taylor is a strength and conditioning coach at OPEX in Scottsdale, Arizona where he specializes in program design for individuals competing in fitness and works as an assistant to James “OPT” Fitzgerald.  He has a renewed focus on competing, learning through experience, and enjoying every day of life in sunny AZ.

High Performance Athlete:
What are your “go to “ tests when assessing a regional caliber crossfit athlete’s work capacity? Do you use these tests every time or do you have a selection of similar tests that capture the same data set? Lastly, what are your standards for these tests and where do you like your athletes to sit relative to the time of year?

James Taylor:
Regional level athletes are competing in multi-day competitions, in which they will need to have a strong aerobic system to recover well between tough events.  One pure capacity test that comes to mind for work capacity at the aerobic end of the energy system spectrum that gained even more direct relevance to the sport this year is 60 minute row for max meters.  This test is good because it has a high validity and repeatability with relatively little skill requirement.  For more data points, it can be bodyweight adjusted by C2’s formula to create both a raw and adjusted score. We’ve made some indirect comparisons as well from the row test to an athlete’s lean mass and lung volume as rough insights into how well oxygen intake is converted to energy in the muscle.  This test can also give you a great idea of an athlete’s understanding of pacing and even serve as insight into one’s will in some cases. Generally the higher the bodyweight adjusted score, the better, at any time of year, especially if the athlete has a high ratio of lean mass to lung volume.

High Performance Athlete:
How would you incorporate CP based work in the programming of a long distance runner/ endurance athlete?

James Taylor:
Strength movements in the training of a long distance runner would almost exclusively be for the purposes of metabolic function and relative strength balance.  The importance of these factors can change depending on their level of dedication to the sport in the sense that running long distance is the best activity for improving at their sport.  For instance, someone who enjoys long distance running may still be interested in gaining upper body  lean mass for better strength balance and health, whereas the Olympic 10k runner may not be.

High Performance Athlete:  
What are your thoughts on periodization for athletes competing in the sport of fitness; and how do you approach periodization with your athletes?

James Taylor:
Periodization for the sport of fitness can follow a traditional strength and conditioning timeline with strength work preceding speed work, long aerobic work preceding shorter and faster aerobic work, and strength and aerobic work preceding lactate work. The training time far from the goal competition should be spent building the base that’s necessary for the competition specific work that will occur leading up to the competition.  The timeline for strength vs speed work will be blurred in general and shifted toward a given side for a longer duration than the other depending on the individual athlete.  The sport of fitness requires a high aerobic capacity, which takes a long time to build and be learned, so that should always be prioritized immediately for individuals for whom it is a priority.  Lactate work should be included strategically due to its effects on the nervous system, dependency on the other energy systems, and relatively short time required to create high capacity.

If you enjoyed this article you may also enjoy our….
Interview with Crossfit Games Competitor, and Phoenix Rise Athlete, Marcus Filly 

Reality Check: “A Day With The Champ”

After reading through the comments directed at the above photo on The CrossFit Games page, it became apparent that there is a disconnect between peoples perceptions of Rich’s training relative to the actual work at hand.
That being said, let us break it down and analyze it…

To start, what is written as “7 workouts” (I’m not counting roller hockey) can easily be broken into two distinct parts (which could be done in an AM/ PM split).

A. Bench Press; heavy triples
B. 20 Minute AMRAP:
21 Bench Press (135#)
21 L-Pullup
C. Hang Squat Clean; heavy triples
D. 11 Minute EMOM:
5 TnG Power Snatch 155lb

Now to analyze it. First i’d like to point out that “heavy triples”, makes no mention of volume. So this can either be working to a heavy triple, or volume. Either way we will classify this is ATP-CP work.
So to start the session we have UB Press CP (straight forward).
The next piece, though it may appear like a “metcon”, would most likely be classified as ATP-CP Battery (if your unfamiliar with the term search it on our site and you’ll find an article explaining it in detail). Another way to think of this would be “grunt work”.
The third piece is one again ATP-CP based, though the focus is on the hang squat clean this time (straight forward again).
Now for the fourth piece we have ATP-CP battery once again.
One thing i’d like to point out is the volume/weight. Though this may seem like a tough piece of work, in reality its only about 50% of his max snatch (i.e.- sub maximal & Sustainable.) Before you jump down my throat and claim that 55 reps @75% is not sub maximal take this fact into account.
We have numerous athletes who can perform more than 30 power cleans @90% of their max in 8 minutes (we aren’t talking beginners either. Think males with PCs approaching or over 300lbs).

Knowing what rich is capable of, and seeing as he has a well developed CP-Battery and aerobic base it becomes apparent that the majority of this workout is not only sub maximal (key word here), but the volume isn’t as high as the picture leads you to believe (ie- they call this four ‘‘workouts’’ instead of one session with an A/B/C/D component). (as a reference I and many of my athletes perform this type of volume in our AM sessions on a daily basis. Now factor in that Rich is clearly genetically gifted, trains for a living etc. Does his workload still seem as absurd for what its worth?)

Now for the PM session:

500m x6 sets
50-40-30-20-10 GHD Situps
25-20-15-10-5 HSPU
5 Rounds:
20 KBS (88#)
30 Burpee

This entire session can be summarized in one word. AEROBIC. Without going into the details and minutia of program design, I will simply make the point out that I’ve designed plenty of sessions resembling this one. While I wouldn’t structure it in the same manner, I do see the intent behind this and can see it for what its worth.

So the take away points are…
What may be high volume for you, may not be for someone else. This is why taking the dose response for the individual into account is so important.
What is even more important is noticing that what may be intense for you, may not be for someone else (ie- Rich).
This point is critical when looking at Games athletes and elites. From the outside it appears they are doing tons of intense work (which leads people to follow their lead). While in reality they are doing sub maximal and sustainable work where the volume is relative to what they can tolerate.

Feel free to discuss, ask questions, make a comment etc below

P.S- More to come on this topic soon. We currently have a PDF in the pipeline where we break down/analyze data we acquired from a myriad of regional/ games level competitors and create applicable guidelines for you based on that information. 

Announcement: HPA Competitor’s Program

Starting August 4th, 2014 we will be offering three individual competitor’s programs (see details below) for those looking to compete in the Sport of Fitness (Crossfit, NPGL, & Alternative Fitness Competitions).

Each program is semi-individualized and will be based on the needs of the group as a whole. Consequently, we encourage everyone following to give us detailed feedback on all training sessions moving forward (this will help us better suite everyones needs).

Our Programs: HPA Gold, HPA Blue, & HPA Grid will all begin with an initial two week testing phase from which we will base the initial training priorities. Because of this it is critical that all who have intentions of following our program begin doing so on August 4th 2014, otherwise your needs may not be accounted for in the first training cycle (We will be doing follow up testing phases periodically so if you do begin following after the initial testing phase you will be accounted for in a later group avatar).

We look forward to working with you!
High Performance Athlete

Program Details Below
HPA- Gold:
HPA Gold if for the full time mixed modal athlete. Thusly, following this program requires full time dedication to both training and recovery (nutrition, sleep, stress etc). The HPA Gold program will utilize strategic two-a-days and requires athletes to be proficient in advanced gymnastics, variations of lifts, skills in a fatigued setting, and individual pacing strategies. Consequently, HPA Gold athletes must have a minimum of 10 hours a week dedicated to training.
The goal of this program is to peak athletes for the Crossfit Games Regionals; and the training/ periodization will be reflective of those demands.

HPA- Blue:
HPA Blue is for those looking to compete in the sport of fitness, and alternative fitness venues, but have obligations that conflict with being a full time athlete. That is not to say that you cannot be a high level athlete and follow the HPA Blue program. It simply means that volume will generally be lower to accommodate your schedule/ lifestyle (ie- one session per day). The HPA Blue program requires athletes to be proficient in all lifts and movements, but do not require a high proficiency in advanced skills and gymnastics.
The goal of this program is to peak athletes for the Crossfit Games Opens; and the training/ periodization will be reflective of those demands.

HPA- Grid:
HPA Grid is the first ever, and one of a kind, NPGL specialized training program. HPA Grid focuses on the fine tuning of skill oriented movements as well as shorter time domain workouts. While the Grid favors powerful athletes, a high degree of work capacity is still required. As such HPA Grid will train athletes to operate in multiple energy systems while concurrently developing muscular endurance and absolute strength.
The goal of this program is to peak athletes for the NPGL draft; and the training/ periodization will be reflective of those demands.

Competitor’s Blog (Click Here)

*Drop a line/ leave a comment below if you’re interested in the program or have any questions pertaining to it.

Research Review: Ubiquinol & Peak Power Production

by Evan Peikon

Ubiquinol supplementation enhances peak power production in trained athletes: a double-blind, placebo controlled study.

Alf DSchmidt MESiebrecht SC.

Abstract: To investigate the effect of Ubiquinol supplementation on physical performance measured as maximum power output in young and healthy elite trained athletes.


In this double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 100 young German well trained athletes (53 male, 47 female, age 19.9 +/- 2.3 years) received either 300 mg Ubiquinol or placebo for 6 weeks. Athletes had to perform a maximum power output test and the performance in W/kg of bodyweight was measured at the 4 mmol lactate threshold on a cycling ergometer before the supplementation treatment (T1), after 3 weeks (T2) and after 6 weeks (T3) of treatment. In these 6 weeks all athletes trained individually in preparation for the Olympic Games in London 2012. The maximum power output was measured in Watt/kilogram body weight (W/kg bw) RESULTS: Both groups, placebo and Ubiquinol, significantly increased their physical performance measured as maximum power output over the treatment period from T1 to T3. The placebo group increased from 3.64 +/- 0.49 W/kg bw to 3.94 +/- 0.47 W/kg bw which is an increase of +0.30 +/- 0.18 W/kg bw or +8.5% (+/-5.7). The Ubiquinol group increased performance levels from 3.70 W/kg bw (+/-0.56) to 4.08 W/kg bw (+/-0.48) from time point T1 to T3 which is an increase of +0.38 +/- 0.22 W/kg bw or +11.0% (+/-8.2). The absolute difference in the enhancement of the physical performance between the placebo and the Ubiquinol group of +0.08 W/kg bodyweight was significant (p < 0.03).


This study demonstrates that daily supplementation of 300 mg Ubiquinol for 6 weeks significantly enhanced physical performance measured as maximum power output by +0.08 W/kg bw (+2.5%) versus placebo in young healthy trained German Olympic athletes. While adherence to a training regimen itself resulted in an improvement in peak power output, as observed by improvement in placebo, the effect of Ubiquinol supplementation significantly enhanced peak power production in comparison to placebo.

My Thoughts:
Though the study looks promising, it still hasn’t been replicated which isn’t a huge deal in my opinion but is still something to keep in mind. Also account for the fact that the athletes were competing in different sports (ie- using diff energy systems), so even though they were assigned to groups randomly there is a chance that those whose training would in fact increase power to a higher degree ended up in the Ubiquinol group.
My other thoughts will be more in regards to application than the possible loopholes or flaws in the study. If training for the “sport of fitness”, this may be a smart choice in supplementation. But you must also take into account that they didn’t specify what energy system the increases in power corresponded to. Meaning that it could have been Anaerobic A-Lacatic Power, Anaerobic Lactic Power, or even Aerobic Power (and the varying degrees of each of them).
Another factor you must take into account is that most forms of Coenzyme Q10 in stores are actually Ubiquone, so you must specifically find one that is Ubiquinol (Now Foods makes one). My last statement would be that if you choose to supplement with Ubiquinol its absorption is increased if you take it with MCT oils, which can be found in small amounts in coconut oil, or you can buy straight MCT oil to get the most bang for your buck.