What Happens Inside Your Body as You Cross Training?

CrossFit Training

Right from the first exercise, the physical demands placed by CrossFit training on your body starts sculpting it. You gain strength, and your body is in a better shape to meet the varied requirements of the sport. Your heart becomes efficient, your muscles stronger, and your overall body leaner. It is essential to understand how your body adapts to the CrossFit conditions because this will help you appreciate the changes in your body, and how CrossFit makes you a better version of yourself.

On the Inside

Muscle Pain

The body system constantly experiences stress, but thanks to its mechanism, it can adapt well. Physical stressors such as exercise cause stress on your body leading to a process known as general adaptation syndrome to kick in so that it can force your body to adapt.

There are three main adaptation stages:

The Alarm Stage

When the body encounters a stressor that it is not accustomed to, such as a physical demand, it can’t possibly meet completely, stress piles on your cells, which are called upon to meet the demand. Cells that get stressed beyond their capacity end up being damaged. For instance, muscle tissue cells also known as muscle fibers get disrupted. The cell membranes are degraded, and this causes swelling which is the reason why you spend the next day or two moving in pain.

The Resistance Stage

Within a span of 36 to 48 hours, your body system gradually transitions out of the alarm stage. At this point, it has assessed the damage, responded adequately to it, and is now in the repair process. The body response system is very logical. When it encounters a demand that it is not adequately prepared to meet, it starts a battle to achieve stasis so that it doesn’t slide back to the alarm phase again should you encounter a similar stressor in future.

This means the cells do not just repair themselves and go back to their pre-damaged state, but they graduate to another level where they become better at meeting the demands of the stressor. During the resistance stage, muscle cells take up a significant amount of proteins and synthesize them to form micro-filaments which are required in muscle contraction. This stage which may take as long as four days creates more filaments which means an increase in force and strength.

Exhaustion Stage

At this stage cells which are not fully repaired are subjected to other stressors causing damage and another cycle of the alarm process. With time, the insufficient repair time leads to over-training and breakdown. One of the first signs of over-training and inadequate recovery is subpar physical performance. You will find your WOD times getting worse and increasingly it will be harder for you to lift loads which you previously managed quite easily.

The length of time your body spends on the resistance stage is very important. This is why rest is a very critical part of the adaptation picture. The other important aspect is nutrition especially intake of sufficient protein to help in the repair of muscles. The third and last element is that your stressor must be continually changing. For this reason, CrossFit uses different movements for different days to expose your body to various stressors.

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