Intensity vs Volume: Get the basics right first!

It’s not about how much work you put in, but the intensity of that work every time

Often the coaches get asked the question "Do I need to train more?" But is volume the answer? It could be, but there are some other variables you need to address before you can legitimately say that increasing volume is going to get you the results. There are three areas that need to be looked first:

  1. Nutrition: Read here part 1
  2. Sleep
  3. Intensity

Once you have looked at these areas and all of them are optimised, if your training is still not progressing, then we can consider addressing the minefield of increasing volume.

In today's post we have a look at Sleep:

2. Sleep

Good sleep is one of the most important elements of health maintenance, as well as athletic performance and improvement. Below is a extract from a CrossFIt Journal Article called 'Sleeping for Performance'


Exercise, nutrition and sleep make a virtuous circle comprising the three essential elements of fitness. But getting good sleep is more than just sleeping more, and it does a whole lot more for you than make you feel a little better during the day. Good sleep is one of the most important elements of health maintenance, as well as athletic performance and improvement

Just how much can sleep impact you as an athlete?

Consider the following: 

  • Researchers conducted a study of over 30 years of National Football League game data and demonstrated that teams that traveled three time zones to play night games experienced disrupted sleep and exercise schedules, and were 67 percent more likely to lose.
  • Studies have shown that athletes who consistently get around 10 hours of sleep per night show marked improvement in strength, speed, agility and reaction time.
  • Athletes who get around 10 hours of sleep demonstrate significantly better muscle memory for movements learned the day before.
  • People who don't get enough sleep are more prone to diabetes, obesity, hypertension and other various cardio-metabolic and endocrine disorders.
  • Researchers have shown that just a few days of little to no sleep impact the body's insulin sensitivity by more than 25 percent in normal, healthy people. This essentially brings them to a pre-diabetic state—the equivalent of gaining 18 to 30 lb.
  • Military research shows that sleep-deprived soldiers demonstrate decreased ability in marksmanship, judgment and overall performance in mental and physical tasks.

People who don't sleep enough are often more irritable because the brain works differently when we are sleep deprived. An irritable athlete usually is not a positive athlete. Thus, sleep deprivation can rob you of the mental edge necessary for success. 


To see significant improvements in performance, we have to train right and eat right. But without enough sleep, that work is wasted and could even be harmful for a body so sleep deprived it can't heal itself. 


Exercise, nutrition and sleep make a virtuous circle comprising the three essential elements of fitness. You can't achieve your body's maximum potential in athletic performance or be at peak levels of health unless you pay attention and work hard at all elements.

So - If you ask one of the coaches  ''I think I need more volume'', they will ask you:

  1. Are you getting enough sleep?
  2. Are you sleeping up to 10 hours a night?

If your answer to those questions is 'No',  then we can guarantee the answer to your training woes is NOT that you need more volume.

Here are our top 5 tips for getting a better nights sleep:

1) Maintain a sleep schedule: Aim to go to bed at the same time every evening, and wake at the same time each morning.
2) Reduce you caffeine intake: Caffeine takes a few hours to fully pass through our system, so no coffee after 1pm!
3) No electronics 30mins before bed: Electronics (TV, phones, games etc) are a potent stimulator of our brain, so get rid of them.
4) Exercise regularly: You guys have this one down!
5) Keep your bedroom dark, quiet and cool: Get black our curtains, remove and light emitting objects and keep the room a cool temperature

If you cannot get 7-9 hours, we have a secret weapon….naps!