The Need for Speed

By Hilary Achauer

In Athletes, Coaching, Rest Day/Theory

November 02, 2014

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CrossFit Games athlete Valerie Voboril and powerlifter Laura Phelps Sweatt explain how they use intensity to limit their time in the gym.

On a Friday afternoon in early October, Valerie Voboril—a five-time CrossFit Games competitor with four top-five finishes—worked out with the sounds of “Dora the Explorer” drifting into her backyard gym from the living room.

Her 3-year-old daughter, Vin, repeated Spanish words to the TV while Voboril and her training partner, Marc Rizzo, finished the conditioning section of their workout. Other than “Dora,” the only sounds were Voboril’s feet making contact with the plyo box and the medicine ball hitting the floor after she completed her reps. Voboril doesn’t play music when she trains. It’s not because the sound bothers the neighbors.

“It’s one more thing I have to set up,” Voboril said.

Setting up music takes time, and Voboril’s hour of training is a model of efficiency and focus. Voboril has a lot going on in her life—other than being one of the top CrossFit athletes in the world. She’s a mother, a wife and a full-time fourth-grade teacher. She doesn’t have hours to spend at the gym, so she’s learned how to get the most out of her training sessions.

Most CrossFit athletes don’t aspire to compete in the Games, but many people struggle to balance work, family life and fitness. Similarly, strength sessions can eat up hours, but there are time-efficient ways to get beastly strong, according to Laura Phelps Sweatt, a world-record-holding powerlifter and staff member for the CrossFit Powerlifting Trainer Course. It’s all about efficiency and intensity.

Short, intense sessions are not the only way to train, and some people love to spend long hours in the gym. However, many CrossFit athletes only have an hour to spare. Here’s how to make that hour count.

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