One of the unique things about Gifford Fitness is the diversity in our community – Kids, Teens, and Adults all working hard under one roof. In order to train each group responsibly, there are many different things we need to keep in mind relative to the age group. Our aim is to provide a safe, fun, inclusive and effective training experience for every person in our gym space. The goal for each group is the same, but how we go about it will look different.

With each age group in our community, we have a different general focus. Our Kids program is all about fun, and learning basic healthy habits. We want our kids to enjoy fitness! Our Teens program is generally sports and application focused – Teens are aiming for college sports, or they are just learning about what their bodies are truly capable of. They want to push and see what they can achieve. Our Adults program on the other hand is about health and longevity. While these are still a focus in our other age groups, it is our main priority in our Adults program.

When writing workouts and fitness programs, there are three types of training cycles that a trainer will use to break down the year – macrocycles, mesocycles, and microcycles. A macrocycle, as the name implies, is big picture (macro). For sports performance athletes, macrocycle means their entire season or training year. A mesocycle is a training block within that macrocycle, so that could be like pre-season vs in-season vs championship season, etc. Or it could be priority focus, as in a training block focused on endurance, or strength. A microcycle is a small part of a mesocycle, typically a week of training within a training block.

The paragraph above is how we train the GiffyFit Teens, or any sports team/competitive athlete that we work with.

For most Adults, we don’t have a sports season.

Our macrocycle is called “the rest of my life”.

How was work, Bill? Photo taken by Honeybee Homes

That being said, we need to look at training a bit differently – we need to look at training as a lifestyle and a journey, not “how to get to an end destination”.

Adults with a focus on health, wellness and longevity need to prioritize living a healthy and active lifestyle, as well as being ready for the unknown and unknowable. What we are training for is called GPP – General Physical Preparedness.

GPP is exactly as it sounds – we want to be generally prepared for any physical activity that comes our way. Carrying heavy groceries, slipping on the ice, shoveling the driveway, needing to quickly run from point A to B (for safety, or otherwise) reaching up high overhead to grab something from the top shelf, carrying kids, move heavy things around at home, etc.

So, our training reflects that. Because of this, we train year round. We don’t have an off-season. Our training “cycles” in our workouts don’t revolve around in-season vs offseason, we write them based on the ages, athletic history and goals of our current clientele, as well as their health and stress needs. We also take into account lifestyle, seasonal demands on the body and emotions, weather, etc.

Here’s an example of the big picture (macro) in MN for adults:

  • Summertime = more movement, less sitting, more happy (usually). The sun sets later, people are in better moods, and can usually handle more explosive and dynamic movements like cleans, snatches, etc. With many people going on vacations and missing weeks of regular training, we keep workouts intense but not so heavy that we risk injury.
  • Fall = everyone settles into a routine, so the first few weeks of Fall are usually simplified training (not complex) and we bring the fun as much as possible so people have a healthy distraction with the season change (insert The Team Series)
  • Winter = most people aren’t going on vacations until the holiday time frame, so we can still train hard. But, it needs to look different. The more explosive complex hinging and squatting movements likes cleans, jerks and snatches are usually avoided as are heavy deadlifts during the first snowfalls because people are more sedentary, sad (seasonal) and we don’t want to overwork anyone’s back with all the shoveling. So around that time, we back off a bit.
  • Spring = hope is in the air, and we bridge the gap between Winter and Summer by building the body back up to impact (running) and complexity with weightlifting (cleans/snatches, etc). Early spring/late winter we have The Open just to get everyone fired up for the next season.

With that overview in mind, we write our Adult workouts based on your goals from your goal reviews (all adult members get a short goal review every 3 months) while balancing seasonal demands and the overall abilities of the group. When people’s bodies get stressed and beat up from life, changing seasons or benchmarks, we take a deload week (back off week) for people’s bodies to recover. In our Strength Day classes, we just finished a 4 week Back Squat / Deadlift + Pull-Up + Dip build up. We’re continuing the Deadlift build up (with as much weight and as taxing as the Deadlift usually is, we need to keep building over time to optimize hitting a new personal best weight) and swapping the Back Squat (to save on the body and not put too much intensity/central nervous system beat down into a given week) for Push Press. The start of the Fall season and end of Summer is usually stressful for most adults, so we accommodate that by adjusting our workouts in the beginning of the season.

For both lifts, we’re working technique at different percentages of our maximum capacity as build across several weeks. At lower percentages we prioritize speed training, and at higher percentages we prioritize strength. On both ends, technique is a primary focus.

As we build, expect the push press to get more complex (push jerk) if everyone’s technique is looking good and progressing. If not, we’ll stick with Push Press until we get it right. For Deadlift, we’re going to be building to a max soon enough.

Want to get started with our Adult program? Set up a Free Help Session with one of our coaches here.

Nick Gifford
Nick GiffordAuthor, founder of Gifford Fitness
Nick Gifford, Head Coach and Owner of Gifford Fitness, CrossFit Red Lion, GiffyFit Teens, GiffyFit Kids, and Gifford Barbell has coached over 4000 athletes since 2012. He has worked with athletes from all walks and stages of life, focusing on fun, creativity, exploration, and play.