Fight the Power… of your Circadian Rhythms.

04 Sep

Creatures of habit unite!   You, you, and you.  No one is excluded from this club. Rooted deeper than our conscious decisions, all living organisms are regulated by our chronobiology, commonly known as our circadian rhythms… Cha cha cha…

Circadian rhythms control the natural ebb and flow of our bodies physiological functioning, like body temperature, blood pressure, alertness and metabolism.   These are based on the intertwining of environmental cues, such as our exposure to light-dark cycles.  These exposures regulate the different times that specific hormones are released throughout a day, thus resulting in a daily rhythmic 24-hr cycle.

Although this cycle is inborn, we can reset them based on our behaviors, like resetting our sleep and wake cycle, establishing meal times, and exercise.  Based upon our natural circadian rhythm late afternoon is when are bodies are peak for coordination, reaction time, cardiovascular efficiency, and muscle strength.   So based on your natural rhythm’s you should put your entire life on hold and based ALL physical activity on the functioning of you body.  Right?  Only afternoon WOD’s for you!  No?  Well thankfully, you’re body is well apt to adjust it’s physical output.  If 6 am is the only time available to you to exercise, at first you may not feel as you perform as well, but eventually it adjusts and falls into a routine.

But wait… Hold on… Isn’t routine is the enemy.  Hmmmmm… What was that about part in the CrossFit prescription about “constantly varied” again …   Yes, variation is NOT just the broad non-specialized movements incorporated in the CrossFit programming.  Mainstream sport and fitness prescribe an athlete train in the time of day in which the event is to take place.  While this does hold truth due to our body’s tendency to mold itself nicely to whichever stressor we may put on it, but life doesn’t always come in such a neat little package.  You can’t always predict when you will need to harness your inner beast. If you truly want to be “ready for anything”, not just “ready for anything between the hours of 5pm and 6pm” ( or whenever your favored WOD hours are), you must break out of your comfort zone.   Train during times that your body is not used to, it’s the same principle as working you weaknesses.  You don’t cherry pick your workouts, so don’t cherry pick your workout times.  If the thought of wodding at 6am makes you cringe, well all the more reason to do it.  This is yet another way to eliminate any vulnerable areas in your capacity as an athlete.


  • About Erica Mahina Lui-Kwan

    When Mahina is not all up in the gym working on her fitness, the fitness of others, or shoving fitness down the throats of her middle school students, she, armed with nothing but her inov8's and self-proclaimed sparkling personality, can be found on the treacherous path to awesomeness.
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