Work Capacity

We’re entering into the sweatiest block- work capacity. Here’s what that means for you!

The focus of this block is to increase our ability to do physical work and our base level of fitness. If we imagine our overall fitness training as a pyramid this would be the very bottom, and the larger we can make the base, the higher the peak will be. This also means that it has downstream effects into our other phases of training; your recovery between sets will significantly improve, and it should increase your ability to tolerate heavier weights for more reps in the block that follows.

The intensity during this block will be low per set, compared to hypertrophy and strength. This means lighter weights, higher reps, and less rest. While the RPE of our individual sets will be around 6-7, the whole session itself will feel tough as our heart rate remains elevated and rest is reduced. Level 2 and 3 can expect to add in more jumping and plyometric variations, as well as revisit the good ol’ sled.

Nutritional considerations for a work capacity block: These workouts are very demanding from a metabolic standpoint.  You’ll want to ensure you’re hydrating early (throughout the day prior to your workouts) and often throughout your training session.  You’ll also want to be sure to replace the electrolytes you lose through sweat (mostly sodium, potassium, and magnesium).  LMNT, available in multiple flavors at Paragon, can be a great source of these micronutrients!  

If you’re interested in fat loss during this phase, take the following under consideration:

  1. Don’t force yourself into a caloric deficit right away.  You may find that you don’t need to cut your calories at all during this block, given how metabolically demanding these workouts are. 
  2. Check in on our other pillars of health: sleep, stress, and daily movement are all essential for long term body composition change.  If any of these pillars aren’t where they need to be, you’re likely over-exercising and/or under-recovering and fat loss will suffer as a result.  For more information about metabolic flexibility, check out our blog on this topic.

We need you to make sure you are adequately hydrated and fueled for your workouts. The details depend on when you are working out, but here are some simple guidelines to follow. This photo is from Precision Nutrition:

hand portioning tool
  1. Working out first thing in the morning.

When working out without food in your body first thing in the morning, we recommended to at least drink a protein shake or glass of milk before your workout. A good rule of thumb would be to get a serving of protein (ex: protein shake) before your workout, then eat a balanced meal within 1-2 hours (1-2 palm sized servings of protein, 1-2 cupped handfuls of carbs, 1 fist of veggies, 1 thumb of fat) after your workout.

  1. Training after you’ve already eaten during the day, and 2-3 Hours Before a Workout

A good rule of thumb when eating a few hours from a workout is to eat a well-balanced, mixed macronutrient meal. This would be 1-2 palm sized servings of protein, 1-2 cupped handfuls of carbs, 1-2 fist of veggies and 1-2 thumbs of fat depending on your needs. 

  1. 1 Hour or Less Before a Workout

When eating close to a workout you may want to opt for lower fats, fast digesting carbs, and quality protein. We love to make smoothies and shakes, simply because we find it easier to digest! Want to know our favorite smoothie recipes? Click here.

If you’re not a smoothie fan, no biggie. Just opt for something you know you digest well! Lower fiber options usually work well for most people. You don’t want an upset stomach before having to train.

For some people, higher fats before a workout can cause GI distress (aka triggering upset stomach and bowel movements). If this is you, limit your fats pre workout. No one wants GI issues while trying to do box jumps!!

Your carbohydrate needs will go up during a work capacity block! If you have found yourself craving carbs during this block, your body is telling you something. Don’t be afraid to add extra to each of your meals! You can also add in some carbs throughout the day as snacks. Here are our go-to carb sources:

  • Fruit
  • Potatoes
  • Rice
  • Rice Cakes
  • Cereal
  • Quinoa
  • Tortillas/bread

Focus on well-balanced meals and listen to your body. If you’re looking for more specific guidance, reach out to us. We offer nutrition coaching throughout the year and we would be happy to send you details.


House Rule #3

The word “fat” is not an insult. When using this word at Paragon, refrain from using it with negative intent. If you find yourself using

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