The Why Behind Our Programme Structure

So you’ve started doing a few workouts… but have you ever wondered why you’re doing what you’re doing? Each Civitas Online workout has been carefully designed and tested prior to being released to you. Workouts may seem like a few burpees here and there, sprinkled with some other movements but theres a reason why they’re structured the way they are, and here’s why…
Not everyday you will be able to go 100% effort in workouts. Thats why we won’t make you. Each day needs to compliment the previous day and the following day. One day you might have to red line (max effort), but the next day you will be required to work out at a ‘nice’ pace (moderate effort). Whilst there are many reasons for this, one will be your bodies stress levels. 

Stress Levels
Whether you work a 9-5 day job, nightshifts, business owner, stay at home parent – your body will be under stress. We’re not just talking about being stressed in a particular situation. Every action is a stress on your body from eating to working out, so whilst sometimes we need to push ourselves out of our comfort zones, we also need to manage our stress levels and be aware of them.
As mentioned, exercise is perceived by the body as a form of stress and stimulates the release of cortisol. In general, the more your fitness improves the better the body becomes at dealing with physical stress. This means that less cortisol will be released during exercise and also in response to emotional or psychological stresses.
Research shows that the time and intensity of exercise can affect the level of cortisol release. When it comes to exercise, more is not always better. Training for more than 60 minutes, even at a low intensity will burn up the body’s glycogen stores and stimulate cortisol release. A study confirmed that long-term cortisol exposure was significantly higher in endurance athletes.Short high intensity exercise such as sprints, HITT or weight training cause less of an increase in plasma cortisol concentrations. However, the levels tend to surge if rest periods are short and work levels are high. This is particularly significant if exercising when starved or nutritionally depleted and was also increased by training in the early morning when cortisol levels are naturally higher and the response to exercise can be more.
This is why rest/recovery days are important and why we, at Civitas Online, mix up the workout stimulus daily to avoid the likelihood of ‘burning out’.That being said, if you’ve had a busy day or week, don’t overdo it. Take regular breaks from intense training and listen to your body. Another rule of thumb is to eat right to fuel your body and make sure you consume carbohydrates and protein after exercise to decrease the cortisol response.
More information on exercise related stress can be found here: (credit)

Duration of Exercise & Energy Pathways
During exercise, your body will use different energy pathways depending on what your body needs in that moment. So, if you’re working out intensely for 2 minutes, or in a steady state for 30 minutes, your body will resource a different pathway to sustain that workout. 
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is the chemical energetic unit that the human body uses for energy and transports chemical energy within cells for metabolism. The human body is capable of producing ATP using three different pathways.

  • Aerobic  pathway
  • Anaerobic lactic pathway
  • Anaerobic alactic pathway

The energy for those pathways comes from the food that mainly consist of protein, carbohydrates and lipids. Production of ATP using different energy pathways is time and intensity related. Exercising at very high intensity is possible only for a very short time period, while in contrast exercising at lower intensities can be sustained for very long time periods. If working at almost maximal intensity for the following time periods, the energy from different pathways is limited and can be sustained from a couple of seconds until several hours. It is also important to consider that there is almost no situation when the energy to produce ATP comes from one energy pathway only, all three pathways are always included. However, at maximal intensities 95-99% of energy comes anaerobic alactic pathways while at marathon run 99% from aerobic pathway. Different lengths of exercises at nearly maximal intensity and the corresponding energy sources.

Duration fo exerciseMain energy pathwayEnergy supplied by
1 to 5 secondsAnaerobic alacticMuscle ATP
5 to 10 secondsAnaerobic alacticATP + creatinephoshpate (CP)
10 to 45 secondsAnaerobic lacticMuscle glycogen + CP
45 to 120 secondsAnaerobic lacticMuscle glycogen
2 minutes to 6 minutesAerobic, anaerobic lacticMuscle glycogen
6 minutes to 30 minutesAerobicGlycogen + lipids
30 minutes to 1-2 hoursAerobicLipids

All three energy systems contribute to energy production from the start of exercise but their contribution is different. For example, aerobic energy system reaches it maximum energy production after about 1.5-2 minutes. So far the rest of energy must be covered by anaerobic pathways.
More information on energy pathways can be found here: (credit)

Workout Stimulas & Functional Movements
Our team of coaches have carefully thought about the movements involved to create the right balance needed to achieve the desired stimulus. For example, if we are trying to get a short sharp workout in, we won’t be expecting you to be lifting a heavy weight for a long time. If we want you to sustain a required pace for a long duration of time, you won’t be working at max effort – unless the workout is intervals, in which case you will have a period of rest. Intervals are a different ball game – its amazing what you can achieve with a little bit of rest to recover slightly!
The same can be said about the types of movements we ask you to perform. Some workouts may feel as if it’s just one muscle group working – like a ‘leggy’ workout for example. But when we break down each movement and rep scheme, you will see how well they compliment each other. The constant strain on one muscle group with little let up can lead to inflammation and possibly injury, which is why we often incorporate different variations to compliment each other.A perfect example of this will be push/pull movements. So, burpees and power cleans, or push ups and pull ups. 
When we train this way and incorporate our entire body, the outcome creates balance across all of the joints for longevity and coordination. And you’ve also got a great workout in!Additionally, we want you to train your body to be functional to translate to your everyday life, such as:

  • Sitting down and standing up 
  • Pushing yourself up from the ground after laying down
  • Chasing after your child and picking them up
  • Lifting shopping in and out of the car

How Will I Know What The Stimulus For The Workout Is?
Each workout will be briefed by one of our coaches and explained thoroughly before we let you off the leash. Not only do we explain the workout, movements and reps – we will let you know the stimulus and what we are expecting of you. This may mean you have to scale to achieve that stimulus, so we will give you options for that too!If you are still ensure after the brief, you can always ask the coaches on the live workouts. If you are catching up, either drop us a message on the Facebook group or email us: – we are here for you!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter

Don’t Stop Here

More To Explore


The amount of people working from home has never been so high due to lockdowns across the country so why aren’t we seeing this drastic