"There is no such thing as 'firming and toning.' There is only stronger and weaker."
My CrossFit gym offers two membership types: unlimited and 3x per week. I started out with an unlimited membership and attended as often as physically possible for over a year. I made significant improvements in strength, weight, speed, and health. I was laser-focused on my fitness goals, and achieved them! But I also was exhausted.
At the beginning of 2013 (with my work-life balance tipped fully toward work, and no reprieve in sight) I took a hard look at my logbook and my average-hours-of-sleep each night, and decided enough was enough. I reduced my membership to 3x per week, but committed myself to making all 3 workouts, thinking that I would be able to maintain the strength gains I had fought so hard to achieve.
Five months later, I'm still stronger than I was when I first found CrossFit, but I'm weaker than I was in December. Coach BJ asked me what I thought I was missing, when he noticed my new-found difficulty during a recent strength workout. The answer was one word: reps. It turns out (and this is the spoiler alert), if you're not building strength, you're losing it. There is no in-between, no maintenance, no coasting. Only growing, or weakening.
Interestingly (ironically?) I'm leaner than I was in December, and looking at me you would think I should be stronger because my muscle tone is much-improved. I attribute that to solid nutrition and increased sleep. And because my goal always has been to feel and look as healthy as humanly possible, I'm still succeeding! I may not get to use the red "PR" marker very much anymore, but I still PR in life everyday.