Eat More. Do Less.

Why I WOD: Because I HATE CARDIO

A couple of days ago I made mention of my time at the Globo Gym. Quite possibly the biggest reason that environment didn’t work for me was that I absolutely hate cardio. I tried it. I didn’t like it. We decided not to be friends. And guess what, I got Flabby And Tired (see what I did there?).

My face when I see the WOD


Flickr image by Abhisek Sarda

Flickr image by Abhisek Sarda

Cardio Hates Me. It’s Mutual

Elementary school was my peak of fitness. I played soccer and rode bikes any time I wasn’t in school. And then video game systems really became common. I wasn’t a big gamer, but I could waste hours if given the opportunity. Add in the fact that I grew to love air conditioning during Texas summers and outdoor play and exercise began to fade away. Then in high school, the Internet appeared (thanks Al Gore).

Even as a kid I hated running. So when it came time to get in shape in my early 20’s I had several options for cardio. Treadmill (nope), stationary bike (nope), stair climber / elliptical (not without a heart attack), or aerobics classes (the gym soon banned me from wearing those thong leotards).

There was no way I was running or jogging. The stationary bike seemed pointless as I’d have to ride 16 hours a day to burn enough calories. I could do about 45 seconds on the elliptical or stair climber without hallucinating (which wasn’t so bad actually). Since I literally couldn’t do more than a few minutes of any of these, I quit. Cardio just isn’t my thing.

But without cardio, I didn’t lose fat. So even though I would add strength pretty quickly, I saw no physical changes, at least in the 6 weeks I went regularly. So when I heard about Crossfit, I was more than intrigued.

No Misconceptions

Once I looked into it, I knew it was going to suck. I liked lifting weights, surely I would hate lifting weights faster much less than running. Box jumps, sit ups, push ups, jump rope, and pull ups all sounded horrible. But they weren’t running.

I may have mentally blocked the realization that I’d be doing burpees.

And then there was the running. If I was going to have to run, at least it was only for 200m or 400m at a time. That I could handle. I figured anything less than 401m and I could keep from crying. Even if it killed my soul, it’d be over in a matter of minutes.

Conditioning Is Love Hate

I figured Crossfit style workouts were the ONLY way I was going to stick with any kind of cardio work long enough to see any benefits. And man was I right. There is a serious love/hate relationship that I have developed with the METCONs (metabolic conditioning portion of the class).

Most of the time, they scare me. I’m never sure how I am going to make it through. But I always do. This is where my ego has to take a back seat. VERY rarely do I ever do the prescribed weight, unless the WOD includes deadlifts (I kill those…we’re BFFs). Anything else and I scale the weight.

I recently spent a few weeks trying to go heavier so I wouldn’t look like such a tool, but then I found myself not being able to get all the reps, which again, made me look like a tool. So I’ve been cutting back on the weight.

Here’s an example:

Monday night we did cleans and push ups. The men’s competitor weight was 135lbs. The Rx weight was 95lbs. Then there were two modifications. M1 was 75lbs and M2 was 65lbs. Upper body is a weakness. Couple that with the fact that my shoulders were still worn out from Friday’s workout and I decided to go with 65lbs.

Yes, there were women lifting more than me but I got all the reps and with a very respectable time. If I’d gone up to 75lbs, I’d have had to drop a few reps and wouldn’t have had as good of a workout. (Let me say that I can now clean 170lbs, but this was 10 rounds of cleans from 10 reps down to 1 rep and you alternated with push ups from 1 rep up to 10.) I do the weight I can do to get the most out of the workout and I don’t care what you think about how my sports bra fits.

Flickr images by Arya Ziai

Flickr images by Arya Ziai

Getting Better

With Crossfit it’s about improvement, not ego. No matter how good you are, someone is always* better. You are your only competition.
*(Unless you are Rich Froning, Jr, which you are not.)

As I’ve said before, my cardio is improving. I once couldn’t complete a lap around the gym and now I can do 400m without stopping. Some days I even look like a runner and not a penguin with a limp.

I jump rope, I can do sit ups, burpees are much less scary than they use to be, and I am getting close to making box jumps respect me.

Deception

Our coach likes to program deceptive conditioning workouts. You see it on the website and think, “Eh, that’s not so bad”. Then you get halfway through the first round and realized you’re screwed. This happens a lot because it’s hard to account for how tired you’ll be before you even get to this part of the workout.

But then you all lie flat on your backs looking at the spinning ceiling discussing how much harder it was than you expected. And you realize that it’s not that you’re the only one out of shape, you just did real work and you survived. At that moment, you are a beast. And when the next workout rolls around and that voice in your head says you can’t, you’ll have already proved it wrong.

Time to crush it.

What is your most/least favorite cardio activity?

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