God’s Workout?

The superfit walk among us. They saunter or strut, depending on whether they‚Äôre showcasing their magnificent agility or their oxlike strength. They ignore the chatter in the health media over treadmill technique and pedometer steps. They scoff even at seemingly rigorous practices like Mysore Ashtanga yoga and marathon training. They are America‚Äôs self-styled fitness elite, adherents of a punishing online exercise regime called CrossFit, which orders its followers to cultivate a distinctly martial ‚Äî not to say paranoid ‚Äî ideal of ‚Äúphysical preparedness.‚Äù –Virginia Heffernan, “God’s Workout,” New York Times
It seems Ms. Heffernan has even more to say about CrossFit in this Sunday’s NYTimes magazine. Please do read the whole thing and leave a comment on the article–I already have.
Saturday morning is 10am free intro class and 11am Workout of the Day. Since it’s a rest day on the main site, Josh will be creating the workouts.
Get some!
Fight Gone Bad at the Black Box, 080319

Responses

  • Jeff

    “A Workout of the Day, or W.O.D., might include 50 kettlebell swings, 3 800-yard dashes in rapid succession and 10 pull-ups. Then repeat. No breaks.”
    If you can “dash” 800 yards 3 times, finishing with 10 pull ups would probably be a bit of a let down.
    Even though this is a completely fictitious/hypothetical WOD, it sounds pretty ill-conceived. Who wants to try it?
    I’m struggling to figure out how to do this one RXed since if the “no breaks” part is followed, wouldn’t that just be a 2400 yard dash?

  • Mr Ben

    I would adjust it to:
    800 yard ‘dash’
    50 kettlebell swings
    10 pull ups
    then repeat sequence 3 times.
    My old athletics club used to make me run the 800m. It’s possibly the most horrendous event ever conceived. It turns your legs to jelly, your arms to spaghetti, your saliva to glue, your heart appears to turn into a potato and then you realize you have to run around the track once more. It’s simply too fast for too far. So in short: it sounds like a reasonably awesome WOD (assuming you actually ‘dash’ the 800 yards).
    And for those who remember me, sorry I’ve taken so long to post back on the site, I’ll soon post a mini “what the hell I’ve been up to” thingy whatsit which will also contain bitching about London’s inability to open a proper CrossFit premises! If you want something done… do it yourself… ie, must get my arse to a cert soon!
    Much love and palm bleeding handshakes to y’all…
    Mr Ben

  • http://www.self-aggrandizement.com The Ant

    Today’s workout theme:
    You don’t know squat.
    Drills, drills, drills. Then squat-centric met-con for the kids, and something like Scott’s Mom for the old hands.
    Trust me, your squat needs work. Come on down.

  • http://www.self-aggrandizement.com The Ant

    Also worth noting: we basically did this NYT workout the first time we tried Helen at the Box, as (due to retardation on my part) we initially thought a lap around the block was 400m rather than its actual 800m.
    In that case, the workout was:
    3x
    Run 800m
    21 1.5p KB Swings
    12 Pullups
    Which very much sucked.

  • Hari

    The author is conflicted. My guess is that she generally holds the belief that all cultures (including exercise “cultures”) are equal and that the values of one should be considered to be of no greater or lesser value than those of another.
    Her problem is that CF believes (and Coach preaches) the opposite: that not all exercise programs are equal and in fact all others are wrong to varying degrees.
    She is beginning to suspect that there may actually be an absolute truth, as it applies to fitness, and CrossFit may be it. This idea is an extremely troubling notion for her. It is the type of thinking she apparently assumes only occurs among the religious, hence her gratuitous insults at religion.

  • Coach P

    From Thrusday: Subways are done with a 20# medball. Start standing, holding medball waist high, squat down and place ball on ground, jump back into push-up position, do a push-up (chest to ball), then jump feet to side of ball (landing in a squat), do a full medball clean (ending under the ball down in a squat), then launch into a wallball throw–that’s ONE.
    So, Medball Burpee, Medball Clean, Wallball= 1, and repeat
    The “Got Pull-ups” workout involved getting as many pull-ups as possible in two sets, then subtracting that total from the 50 Subways. For those that had 20-30 pull-ups, they were much happier than those with 10 pull-ups.

  • http://www.crossfitwiki.com/Crossfit/Ewen Ewen

    One should remember that Heffernan is a media expert, not a fitness expert. Her comments deal mostly with the CrossFit “vibe”, website, forum, communication style etc. And I find it perfectly understandable that she thinks Pukie worship, Hero workouts and Coach’s “preaching” (as Hari himself says) are worth commenting on.
    Most people don’t have a clue as to how or why CrossFit is effective and don’t even stop to wonder if following the WODs is actually the best answer to their individual fitness needs. All they know is that they like the results. Sounds like an act of faith to me.

  • Hari

    I think it is interesting to note the shift in tone from the original blog post by the author (link on Wednesday Main and Black Box sites) to the final article. My guess is that the NY Times editors require this sort of cynicism, and the author is just giving them what they want.
    At the NY Times, offending terrorists is bad. Offending people who kill terrorists and people who support those who kill terrorists is good. The author writes:
    “The last time I checked the site, I noticed something new and disturbing posted under the W.O.D. It was a picture of a broad-shouldered, bearded man, captioned by this epitaph: ‘Senior Chief Petty Officer Thomas J. Valentine, 37, of Ham Lake, Minn., died in a training accident in Arizona on Feb. 13.'”
    This is “disturbing” to the author because:
    “Valentine‚Äôs death seemed to strike many in the group as something to be suitably honored in their own training.”
    The Crazy CrossFit people actually honor and respect people who are willing to die defending us. Go figure. It’s not like anyone at the NY Times would be willing to defend freedom by standing up for free speech and printing the Muhammed cartoons.
    A previous NY Times article from December 2005 on CF was similarly dismissive:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/22/fashion/thursdaystyles/22Fitness.html?ei=5088&en=60e8cc2df444a18f&ex=1292907600&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&pagewanted=print
    Interestingly, it was this article that sent me to CrossFit. My sense was that if the NY Times hated it that was a pretty good sign.

  • http://www.crossfitwiki.com/Crossfit/Ewen Ewen

    Hari,
    I find the Hero workouts strange and mildly disturbing myself. Honouring and respecting individual fallen soldiers through push-ups? Whatever floats the CF boat, I guess.
    So, do you understand this to mean I’m unwilling to “offend terrorists”, and do you think that anybody that has printed or would print the Muhammad cartoons would fall in line behind Coach Glassman on every issue?
    There is no need to elevate a fitness program to the status of general philosophy of Life and Truth and Beauty. I can assure you that my pull-up numbers have improved despite my lack of a moral compass.

  • Hari

    Ewen,
    My point was in the larger context of the current Rest Day article, and I shouldn’t have assumed people had read that. For the record, my position on the main site (#11) is this:
    “Terrorists and terrorist wannabes can take death, but they can‚Äôt take ridicule. It‚Äôs time for the Press to join in the defense of Western Civilization.”
    I was referring specifically to what I perceive to be an act of cowardice on the part of the NY Times (and virtually every other Western newspaper). The press certainly has no problem offending anyone and everyone (nor should it) but it makes an exception for radical Islam.

  • Jeff

    After rereading that comment about Tommy V and what’s disturbing, I’m wondering if Heffernan thinks that the ‘training exercise’ Tommy V died during was some sort of physical training workout. I don’t know any further details of his death, but I assumed that ‘training exercise’ was something far more dangerous along the lines of practicing with live ammunition or helicopter flying.

  • Hari

    Jeff,
    The author knew precisely how Tommy V’s died. She clearly indicated that she had his obituary. She wrote:
    “One CrossFitter linked to a more official obituary, which revealed that Valentine, who died in a military exercise, was a Navy SEAL and part of the Naval Special Warfare Development Group in Virginia Beach, Va.”

  • http://www.crossfitwiki.com/Crossfit/Ewen Ewen

    Hari,
    Here’s where I’m coming from regarding the cartoons: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Hebdo
    Again, they would most likely mock our Hero workouts and disagree with you on what aspects of Western Civilization are worth defending.
    Getting back to CrossFit: We can take “Murphy”. Can we take ridicule?
    (Jeff, he died in a parachuting accident if I’m not mistaken.)

  • michelle

    so what was the workout?

  • Hari

    Ewen,
    “We can take ‘Murphy’. Can we take ridicule?”
    Yes.
    The press is willing to ridicule Christianity, Judaism, and CrossFit. Is willing to ridicule radical Islam?

  • http://www.crossfitwiki.com/Crossfit/Ewen Ewen

    “The press is willing to ridicule Christianity, Judaism, and CrossFit.” So is Crossfit a monotheist religion, or isn’t it? ;-)
    I’d like to see some examples of NYT articles ridiculing Christianity and Judaism. But maybe some other time if you don’t mind; to quote comment #71 on the main board, “I’m just here for the workouts and stuff.”

  • Jeff

    today’s workout was Scott’s Mom
    set 1:
    max reps (if the bar touches the floor, you’re done) in this order:
    max reps overhead squat, max reps front squat, max reps back squat
    set 2:
    max reps (same rules as above)
    overhead press, push press, push jerk

  • Joseph_B

    I haven’t been in the box in a while, hopefully I can come through tomorrow. The only thing that stays with me from the article is Rhabdo, which I’ve read about in the CF journal and message boards. I’m convinced CF is the best program to follow, to get in the best real functional shape one can get ( body-building is a joke). That said the possibility of Rhabdo is scary shit. If the whole idea of CF is to push yourself to the limit in a given WOD, who can one really go all the way with the possibility of Rhabdo around the corner ?
    On strength WOD’s you don’t have to worry about Rhabdo, but when it comes to Met-Con even though I always push myself, Rhabdo is always in the back of my mind. I really don’t care if this makes me come across “less tough”, we should workout to get stronger,faster and better but tempting death is not something I think is worth the price of Optimal fitness.
    How can we as Cross-fitters truly prevent Rhabdo while pushing ourselves to the limit ?

  • michelle

    ewen- sorry- you can read this another time but just to make a quick point to anyone “following” the string – the Sulzbergers are what are commonly referred to as “self hating jews”-u wouldnt have to look too long and hard for any articles ridiculing judaism or christinaity…
    in fact their reporting of the slaughtering of eurpean jewry -or shall we say lack of reporting-during world war two is beyong shocking.
    from an editorial standpoint the Time’s long time liberal stance has shifted even further to the left and they are often labeled as anti-Bush and thus anti Judeo-Christian values.

  • jim

    This is a good example of why I do not care for the media. Virginia had a story to tell and would not let the truth get in the way. Granted, I don’t think she lied, she did deceive and just reported the 1% of the facts that supported her story and ignored the rest. I think cross fitters are much more humble than what she implies.
    As for honoring fallen war heroes, wtf? I am sure these men would be honored to have a mammoth workout named after them, and for us it gives us perspective and helps us to realize how good we truly have it. The sacrifice they gave inspires us to give more of ourselves in our workouts and in our lives. I think Ms. Virginia may not be a big fan of the military.
    On a side note: I have never posted here, but this is my favorite affiliate site. Great work cfny!
    jim
    CFPDX

  • Shane

    Didn’t make it to the Box but you all will be happy to know that I:
    Defended Western Civilization. For time.
    14:32
    PR!
    I almost met Pukie but after a few minutes my strength returned and decided to work on a couple of weaknesses. This consisted of alternate L-sits static holds and offending Radical Muslims. I had a tough time finding some honest to Allah radicals so I subbed in some regular ones that live in my neighborhood. They are now interested in signing up for the next cycle of Elements.
    I also did 100 burpees for time. 8:07. ugh.
    Joseph, have you read the article on Crossfit induced Rhabdo from the Journal? If I remember correctly, the reported cases (at the time of ‘press) overwhelmingly occurred in (experienced) athletes new to Crossfit. Like first/second WOD new. In short, they pushed themselves too hard too soon. Experienced CFers, at the time of the article were who pushed themselves to their perceived limits were not falling out from the condition. Not sure how much this has changed, if at all. I doubt it. Yes, it is important to know what Rhabdo is and what can cause it. This is especially critical to those new to CF who may try to redline it before they even put the key in the ignition. But I am also of the mind that we shouldn’t make it the Boogeyman under the bed that keeps us from stepping up the intensity. Most of us will break through our internally and externally imposed mental barriers that limit our performance long before we’ll break down our muscle tissue and send it into our bloodstream. And the chance to do that is perhaps the most important part of these Crossfit. At least to me. Well, that and the Kool-Aid.
    Fret not homie, your question doesn’t make ‘you seem less tough.’ It is exactly the kind of question we wrestle with as we pursue elite fitness and explore our physical/mental limits.
    How many of the Crossfit elite (I’m talking the Annies, Nicoles, Evas, Greg A.s, Mary Conovers, Speals, OPTs and Shanes (joke)) have fallen to Rhabdo while pushing their limits day in and day out for years? Have they not as true Crossfitters realized elite fitness without being stricken down by Rhabdo and/or whatever else is out there to get waiting to get us in the Land of High Intensity? It seems they have. Might we mere mortals at the lower levels of this cult/pyramid scheme be able to do the same thing? I think so. Heck, if not I would have taken my sweet time with those burpees.
    It’s not about pushing yourself to THE limit. But to YOUR limit. And then just enough beyond it so that progress is made (the esteemed PR) but not so far past that you can’t come back to play another day. Newbies tend to neither know their limits nor that balance and therefore appear more susceptible to meeting things far worse than Pukie. In my mind, the commonly heard calls to ‘leave it all out there!’ and ‘save nothing for the swim home!!’ and my fave ‘don’t worry, you’ll pass out before you die’ are meant to excite and incite not be taken literally.
    Remember, Crossfit is defined as “a strength and conditioning program built on a wide variety of functional movements executed at high intensity” not ‘Suicide or bodily harm via some combination of calisthenics, weightlifting, running, rowing in pursuit of feeding your ego and seeming tough.’ Regardless of what the papers might say.

  • Shane

    oops. hit post before i finished editing. hope that makes sense and isn’t overly redundant/indulgent

  • http://www.sarenasworld.blogspot.com sarena

    Shane just to clarify things one of the first affiliates to CF, recently had rhabdo and was in the hospital for a week (if I recall him saying correctly). He is a true athlete in the CF world, well respected and pushes himself to the limits. SO to your statement, it can happen to the tough ones too!!
    BTW, 100 burpees yeah!!

  • Shane

    Here comes Sarena with her big, bad ‘facts’! lol.
    Ok, well so much for that.
    No more Met/Con!

  • Shane

    final post-
    So there is no confusion.
    my previous post was NOT an actual dig at Sarena. I was in fact just joking about getting set straight posthaste.
    ok, no more from me. ever.

  • Dave

    As a newcomer to CF, I see the Hero Workouts like this:
    A way to say “thank you” for their service and their sacrifice.
    I may not be able or willing to enlist to take their place on the front line of defense, but I can at least honor the sacrifice by trying to live up to the example they have set, fitness or otherwise.
    Part of the appeal of Crossfit to me is not just the fitness benefits gained from the workouts, but the sense of focus, community, and pride that goes along with being part of it all.
    Long live the Hero Workouts (no matter how hard they may be)

  • http://blog.derekrose.com derek

    As a member of the press, I think we in general try not to gratuitously offend people’s sensitivities, esp. religious sensitivities. Of course there are times when you have to, but I don’t see how printing the cartoons would have added to the story in this instance. And of course those cartoons weren’t just offensive to “radical” Islam but anyone of the Islamic faith.
    I actually had the opportunity to talk to some of the Muslims who were demonstrating at the UN when the cartoon thing was in the news. People sometimes have this idea that Islam is this force we should be “standing up” against. It is always interesting to actually meet people and put a face on “the other” — cab drivers, small businessmen, students and a lot of people who are working hard to make it in this unfamiliar country.

  • Joseph_B

    Good points Shane, but after what Sarena wrote about a well known Cross-fitter getting Rhabdo, it looks like it can strike anybody. That said, I’ll still be coming to the Box and doing CF, but I think Rhabdo is something that should be talked about more often in the CF community, so as to decrease the chances of it.