Sometimes saying “No!” is exercising wisdom.
Let me begin by stating that I love CrossFit. I have drunk deeply from the CF Kool-Aid trough. As much as I love it, there are times I feel conflicted regarding participating in a WOD. This week provided a case in point.
I was driving home when my iPhone chirped that I had a text message. I glanced at the screen on my console and it said, “TOMORROW WOD FILTHY FIFTY!”
I spoke a text message back to my friend explaining that I was driving, please send details for Filthy Fifty.
When I got to a my driveway I looked at my phone, and there, in gory detail, was the list of movements. It was 50 reps of ten movements, for time.
- 50 Box jump, 24 inch box
- 50 Jumping pull-ups
- 50 Kettlebell swings, 1 pood
- Walking Lunge, 50 steps
- 50 Knees to elbows
- 50 Push press, 45 pounds
- 50 Back extensions
- 50 Wall ball shots, 20 pound ball
- 50 Burpees
- 50 Double unders
I took my wallet out of the console and stared at my drivers license, yup, it still says I am 62 years old. Now I am not saying any 62 year old cannot do Filthy Fifty, but I am stating that this one won’t. Please notice, I did not say I can’t. I said I won’t. More about that choice of words a little later.
After dinner, I searched the web for scaling alternatives for Filthy Fifty. I found several approaches. One was to reduce reps from 50, down to 35, or even 25. Another was to break the reps up into groups of 20, 15, 10 and 5, building a little breather into each movement. Regardless of how I sliced it or diced it, it was too much risk for too little gain. I am not saying it wasn’t a blast for many of my box-mates. And I think most of my friends will agree, even though I may be the weakest guy in the gym, I don’t play the “Age Card” to get out of WODs.
So if I claim that I am not playing the Age Card, then what am I playing? I am playing the “Incongruous Card”. This is the same card that keeps me away from Sunday Boot Camp. Some of the things we do are incongruent with my long-term goals of health and fitness. It’s that simple. Doing Filthy Fifty is not going to make me healthier. In fact, in my present condition, it could do just the opposite.
Now before all my CrossFit coaches decide to tar and feather me as a heretic, please note, it isn’t about you, and it isn’t about CrossFit. It’s about me learning to listen to my body. I write frequently about not abdicating responsibility for your health and diet to your doctor. They are there to offer counsel and guidance. It is your responsibility to ensure that what they recommend is more beneficial than it is risky. Consider prescriptions and side-effects. “This cream may clear up your acne, but it will destroy your kidneys.” Perhaps it’s time to check your priorities and look for a better alternative.
It’s the same thing with fitness. I have learned a great deal from my coaches. They are very patient with me and they are aware that we all come into the Box with different physical challenges and they work with us to scale the workouts. As an aspiring athlete, I listen to my coaches. They encourage me and oftentimes they push me far beyond my comfort zone. But it is my responsibility to discern what is the difference between my comfort zone and a danger zone. I own that. You own that.
Back to “can’t” versus “won’t”. Today I won’t do Filthy Fifty because my physical condition is inadequate and because I am still on heart medications that artificially suppress my heart. Call me whatever you wish, but I’m silly about cardio-intense stuff when I cannot get enough blood into my muscles because my heart rate is 80% of what it should be. Over the past year I have weaned myself down on all my meds. My daily dose is 25% of what it was a year ago.
When I’m completely off Meds, then perhaps I’ll try The Filthy Fifty. Then again, perhaps that will be the appropriate time to play the Age Card.
Get Defiant! Get Well!