Friday, December 24, 2010

Can You Handle the WOD?

There's a bunch of websites out there where you can get the Workout of the Day or WOD. Mountain Athlete, Gym Jones (Marc Twight's gym), Crossfit, and the Alpine Training Center, are just a few of the coaching outfits that feature killer work-outs that vary endlessly. Crossfit, as far as I know, was one of the first in the field to develop the WOD and to train individuals broadly in functional fitness. Rob Shaul, who runs Mountain Athlete, and Marc Twight, who runs Gym Jones, have taken some of the Crossfit philosophy but added more sport specific training and continue to tweak their training programs in the search for fitter and fitter athletes.

There's a whole philosophy behind these kind of training programs that - owing to my short attention span - I have never really delved into. But, what I lack in attention to philosophy, I make up for in commitment to WOD'ing. I was first introduced to WOD'ing by my strongman friend, René. I had just progressed through a fitness programme designed for ACMG guides and was dismayed to find myself the weakest and least fit I had been for years. René, who had been shaking his head at my dedication to this programme for months, avoided the dreaded, "I told you so" and simply pointed me in the direction of Crossfit. The rest, as they say, is history.

A year of religiously doing Crossfit WOD's and I was stronger than ever before. I could pump out pull-ups - even weighted pull-ups, pushups, squats, and strong-arm my way through various Olympic lifts. My climbing ability jumped a solid grade or two. Some people, particularly those in the health industry, seemed threatened by this new type of work-out and constantly felt the need to "diss" the workouts, finding fault with just about everything. But these were the same people who were miles behind when we were out ski-touring and who couldn't pull off a single pull-up.

These days, I'm a Mountain Athlete junky. Rob Shaul at Mountain Athlete trains mountain climbers and guides, skiers, bikers and ice and rock jocks. Crossfit WOD's are thee days on, one day off, while Mountain Athlete is a three times weekly schedule. Being prone to overdoing, rather than underdoing things, I actually try to fit in four workouts a week, two climbing and two general fitness workouts. The interesting thing about WOD's is that only a select group of people will make the effort to do the workouts and stick with them. It seems that 99% of people, just can't hack them. I think the best way I could sum up any one of these workouts is by quoting a Crossfit regular who quipped, when asked what the "standard" Crossfit cool-down was, said "collapse on the floor and try not to vomit." 

 Pullups on the Millenium Bridge

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