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Ask Not For Whom The “Clock Gone Bad” Tolls

It tolls for Crossfit.

Day 3
Workout: Tabata squats (1 set of 8 cycles)
Breakfast: 6 eggs, salsa, spinach
Workout: See Below.
Lunch: Sweet Potato and Turkey Sausage, Green Chicken Curry with Cauliflower
Dinner: Moe’s Chicken Fajita (no tortillas)

I texted my friend Shera (who quit Crossfit a couple days ago), still wobbly and dehydrated from my most recent workout: “Well, this WOD just made my decision a hell of a lot easier.”

Three rounds for time of:
– 100m walking lunges
– 300m run
– 20 kettlebell swings at 53lb
– 30 double unders
(Follow this up with 30 ring dips.)

At first glance, this is pure cardio (aside from the kettlebells), and exactly the kind of popular voodoo (lunges sculpt your thighs!) that Crossfit should be rallying against. I should mention, by the way, that it was a Vibram-melting 98 degrees outside. Let’s look at the other elements of this workout, critically:

300m run: Good. I like 100-200, preferably uphill, for my sprint interval training, but 300 is fine. Except when it’s followed by 100m of lunges, which turned my quads to Jell-O unnecessarily.

20 kettlebell swings: The only fun part. We know Tim Ferriss adores kettlebells as possibly the only workout one needs, and I did my 20 swings unbroken each time, more than I expected.

Double unders: An elementary school gimmick that is somehow an elemental part of Crossfit. Maybe I’m just jealous that I can’t string them together. All in all, it took me 23 minutes in the scorching heat, and I needed a good 5 minutes to recover and start walking straight. Oh, and if the ring dips were supposed to “build strength”, we should have JUST DONE RING DIPS! Grrr.

Now what did this 23 minute WOD do for me physiologically? Burn fat? Sure, some. Cause high levels of oxygen consumption and delivery and make me a pinch more fit? Perhaps. Build muscle? Not likely. Cause a huge cortisol response? Definitely. One round of this, fabulous, I can dig it. 6 minutes of hell is productive. 23 minutes is damaging. It pained me to eat that sweet potato afterward, knowing that some of it might be shuttled straight to my fat cells.

What to do now? This sort of heavy-duty overly-draining uber-stressful workout, which doesn’t build strength, build muscle, or definitively yield net fat loss, is not what I need right now. I appreciate metabolic conditioning and building one’s VO2-max. But there are better ways to do it than these 20-25-minute chippers. I watched The World’s Strongest Man a few days ago and saw guys get gassed in 75 seconds on heavy farmer’s walks, max squats/deadlifts, and pulling trucks. Not that I will be doing that anytime soon…

So Crossfit is no longer for me. I had thoughts of suspending my membership starting in mid-July, but the ever-climbing mercury on the thermometer is forcing my hand to do it sooner. Like next week. Goodbye box jumps and double unders, hello bench presses and weighted pull-ups.

This is an emotional decision. To say Crossfit saved my life is an understatement. I get a bit teary just thinking about how unhappy I was before I stumbled on this gym, and how grateful I am for the people I met, and what they taught me about fitness, nutrition, and myself. I lost 25 pounds at this gym. I made dozens of friends at this gym. I learned about the Paleo Diet and started eating meat at this gym. I gained 150 pounds on my deadlift and immeasurable tons of confidence. This will probably be a trial separation for the summer, during which I hope to transform my body into something I like seeing in the mirror.

But it has to happen soon, for better or for worse.

Other 4-HB notes:
– Really getting into the groove of my new schedule. LOVING lime juice on everything.
– Ate my post-WOD lunch at 1:30, and had a chance to eat my third meal at 2:30, risking a huge protein load that could spike insulin, or push it till 4-5, screwing up my IF schedule today and tomorrow. I decided to preserve the fasting window and hope the ALA and green tea supplements keep my glucose low enough.
– Haven’t had a drink since starting this protocol. How much will it sabotage my progress to have a glass of wine (or two) tonight at a Young Professionals event with the possibility of meeting a couple eligible single gals?

Next time (I promise!) : I mark out on old school WCW wrestling. Also, I complain about every woman I’ve met in the past two weeks.

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