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Monday
Nov112013

How is your motor?

Life is about your engine.

 

(Truthfully, life is about an infinite variety of things, but for the sake of THIS writing - I'm focusing on the fact that life is about your engine.)

 

I've talked previously about how important it can be to manage energy levels and be efficient with the amount of responsibilities we each have in a 24 hour day / 7 day week.  All of this is still true and not to be minimized, however and important question to ask ourselves is -- how is my motor?

 

I was in a work conversation recently where the topic of a person's "motor" (read: work ethic, drive, ability to accomplish, persistence, etc) came up.  This resonated with me, since as a CrossFit athlete we frequently talk about a person's motor or engine.  Part of the new line of shirts from Rogue Fitness has"ENGINE" printed across the back.  I considered buying one at first, then hesitated since it might be a bit ironic (and not in a good way) for  me to be wearing that shirt, since my "engine" is the weakest of my abilities as a CrossFitter.  My gas tank empties much too quickly during the intense workouts (or "WODs" in CrossFit terminology).

 

While my physical engine needs tons of improvement, I'd like to think my mental and psychological engine is helping make up for that, since everything I do is dedicated towards working on that weakness.  Little by little, day by day, week by week.

 

That mentality (the "engine" needed to make the slow, arduous climb towards improvement of a weakness) applies to far more aspects of life than just CrossFit (or any other athletic endeavor). 

 

Sales people need to have a motor to go out and prospect, bounce back from rejection, and close business.

 

Teachers need a great engine to show up in their classrooms day after day, dealing with the ups and downs of trying to educate young people who may  be a joy to teach, or may be a relentless test of patience.

 

A housewife tending to her children and/or managing a home has to have a strong motor to get up day after day and put the needs of her family above her own, and have a loving, nurturing disposition while doing it. 

 

A parent coming home from a draining and stressful workday needs to have a great engine to rebound and show a young son or daughter the attention they are seeking (and deserve), regardless of how badly they might need a beer/glass of wine and a chance to pass out in-front of the TV right away.

 

Whatever we do, whether it's CrossFit, triathlons, recreational (but still competitive) team sports, our jobs, or even aspects of home life -- your engine is everything.  Life is about your motor.  Rest and recover when it's time to rest and recover (if your iPhone eventually has to recharge, then so do you).

 

But when it's time to really GO, and dig deep to get (stuff) done -- what kind of engine do you have?

 

Sunday
Oct272013

The Benefits of Defeat

In October of 2012 I noticed dozens of my area CrossFit friends posting photos from an event down in Charleston. The event was outdoors with tons of competitors and looked challenging but also fun, in a twisted way.  I was still in my first year of CrossFit and knew I wasn't anywhere close to being able to compete with the people I saw in the photos and videos, so I set a goal to be able to compete in the 2013 event.

Fast forward to last weekend, and I was in Charleston ready to compete in the 2013 Integrity's Revenge event, held at the Riverdogs' minor league baseball stadium (cool venue to be sure).  The WODs were released one at a time in the weeks and days leading up to the event, so each of us had time to both prepare and/or freak out if there was a skill in which we were currently deficient (more on this later).

After a lot of internal debate, I decided against entering Men's Scaled division and decided to jump into Men's Rx.  I made no disguises about the fact I knew I was in over my head against some of the better CrossFit competition in the area, but figured since I don't have to scale down WODs during my training, it would be equivalent to "sandbagging" to enter a competition and sneak down into the Scaled division.  For perspective, I've never been in a competition with more than one or two Regionals-level competitors.  This event had probably ten or more.

My goal for the weekend was pretty simple but still somewhat intimidating -- don't finish in last.  There were 72 men competing in the Individual Rx division, and all I wanted to accomplish was 71st by any means necessary.

The first event took place with competitors standing on top of the dugouts and featured four rounds of 30 double unders + 15 heavy DB thrusters at 45lbs each, with a 6min time cap. 

I felt decently good about this WOD, since I'm not too bothered by heavy thrusters or double unders, plus it was the first event right out of the gate so in-theory I would be somewhat fresh.  

Once I got into the second round of thrusters, that was the last time I would ever use the word "fresh" to describe how I felt during the weekend.  It was a good WOD and tested most of the field since quite a few of us did not finish under the time cap.  Even the best of the heats barely cleared the time limit and we were all spent.  This one took a lot out of our shoulders which would be a key factor heading into the next event.

 

The next event (titled "WOD 2.5") was about two hours later which was another meant to severely tax the shoulders.  An 8min AMRAP of 15 Overhead Squats (115#) + 15 Toes-to-Bar, then 12/12, then 9/9.  Once finished with the round of nine, we had to complete 18 ring muscle ups in the remaining time allotted.  

Since I had only made my first successful muscle ups within the past two weeks, I was realistic about my chances.  I hoped to get at-least one, but knew that trying to pull this off on tired shoulders would be difficult.  I ended up improving on my time from a testing session during the previous week (from 7:47 to 6:20) but failed three times on the muscle up rings as time elapsed.  This would be a foreshadowing of things to come later.

 

Saturday morning I was pretty beaten up, but not in as bad of shape as I anticipated thanks in large part to a new carbohydrate supplement I picked up before the weekend -- Vitargo.  This supplement (works for both pre and post workout) clears the stomach and loads into the muscles at a much faster rate than things like Gatorade, and it was a huge benefit to me with such high volume over a two day period.

Saturday morning we hung around the stadium and cheered on fellow boxmates from CrossFit Dilworth and other friends competing in team divisions, then dealt with "WOD 3" which was my favorite of the weekend.  We had five minutes to set a 3 rep maximum of front squats, from the ground.  Squat cleaning the weight was allowable.  

Once the five minutes elapsed, a one minute clock started immediately where we had to score max effort power cleans at 155 lbs.  We had to change and replace all weights ourselves.

I felt hopeful about this event during the week since while I am no all star, Olympic Lifting is one of my stronger areas in CrossFit so far and this WOD would hide my prime weakness (metabolic conditioning).  My heat was due around 2pm and by that time I was beginning to feel fatigued after my morning coffee wore off.  Strategy is key in a competition like this, and due to the time limit plus having to change our own plates, athletes need to have a strong idea of which weights they will attempt with confidence. My initial plan was to nail 205#, then 225#, and hopefully complete 245#, which is ten pounds off of my PR. During warmups I felt solid on 185# but failed twice on 225#, which got into my head badly.  I had very little confidence as we left the athletes area and marched into our lines to meet our judges and get ready for 3, 2, 1, Go.

I remembered my coach's earlier suggestion to "just go for it", so even though I had failed repeatedly in warmups, I put 225# right on the bar for my first attempt and nailed it.  I failed on 245# after that but took a quick walk around the bar and gave it another shot. I nailed the clean and first front squat...but on the second squat my decision to wear a sleeveless tank backfired because the bar slipped off my sweaty shoulder. My left hand grip was fine but I held the bar on my right side like a baby and somehow the judge gave me credit for showing control at the top on the third and final attempt.  No more tank tops during competitions. I finished 18 reps in one minute on the max effort power cleans, which wasn't a great score (the elites were in the 20-25 range) but definitely in the range of being respectable.

The final event ("WOD 4") had been staring me in the face for over a week.  8min AMRAP of 7 burpee box jumps + 12 Wall Balls + 1 rope climb.  We don't currently have a rope at our gym, so my boxmates and I who competed in the event don't have the same amount practice as other competitors did. Saturday morning, during some of my down time I found a man (clearly a CrossFit veteran) and his teenage son doing a brief workout on their own and asked him for pointers in climbing the rope.  I explained that I was competing in two hours and had only learned about rope climb strategy three days ago.  The man was extremely helpful and encouraging, teaching me to get up the 15 foot rope one solid time which definitely went a long way in helping my confidence with WOD 4 looming.

The event run of show fell a bit behind schedule so after WOD 3 (squats/cleans) there was an effort to move things along quickly.  I was sitting in the athletes village finishing my shake when I heard the emcee call out athletes for "Heat One in WOD 4".  Since I was in Heat Two...that meant I needed to throw my crap back on and sprint across the field and up the stairs to go check in and have a fight with these rope climbs.

Things did not go well.

After the first set of 7 burpee box jumps, my strategy of taking everything slow and conserving energy didn't matter. I was out of gas. I was like your iPhone when the battery meter turns from green to red. I made it through the wall balls (a regular nemesis) fairly easily then got to the rope.  At this point, much of the event became a blur.  I remember failing a few times (even with gloves) to hold my grip, but eventually made it up the rope thanks to teaching tips from the man I met, plus my judge who was an incredibly supportive guy during my failures.  

After reaching the top of the rope and descending, I remember feeling completely empty. I was spent and out of gas. I walked (read: stumbled) back over to the burpee box jumps and worked through both those and the wall balls.  

Coming back to the rope a second time was a long miserable walk, and I proceeded to fail more times than I can remember.  My arms were completely out of gas. My grip strength was non-existent.  

I've been doing CrossFit for a year and a half and have never been in a workout before when my mind kept telling my body to do something that it refused to do. I could feel the other competitors in my heat moving up and down the rope climbs without problems on both sides of me, while I kept failing and failing, then grabbing my shorts bent over gasping for air.  In reality it was probably two or three minutes of clock time passing, but it felt like an eternity until the clock hit zero.  

It was a bad failure and the lowest moment I've had in CrossFit since I first started doing this.

One of the unique things about "failure" in this sport is that it presents you with two choices, two paths. In one sense, CrossFit mirrors life, because failure and defeat present us with a fork in the road.

We always have the option to accept our defeat, and let that failure be part of what defines us moving forward. In the course of accepting that defeat, there is comfort in the litany of excuses nearby, ready to be grabbed and claimed.  I could talk about being much older than most of the competitors in my division that weekend.  I could point to the fact that my work travels were abnormally high leading up to the event which kept me from training with anything close to the consistency necessary to compete well. I could point to our gym not having a rope installed and use that as a crutch to excuse my poor performance.  

I always like to say that there is a difference between a reason and an excuse.  A reason is the cause that leads to an eventual effect or happening.  An excuse is meant to eliminate blame and responsibility. Reasons will always be present to hold us back from achievements.  Excuses are the things you latch onto when taking the easy way out after a failure or a defeat.

"The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

The second path involves facing up to those reasons, then pushing them aside and continuing to get better.  Despite the debacle in the final WOD, it was still both a fun and productive weekend in Charleston.  I know where my deficiencies lie.  I know what steps need to be taken to work on them.  Once in a while it's good to have a low moment like this, because it teaches you a lot about yourself.  Both who you are and who you desire to become.  This doesn't have to apply to CrossFit, it carries over into any walk of life.  A bad test score, a failed relationship, losing out on a job or a promotion or sales account, defeats happen.  Failures are inevitable when you challenge yourself.  

Minutes after WOD 4, I sat alone in a corner away from the crowd and had a fairly depressing pity party. Light-headed and dripping sweat into puddles on the concrete, I felt like never seeing (let alone trying to climb) a rope again in my life.  A little while later, a friend pointed out that Rich Froning had his rope climb failure in the finals of the CrossFit Games (2010) with everything on the line.  If he could endure something like that, then I could endure this.  I laughed off his comparison at first, but then it started to make sense.  One reason why Rich is such a great ambassador for our sport (read his book, it's good...) is because he was introduced to us by first being humbled.  Then he came back from his failure and choked out his weakness the following year.  Something we can all learn from.

Defeat can have benefits.  Once it shoves you to the floor, standing over you laughing and pointing, the question becomes how will you deal with it?

Which of the two paths will you ultimately take?

As for me...I have to get back on the rope.

 

 *Note - I made my goal, I did not finish last in the Men's Rx division.  68th place out of 72 overall. (fist pump)

 

Monday
Jul292013

First Year of CrossFit - Lessons Learned

I'm late on this topic by a couple months, but this past May I celebrated my one-year anniversary after starting CrossFit. 

 

To some, that is the same thing as saying "I’ve joined the cult!", but one overlooked aspect of being in the cult, is that you have no problem with other people accusing you of being “in the cult”. In-fact, this brings a sense of pride.

 

One year of regularly practicing any sport or form of exercise will produce quite a few key learnings, some positive, some negative, but almost all being useful in some way. Over the past 12 plus months there have been PRs, ripped hands, nervousness before competitions, fun during and after competitions, dieting mistakes, explorations in new equipment/apparel, and everything in-between.

 

I've learned a lot in the first year of CrossFit (the main thing being that I love it and have finally found my "thing"). Here are a few of the other main high points and helpful lessons:

 

1 - Some days are just not your day.

 

I think one of the reasons so many of us get swept up in CrossFit is the fact that there are both highs and lows. There are some days when you set PRs and feel on top of the world. You stand up on a Dead Lift, pulling more weight off the ground than any other day in your life. You feel like Superman (or Wonder Woman).

 

Just the same, there are some days when you feel like you are running in quicksand. You feel like on every burpee, there is a large bear standing on your back with both feet ground and he won’t get off. You feel like no matter what, your chin just won’t get up over that bar for one last pull up. Your feet are three sizes too big and trip the rope on your double unders EVERY single time. You want to throw the rope on the ground and stomp on it like Wylie Coyote. 

 

Some days, the programming seems like it was written just to fit your individual strengths and talents. Other days, it feels like your coach is trying to punish you by personally writing your goats up on the whiteboard and compiling them into one hateful AMRAP. 

 

You'll have great days, and less-than-great days, just learn to ride out the waves over the course of the weeks or months. Eventually you'll level out if you stick with it (and work on your weaknesses).

 

 

2 - After a while, it's OK to cherry pick.

 

First, before coaches everywhere punch a hole in their computer screen at this next topic - let me explain. Someone who is new to CrossFit needs to only focus on two things - showing up consistently and giving max effort.  

 

Eventually however, your weaknesses will become apparent. At that point, you will need to (with the help of your coaches) pinpoint which aspects of your toolbox need greater attention. Some folks are weaker in-terms of overall physical strength. Most of us could use sharpening in our Olympic lifting disciplines. Others (like me) need work on our cardio gas tank to increase work capacity against the clock. Maybe you're extremely well-rounded but just can't quite nail your first muscle up. 

 

No matter what it is, once you begin to get serious about yourself as a CrossFit athlete, you will need to approach your training calendar each week/month with a specific focus to ensure that your weaker points are being attacked towards improvement.

 

Put your pride aside, be honest about your weaknesses - then ask your coaching staff to help formulate an attack plan that will turn that weakness into a strength.

 

 

3 - Diet Matters.

 

Perhaps the most obvious thing I'll write, but the way you fuel your body matters. You may not need to convert completely into a Paleo lifestyle, or Zone Diet, but your food should be viewed as fuel for both performance and recovery. Pure overall calories, in the form of junk food or fast food isn't sufficient and both your WODs AND recovery will suffer. It may be over-stated but I’ll state it again – NASCAR drivers or Formula-One racers don’t put garbage into their gas tanks.  We need to view our bodies the same way. 

 

While not a mandatory, it's a sound idea to investigate a recovery protein to replenish after a brutal WOD or lifting session as well. (Personally I rotate between Progenex and SFH)

 

 

4 - Calming down is better than pumping up.

 

Most football players try to get as amped up and hyped as possible before a game. One thing I've learned in a year of CrossFit is that getting too pumped up can actually hurt your performance. CrossFit requires an athlete to maintain both mental and physical control during a WOD. You can't be so jacked up that your mental focus goes out the window, and you lose sight of your strategy while navigating through a chipper WOD, or forget your technique cues with the barbell. 

 

Jason Khalipa once mentioned listening to reggae music before competitions to help himself mellow out. The first few weeks of trying CrossFit, I went into workouts jacked up like a football player, but the more time went on, I learned from the experts (as well as personal experience) that it pays far more dividends to keep a calm approach before and during a WOD. 

 

Trying intentionally keep calm will also help regulate oxygen consumption (well, at-least to a degree) and keep yourself relatively mellow instead of artificially elevating heart rate and pulse, since the workload in the WOD will likely do that for you anyways.

 

 

5 - Know when to take a break

 

As with any intense pursuit in life, there can come a time when you've pressed a little too hard and the psychological cost starts to weigh on you. Burnout can happen with anything, even our passions and hobbies. The large majority of us took up CrossFit because we love it. Hardly anyone was forced into this. It's important to keep balance and avoid hitting the point where you become both physically and mentally exhausted. 

 

Former Games competitor Azadeh Boroumand actually experienced this and stepped back from competing in 2013 to give both her body and mind a chance to recover. 2012 runner-up Julie Foucher decided months in-advance that she would focus on medical school and not pursue the Games this year. Both ladies showed that they understand the concept of balance, and that at the end of the day CrossFit is supposed to be fun. 

 

We do this because we love it. Sometimes you may need to take a few days (or a week) off from the box completely - and you'll come back refreshed inside and out, and ready to crush your WODs again. Plus, odds are that the people in your box have missed you as well and will be eager to have you back.

 

 

6 - Injuries can happen, be as safe as possible.

 

As with any intense form of training, injuries can and will happen. Hamstrings get tweaked, back muscles tighten up, shoulders feel a little too loose, ankles get rolled, bad things happen. The key is to control what you can, and avoid the injuries that were within your own doing. I've dropped a kettlebell on my foot during a WOD by letting the fatigue cause me to forget the simplest of safety points. I've tweaked a neck doing kipping pullups without warming properly, then made it worse by trying to do HSPU days later before I was completely healed. (Yes, both injuries help define “stupidity”.)

 

Listen to your body. If something feels off one day, don't be too proud to scale a WOD appropriately. Do your mobility work a couple times each week. Learn how to warm-up and cool-down properly and figure out which parts of your anatomy warm up faster or slower than the rest. Injuries happen to anyone who trains intensely and consistently, regardless of the sport or exercise discipline. Be sure to control the parts that are within your control.

 

 

7 - Equipment Matters

 

While it may not be necessary to go out and shop for the latest in Reebok CrossFit apparel (though sometimes it feels nice to blow your money on a cool pair of WOD shorts) – there are certain pieces of equipment that truly do matter.  Wrist straps/wraps can definitely help your stability in movements like handstand pushups, shoulder-to-overhead presses, front squats, etc.  

Knee sleeves are also helpful in any heavy or high-volume squat programming (I cannot imagine my life without them).

 

While I have not personally invested in a pair yet, the majority of those with a pair of Olympic Lifting shoes say that the difference in ankle flexion and heel stability is noticeable and extremely helpful.  

It can also be helpful to purchase your own speed rope to practice double unders when you’re away from the gym, or to toss in your suitcase for vacations or work trips.

Invest in quality equipment, in the long run it will be worth it, both from a performance and safety perspective.

 

 

One year ago this month I was in Carson, California at the Home Depot Center (now the Stub Hub Center) watching the Friday track triplet at the Reebok CrossFit Games.  Three of my best friends convinced me to take a later flight home from a business trip in L.A. to hang out with them and use one of their spare tickets.  It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  I’ve attended four NCAA Final Fours, college football bowl games, NFL games, NBA games and even the Olympics – but nothing compares to the feeling of being at the Reebok CrossFit Games LIVE and in-person.  

One year later, and one year into my CrossFit venture I’ve learned a great deal – some good lessons and some pretty difficult ones. Whether you’re a recreational CrossFitter, or if you’re Rich Froning or Samantha Briggs, I think most would agree that in this sport we are all learning new things every day.  We learn things both about CrossFit as a competitive sport, and about ourselves overall. And that’s one of the main reasons why we do this.

Thursday
Apr252013

Energy > Time ?

While standing around after a workout one Saturday, one of my old college teammates said something brilliant. To be fair - this guy says intelligent things quite often, but sometimes a person makes a comment that makes you instantly want to run grab a pen and paper and write it down. These words of wisdom were so good, that even months later I still consider it to be among the smartest things I've ever heard someone say.

"Instead of managing your time...think about managing your energy instead."

 

As busy people, we are great at managing a quantity of several life issues at once. We manage our budgets. We manage our time during the workday and subsequently our free time during evenings or weekends. Nutritionally conscious people even manage their caloric or carbohydrate allotments during each day.

 

But how many people actually focus on managing their energy levels during the day?

Ever since my friend Jon Davis (creator of the blog Elements2Lead) shared this thought-provoking idea, I've been more focused on how I actually FEEL during the day, and during the week overall. If you are anything like me, you set a training agenda for the week and outline the specifics of what needs to be accomplished (i.e. long runs/sprints, lifting workouts, triathlon skills, specific CrossFit WODs, etc). The problem with setting a training outline for the week is that more times than not, Life gets in the way of your workout plan.

 

Business meetings run long or pop up unexpectedly...kids get sick (or we get sick ourselves)...the playoff game or movie you start watching at 9pm becomes too addictive to fall asleep on-time and costs you valuable rest. The list of hurdles that can arise and interrupt your workout schedule is seemingly endless. The problem is highlighted when we become slaves to our workout schedule, instead of letting our energy levels each day dictate whether we should go for an intense workout, or perhaps keep things light (or even rest completely).

 

Jon's comment drove me to research the taxing levels of intense training combined with the various obstacles of life. Workouts are a form of (external) stress, which is self-inflicted. This is not an issue assuming the other aspects of life, such as work stress, family stress, financial stress, sleep levels, and sufficient nutrition are all within relatively normal levels for your individual body. When cortisol levels (the "stress hormone") become too elevated for too long of a period, a person can become lethargic and sluggish, and experience a litany of other negative physical side effects (here and here) . One of these is adrenal fatigue, which I will cover in a little further detail at another time.

 

It goes without saying that there are times when it simply feels like there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything we need to. Sometimes our schedules are so packed, even things like eating lunch away from your work desk/computer, or getting time to read/watch a movie at night become seemingly unachievable luxuries. With that said, when we shift thinking away from trying to squeeze our long list of To Do's into the hours available each day - it's worth realigning perspective once in a while and focusing on managing your finite amount of energy instead.

 

Your workout and training volume may decrease each week, but you may also find each workout becoming more productive - and more importantly you may steer clear of dangerous conditions like elevated cortisol and adrenal fatigue as well.

 

In part II I hope to dig a little further into the issue of adrenal fatigue, and cover some strategies to combat the symptoms. In the meantime, here is a productive read from Jon's blog with his strategies and thoughts on such a vital topic such as managing energy levels.

Monday
Feb112013

You Need To Walk More

Yesterday I went back to my college campus for a celebratory dinner to induct a former teammate into the athletic hall of fame.  It was the first time I had walked on the academic and residential areas of campus in almost a decade. The building site for the dinner was located literally within the heart of campus, which meant there would be nowhere to park close to the building. 

 

How sad is it that someone like me, who works out as many as six or seven times in a calendar week, does CrossFit, and teaches fitness classes, was momentarily agonizing over a walk of less than 200 yards, on a gorgeous college campus?

 

What does that say about how my mentality has been changed by years of being a “working adult”, which unfortunately is synonymous with being comfortable, having travel convenience, and being largely sedentary?

 

After the hall of fame dinner, we attended the basketball game, located at the far end of campus. If my college campus was a map of the U.S., my car was parked in the most immediate lot available (let's call that the New York/Pennsylvania area).  The arduous walk I just referenced meant that the dinner occurred in a mid-point building (roughly Kansas/Nebraska). The basketball arena was located on the furthest end on campus (California).

 

 I had a decision to make, and only fifteen minutes to decide.  Do I jump in the car and drive (quickly) around the perimeter of campus to hopefully find a spot in arena parking?  (This would cut down on both my pre-game and post-game walking distances)  But remember...this meant walking the far trip back to the east coast from Middle America.

 

Or, do I just head over to California from the middle of the country and save some time on the pre-game front end, increasing my chances to make it to the arena in-time for tip-off?  Smart on the front end…but this would also mean a cross-country (cross-campus) walk after the game was over.

 

How silly is this?

 

In the end, I chose the cross-campus post-game walk, knowing that it would be the best thing for my health.  As an added plus, there are probably worse things than a (literal) walk down memory lane at my old college on a clear Saturday night.

 

The timing of this walk was fitting, as I’ve been pondering the topic of sedentary adult lifestyles and our lack of “everyday movement”.  Our basketball team was ahead by 36 points (not a typo) early in the second half so I had a chance to get out early and ponder lots of things on the walk back.

 

I was struck by just how much walking we used to do back in college (and our campus isn’t even that big by comparison).  We used to walk a quarter mile (400m) from our dorms to the main classroom buildings in the heart of campus…then back across campus to the cafeteria (yes the same one made famous by NBA star Stephen Curry)…then more walking either back to our dorms or to more classes…then clear across campus to (depending upon your sport) the football stadium locker rooms, or main athletic complex locker rooms or training rooms for rehab treatment.

 

Then more walking to your respective field or court locations for two hours of grueling practice…then after showering, another 0.25 mile walk back to the cafeteria for dinner, and then walking back to the dorms for the end of the day.

 

Tired yet?

 

That used to amount to anywhere from 2-4 miles of walking on-campus, depending on the day’s schedule, not even including athletic activity (or night time partying).

 

Compare that to our lives as working adults.

 

We wake up…drive/ride to our work locations (though to be fair, some in urban cities may walk a fair distance to their respective buildings)…then we sit at desks for close to 8-10 hours of emails, meetings, and conference calls…then we ride/drive home from the office where we sit and eat dinner…sit in-front of the TV or with a book for a short while…then lie down for bed.  Repeat again four more days until the weekend.

 

“Active people” may toss in an hour of activity at the gym, but by-comparison is there really any wonder why we (as a society) are largely obese and out-of-shape? 

Is there any wonder why most of us (myself included) don’t have our college bodies anymore?

 

We blame our metabolisms for slowing down (which is biologically true, to a degree), however there has to be some accountability for our drastic lack of activity by-comparison to our younger days.

 

There are a lot of well-written pieces currently online detailing just how our sedentary lifestyles are slowly killing us.  I won’t attempt to completely regurgitate their work, but you can dive in further here, here, and here.

CrossFit star (and Navy Seal) Josh Bridges has some excellent related thoughts on the matter as well, in regards to not taking the easy way out in life.

 

As you may have also gleaned, just one hour of exercise (even something as intense as my personal favorite, CrossFit) each day is not enough to counterbalance the lack of overall “lifestyle movement” compared to our college years.

 

As an office-dweller, there are several things we can do to fight back.

You can consciously park further away from your destinations.

You could wear a pedometer (as I have been doing the past three weeks).

A few of my co-workers have started holding “walking meetings” to discuss quick matters or to brainstorm ideas, while walking a lap around our building.

Some days I will set a timer to get up each half hour and take two trips up and down the stairs to wake up the legs (and heart rate).

 

Nike’s Fuelband technology has also become popular as an ever-present reminder of well (or not-so-well) you may be doing to generate some movement and activity in your 24 hour day.

 

The point remains constant – our adult working lives typically do not lend themselves to frequent bouts of activity and physical exertion, so we have to fight back.  If you care about your body (both inside and out), then it’s not enough to allow the slowdown effects of office life to destroy your physique.

 

If you miss your old college body (or even just want to get 75% of the way there) – then start today with a strategy and tactics to implement more frequent bouts of “lifestyle cardio” throughout your 24 hour days.

 

(This was a long article, so odds are if you’ve read the entire thing from start to finish, it’s time to get out of your chair and go for a walk anyways.)