Saturday, April 16, 2011

Fight Gone Bad

This morning I took my first crack at the infamous & gnarly CrossFit workout called Fight Gone Bad.

I joined the 9:30 am crew coached by Shane Upchurch at Boulder's CrossFit ROOTS, but arrived early so I could watch the end of the 8:30 class. Seeing the intense exertion on the cyanotic & crimson faces of this FIT group of people (a couple former professional cyclists) let me know that I was scheduled for an extra special ass-whuppin'.

FGB is known as one of the harder WODs, and truly one of the best benchmarks of Fitness, or Work Capacity. The workout was designed by Greg Glassman while he was training legendary UFC Champion BJ Penn for a big fight. Glassman wanted to create a WOD that would exceed the great metabolic demands of a championship UFC fight, hence the 3 rounds of 5 minutes each, all-out, on 1 minute rest.

After B.J. Penn did the workout the first time (and regained the ability to stand up and talk) Greg asked him "So, B.J., what did you think?"

BJ answered "it was like a fight gone BAD!"

Click here for the origin, story and video of FGB at CrossFit HQ in Santa Cruz. NOTE: These women are fitter than you guys!

So, what IS the workout exactly?

Athletes perform three rounds of 5 exercises, one minute each, for maximum number of repetitions, battling muscle failure. No rest between exercises; the clock keeps running, so you actually have less than a minute per exercise as you move from station to station with your heart POUNDING. You get one minute of rest after each 5 minute "round".

17 minutes total for the workout. Sounds easy, right? WRONG!

20lb medicine ball shots to a 10 foot high target (squatting with the ball before launching each one at top of squat)
75lb Barbell Sumo Deadlift High Pull
20" Box Jumps (That box seems higher by the 3rd round, doesn't it?!)
75lb Barbell Push Press
Concept 2 Row: Max Calories Rowed

As athletes battle both muscle failure and the ticking clock for maximum number of reps at each station, each rep or calorie counts as "1 point". This was my first attempt and I managed a humble 277 total points. To put it in perspective, some of the top CF athletes are in the 400+ range. Without knowing how hard to go or how to pace the work, I learned quite a bit about the most glaring holes in my current fitness and also how I will approach my pacing of the workout next time.

In my hurried & hypoxic state, rowing at max intensity, I somehow managed to "levitate" and fall off the seat on the first row! Not easy getting back on when your feet are strapped in. It was good for laughs at least.

FGB does not come up often, but I look forward to taking another crack at it sooner than later now that I have one under my belt. Hopefully posting this score will be motivating enough for me to go extra hard next time to blow my current "P.R." out of the water.

Beaten, but Unbowed!

I have always called especially heinous workouts like FGB "Deposits" into the Bank of Fitness, compared to the "drops in the bucket" of most everyday workouts. The adaptation from a workout like this is hard to get anywhere else. Just ask B.J. Penn.

The most impressive performance today? My classmate who did the workout (scaled) while 8 months pregnant. It seems like she is in every class I do, and I am on a 3-on, 1-off schedule.

Remind me, what was your excuse again? We joke that her baby will be born already addicted to CrossFit and will go through withdrawals in their little crib.

It doesn't matter if you are a 18 or 80, 90 or 290lbs, 4 limbs or two, fit or unwell...the beauty of CrossFit is it is designed to absolutely destroy Olympians, but it's scalability allows anyone to train and reap the same physiological benefits from day one.

Wherever you are in life, it is not too late.

No comments: