My Friends Made Me Do It…


Eureka! I have found it! NOW I finally understand why I persist in subscribing to this unique yet grueling CrossFit prescription for exercise, despite the physical pain, often uncomfortable mental challenge, and sheer force of iron will it requires of me…  As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, key research by Emma Cohen, an anthropologist at Oxford University, found that training in a synchronised group may heighten tolerance for pain.  IMAGINE THAT!  The reason is said to be the effects of endorphins.  When these endorphins are released in the brain, they make a person feel good.  If it feels good, do it.  Right?  But what causes this endorphin release is more complex than that.  Biologists think it’s part of an evolved mechanism which rewards behaviour that may not be immediately pleasant, but is ultimately useful to the species.  Once again, VERY INTERESTING.  (This would suggest that exercise is indeed good for the body, and the body intuitively  knows it.  Aha!)

On a personal note, the biggest benefit for me of exercising with a group is that I don’t get fed up with the monotonous idea of a workout schedule.  Yes, we all may realize that constant exercise is necessary to keep our fitness at optimal levels, yet we still manage to find one reason or another to skip our daily sessions here and there. The basic reason why people (and by people, I mean ordinary mortals and not fitness freaks) respond in this way is the lack of interest they develop in their workout routines over time. If they didn’t find anything interesting or entertaining in their gym sessions, they simply wouldn’t bother to turn up for another round of workout induced boredom.  But not so at CrossFit!  Our group classes are a definite solution to this pesky attitude.  After all, who on this earth doesn’t like to be in the company of others?  It’s both exercise AND fun.

There are other advantages as well, outside of the simple social aspect of group exercise.  For one, working out with people whom you respect and admire can spur you on to achieve greater things than you might have all by your lonesome.  There are several instances for me that jump to mind when I think of how doing a WOD with friends has shown immediate and astonishing benefits.  I’ve scored PR’s that I wouldn’t have if someone wasn’t there encouraging me to try again and go another round.  I’ve cut my times down far more than I might have if a trusted cohort hadn’t insisted I “get back on the bar” and “keep moving”.  I’ve been pushed through uncomfortable pain and mental anguish after watching a fellow companion endure the same misery, yet do it with a stoic face.  I’m persuaded by my peers to set goals, and then held accountable for reaching them.

But most convincing of all, I find that I aspire to do better because those around me are aspiring to do better.  The bar has been set, and I’m going to do my damndest to rise up to meet it.

Thank you, friends.

Today’s Workout

Buy-in:  3 rounds of – 5 inchworms, 10 pvc/bar overhead squats, 10 situps

WOD:  “Grinder”

This will be a tough WOD but should come in around 8 to 12 minutes if scaled correctly. 

For time:

  • 30 pullups
  • 30 squat clean thrusters (95/135)
  • 30 pullups

Zone 4:  scale thrusters to 75/115

Zone 3:  scale sct to 65/95

Zone 2: scale sct to 45/65 and assisted pullups, and/or scale reps to 15/15/15

Zone 1:  scale as needed

GAMES PREP:  If you’re bold, try 110/155 for the thrusters.  This would be the same weight and reps (30) that were in the final wod of the 2008 games with the extra fun of 60 pullups added in, so it will be tough if you choose to go this route.

Cash-Out:  Foam roll and massage ball therapy… find the angry bits!


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