I want to start this week's blog by saying the following: There is no feasible way that I can know the fitness levels, strengths and weaknesses, or anything about nutritional and sleep patterns for everyone reading this. That being said, this past week I was asked if the potential cadets should be doing any additional running with these workouts. That depends. If you push yourself to the max on every one of these workouts and complete each repetition with precision, you will increase your cardiovascular conditioning. It should be easier for you to run 4 miles at a 8:00/mile pace than it is for you to run 2 miles in a WOD broken up in a workout like the following:
2 rounds for time:
20 X Air Squats
20 X Burpees
20 X Sit-ups
20 X Push-ups
The above workout should take less than 27 minutes to finish. I would suspect that the majority of people reading this can't currently run 4 miles in under that time. If you can, good on you! I tried to explain all of this with science (biology and physiology) in Week 1's blog. However, it might be better received in layman’s terms. Most people do cardio (sometimes referred to as steady-state endurance training or aerobic training) at about 40% of their maximum output. When you break a workout up like the one above, and complete the tasks one at a time, you can increase that output dramatically.
Why is that important?
You may question the methodology behind how we train at the Kentucky State Police Academy, especially if you have been through different training in the past that wasn’t as intense as what we are accustomed to. Have you ever heard the saying “you will never lift heavy weight, if you don’t lift heavy weight”? Well, it seems like such a redundant play on words, but there is a level of truth in it that goes much deeper into our overall psyche. A competitive weightlifter cannot go in the gym every training session, throw warm-up weight on a bar (for example purposes, we can use 135lbs) and rep out 100 repetitions of deadlifts, only to go into a competition and try to lift 500lbs. At some point, that competitive weightlifter better be executing some repetitions of 450, 475, 495, and eventually, 500lbs.
My point is this, if the highest intensity you ever train is 40-60%, you better hope your adversary is only 40-60% as strong as you and only has 40-60% of your endurance. We train to build all metabolic pathways, so that when you have to go 100%, you know how to go 100%. Trust me, I love distance running. I love running a 10k at a 8:30 – 9:00/mile pace. Those are the days that I finish PT with clarity, as I have had a chance to take 50-plus minutes to organize all of my thoughts and solve the majority of the world’s problems. To the contrary, most days are not like that. Most days end with me laying in the floor, gasping for air, questioning why in the world I continue to torture myself. The answer to that question is simple: Intensity. If you don’t train your level of intensity, your maximum level of intensity will never grow.
Intensity isn’t the only thing that is important, though. We also work on strength, endurance, flexibility, mobility, and your overall well-being (injury prevention, metabolism, heart health, etc.). That being said, if you are overweight (or maybe even obese) and can’t run 3 miles without stopping, you probably do need to be doing some additional running. If you are a marathon runner but can’t bench press your body weight, you probably need to be doing some additional strength training. If you can’t deadlift 1.5 – 2 X’s your bodyweight, you probably need to work on that.
We all have weaknesses, but the degree of those weaknesses vary so widely that it would be impossible for me to create individual plans for each and every one of you to focus on what you struggle with. Our goal is to make you a well-rounded athlete, so that the physical demands of this Academy are not the reason why you quit. The nature of those physical demands will NOT change, no matter how many people choose to quit. If you make it through the training, I guarantee you that you will glean a whole new understanding as to “why” we train the way we train.
There is so much more you need to know, and next week's blog will be more nutrition based and less about programming. There are some things that you need to ensure you are doing before you arrive here, because your diet restrictions will change. On that note, I am signing off until next week. I strongly encourage you to seek personal training or a CrossFit gym with more personalized coaching, if you foresee your physical limitations causing issues for you in the Academy. It might make the difference between success and failure. We want you to succeed, but we aren’t going to do it for you.