Metabolic Conditioning by Karnivore Kayla



Metabolic Conditioning By K.K


At some point in our CrossFit careers, we may have become impatient and overly

obsessed perfecting skills over a shorter period of time, or forgotten our roots over the

hype of the games and began turning our 1-hour ass-kicking sessions into a 3-hour

social event that includes doing seveal “WODs” at a leisurely pace and doing four

different lifts so by the time you get to your last one it’s no where near the percentage of

which you should be working with (See ‘exhausted’). Wouldn’t it be nice to have

something that whips you into shape quickly, will not take more than one hour of your

precious time, and will not make you feel as if you have fallen out of a car going 50

miles an hour (maybe just 15 miles an hour)? Welcome back to CrossFit.

“So what do you do for cardio?”

Mostly CrossFit, and sometimes chasing people who ask “what do you do for cardio”.

But really, let us take a deeper look into what our bodies are doing metabolically during

our ‘Workout Of the Day’ or ‘Metabolic Conditioning’. Phosphagen is the first metabolic

pathway which dominates the highest powered activities (lasting ten seconds or less;

performing 1 heavy snatch). Glycolytic is the second pathway, which dominates

moderate powered activities (think ‘Fran’). Oxidative is the third pathway which

dominates the low powered activities (20 minute AMRAP!). The first two pathways,

phosphagen and glycolytic, are anaerobic. This system can improve power, speed,

strength, muscle mass, and cardiovascular function. Why? Because this system

focuses more on those bouts of work that range from less than ten seconds to not much

more than a couple minutes. Experiencing fatigue in that amount of time would not be

as likely as it would be during aerobic training. And what I mean by that is approaching

‘Cindy’ (20 minute AMRAP: 5 Pull-ups, 10 Push-ups, 15 Air squats) like you would

approach ‘Fran’ (21-15-9 Thrusters and Pull-ups). If you can maintain that pace, more

power to you…but I am human and my 2-minute sprint pace cannot be maintained for

20 minutes, hence the differences between anaerobic and aerobic. The third pathway,

oxidative, is aerobic. This system benefits cardiovascular function, endurance, stamina,

and decreases body fat. You cannot have one without the other. My analogy for this is

an egg. You have the yolk and the egg white. Together they form a perfect, nutrient-

dense food containing 6 grams of protein, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins

B6, B12, riboflavin, folate, and choline. BUT, you decide to only eat the egg white. So

now, you are reaping only half the benefits that a whole egg has to give. You must have

anaerobic capacity to support aerobic capacity.

CrossFit works. It is the most effective form of training I have ever got myself into, and

I’m sure many would agree. CrossFit also takes time. But not like 3 hours a day kind of

time, like, years. Years of committing to an activity that should compliment your life

outside the gym. There are so many components to CrossFit that can’t all be tackled at

once, and ten general physical skills of which you can find hanging from the ceiling at

West. Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, and flexibility improve

through training, while coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy are improved through

practice, and good ol’ speed and power improve by both. That’s why you come back

(I’m assuming). To practice and get better. In the wise words of Greg Glassman, “You

are as fit as you are competent in each of these ten skills.”.