Fight or Flight

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Today’s Workout

3 Rounds, For Time:
400m Run
500m Row
50 Double UndersCrossFit has a unique ability to raise a person’s anxiety level, even before starting a workout. I remember when I first started at CrossFit LA, over five years ago, I would start getting nervous hours before class time. Sometimes I would feel nauseous, other times I would just constantly feel like I had to use the bathroom. My heart rate would go up and I would feel energized, but anxious. I joke about it, referring to it as a “fight or flight” response, but that really is what is happening. Our bodies know under times of stress to focus more on the important things – like dilating our eyes to take in our surroundings, opening our throat and nostrils wider to bring in more oxygen, and putting our digestive system on hold. Our critical thinking and judgment system are also put aside and our primal instincts left in control. With all that in place, we can assess and act quickly and effectively.

…unless of course critical thinking is actually required. What if you play a sport and even if you are tired and getting pushed around you still have to make judgments about the plays? What if you are in law enforcement or a fire fighter and you have to be able to make decisions under physical and mental stress? Or what if there is an earthquake and you have to make critical life saving decisions for your family, while your fight or flight response is in full effect? Or maybe you just want to be able to correctly add up the weights on your bar after a workout!

One way to practice critical thinking under stress is to throw it into the middle of your workouts. Law enforcement personnel do this to practice fine motor skills and the ability to effectively fire a gun while under less than optimal physical conditions, for us it can show up less dramatically — like a good game of CrossFit Concentration.

Zar practices retaining cognitive ability between burpees and running, playing CrossFit Concentration.



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