Today’s trip to the gym was brutal — a fast intense workout called “Fight Gone Bad” which was developed for a UFC cage fighter, who, upon completing the routine was asked how it compared to an actual fight: “That was like a fight gone bad” was the reply, and so the name stuck for 18 minutes of fast paced work involving a rowing machine, a 20 lb. medicine ball, a 75 lb. barbell and a 20″ high box.
As the clock counted down from ten seconds to kick off this morning’s FGB I had impending empathy with the masochism of those who do sports that have nothing but suffering to offer. Rowers know that every 2,000 meter race ends with a bad case of oxygen debt so bad you have to fight the body’s autonomic impulse to stop and save itself. A cyclist starts the Tour de France knowing that nothing but three weeks of hell lies ahead. I imagine no one starts the Boston Marathon expecting a good time to follow. A few days ago I watched a Crossfit video that profiled a top competitor; in it he uttered the great line that he guessed his success came from his “embracing the suck.”
Defining the “suck” is a matter of individual taste. For me it involves accepting the fact that the gallon of sweat that is pooling underneath me is fine, natural, and to be expected. Yes I will develop tunnel vision, hear roaring sounds between my ears, get slippery hands and electrolyte-depleted leg cramps for hours afterwards. But, in comparison with anything else life will throw at me today, nothing will come close to sucking as much as a Fight Gone Bad.