30 Days oF ZooFit: Modify, Scale, Do What You Can

Over the weekend, while in Las Vegas, I did something to my neck. Slept on it wrong, didn’t gamble enough, whiplash from spending so much on booze and books at the auction. Who knows?

What I do know are two things. One, it hurts to jostle my neck around. Two, I still can do a workout.

ZooFit does have some similarities to CrossFit in a couple of aspects. It makes sense, considering I got my start through CrossFit. Both ZooFit and CrossFit thrive on variability in our workouts. Both encourage competing with yourself. And both are infinitely scalable.

Every workout, and every exercise can be modified to fit your experience, goals, and physical abilities. Can’t do a full burpee to the floor? That’s fine. How about against a bench? Push-ups are too hard? Try on your knees, or use a band to help hold you up. There are dozens of ways to do each exercise. ZooFit’s philosophy on the topic of workouts is simple- Do what you can.

Today, we chose BINGO, one of our favorite games to play. It was an absolutely gorgeous day out, and we hadn’t done one of our normal workouts in nearly a week, so we made working out at the park a priority. Only, my damn neck was aching something fierce.

BINGO incorporates 24 exercises with different rep counts. We select cards at random to determine the exercise. When we get 5 in a straight line, up and down or across, we have BINGO.

I decided before that BINGO would entail quite a bit of running. So, while doing our first lap to warm up, I felt the throb of pain in my neck. Forcing myself to work through the pain only leads to resentment of my workout. Which does not do anything for my motivation.

Instead of pushing through the pain, we went through all the movements for the workout and decided which ones were okay, and which ones I needed to modify. There were quite a few I couldn’t do. Some of the exercises which caused sharp pain were surprising. Floor wipers, a core exercise where you move your legs, not your neck, was impossible for me to perform. I tried a couple different variations and found I could do V-ups instead.

Right now I am staying away from box jumps as an exercise until my knees get better. Instead, I have programmed an exercise called depth jumps, which is basically the opposite of a box jump. You start on the top of the box, which is set at a much lower height, and jump down. Try to jump as lightly on the balls of your feet as possible, reducing the impact on your knees. This exercise teaches our muscles to absorb the impact and how to land on a jump to protect your knees.

Only, I couldn’t even do depth jumps. It hurt my neck when I landed from the jump. So we figured out another exercise, lateral step ups, to do in its place.

Trying to do one inchworm made it painfully obvious I wouldn’t be able to do 10. Luckily, when I tried doing burpees, I found I had to go much slower than I would like, but I could do them. Instead of inchworms, I could do more modified burpees.

I had to run slower than usual (not that I go fast to begin with, I don’t call my running program Sloth Army for nothing), but I was able to do the whole BINGO workout, with modifications. It felt so much better than not doing anything and just complaining about my neck. By the time we finished, my neck was getting a little looser and not throbbing as much.

I advocate everyone takes their time to heal when they have an injury. But it’s also nice to be able to keep moving forward with progress or your program, even when you face serious setbacks. If you are passionate about something, like I am with ZooFit, you will find a way. If you aren’t passionate, you will find an excuse. I could easily have wallowed in self-pity and not done a workout. It would have been completely justified and understandable. But I knew we could work around my injury, without making it worse.

Modify. Scale. Do what you can. ZooFit allows anyone who wants to play the chance to succeed.


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