I will have to admit a little factoid about myself. My fitness program is heavily influenced by CrossFit. I have a strange love-hate relationship with CrossFit, but for the most part, and I do mean a majority of my feelings are quite positive. CrossFit offers camaraderie that I have never experienced before. They also offer a huge variety which I greatly appreciate in a workout program. And most of the time, they are very positive reinforcement and encouragement driven.
Among the most popular and challenging workouts in CrossFit are the Hero WODs. WODs are the Workout of the Day. Hero Workouts are grueling and challenging workouts dedicated to veterans who died in service protecting our freedoms and fighting for freedom in other countries. Every year, for example, on Memorial Day, CrossFit gyms around the nation host the “Murph”. Murph is a workout consisting of a mile run, followed by 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, and 300 squats, and finished with another mile run. To perform this WOD as prescribed, you should wear a twenty pound vest for the entire workout.
Recently, I decided I should create Hero WODs for ZooFit. But, as much as I respect our military, I feel the heroes I would like to honor in my program are the Conservation Heroes. As of right now, I am only honoring those conservationists who have passed on from this life, but I recognize there are hundreds of heroes out there fighting to protect our planet and save species from becoming extinct.
Here are my ideas for Conservation Hero WODs
- Dian Fossey (Time Ladder)
Time Ladders are a special creation from yours truly. They are an interval training routine starting at 10 seconds of work and 50 seconds of rest and increasing work time in increments all the way to a full minute of work.
Breakdown looks like this: Work/Rest- 10 seconds/50 seconds, 20 seconds/40 seconds, 30/30, 40/20, 50/10, 60 seconds and then a minute rest.
For Dian Fossey, the late gorilla researcher, her hero workout would include going through the whole time ladder for each of 3 different exercises
Double Unders (or singles if you can’t do DU)
2. Steve Irwin (Burpee Countdown)
Steve Irwin was a great inspiration for many young conservationists. He was enthusiastic about ALL animals, not just the megafauna or the charismatic popular animals. To honor his enthusiasm, I have dubbed my favorite workout the Steve Irwin. My favorite exercise is burpees, and the Burpee Countdown is a great way to rev up your cardio
Only equipment needed is a way to mark distance for running. It can be a treadmill, a soccer or football field, or two measured markers at 200 feet apart. Start with 10 burpees, then run a lap, or 400 meters or a ¼ mile
9 burpees then a lap
8 burpees and a lap
7 burpees and a lap
6 burpees and a lap
5 burpees and a lap
4 burpees and a lap
3 burpees and a lap
2 burpees and a lap
1 burpees and a lap
The end result is 2.5 miles run and 55 burpees. Give yourself a CRIKEY, mate!
3. Anna Mertz (Burpee Contingency)
Anna Mertz founded the Lewa Conservancy in Kenya. Through her dedicated commitment to conservation and protection to endangered species, she has helped save hundreds of rhino, elephants, and other precious African wildlife.
Every year, the American Association of Zookeepers holds their annual nationwide fundraiser, Bowling for Rhinos, where a large portion of the money goes to Lewa to help continue Anna’s mission.
Anna passed away in 2012, but her legacy carries on with Lewa, AAZK, and the hundreds of conservationists she inspired.
The Burpee contingency requires the same equipment at Steve Irwin’s Burpee Countdown. Measure out a mile on a field or sports field.
Set a timer and run your first mile. For every second you run over twelve minutes for your first mile, do a burpee.
Reset the timer and run your second mile. This time, do a burpee for every second over eleven minutes you run over.
Reset and run one final mile. Allow yourself ten minutes for this final mile. Give yourself one burpee for every second over ten.
4. Core of Conservation
There are problems the world is facing, animals it effects, and viable solutions to help protect those animals and their habitat. Core of Conservation brings awareness to those problems in a fun core workout.
|Honeybee Hive Hi-Five Plank
|Organic Overhead sit-ups
|Plant-a-Tree T-twist Plank
|Climate Change Crunches
|Palm Oil Side Plank (Right)
|Poachers Side Plank (Left)
|Eco-tourism Toe touches
|Pollution Plank Shoulder Tap
|Crab Toe Touches
|Recycling Russian Twists
|Logging Leg Lifts
|Reusable Chopsticks Woodchoppers
To do Core of Conservation, you will need 7 chips or markers each of three different colors. Place them in a bag and draw one at a time. The colors will represent each category. For example, red can represent the problem, a blue chip can mean the animals, and white can be the solution. When you draw a color, you can choose any exercise in that category.
Run a 21-minute timer and choose a new exercise at the top of each minute. Perform chosen exercise for the full minute.
5. Dawn Branchaeu (Escalator)
Dawn Branchaeu was a killer whale trainer at SeaWorld for over twenty-five years when she died during an incident with one of the orcas. Despite using her death as ammunition for anti-captivity propaganda, Dawn was a devoted conservationists and helped inspire thousands of guests to learn, care, and act for ocean conservation. Her death prompted a fundraiser run to foster young people to chase their dreams and another fund for conservation in her name.
An escalator workout is two exercises alternating in an increasing/decreasing repetition count.
1 Spyhop/10 Zookeeper Burpees
6. Lawrence Anthony (Pyramid)
Lawrence Anthony was also known as the Elephant Whisperer. His game reserve in Zululand called Thula Thula was given world wide fame in his best selling memoirs “The Elephant Whisperer” and “The Last Rhino”. His legacy lives on with The Earth Organization, of which he founded before his death in 2012.
The pyramid is an increasing rep scheme of a variety of exercises and then descending rep scheme.
10 Lion Push-ups
20 Giraffe Reach-downs
30 Rhino Charge
40 Elephants Can’t Jump
50 Zebra Kicks
40 Elephants Can’t Jump
30 Rhino Charge
20 Giraffe Reach-downs
10 Lion Push-ups
7. Feel the Burn
“The Burn” could be a number of references in the Conservation Fitness world. It could be the burning sensation you will feel in your glutes while doing this workout. It could be bringing awareness to the thousands of acres slashed and burned every year to make room for palm oil plantations or other agricultural prospects. It could be the increasing temperature of the earth from global warming. Whatever you want to call it, Feel the Burn will have your glutes in tight conditioning.
It is highly recommended to buy a leg resistance band to wear during the workout.
Feel the Burn is a full-on glute workout. Choose a field where you can walk about 300-400 meters each round.
Round 1- 400 m Raptor Walk (also known as Pratt-keeping, backwards walk with band)
Round 2- 400 m Johnny Cash (Walk the Line- Lateral side step with band)
Round 3- 400 m Bridal Walk (forward walk with band)
8. Minute Man
Minute Man is for all those conservation heroes looking for a quick workout to hit all their muscles.
21 minute EMOM (every minute on the minute)
Start each minute with a man-maker (need some kind of weight for this exercise)
- Frog Hops
- Butterfly sit-ups
- Flamingo squats
- Peacock jacks
- On Thin Ice
- Stingray Shuffle
- Pigeon Hold Right side
- Pigeon Hold Left side
- Sea Lion Jacks
- Sea Stars
- Release the Beast
- Stork Walk
- Bear Crawl
- Penguin Crunches
- Rising Tide Plank
- Dolphin Jumps
- Whole Minute of Man-makers
Score yourself with total number of man-makers in the final minute.
9. Running the Zoo (Sloth, Giraffe, Cheetah)
My favorite of intense cardio and running workouts, this works best outside at a track, field, or park where a long distance of 200-300 meters can be measured.
Designate a pattern of laps at a slow (Sloth) pace, medium (Giraffe) pace, and a fast (Cheetah) pace for a total of 15 laps. You are welcome to mix it up however you like, but an example may look like this: