ZooFit Workout of the Day- 1/2/20: Running the Zoo

When I created my Conservation Hero WODs in 2017, I wanted a special workout dedicated to zoos in general. Zoos are great conservation organizations which work to protect and preserve the environment and animals on three separate fronts.

1) They fund conservation work in natural habitats their animal ambassadors are found. After the animals in the zoo are fed, staff paid, and exhibits maintained to establish the best quality care, money from ticket sales and fundraisers goes toward conservation efforts in the wild. Some organizations receive a large majority of their funding from zoos and aquariums, and are fighting causes against poaching, pollution, deforestation, and climate change.

2) Zoos are often called the Second Ark (referring to Noah’s Ark) because some animals would be completely extinct if it weren’t for zoos. Examples include California Condors, Golden Lion Tamarins, the Scimitar-horned, or Arabian Oryx, and the Przewalski horse. Zoos created breeding programs where animals are paired up through the Species Survival Plan (kind of like a Match.com for zoo animals), and many offspring are then released back into the wild. Scimitar-horned oryx were extinct in the wild for more than 30 years until 2015 when zoos released a small herd of captive-born oryx into Chad. Now, the wild population is well over a hundred.

3) Zoos allow many communities to connect to the earth in wondrous ways, especially connecting communities who may never experience wildlife without zoos and aquariums. Who knows where the next Steve Irwin may come from- they could be from a small town in Alabama who would never otherwise have heard of a tapir or Bali Mynah until they walked through their local zoo. Even with entertainment as most visitors’ primary reason to visit a zoo, most people learn something, either finding a certain animal they fall in love with, reading graphics, interacting with a docent, or attending a keeper chat. These opportunities inspire the next generation of conservationists.


So, zoos are kinda important. Collectively, they are heroes for all animals and their ecosystems. So, naturally they deserve a Conservation Hero Workout. You can find this workout and modifications in my book ZooFit Exercise Guide.

Running the Zoo

All you need for Running the Zoo is a place to run. This can be a running track or trail, a soccer or football field, or a specific distance in your favorite park, or neighborhood. I prefer running on natural substrate, but this is YOUR workout, so go wherever the mood takes you.

If you are running in your neighborhood, park, or otherwise unmarked paths, establish what is “a lap”. Ideally, your lap will be between 300-500 meters. If you want, you can even take a page from Reuse, Recycle, Reduce Your Waist and create your own distance markers out of tofu, salad, and/or fruit containers. They work great as distance markers and for holding your lap counters (chips, pebbles, whatever you choose).

There are three modes to the workout- slow (Sloth), push (Giraffe), and sprint (Cheetah). If you have to drop to a lower level during a lap, that’s fine. The important thing is to keep moving, and do what you can.

15 laps for time:

  1. Sloth (warm-up- get a little stretching while moving)
  2. Giraffe
  3. Sloth
  4. Giraffe
  5. Giraffe
  6. Sloth
  7. 1/2 Cheetah, 1/2 Sloth
  8. Giraffe
  9. Sloth
  10. 1/2 Giraffe, 1/2 Cheetah
  11. Sloth
  12. Giraffe
  13. Sloth
  14. Cheetah
  15. Sloth (cool-down)



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