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Building a suit of armor

January 03, 2013

WARNING: Fitness related digression ahead!

I was having a discussion with a CFO athlete recently about how the barbell tends to beat them up, medical especially on the bony parts of their body.  My response was you need to be like Walter Payton.

For those of you that don’t care about football or are too young to remember, healing Walter Payton was a running back for the Chicago Bears, and he played the bulk of his career in the 70’s and 80’s.  Growing up, I was a huge NFL fan, and even though I root for the Giants, I loved Walter Payton.  Now, the NFL has changed a lot, and guys like Walter Payton seem to be less and less relevant as fantasy football, video game passing stats and reduced hitting has made the NFL kind of vanilla (in my opinion).

As a kid, before the days of ESPN, Sports Illustrated was the best way to get your sports new and insights.  When you renewed your subscription, the normally sent you a gift, like a sweet football phone or a sweatshirt.  Sometime around 1986, I got a VHS tape titled “Crunch Course.”  For a kid obsessed with the NFL, this tape was like a treasure trove.  “Crunch Course” focused on the toughest players in NFL history.  There was a 4 minute segment on Walter Payton, that for a kid that loved sports, this was like a mini epic.

The Payton section (which I’ve embedded below) basically showed Payton knocking guys over with a football in his hand, as they were trying to tackle him, all to epic music.  But my favorite part of the video came near the 2:19 minute point, when they showed Payton training.  He was sprinting up a vicious hill with a smile on his face.  The narrator says, “Payton’s off-season workouts are so grueling, they take over an hour to complete, and more than a day to recover from.”  Sounds like CrossFit, huh?

At another point in my childhood, I was reading about Payton’s mindset on training.  In the article, which I can’t find, they described Payton sustaining injuries in his first year in the NFL because of his hard hitting style.  Payton went into his first off-season, to build a “suit of armor” so he could withstand the punish that he would sustain – and dish out.

The “suit of armor” concept is all CrossFit.  Do you have bony parts of your body that hurt when the barbell hits it?  Build muscle around them bones.  Do you have movements that hinder you?  Build them up up and make them strong – with your body along with it.  Building a strong body into a “suit of armor” IS fitness – it will protect you from injury, disease and more.  But, a suit of armor isn’t just for show.  It’s meant to be tested, and you have to continually find weak points, and make them stronger.

The other memorable part of the Payton video is his tenacity.  Check out the hit at 2:01!  Brutal.  The way Payton played, if you wanted to tackle him, you were going to get punished.  That’s the way I hope I, and you, attack workouts.  Never backing down, always attacking challenges.

Workout of the Day

 

5 RFT

10 Toes to Bar

10 Snatch 75/55

10 Wallball Shot 24/20

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