Get Fit Fast for an Obstacle Course Race with CrossFit

Erik Taylor is a personal trainer who believes in the power of functional fitness to heal broken bodies and optimize health. He's a tall and handsome Shane West look-alike and a certified CrossFit coach, though he's never shelled out the $3,000 annual fee to associate his gym with the brand. He's also my neighbor, a few doors removed, and he's made it his personal mission to prepare me for the Ultra Beast.

I consider it pity training. Erik recently noticed me wogging around the block, wogging being a tedious activity in which an injured runner walks a minute, then jogs a minute, for 10 minutes total, gradually expanding to 20 minutes. Someone in a forum dedicated to runners hobbled by Achilles tendons suggested doing it, so I decided to give it a try. Wogging is the only activity I think I can do without inducing shoulder, knee or Achilles pain, and while it feels good to be doing something, my muscles, like houseplants, are shriveling up from relative neglect—the exact opposite training response I'd dreamed of when I signed up for the Ultra Beast.

More: 10 Exercises to Get You Ready for an Obstacle-Course Race

After explaining to Erik what the Ultra Beast is (a marathon-distance obstacle race! on a ski mountain! I'm gonna die!), I must've seemed pretty pathetic because he offered to take on my case pro bono, though we'd never really spoken before. I was a fitness experiment he couldn't pass up.

More: How to Train for a Long-Course Obstacle Race

Hypothesis: Erik can build an athlete from less than zero to Ultra Beast finisher in four weeks.

Method: Athlete will come to Erik's garage gym every day and do whatever Erik says for an hour while his 3-year-old daughter, Mychaela, observes to ensure proper adherence to procedures as outlined on the whiteboard under the heading "The Erin Project." Athlete may wear whatever she wants, while Mychaela will dress only in Hello Kitty-issued shirts, skirts, shorts, pants and shoes. Erik will email WODs on any day athlete is not in town. These WODs shall not be skipped, lest athlete choose to dig her own grave, which, actually, would make a great WOD.

More: Improve Running Performance With CrossFit

Possible conflicts of interest: Athlete is a former triathlete with absolutely no formal strength training background whatsoever.

Results: TBD/pending.

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About the Author

Erin Berisini

Erin writes about health and fitness for Outside online, and is a contributing writer to Triathlete Magazine. She started Outside's Fitness Coach column, and has written articles for Outside Magazine, Inside Triathlon, espnW and The New York Times. She also shoots photos and video. She was previously a senior editor at Competitor Magazine.

Erin writes about health and fitness for Outside online, and is a contributing writer to Triathlete Magazine. She started Outside's Fitness Coach column, and has written articles for Outside Magazine, Inside Triathlon, espnW and The New York Times. She also shoots photos and video. She was previously a senior editor at Competitor Magazine.

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