Fitness and Weight Loss ​A killer cardio workout I use with CrossFit pros

Beyond learning to pace yourself, this workout tests your will to succeed.

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CrossFit workout plan. play

CrossFit workout plan.

(Photograph by Men's Health)
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A key skill for succeeding in a battle, race, or CrossFit competition is learning to pace yourself.

That’s why I do this workout with Special Forces soldiers, pro endurance athletes, and CrossFit pros that I train.

I find that most guys have one of two pacing problems: They go in too hot—giving too much effort to soon—and explode early. Or they don’t put in enough sustained effort and fall short.

That’s why I developed the “Can’t Vs. Won’t” workout.

In it, you set a rower’s computer’s interval setting to 30 seconds of work, and 90 seconds of rest (you can also do the workout running, explained below).

Then you row 140 meters and no more and rest 90 seconds. That’s one round.

The next round, you row 141 meters and no more, followed by your 90 seconds of rest.

The catch: If you row over your goal meters, your next goal is one meter over that number.

So, for example, if your goal is 141 but you row 156, your next goal is 157.

This penalty forces my guys who go too hard too early to slow down and consider pace.

It teaches my guys who don’t go hard enough to hit a successively harder pacing goal each round.

Beyond learning to pace yourself, this workout tests your will to succeed. When you do it, you’re going to face what I call “the moment.”

That’s the point during a workout where your brain tells you to shut it down and quit. You can believe it, quit, and stay the same.

Or you can persevere, pushing onward to find an improved version of yourself.

When you’re finished, ask yourself, was it my mind or body that decided when the workout ended?

This is just one example of a workout that builds both your fitness and resilience. My Men’s Health book, the Maximus Body, features 100+ workouts and my elite 12- and 26-week fitness programs that I’ve used with soldiers and CrossFit pros.

Finish either program, and you will undoubtedly become insanely fit.

Directions: Set a rower’s computer’s interval setting to 30 seconds of work, and 90 seconds of rest. Row 140 meters and no more. Take your 90 seconds of rest. That’s one round. Next round, row 141 meters and no more, followed by your 90 seconds of rest. Continue to add 1 meter to each round until you “can’t” or “won’t” go any further.

  • Row: 30 Seconds On, 90 Off, Starting at 140-Meters, Adding 1 Meter Each Round. Do 30 rounds. If you don’t have a rower, you can run around a track. For example, try to run 150 meters in 30 seconds. Repeat, this time running about 155 meters. Keep adding meters each 30 second round until you’ve done 30 or you fail.

Goal: 30 Rounds

Time: 30 to 90 minutes

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