Working my goats (or whatever the h*ll that means…)

Before I begin, let me just take a second to appreciate the awesomeness that was Elizabeth Akinwale at the Regionals.  Love her. Such a class athlete.  And brilliantly strong. Did I mention that I love her??

Anyway, I digress.  This blog is about me. (Yay!). And today I have a confession to make.

I have poor Cardiovascular and Respiratory Endurance (see Coach Sophie? I have been reading my Level 1 Crossfit Training Guide…but again, I digress).

Now, if you’ve read my blog before you are probably aware of this. If you work out with me at the gym then you are definitely aware of this.  (I wheeze during workouts, a real, live wheeze).

I’ve known this was a problem for a long time.  But I simply didn’t want to do the awful work that it would take to get better.  So I did some half-*ss efforts.  I jogged, I rowed…but at a slow pace for distance.  Because this was easy (well, easier…sitting on the couch is easy…focus, Rae, focus…I’m a bit all over the place today.) Rowing 5K or jogging (let’s be honest, old ladies speed walking at the mall would have passed me) is not that difficult for me…cardiovascularly. (According to spell check, I totally just invented that word, heh heh).  To improve your cardio, you really need to do intervals.


But enough is enough.  I have been crossfitting for about a year and half and my cardio levels have not improved that much. I still cry where there are burpees in the workout. (Sure everyone cries, but I cry harder, trust me).  Metcons kill me.  I really have two major issues (for the purposes of this blog, we can get into my other issues if you have a couch I can stretch out on and a lot of gin). My issues are I’m inefficient and I’m slow.  This is due to lack of mobility and poor cardio endurance.

So I’ve decided to work my goats. (Seriously, what does that even mean? Why goats?)

goat hey manI decided to start doing tabata squats.  This would allow me to work my squat and cardio at the same time.  I also read somewhere that in order to be considered to be a decent crossfitter, you should average 18 squats per 20 second interval (say what now???). When I started this program 2 weeks ago, I averaged 12.  Most recently I averaged 14.75.

Just this week I decided to officially tackle my nemesis – the burpee!  So I added in a set of tabata burpees.  So now I do:


4 MIN REST (Read, lying on the floor wondering why I do this to myself)


I do these after the regular workout in a 2 days on, 1 day off cycle.

I wish I could tell you that it wasn’t working, so that I could quit it and go back to the Rae-friendly workouts I was doing. But it is working.  My endurance in the metcons has increased, my squat form is better – both of these are having a carry over effect into my lifts.  It is simply easier to get down and get back up on in the squats.

So there is something to be said for just sucking it up and working on the sh*t that you are bad at.

What about you? What are your “Goats” and how do you work them?


5 Responses to “ Working my goats (or whatever the h*ll that means…) ”

  1. Sarah says:

    We did Tabata Squats in the WOD just recently and my highest number was 13. I’m not sure how anyone could do 18.

    As for my goats I guess I’d be better off to list the things I CAN do, because there’s just so much that I need to work on: pull-ups, burpees, push-ups, wall squats, double unders, cleans, thrusters… The list goes on and on. I think in a way I am too impatient for Crossfit because I always want to do everything at once. For now I’m trying to focus on pull-ups and oly lifts, though the latter is a little tricky because I don’t have the strength yet to lift much more than the bare barbell on most lifts and the PVC pipe just doesn’t work for me.

    So I guess what I need to work on most is my patience and trusting my body that with time it will adapt. There’s always hope.

    • Rae says:

      I know!! I can’t imagine being able to do 18 squats in 20 seconds, but I’m consistently up to 15 now so I think that is a good improvement. How is your oly lifting work going? Those lifts are my absolute favorite part of Crossfit. I used to try to work too many things at once and it all kind of got lost together, so now I only allow myself to work on 2 skills at once. Right now it’s building endurance and the pull-up.

      • Sarah says:

        I haven’t been really be able to work on my oly lifts yet, so there’s not much improvement. But starting next week I’ll be able to take the weightlifting class at the box so I guess that’ll help.

  2. Chris says:

    Whoa!!! 18 squats in 20 seconds? Yikes, I haven’t tested mine but that sure seems like a lot more than I can do! You hit the nail on the head with me too though, I’m not mobile and my endurance is lacking. I actually convinced myself for about a day that I had exercise-induced asthma. Well that was before I really read up on breathing and discovered that I was breathing incorrectly (which you might want to look into as well – diaphragm breathing).

    I think I’m slow and don’t explode out of the bottom of squats due to me being so tight and immobile. But I’m working on that as well! Thanks for this post sharing what you are doing. I may add some Tabata work myself.

    • Rae says:

      Thanks! I will definitely look up about the breathing. I was utterly convinced that I was going to pass out last night during the tabata burpees. I really do think there must be something going on with how I breathe (read: gasp for air) during the burpees that can be improved. Have you found anything that works for you?

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