There’s 6 of us guys (and a few ladies) standing before a 185 lb bar (with weights) awaiting the “3-2-1-GO!!” countdown. We are all competitive and we all are about to give our all to post a respectable score. The Crossfit WOD (workout of the day) is:
“1 minute at each station for Max Reps.”
- Dead Lift (185 lbs)
- Ring Row
- 80 lb Kettle Bell Ground to overhead
- Hand Stand Push Up (yea…I really suck at these!)
- Max Row for calories (on the rowing machine)
And…this is accomplished for 3 separate sets with a 1-minute rest between sets. So, for one minute each person does as many Deadlifts as possible and then quickly moves to the Ring Row and does as many reps as possible and then performs as many Kettle Bell GTO’s as possible, then the Hand Stand Push-up, then the Rowing machine. This whole sequence is accomplished 3 times and the goal is for each participant to add up the total amount of repetitions. It was a grueling workout that required both strength and cardio, a very typical workout for a Crossfit Gym.
I wrote down my reps accomplished at the end of each exercise, some just kept a running count, and a few wrote down the number of reps at the end of each set. All knew to keep a very accurate record because everyone’s scores were going on the board for all to see, contrast, and compare. As soon as the workout was complete we began to do the math…simple math adding numbers that totaled less than 300. We all finished adding and made our report to the guy who wrote the scores on the board.
We all made our report and the last guy said, “how’d I get such a low score compared to you guys?” We looked at his numbers and he had made a simple addition problem. I decided to re-look at my numbers, and sure enough, I had mis-added some numbers too. We all looked at our numbers and 3 of the 6 participants had added the numbers wrong, and one guy admitted to reporting “less than accurate numbers” because he was keeping a running total and had lost count during the workout. All of us had tried to “do the math” when we were dog-tired just after the workout. We laughed about our “hypoxic math”.
The workout taxed our cardio-vascular system heavily and we were quite hypoxic as we tried did our math, but we did not know it. Like it or not, our math was wrong and, as I’ve said before, it was simple math that should have been easy to accomplish. Whereas the workout created the temporary hypoxic condition, the same wrong calculations are made when a pilot flies at high altitude in a hypoxic condition.
Whether flying a non-presurized airplane up high, a Jetprop at FL270 with a cabin PA of 9,500 ft, or a King Air 90 at any altitude over FL230 (with its pathetically low 4.3 Max Diff), a good pilot will consider that performance decreases with increased altitude. The stakes are extremely low at the Crossfit Gym; the stakes can be deadly when flying.
Wanna get a glimpse of your performance with hypoxia? Try keeping an accurate score with the workout listed above…I bet it’s more of a challenge than you think!