Workout of the Day

Are You Smarter Than a Housecat?


Are you smarter than a housecat?

In some ways, yes, of course you are. You can wrap your head around arithmetic, you can operate a computer, you’re reading this -- all of that takes a type of intelligence that a housecat does not have. But what if my housecat is smarter than you in another way -- a big way?

My cat Jermaine is driven primarily by two things: food and human interaction. Because of this, he doesn’t like it when I leave the house. Every day, when I start getting ready to head out the door, Jermaine picks up on the clues and starts running his defensive plays to keep me from leaving. He stands by the front door, plays up the cute factor, corrals me towards his empty food bowl, gets in the way -- the works. No matter how much I try to avoid his notice, whether he’s dead asleep or wide awake, no matter the time of day, he notices the patterns. Grabbing my shoes, zipping up my bag, packing my lunch in tupperware, making a cup of to-go coffee, whatever -- he always picks up on the clues.

At this point you’re probably thinking “what’s so remarkable about that? I’m sure I could figure out when you’re getting ready for work, too.” And to that I would respond, yes, you probably could.
But what about your fitness? Your health? What if my cat does better at pattern-recognition than you do with your health and fitness?

Let me give you an example. You hurt your low back doing a workout that involves power cleans. You take some time off from movements that stress your low back, you do some extra stretching and rehab work for a couple weeks, and you feel more or less whole again. A few months later you hurt your low back doing a heavy snatch pull. Same thing: rest, rehab, feel better. Flash forward a few months, and power cleans do it again. A few months later, again. You chock it up to “having a bad back” and carry on your way, accepting semi-monthly back injuries as a way of life.

This story might sound familiar to many of you. It happens all the time, with injuries, with illness, with stress, with diet, whatever. I’ve been there, and I’d be willing to bet most people who make fitness a major part of their life (as well as those who don’t) have been there, too.

The solution, though, is simple. So simple that no one should be making these same mistakes month after month, year after year. So simple that my cat has figured it out and gotten pretty good at it.
Be aware, pick up on patterns, and do something about it.

It’s key to understand that repeatedly getting injured, constantly being sick, continually putting on weight, always feeling lethargic, is not normal. These are signs, red flags, and you need to tune in and figure out what’s going on. Observe yourself; tune into your movement or your diet or your sleep or whatever it is; ask your coach; listen to your coach; and actually do what needs to be done.

Am I saying my cat is smarter than you? Not necessarily -- I’ll let you decide.

- Preston Sprimont


  • Pause back squat (2-sec pause) - 4x5

  • 5 rounds

  • Every 3 minutes, complete:

    • 200m run