Say No To LSD
Written by Michele Vieux

I have been asked many times, especially now that the Look Good, Feel Good Challenge is in full effect, if people should do “cardio” on their own in addition to their strength and conditioning workouts at Invictus.  My initial reaction is usually, “how was traditional ‘cardio’ working for you before Invictus?”  Think back on the low-fat/fat-free craze of the 90’s – long, slow distance (“LSD”) endeavors are kind of like that “conventional wisdom” that we now know to have been poor guidance.

Paradigm shift here people.  What so many of you know as the quintessential pillars of health and fitness are wrong!  I know this blows some of your minds but fat-free and LSD are old news, and could even be causing you harm!

Besides being extremely boring (IMHO), there can also be health costs of repetitive mid- and high-level aerobic work that should make you take another look at your routine.

What is LSD?  LSD can come in many forms, including running, biking, rowing, and even CrossFit (you know, those chipper WODs or 7 to 10 rounders that take 45 minutes to complete).

Most of the Invictus workouts are a bit different.  Invictus workouts provide a strength foundation with conditioning that typically calls for quick bursts of speed.  Work periods are typically shorter, and often some rest periods are provided to ensure that athletes can recover and regain their ability to perform at a higher intensity.  Most (not all) of the workouts at Invictus will take under 15 minutes (of work at least, if not the total time of the workout).

LSD workouts typically require large glucose reserves created by the body from large amounts of dietary carbohydrates.  Invictus workouts, on the other hand, train the body to derive more energy from fats, not glucose, requiring fewer calories from carbohydrates.

LSD also increases cortisol and insulin levels, which can tell your body to store fat, cannibalize lean mass, and make you more susceptible to infection and injury.  Invictus workouts work in different metabolic pathways and tend to increase aerobic capacity, insulin sensitivity, and natural growth hormone production.

Finally, LSD tends to emphasize quantity of movement (distance, high volume, etc…) over quality of movement – which can reinforce poor movement patterns.  Invictus workouts tend to include less volume and higher intensity (heavier weight and/or shorter work durations).  Focusing on heavier weight shifts focus onto quality of movement and helps to emphasize proper mechanics and technique.  Think of it this way, you don’t need to be very precise to snatch 65 lbs, but if you’re snatching 135 lbs. or more (ladies), you’re probably going to need to perform the movement a bit more precisely.

To me, the choice is obvious.  Spend your valuable time on short, intense workouts to increase aerobic capacity, train your body to burn fat for fuel and build lean mass, and move in a safe and efficient manner.  If you have spare time, spend it preparing your meals (remember folks, nutrition is going to be your best friend for changed body composition).  If all of your meals are planned and prepared, you’ve completed a hard Invictus workout, you’re getting at least 8 hours of sleep at night, and you still want to do some extra “cardio,” come talk to one of your coaches about a good plan.  It can be beneficial, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of your nutrition, rest or recovery.

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Rick
Rick
February 25, 2017 9:42 pm

A lot of the above information is quite false. Please do some research before you misguide people or your own clients.

Daniel
Daniel
August 22, 2016 7:23 pm
R.a.s
R.a.s
July 25, 2015 7:34 pm

forget too many variables (heart excentric and concetric hypertrophy , etc..) about so said aerobic LSD its bad you will need to be more specific in your point , because he is not “bad” FACT .And said like you said dont clarify nothing just be mnore confusing for who dont know about physiology or how use aerobic phase

Corey Christensen
Corey Christensen
November 9, 2014 12:23 pm

I get the reasons why not to do LSD but I have a horrible aerobic base. I am very strong but can’t compete with the good Crossfit athletes because my aerobic capacity sucks. Example is a simple 5 rd test I did at a OPT athlete camp my splits were all over 4 mins, and my 3k run was 20 min. So isn’t LSD going to help that base. Also how does it take to get a aerobic base that is very good?

Melissa
Melissa
January 21, 2014 11:56 am

How would you modify for someone who had undergone rotator cuff surgery? Has been cleared to workout, but certain movements aren’t “cleared yet,” and the strength is “coming along.”

Thomas Lechte
Thomas Lechte
July 27, 2013 4:25 am

Im not sure about your criticism of “LSD”. “LSD” can mean so many things. I’m not convinced on your science regarding LSD using more glucose, compared to short workouts burning fat. If an LSD workout goes long enough your body will have to start burning some fat. I’m not sure about the evidence for short “Invictus” workouts burning more fat. I certainly kow that anaerobic metabolsim does not utilise fat, (however, that doesn’t mean that the aerobic component during intense workouts does not use fat). The “father” of the high milage training strategy was Arthur Lydiard. While the propensity for… Read more »

Jessica Lynn Bost
Jessica Lynn Bost
June 11, 2013 12:40 pm
DFW
DFW
June 4, 2013 5:24 pm

I’ve NEVER met a finisher at a 100mile mountain race whose long training run was a 10miler… doesn’t happen, sorry. What most of the articles I’ve ever read praising short efforts over long never touch on the topic of the mental aspect behind training long for a long race. So much more is going on here other than “physical adaptation”. What one learns about their own body’s needs during long efforts is different for every individual, and you need that long experience to figure out what works best for you. There’s a big difference between going into the gym fresh… Read more »

Mark
Mark
May 19, 2013 11:16 pm

This article is both interesting and fundamentally flawed. LSD has its place in increasing mitochondrial density, creatine kinase, capillary density, increase in volume of the left ventricle thus increasing stroke volume, and finally increase the efficiency of fat as an energy substrate. WODS rarely do this but im not saying ta well designed WOD cant. Now I’m not saying go run a marathon as I believe that is more of a Long Slow Death, but steady state cardio for extended periods of time is greatly beneficial to the overall physiology of a well-rounded athlete. Oh and cortisol and insulin can… Read more »

Brian Watts
Brian Watts
March 27, 2013 11:11 am

Great for endurance athletes stuck in quantity over quality mindset.

Ben Alderman
Ben Alderman
November 10, 2012 2:21 pm

This Article is right on the money. All CFGers should read.

MD
MD
August 18, 2012 2:16 am

One of the members of our box is a competitive triathlete. He has the best endurence out of all of our members by a long shot and pound for pound is one of the strongest. Most of the training he does could be considered LSD. It’s hard to argue with his results.

pat
pat
February 24, 2010 11:53 pm

It’s been said already, but bears repeating… Great post, great discussion, thanks!

Nuno
Nuno
February 24, 2010 10:49 pm

If you want help integrating CFE to your current CF training I am available – I have gotten faster in all my running events, seen tremendous strength gains and overall more fit than I have ever been before.

Thank you for the great post on LSD Michelle – really summed it up well…

courtland
courtland
February 24, 2010 8:52 pm

Yeah, but Lacie you have to understand that the caveman I aspire to be has a big brain with many questions and I know that I have to ask them just as surely as I have to do/all/the/things/you/listed. All very good points, by the way.

Lacie
Lacie
February 24, 2010 4:56 pm

Here’s a few thoughts aspiring cavemen…Trust your Coaching Crew at Invictus, they get paid the big bucks to know their stuff and they won’t steer you wrong…

Work Hard/Don’t complain about WOD’s/Take care of your hands/Roll out your body/Show up ready to breath fire and build muscle/Stuff your face with quality food/Wash it down with H20/ICE down your sore spots/Read Blog posts and take notes/Implement what you learn/Rest/Repeat

…And then someday soon you will earn your spear and your knife so that you can run with the big dogs…

CJ Martin
Admin
CJ Martin
February 23, 2010 6:39 pm

jc, We do train all three metabolic pathways at Invictus (I think you meant Phosphagen, Glycolitic and Oxidative). The issue is how OFTEN you train each of the three pathways. Spending excessive time in the oxidative pathways is, in my opinion, less beneficial than focusing the majority (somewhere around 70-80%) in the phosphagen and glycolitic pathways. No doubt, training in ONLY the phosphagen and glycolitic pathways must be reserved for specialists who make a living or hobby out of competing in those two pathways. I am not sure we would agree on what constitutes a “Met-Con Bomb.” Give yesterday’s workout… Read more »

D-BO
D-BO
December 9, 2012 6:12 pm
Reply to  CJ Martin

Best, most fact based post on this thread. Good job.

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Admin
M
February 23, 2010 5:30 pm

I think that I should win the award for causing the most debate w/ my blog posts. Thank you all for participating (especially Sinthia who also sent me an email about cavemen using jump ropes). That is all.

D-BO
D-BO
December 9, 2012 6:05 pm
Reply to  M

Awesome.

Mark Riebel
Mark Riebel
February 23, 2010 2:02 pm

I’m not an anthropologist, but Courtland and M are correct in their assesments of ancient humans. When we first climbed out of the trees and started eating other animals, it likely started with scavenging and progressed to persistence hunting. You can find some great youtube videos of tribesmen in Africa running down antelope through long, slow distance runs. In hot regions like humanity’s beginnings in Africa, man’s adavantage over many animals is his evaporative cooling system. Antelope and other creatures lack the ability to sweat so men would separate an animal from the herd and keep it on the move… Read more »

jc
jc
February 23, 2010 1:24 pm

Interesting post M. Just some thoughts to ponder: in crossfit aren’t we supposed to be training in the three metabolic pathways (phosegene, glycotic, and aerobic)? I do agree that shorter intense wods are very effective and are more applicable to modern day life. For many people operating in only the first two is not an option and need to train some in the aerobic zone. Look at the wod “Kelley” 5 rds 400m, 30 wallball, 30 box jumps. Besides being a met-con bomb it trains balance and accuracy While being exhausted. Most long distance endeavors are more mentally challanging than… Read more »