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The 9 Magnificent Beasts of the AnimalFIT Kingdom
The COYOTE is a lean, economical, movement machine. With a low body mass, and a predominance of ST muscle fibers, a coyote is an endurance-oriented animal. The coyote’s slightly hypomobile joints increase stability without requiring muscular energy and they allow this beast to magnify his relatively low force output by eliminating any slop or play in his mechanical system. Coyote’s excel at most endurance sports including long-distance running and cycling. These and related activities make excellent choices as go-to fitness and training options for coyotes.
Historically, the coyote throughout human evolution was the ancient messenger, and here are two outstanding examples.
Shalane Flanagan: A champion runner at multiple distances, Flanagan embodies the lithe design that allows her to cover ground with no wasted energy in a manner that appears nearly effortless.
Steven Tyler: Exemplifying similar skeletal and muscular features, Tyler has demonstrated his endurance by delivering messages of the musical kind over a long career.
The WOLF is essentially a “mesomorphised” coyote, into which some panther traits have been injected. Although still possessing the small diameter skeletal frame of an ectomorph, the wolf has greater mobility and muscle mass (including more fast-twitch fibers) than her coyote cousin. Wolves have relatively good endurance but also possess some quickness and higher-rep strength. With the gift of stamina, wolves tend to be very successful at middle-distance running (events from 800m to 3,000m), time-trial cycling, and high-movement sports positions such as a midfielder in soccer or the center position in hockey. Wolves do very well with variable-speed training activities such as interval or circuit training.
Wolf characteristics in these examples are quite evident.
Roger Bannister: History’s first sub-4 minute miler, Bannister used his lanky yet gracefully-muscled build to break barriers.
Cameron Diaz: This performer also exhibits the angular frame and long muscle bellies representative of the wolf.
The RACOON combines the narrow, stable skeleton of the coyote with the bear’s gifts of strength and power. These traits give the raccoon an ability to execute movements with precision. In a tall-framed version of a raccoon, we often see volleyball hitters (spiking effectively) high jumpers (clearing the bar) or basketball centers (blocking shots and dunking). A great example of a more compact raccoon is a vaulter in gymnastics, or a springboard diver. The racoon’s light but powerful body can produce complex, concentrated performances. Racoons will often enjoy the practicing and mastering of an athletic skill (such as muscle-up) in their workouts.
Racoons combine the trim frame of the coyote with the force-generating capacities of the bear, resulting in a body that moves through space with acrobatic acumen.
Gabby Reece: Gabby has consistently demonstrated high kinesthetic awareness and aplomb in her professional volleyball career as well as her roles as a model and media personality.
Cao Yuan: The 2016 Rio Olympic champion in 3m springboard diving, Yuan clearly showcases the athletic potential of the raccoon body.
With high levels of agility and explosiveness, the PANTHER is fast. Having a medium-sized skeleton, mainly fast-twitch muscles, and good mobility, panthers generally have a higher top speed, and can hit it faster, than the other animals. Sprinters, football halfbacks, and basketball power forwards are great examples of panthers. In training, panthers often get their best results with moderately heavy lifting and short but intense interval training sessions, which helps them to both build and maintain their muscle and speed. The explosive capacity of a panther generally requires these workouts to have longer rest periods between lifts or sprints so those fast-twitch muscles can recover for the next intense bout or rep during training.
There are many outstanding examples of the explosive panther, but perhaps there are none finer than these.
LeBron James: The all-around athletic combustion and awe-inspiring play of James on the hardwood has set a standard in all of sport, highlighting the panther body.
Serena Williams: Long known for her aggressive play and fiery presence on the court, Williams is a pure panther of dominance.
The BOBCAT is, for the most part, a trimmed-down panther, or maybe we should call him a “panther-lite.” This beast is the result of taking a panther base and adding in some coyote properties. With a mesomorphic frame and muscular profile, a predominance of FT muscle fibers and slightly more joint stability than the average panther, bobcats are quick. They are great at sustaining high speed over short to moderate distance and they also excel at any activity requiring rapid and frequent directional change. Many 400m runners, long and triple jumpers, and basketball guards are bobcats. They respond very well to resistance and interval training, and are usually all-around athletes who can learn practically any movement skill. With respect to fitness training, bobcats in many cases both require and prefer a high level of variety in their workout routines.
Bobcats tend to express the squared skeletal features and muscular profiles of panthers but they do so in a slightly leaner format, due to the ectomorphic secondary features contributed by their inner coyote.
Jennifer Aniston: A great example of a female bobcat, Aniston’s traits have been evident in her many roles on the screen.
David Goggins: Navy Seal, author, and extreme fitness specialist Goggins has been featured on the cover of Outside magazine, and he provides an outstanding profile of bobcat functionality.
The WOLVERINE typically displays ferocious athleticism. Starting out with a base of panther and adding a healthy dose of bear, the wolverine combines that speed with power and produces extremely high force output. Pound for pound, this beast has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of all the animals. Because the wolverine blends speed with power so effectively, they are often fullbacks or linebackers in football, and they also make excellent wrestlers and Olympic weightlifters. Optimal training for this animal often resembles a sports practice followed up with a good weight room session. High-level CrossFitters are often wolverines.
When you pile some extra mobility and strength from the bear onto a panther, the result is an extremely versatile beast, especially in the speed/power realm.
Hugh Jackman: Years ago, before AnimalFIT was published, producers were probably trying to cast a role, having considered numerous potential actors. Then, assumedly, Jackman walked in and they thought “This guy is the wolverine.”
Brook Ence: As an elite CrossFit athlete, model, and fitness personality, Ence has provided more than a glimpse of how power and versatility can be utilized by a wolverine.
The BEAR combines high body mass with exceptional mobility and a predominance of FT muscle fibers, making him the strongest creature in the kingdom. Bears are highly effective in situations where the maximum amount of force needs to be applied. In sports, football offensive lineman, shot putters, and powerlifters are outstanding examples of bear athleticism. Beyond warmup and supplemental conditioning, bear training often emphasizes heavy lifting, to which he responds better than any other animal.
When absolute strength is your strength, you have the ability to produce ultimate force.
Natalya Lisovskaya: A world record-setting shot putter, Lisovskaya exemplifies mastery in force production.
Tyron Smith: As an offensive tackle, Smith shows how a bear can be both an immovable object and an irresistible force.
The OTTER takes a base of endomorph and applies some secondary ectomorphic traits to its athletic profile. The result is our most agile beast. Otters are gifted with the ability to be supple, mobile, and coordinated. Their favorable mobility to body density ratio makes them outstanding swimmers and dancers. Otter training often includes the repetitive practice towards mastery of many sports skills, and they do very well with interval based programs, particularly those that have complex movements included.
The “coyote-ification” of a bear results in a body that can optimize movement in virtually any pattern or position.
Michael Phelps: Of course Phelps is an otter…how could he be any other creature?
Simone Biles: Voted by ESPN magazine as The Most Dominant Athlete of 2018, Biles provides a stunning example of otter athleticism.
The BADGER is a tenacious athlete. Combining power and speed with extreme durability, the badger body type simply gets the most volume of physical work done. Badgers do well at many sports, especially those that combine force and velocity with skill. Football defensive lineman, discus and hammer throwers, and heavyweight fighters are usually badgers. In training, this beast can handle relatively high volumes of intensity, and responds well to heavy gym work and interval training in most cases.
The most durable of creatures, badgers can tolerate high workloads without breakdown. This “pantherized” bear can rack up massive output in training and competition.
Lidia Valentin Perez: Displaying long-lived dominance, Valentin Perez has been one of the top weightlifters in the world for over 20 years.
Mat Fraser: A 7-time CrossFit Games medalist (5 gold, 2 silver), has used his badger gifts and work ethic to combine victory with longevity.