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Animals Can Be Fit Too!

Updated: Dec 28, 2020

As a science teacher (collector of random facts), I thought I'd let you in on one of the most exciting parts of my writing process! I wanted to showcase popular movements from weightlifting, powerlifting, and CrossFit in general for my girls. However, I wanted to use animals to demonstrate them, to engage and reinforce my 1 year old's new obsession with learning their names.

It got me thinking, when pairing the movement with the animal, it should be (mostly) anatomically possible! I am a huge fan of non-fiction, and have always been fascinated at what animals can do. Besides common knowledge, I did a bit of research to ensure I paired the movement with the animal that could do it, or do it best.

Here are some of my favorites that I came across:

Did you know that an elephant's trunk is able to lift more than 700 pounds, and is made of some 40,000 muscles? We humans only have a little over 600 muscles, so they are super strong! The trunk is used for breathing, smelling (they can sniff out food miles away), suck up water for drinking (over 10 gallons a minute), communicating, and grabbing things! It will forage for food by pulling down trees. I know when my girls are hangry they're capable of similar feats. This elephant can definitely swing a kettlebell!

My perception of rhinoceroses are that they are angry and powerful, especially dangerous with their horns. I'd imagine they can do a sled push really well! They have an ancient lineage- their ancestors were walking on earth at least 55 million years ago, and only 5 species left in existence. They actually live a peaceful life, as herbivores and only use their horns to charge when frightened, or challenged. It's rare for them to even initiate attacks, as they have poor eyesight and many try to avoid it. However, with increased interaction with people through (illegal) rhino horn trading, poaching, and moving them from their homes to safaris and zoos, people are more at risk to be hurt.

Pandas are cute and eat bamboo! But- they have some stinky urine that communicates their sex and age! Male pandas go upside down and pee backwards on trees to mark their territory and woo females - similar to dogs peeing on hydrants! Their goal is to spread their pee as high and wide as possible- so many other pandas can detect the special stinky smell. The ones who are eating well chemically signal that they are super fit to reproduce. I'm really glad this is not how humans find our mates- we just slide into the DMs or use apps like Tinder.

Did you learn something new today? I hope so! Like any good teacher, here's an extension activity: Find an animal and movement in the book and share something you find interesting!

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