In case you don’t know this about me, I’m a rule follower. I have this innate need for justice and it shows up in a lot of places but especially in my work in child welfare and… CrossFit.
According to the OG CrossFitters, fitness is made up of 10 recognized general physical skills if your goal is optimum physical competence. They are cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility (LOOKIN’ AT YOU, BROS), power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy (read more in Greg Glassman’s article in the CrossFit journal). So, CrossFit is designed to encompass all of these things over a period of time. And, we know it works because Rich Froning showed us it does. Four times.
So, while CrossFit is about getting stronger, it’s about a lot of other things as well, and if you make strength paramount, other things are going to suffer, thus is your overall fitness. CrossFit is about technique and variation and intensity, as well. So, if all you want to do is the things you’re good at, or only do half a back squat when we’re testing our 1-rep max and hope no one saw that you didn’t go past parallel, you’re not really doing yourself any favors.
For fitness, we don’t just want to move, we want to move WELL. Sometimes this means doing things that are less exciting like overhead squatting with the barbell for four months before you increase the weight while working on shoulder and hip mobility to get past parallel, or doing push-ups on your knees to develop the core and pectoral strength to do them correctly. I can think of endless examples but the point is, if you can’t do the movement how it is intended to be done, don’t shortcut it. Do the work it takes to do it correctly because people much smarter than us included all the movements we do to make us the most physically competent people we can be.
At CrossFit Renew we believe fitness is for more than just looking good or being really competitive, but it’s about being better dads, teachers, friends, teammates, etc. As a believer of that myself, that’s why I want to uphold the “rules” of CrossFit with great veracity. Not only can you be better at all of those things with good physical fitness, but I think we all have experienced challenges in CrossFit, and with those challenges we have an opportunity to build character. With self-discipline, we can choose to do the less cool modification of what is prescribed to meet the workout’s intended stimulus. With honor, we can record our score honestly even when we’re not proud of it. With humility, we can continue to give our best in a workout even when we’re not meeting our own expectations in the middle of a WOD.
In summary, CrossFit can make you a better person—physically, mentally, and emotionally, but you have to CHOOSE it. Everyday that you go into the gym, you have to choose why you’re there, and ask yourself, are you there to win no matter what it takes? Or are you there because you want to have some fun, take care of yourself, and encourage others around you? Unfortunately we don’t always choose the latter, but that’s okay, because we’re human and we’ve always got tomorrow’s workout to try again. Get back in there and work hard as coach Brett awkwardly yells “C’mon, Baby!” because he never truly left his baseball days.