This article is intended to address where we have come as a sport in CrossFit. The concept of CrossFit was ingenious. We are told to focus on functional movement patterns and movements to increase our general physical preparedness, or GPP. The idea is great and the methodology is without question changing the way we view fitness. The question for most is do we participate in CrossFit for GPP or for a sport. Chris Spealler said it best, there is a huge divergence of the sport of CrossFit and the methodology as a life style.
For those people who participate in CrossFit as a life style we need to start looking away from our times on the white board or leaderboards. The idea behind the methodology of coming in and working out with a class is designed to make you feel good about yourself. Majority of us are confined to cubicles at work are are working jobs we don’t love. When you come into a CrossFit gym you should feel at home. Working out with your class and talking and joking is just as important as hitting that big PR back squat. Why is that? The endorphins that your body creates will make you better mentally and the calories you burn should make you feel better about yourself. A personal record, PR, is great but the fact you made it into the gym is an accomplishment in and of itself. We live in a sedentary society where people who move and exercise are hard to find. Come into the gym be happy and have fun, your body will adapt and you will experience change.
I often get asked why then don’t I see changes. I always go to two questions, what is your diet like? And how many days do you go to the gym? Usually I am told “I eat really healthy” but if I made you write down everything you eat for a week one of two things are discovered. A) you aren’t eating as healthy as you think you are or B) you aren’t eating nearly enough. There are many resources out there for you to change your eating habits. Results don’t come easy and they won’t happen in a day. I tell everyone to give a diet 30 days and after 30 days then you can make changes. 2 weeks is not enough to see change. The second part to the question is, how many days do you go to the gym? By far the most popular membership in my gym is 3 days a week. This is the most popular option because it’s the cheapest option. The problem with this is you are putting your wallet over your health. Yes I know that not everyone can financially afford to go to the gym that much but I know many people who get paid the same and they come more than 3 times per week. What’s your excuse now? It’s all about priorities. You can pay the gym/grocer now or you can pay the doctor later. If you only work out 3 times a week, what are you doing the other 4? You are literally doing nothing less than you are working. Again people tell me , oh I’m doing stuff other than the gym. Ok great but are you really? A study was done at a “globo gym”,I won’t go into names, but in the study they asked people how much time did they spend in the gym a day and they usually responded with1-2 hours. But when they were asked to swipe their card every time they entered and left they were surprised to find that time was far less and much of that time was spent on the hydro message beds or the tanning beds, not much time was spent working out at all. My point here is how much work are you doing outside the gym? If I were to “scan your card” would you be shocked to learn that you don’t do nearly enough to stay fit? You only have to be honest with yourself.
The next part of this article is to talk with those who do CrossFit competitively. If you want to compete in the sport of CrossFit you first have to understand that this sport is a professional sport now. The winner of the CrossFit games now receives a purse of 2 million dollars. People who are in the sport at that level are working out 3-4 times a day working with specialized coaches on gymnastics to weightlifting, powerlifting and anaerobic capacity. They are shelling out thousands of dollars a year to compete on that stage. Very few, if any, can handle a day job and compete on that level. So you have to be honest with yourself. Did you play on a competitive collegiate level team? If not then this level may be out of reach. I’m not saying don’t try but again I’m saying be honest with yourself. If you realize that this level is out of your capacity then look to compete locally. These events are always, in my opinion, way more fun because more communities are involved. I once had an athlete who said “Matt as long as I can win money to pay for my trip to be here then I am happy”, and I think that’s the attitude more of us should have. It’s not about how many sponsorships that you can throw on your Instagram account it’s about having fun and if the competition ends up paying for itself that it’s a double win. Sponsorships are great and who wouldn’t want to compete at the CrossFit Games, but you have to ask yourself “at what cost”? CrossFit Games athletes obliterate their bodies and are injured more than they care to admit. Case and point last year we saw Scott Panchick and Emily Bridgers both admit to have pretty serious injuries after the games. Doing high intensity workouts at that level will do this to you. The emotional side is just as damaging. How much time is spent in the gym and away from family. This can be seen in the case of Rich Fronning who opted to go teams as he wanted more time to spend with his daughter and his wife. Being a professional athlete will tear apart relationships if you aren’t careful. Egos and stress can get the best of anyone. So be aware of what you are getting into if you want to be on that level.
Again there is difference between CrossFit as a fitness methodology and CrossFit as a sport. CrossFit as a methodology is changing the world and we have yet to see its true potential. CrossFit as a sport is exciting to watch and amazing to see what the human body is capable of. From Masters all the way down to the Teen division, athletes are showing tremendous ability to perform on levels we have never seen before. Know why you do CrossFit and do it to the best of your ability!!!