What is CrossFit? What does it mean? How do you use it? What do you do? Is it hard? Can anyone do it? Can I do it?
CrossFit is so many things. It is exercise. It is community. It is fun. It is competition. It is challenging. It is a lifestyle. It is a mental game. It is whatever you want it to be.
CrossFit is a fitness program that is designed to test all aspects of your physical ability. It tests your strength, your endurance, your gymnastics, your agility, and your mental toughness. It incorporates all the different versions of fitness that the world sees, and puts them all together into each workout. CrossFit is still very new in the history of fitness, and with being new and different, there are always some criticisms. CrossFit has been seen as this new fitness trend, that has crazy people swinging around on pull-up bars and rings like monkeys, and performing olympic lifts at high repetitions potentially compromising the integrity of the lifts.
What CrossFit has done, which is not advertized in the media nearly enough, is change the lives of almost everyone who walks into a box. It changes the way they view exercise, the way they view themselves, the way they live their lives outside the box, the way they eat, the confidence that they have, the friends that they have… Everything. CrossFit is so much more than just fitness.
CrossFit is also an emerging sport and has become a way of life for many athletes around the world. It is what they think about when they get up in the morning, it is what they do for a living, it is their version of exercise everyday, and it is what they plan their entire year around. CrossFit can be very competitive, and you will see that from watching youtube videos, or seeing it broadcast over ESPN a couple weeks throughout the year.
So where do you fall? You like doing CrossFit, but you are not a competitive person. Or maybe you are a competitive person, and you do like competing, but you have a full time job and can’t spend all your time training. Or maybe you just want to get in the gym and exercise for an hour so you can enjoy your cookies and milk later. Any and all of these options are perfectly fine. You have to choose the option that works the best for you. Whatever it is that you want out of CrossFit, thats what you go for.
With that in mind CrossFit for “sport” versus CrossFit as a “lifelong fitness program” have big differences. CrossFit for competitive sport takes a lot of time and dedication. It takes the desire to push yourself beyond what you think that you can, and take risks everyday. It constantly forces you outside of your comfort zone and challenges you to constantly work on all of your weaknesses to minimize them as much as possible. It takes traveling for competitions and time spent on recovery, nutrition, and coaching.
Crossfit can also be a casual sport. This only requires you to sign up for some competitions, do your best and not get too wrapped up around your results. When you are starting out competing, I think that you should enter at least 3-5 competitions first without putting any pressure on yourself as to where your placement ends up. Just getting some competitions under your belt in that type of an atmosphere, will already make you a better athlete overall. Then you can start to set some goals for yourself within these competitions,and work to achieve these goals as often as you like.
CrossFit as a lifelong fitness program is as involved or as not involved in your life as you want. It’s all about your goals for yourself and how you want to define them. Those goals can be anything from getting a 200# back squat, to making sure that you are fit enough to pick up your grandchildren (when that day comes), to being able to carry all your groceries into your house by yourself. Crossfit will get you fit for your life. You will feel better everyday, you will get stronger in the gym, and you will accomplish things that you never thought were possible. You do not need to report to anyone, and you never have to be upset because you did not finish a workout “as RX” because you know that you are getting healthier for your life – no matter what the whiteboard says.
There is no right answer. CrossFit is what you make of it. It is as hard as you want it to be. It is as competitive as you want it to be. It will affect your life as much as you want it to. You get to decide. Thats the beauty of it. You are in total control!
Author – Lindy Barber
Join Four Barrel Coach & CrossFit Games Competitor Lindy Barber for the “Fitness Beyond the Box” Seminar. The seminar takes place on Saturday, April 12th from 11am-1pm at Four Barrel CrossFit in New Albany. We will explore the differences between CrossFit the Sport, Crossfit the Fitness program, and how to utilize both in your own fitness journey. This subject is crucial for anyone contemplating taking their fitness to the next level. Avoid the mistakes of overtraining and find the right balance for your competition and fitness goals! The seminar will include lecture, discussion, and practical breakouts. Open to the public. Free admission! Email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.