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Is CrossFit for YOU?
Could a link between the French Navy of 1902 and today’s CrossFit hold some clues?
The CrossFit Games 2018 starts today, August 1st.
The “Games” are the culmination of a lifetime of work for many athletes who will participate. The CrossFit Games represents CrossFit as a sport. But is there another side?
Read on to find out.
Never heard of the CrossFit Games, or CrossFit as a sport? It’s an annual quest to find the “Fittest on Earth”, more on that later, but for now have a watch of this short video and it will give you an idea of what the competition is about: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBNAxPykDK0
CrossFit forms a core element of our training methodology at Activate, it’s a great broad and general strength and conditioning methodology. CrossFit is the single greatest thing to happen to barbell training EVER. It has put a barbell in the hands of more people than any other training methodology that has ever been. And that is an amazing feat, and one which must be respected. Barbell training is changing the lives of many many people. Gone are the days when people believed that “cardio” exercise alone will get you to drop body fat, get fit and healthy. We are now starting to realise that a well-rounded fitness which encompasses; strength, mobility, endurance, power, speed, motor control and accuracy is actually what gets results and what constitutes “True fitness”.
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So why are you banging on about what happened in 1902?
I regularly bore people with the story of a French naval commander, Georges Hérbert, who witnessed a massive volcano destroy a vast swathe of the island of Martinique in 1902. Hérbert watched as his crew tried to save the locals and the locals who tried to save themselves. What he saw was a crew and locals who were more or less helpless. Many of them couldn’t carry wounded, many more couldn’t move fast enough and tired very quickly in their rescue efforts. Most of them could not deal with the ever changing events and could not react quickly enough to carry a loved one to safety, then sprint back, climb over a wall, in a window and carry another loved one to safety.
This left a lasting impression on Hérbert and he returned to France to change how the French Navy trained. Georges Hérbert was the original father of “Functional Fitness”, a buzz word thrown around all too often now a days.
Hérbert’s motto was: “Être fort pour être utile”, which translates to: “Being strong to be useful”.
So how does this relate to today’s CrossFit? It relates in every single conceivable way.
CrossFit is broad in nature, meaning you will train all facets of fitness. You might not be a specialist at any, but with a little time, consistency and good coaching you could go out and run a 10K in the morning and then squat your bodyweight for reps the next day.
Many of our members who were once out of shape scoffed a little when I told them this when they started at Activate, but just last weekend a good few of them went out and smashed a 10k race, long before that a lot of them were squatting, deadlifting their bodyweight and more, pulling and pushing, hinging and squatting and moving their bodies in ways they never before thought possible.
Is that because CrossFit is a sport?
No. It’s because CrossFit breaths fun, excitement and learning into fitness that many other methods have failed to grasp.
Other fitness methods can quite frankly just get a little tiresome and boring after a while, unless you are training for something specific, then exercise needs to be kept fun and fresh and challenging. CrossFit does exactly that.
At Activate we regularly catch up with our members one to one, whether it’s for goal setting sessions, nutrition consults, or just for a little chat every now and then.
During one of these talks recently a member told me that his first CrossFit coach introduced CrossFit to him as a sport, and only a sport and that CrossFit just fits within a sporting continuum.
I’d like to state this not only is this wrong, it’s categorically dangerous.
I love CrossFit, that’s why my wife and I affiliated our Strength & Conditioning facility with CrossFit and run classes using some CrossFit methods. Long before CrossFit had made it into our lives we had experimented with all types of training and sports; football, rugby, hockey, athletics, weightlifting, power lifting, running, cycling, parkour, callisthenics and gymnastics, but never combined, never with any real intent and purpose just seeing what our bodies could do.
What makes CrossFit special is the community it forges, some of the ideas that Greg Glassman and subsequent trainers and experts have formed using CrossFit are amazing. (Some I don’t agree with, but that’s life, we’re all entitled to our views)
CrossFit has done more for the health and fitness of this planet in the past ten years than any other fitness movement has done in the past fifty years. It has brought barbell training to the masses, has made Olympic weightlifting mainstream, has risen the tides of oly lifting, gymnastics and other HIIT style training singlehandedly.
For that we must recognise it as something special.
However to merely look at it as a sport is just downright wrong.
Take a look at the CrossFit games this week on Facebook or using live streams, that is the Sport of CrossFit. This accounts for less than 5% of the world’s CrossFit population. Very few can and should compete at that level, the vast majority of people should be training for fun, to lose weight, be able to do stuff like that 10k, adventure race, marathon or play with their kids and improve their quality of life.
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To tell a Grandmother that she needs to look at this continuum and aspire to do a muscle-up one day is foolish. Maybe we should ensure she is moving correctly first, then get her stronger and more mobile so that in 20 years’ time she can get up off the couch without assistance.
Many people simply shouldn’t do certain exercises due to past history, injury or mobility restrictions etc. It takes some knowledge, experience and more than a little maturity from a coach to just be sensible and adapt and explain that to a client.
Unfortunately, many don’t and then we end up with a “painting by numbers” approach from CrossFit coaches, “We program for the best and scale for the rest” is ridiculous. Every client needs to be handled differently and professionally.
What happens if you’re not accounted for in a sensible manner? A high rate of injury, burn out, drop off in overall activity and a general public who now believes that “CrossFit is dangerous”.
So no, CrossFit is not dangerous. Dangerous “coaches” are dangerous.
So when you see the Games athletes on TV later or if you’ve watched that you tube clip. Yes those athletes are amazing, but the vast majority came from gymnastic or high level athletic backgrounds, not too many came from the couch.
So don’t beat yourself up if you’re not “competitive”, CrossFit is not just a sport.
It’s a way to get fitter than you’ve ever been before, amongst a bunch of people who will cheer for you every step of the way because they are all on the same journey.
It’s always YOU against YOU, making those small steps every day to improve your health, your fitness, your life.
So is CrossFit for you? If you want to get fitter, stronger, faster, look better naked, drop body fat and enjoy your life more, then the answer is an unequivocal YES.
To see if Activate is a good fit for you, why not schedule a “No-Sweat” intro with one of our highly qualified coaches. We’ll chat with you about your goals, your fitness and how we can help.
Schedule your “No-Sweat” intro today: https://activatefitness.as.me/no-sweat-intro
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