(Originally written, by me, in 2011 and posted to CrossFit.com affiliate blog)
Have you ever asked another CrossFitter, “What is CrossFit”? Saying I do CrossFit is like saying “I live.” It’s extremely generalized because CrossFit really does encompass everything I do in life. It’s eating, sleeping, social interaction, fathering, physical and mental activity. It really has changed the way things look in my world. We know that “being well” is not only being physically fit and able to do things but it also means being free from sickness, disease, etc. But what they forgot to add was “being well” is also being mentally strong.
CrossFit started out being this training regimen where you perform a multitude of movements as quickly as possible to stimulate that “neuroendocrine response” and get results. I think we’ve all seen how CF has morphed into so much more. We even have what I call “CrossFit Costumes” with athletes wearing the knee-high socks, compression pants, shorty shorts, head bands, etc. Try walking into a club wearing that apparel and see how many stares you get. From time to time I’ll do my workouts in my every day clothes-hiking boots, jeans and a t-shirt-because I can. To me, the mental aspect of CrossFit is what has been the core of what we do. Having served in the Army for almost 20 years I’ve learned how to endure or “embrace the suck.” I’ll take on any challenge. I think most, if not all, CrossFitter’s in the world are like me. We welcome challenge and adversity. We enjoy shattering those glass ceilings. We have no limits and no boundaries.
CrossFit really is living, eating, breathing, sleeping outside the “Box”. We don’t just live the CrossFit lifestyle at our CrossFit joint of choice; we continue to walk it amongst the rest of the herd in our society. We tend to bond together because we all have taken a bite of the crap sandwich (i.e. Fran, Filthy Fifty) together. We’ve persevered together and seen each other at our lowest lows. We know what we’re capable of and know that we are capable of more.
Describing what CrossFit is has become a challenge to me. I tell people, “It’s a variety of functional movements executed at high intensity.” They usually nod their head and say, “Okay.” I give our conversation a pause to watch them run that thru their head and try to digest it then I begin to break down what Variety, Functional Movement and Intensity are. That’s the easy part. To me, it’s so much deeper than that. When I was 17, my parents sent me on a 14-day Alpine Mountaineering course with Outward Bound. One day, our lead instructor, Tahoe Roland, pointed to Hammer Peak in Colorado and said, “We’re going to climb to the top of that tomorrow.” I said, “There’s no way I’m gonna make that climb.” Tahoe said, “Bryan, if you put your head down and continue to put one foot in front of the other … you’ll make it.” He then went on to explain to me that Hammer Peak was like any problem or obstacle you may have in life. As long as you continue to move, you’ll make it. One step at a time. I’ve harnessed that advice in my life. I’m a much more positive person because of it. I think back on those words when I have an issue with one of my four kids, when faced with obstacles in marriage, at the gym and yes, even when I do those long “Chippers”. One rep at a time.
So defining CrossFit has become a bit of a challenge because it is so much more that doing Kettle bell Swings, Muscle-Ups, Pull-Ups or rowing until tomorrow. It’s much more than the physical aspect. The mind will quit long before the body will. I think the best by-product of CrossFit is the continual mental toughening. It’s empowering and yields great pride in oneself. I am proud to be a CrossFitter and an affiliate owner. I absolutely love watching my members latch on to a rock they once thought was out of reach then continue to climb. This truly is a great community and the sport of fitness has definitely arrived. Keep up the great work sharing and educating the world on what it is we do.