The CrossFit Regional’s are in full swing now with weekend 2 just finishing up. With the ability to follow these regional competitions live on our televisions and on the internet, it is easy for us to question our own fitness. Watching someone pull off 50+ pull-ups can make anybody slide a little deeper into the couch. We might feel we could never be that fit, that we are too old or too out-of-shape for this type of training. We’re not.
CrossFit is often advertised as “the sport of fitness.” It might be easy to scuff at this idea. I mean, marathon running is a sport of fitness and so is bodybuilding, right? So what’s the difference? The difference is CrossFit’s endeavor to be all-inclusive and cover the broadest definition of what “fit” means. It doesn’t specialize, but instead takes broader strokes with the fitness brush and strives to create a body ready for any physical undertaking.
A Heart, Pumping Health
The official site explains CrossFit with an equation: Constantly Varied Functional Movements @ High intensity + Communal Environment = Health. Looked at another way, CrossFit could be likened to a heart pumping out a life-blood called Health. This heart has four distinct chambers; functional movement, constant variation, high intensity, and a communal environment.
- Functional Movement
When was the last time you “curled” something in your everyday life? Can’t really think of a time can you? A curl is not a functional movement. But, when was the last time you had to lift something off the floor, pull yourself up, or carry something heavy for a distance? These are functional actions and can be replicated in exercise form as the deadlift, pull-up, and farmers-walk. CrossFit uses only movements that are “life-functional.”
- Constant Variation
We have all heard the axiom of varying a training routine to get full benefit. It is no less true with CrossFit. Take our daily movements as an example. Just in the span of a day we do a veritable plethora of reaches, lifts, and other movements. To be fit for all these ordinary daily movements and those unanticipated and often sudden movements (a fall perhaps) we must train across the functional movement spectrum.
- High Intensity
High intensity in this case means both the work done (weight lifted) and the speed of the workout. “High intensity” is a relative measurement and dependent on a participant’s psychological and physical makeup. Everyone is different, but no matter age or fitness level each of us has a work level where we can say, “Yes, this is high intensity.” Train at that level and you’ll see remarkable fitness gains.
- Communal Environment
- Social comradery, friendly competition, and shared experience push us to further heights then we can get to alone. Creating a communal environment to learn, struggle, and grow in amplifies our fitness gains and our overall wellbeing. CrossFit offers this environment.
So, as you watch the CrossFit Regional’s, remember each of us are capable of the CrossFit Heart. Across the board, from the elite solider to the aging grandparent, we all need the same functional fitness. Only the scale of that need varies.