“Does anybody in our gym have a chance to qualify for the Regionals?”, was a question I heard many times during the CrossFit Open. I think that there might be a chance, but more of a question is if there is anybody who is willing to dedicate all his/her time to training CrossFit and sacrifice everything: injuries, pain, food, sleep, free time, parties, family, friends, hobbies and work? Being a top level CrossFit athlete is a full time job nowadays and you cannot just do it as a hobby.
CrossFit training methodology had originated 35 years before the first CrossFit Games took place. Greg Glassman started CrossFit with a goal to bring real athletic training to everyone and not just professional athletes. CrossFit brings great results and when it is done right it promotes health and longevity. Nowadays we hear about CrossFit from media especially thanks to the CrossFit Games and we can see top athletes like Mat Fraser or Katrin Tanja Davidsdottir (yes, it is the blond girl from Nano 7 poster:)). How has CrossFit changed over the years? And what is the difference between CrossFit Games athletes and average members of our gym?
“Our needs vary by the degree of intensity of the exercise, not kind.” This claim by Coach Glassman is still valid, but the difference between the degree of intensity of exercising and the training volume of a Games athlete and an average person from our gym is huge. When The CrossFit Games started (2007-2009) every talented athlete had a chance to qualify and to compete with people that had a similar mindset. Between 2010 and 2011 CrossFit had become more well known, it spread into masses and the amount of athletes grew rapidly. Therefore, qualification was needed and CrossFit Open and Regionals were born. Now, in 2017, the Games athletes as well as the Regionals athletes have CrossFit as their main sport and they do it professionally. They have their own coach (many times they have a few of them), they follow an individual training plan, accessory strength program, they practice their gymnastics skills and develop their endurance. They also really focus on recovery, because they could not manage their training volume otherwise.
95% of our gym members are people that do not have ambitions to compete. They come to CrossFit because they want to be healthy, look better or be better at their main sport. They want to improve their general physical preparedness, so that they can be better in their life priorities: be a better mom, manager, runner,.. They want to avoid injuries, boost their energy and have a good feeling about themselves. Good, balanced programming should do this for our members. That is why we often do not have so many “sexy” exercises like in the Games, but we try to stick to the core of CrossFit methodology: constantly varied, functional movement at high intensity. Dumbbells, running, sandbags, burpees, wall balls, hollow rock might not be that attractive, but they are very effective. Come to the gym 4-5 times per week, do a high intensity workout, do couplets and triplets most of the time, lift heavy once a week and do a long workout every now and then. Work on your technique constantly, dedicate 10-15 minutes to work on your weaknesses. Go out and use your fitness, try new sports regularly. Enjoy moving around. It is that easy.
Competing brings a lot of experiences. That is why we do our annual Throwdown at CrossFit Committed and also the CrossFit Open. These events connect our community as nothing else and we also have a lot of fun besides from exercising (this year’s Open and “team spirit” is a clear proof). It reminds us of the fact that we do not go to the gym only to exercise, but also to boost our mood and talk to our friends. Competitions also make us perform much better than we would ever had in normal training. It can be thanks to the audience that is cheering us to go faster or just our own willpower. The most important thing during every competition is to HAVE FUN!
Everybody should therefore answer couple of questions: What is my goal? What are my life priorities? And what is the role of CrossFit in my life? The best way how to end and sum up this article is Pat Sherwood’s quote that you can see at the gym every day.
“The goal is to get fit, make it the best hour of your day, stay safe, turn up the music, high five some people, and blow off some steam. So remember that. RELAX. HAVE FUN. WORK OUT.”
The CrossFit Journal: Competitive Conundrum By Andréa Maria Cecil; http://library.crossfit.com/free/pdf/CFJ_2014_10_Competition_Cecil.pdf
Training CrossFit vs. CrossFit as a Sport by Chris Spealler; http://www.crossfit2232.com/2013/11/training-crossfit-vs-crossfit-as-a-sport-by-chris-spealler/
Volume, it Comes at a Cost, and is it Necessary? By Chris Spealler; http://chrisspealler.com/ask-the-tough-questions/