Up until the growth of CrossFit and other cross-training methods, fitness was defined in some really weird ways. For example, a big box gym determines fitness by the size of your biceps. Wait, who cares? A spin studio measures your fitness against how well you keep up with the instructor. Hmm, not quite. What matters at a running club is how many hours you can run. We can do better than that...
CrossFit is about doing and CrossFitters are do-ers. What you can do defines your fitness.
Our definition of fitness is work capacity, or, an amount of work done in a specific time period. Increasing this gets you all of the good stuff: more lean muscle and less fat, healthier joints and more energy, better posture, complexion and even mood. Increasing work capacity means a Personal Record in Grace (more clean and jerks in less time) or a PR in your snatch (more weight, less time).
Who wouldn't want all the above benefits (the good stuff), right? So here is where most programs go wrong: the magic is in the movements and the art is in the mixing. First off, the movements we do WORK. That’s because we do what's been done for hundreds of years and proven to be effective. If someone told us that rollerblading in a pink mini-skirt is the key to fitness you would find the whole coaching staff in pink tearing up Cedar Oak the next day. We do whatever works! (Turns out it doesn't work).
Secondly, our movements are just plain HARD. If you haven't done a bicep curl in a while go ahead and try a couple hundred after a thruster workout. It's a joke, but it was probably very challenging at one point. You may not have realized it yet, but CrossFit has totally changed your perception of difficulty.
Mixing up movements and workout structures is the reason we can increase lung capacity without losing strength. And the reason we can increase our deadlift and still sprint 800's. Runners and power-lifters can't do both so they must sacrifice part of their fitness. Our program is carefully crafted to challenge the three energy systems of the body in endless ways. It turns out what’s good for the brain (something new everyday!), is also good for the body. Keeping it fresh is also the reason CrossFit is a life-long fitness system because, let's be honest, try wrapping your head around 5 years of treadmill classes.
Here's the coolest part yet: after some experience increasing work capacity through broad domains you will start to find your strengths and weaknesses. Strengths are always an awesome surprise to see in tomorrow’s workout but the best way to continue progressing is to attack your weaknesses. It's hard to explain to a runner that working on pull-ups will make them a better runner but it does. And it really doesn't matter why because it's been proven over and over by thousands of athletes. Ask a coach how to attack the chink in your armor because that’s part of CrossFit.
In summary, CrossFit is:
About doing work. If you do it in life you should be doing it in the gym. Safe and natural movements.
The most time efficient workout. Short and intense is how we roll.
Designed for anybody. Scale it down or scale it up. Keep track of your results so you can prove you're getting fitter.
Never boring and always engaging. Learning a new skill becomes empowering and there is always more to learn.
Humility to see weaknesses in our fitness and work harder on them. It’s a chink in our armor for a reason. Trust that your weaknesses will become strengths and your strengths will become even stronger.
Hard and it doesn't get easier. But you wouldn't want it to either. We are a community of people who support each other through our off-days and celebrate our greatest days.