by Admin | December 31, 1969 | BLOGS | 0 Comment
Written by: Cara Clements
In many ways, the Nutrition Challenges at Outsiders are two of my favorite times of the year (including our Open season, Memorial Day Murph and the Christmas Throwdown, to name a few others!). It is a time when members of our community come together to continually learn about their bodies and how to best fuel themselves for not only our WODs, but for life.
We have all loved and read Colette’s blog on Perfect Practice and The Secret Sauce - and in many ways, these two concepts apply to our own nutrition. Now I am not saying that throughout the Nutrition Challenge you are going to eat perfectly everyday (but that would be AMAZING - and maybe a game winning score!), or that it is not going to be challenging - because you are adapted to the current way that you eat - but I am saying that if you make nutrition, a foundational aspect of our sport, a priority in your life, practicing perfection in every class will become so much easier. The intensity of your WODs will easily increase, because you have fueled your body with the foods that it needs to push harder.
In many ways, we don’t talk about nutrition enough. We discuss it during the initial 1:1 foundations course, during our nutrition challenges and occasionally in class, but maybe not enough for you to truly understand the impact nutrition plays on getting that 1st pull-up, stringing 10 together in a WOD, that first muscle up, or a PR in your clean or snatch. If you have been working hard on these types of movements with no change, it may be time to take a look at your nutrition as the next way to get there.
The one thing we have said time and time again, is that you can’t out train a bad diet - but what does this really mean? Let’s break it down quickly!
Do you remember this pyramid? It is actually on a poster in our classroom.
As you can see, nutrition is at the bottom of the pyramid - with good reason! Without a strong foundation of nutrition, your metcons (WODs), gymnastics and lifting will, simply put, not be the best they can be.
As we learned in the CrossFit Level 1 course (our CrossFit certification to become a coach), if one of our athletes is consistently coming to the gym, working hard, completing WODs with a good intensity, but are not seeing all the gains that they believe they should - it will likely boil down to a nutrition problem. Nicole Carroll (you may remember her from the Open!) says this much more eloquently than I ever could in this video! You can not out train a bad diet. As an athlete, you will never reach your maximum potential if you eat like garbage! Its sad, but true - and I know from personal experience.
Nutrition at Outsiders, and for me specifically, has been a never ending journey. When I started at Outsiders about 5 years ago, our first Nutrition Challenge was the Whole 30 Program. I know many of us have completed Whole 30’s both with Outsiders and also outside of the box, which is great. I truly believe that if you are eating the high quality foods, you have made a HUGE change in your lifestyle and your body is feeling the benefits. When I completed my first Whole30 I felt AMAZING. I lost of a few pounds and definitely started to understand the types of foods that best benefit me and that I should be eating. I adopted a paleo lifestyle for the next several years, and just like your WODs may suffer if you don’t have a strong nutritional foundation, my body started to suffer from this type of diet and it was extremely frustrating to me. I couldn’t understand why I was not getting any leaner or lighter while eating a clean, paleo diet. I had since gained the pounds I lost back - plus some. It was time to take a look at what was going on.
Around this same time, Stan, Jess and I started to talk about the next Nutrition Challenge. To give you an idea, I wasn’t even a coach at the gym at this point, but always interested to know what was coming down the pipeline and of course, offer my (sometimes unwanted) opinion! Crossfit and what we were eating was always a part of our conversations, so it was only natural that they ask me to pilot a nutrition program with them that not only looked at the TYPES of foods we were eating (Whole 30), but the AMOUNT of food we were eating (Zone). And not to steal this from Colette, but this combination really is the Secret Sauce when it comes to nutrition!
The first thing we did in this pilot program was to start tracking what we were eating in a regular day of our paleo lifestyle. We used an app call MyFitnessPal and loosely added the foods that we were eating for about 3-4 days. When we took a look at our results, things became very clear, very quickly! Taking a look at our macronutrient ratios, about 50% of my diet was from fats - and the rest was split between carbohydrates and protein. Immediately I realized that I was not eating a very balanced diet. Stan and Jessica had similar readings, so we knew we were onto something.
A quick background on the macronutrient (so we are all on the same page). Macronutrients (macros for short) are the three nutrients your body uses to produce and store energy - including the energy needed for exercise. As mentioned above, the macros that we measure are the Fats, Carbohydrates and Protein in each type of food.
Each macronutrient contains energy, which is commonly measured in calories:
Protein has 4 calories per gram.
Carbohydrate has 4 calories per gram.
Fat has 9 calories per gram
As you can see from the above calorie in-take, eating a high fat diet equals eating A LOT of calories! And could have explained why the results I thought I should be having simply weren’t there! MIND BLOWN.
For the next several weeks, we started to use containers (that we still use today) to measure our food. This meant that we were eating MUCH more vegetables, as well as a starchy carb and protein at each meal - with just a tablespoon of fat. Goodbye to the delicious PaleOMG recipes, and the bacon on my cheeseburger - and cheese for that matter! In some ways, cooking became simpler because I just had to cook lots of veggies, some potatoes and a protein. No more recipes.
We continued to enter our food intake in the app and saw a big change in the ratios of our diets. There was a shift to much less fat - about 30% - and more carbohydrates at 40%. We also saw the shift in how our bodies were looking, but more importantly how my body was feeling and performing at the gym. I think during this initial shift in my diet I lost about 6 pounds and I knew - this was the way I needed to try to eat in order to have the best results for my body.
This shift in how I eat happened about two years ago - and I still try to eat this way. Last year I dialed it in even more intensely and I now use a food scale to measure all meals that I make at home. This includes anything from the 15g of half and half I add to my cup of coffee to the 4 ounces of chicken I eat with my lunch. I now know what works for me, and Outsiders helped me to figure this out.
I hate to sound so cliche, but it really is true that nothing worth it will come easy. If our WODs were easy, everyone would be doing CrossFit. If looking at the quality and quantity of the food you eat was easy, obesity wouldn’t be so prevalent in our culture.
Our Spring Nutrition challenge will do just that - it will challenge you. But the amazing thing is that we have an awesome community that will be doing it together. You will have the resources and support to be successful - and you won’t be sorry!
Challenge # 1 - before our challenge even starts - start keeping a journal of the foods you eat. You can use an app if you want, or you can just jot it down in a notebook. Even becoming more aware of what you are putting in your body is a big step in what we will be doing.
In the meantime, keep an eye out for additional details about this upcoming challenge!
Also, here is part two of Nicole’s nutrition chat - worth watching - but I warn you she does say the F word!
by Admin | April 2, 2018 | BLOGS | 0 Comment
Congrats to our March Committed Club!!
by Admin | March 28, 2018 | BLOGS | 0 Comment
Written by: Colette Wheeler
“I don’t ask much, just perfection.” If you’ve attended more than two of my classes, chances are you’ve heard me say this at least once. The sun may be sleeping, and I may smile as I say it, but I still 100% expect perfection from everyone. How? Through perfect practice.
It’s not practice that makes perfect — you can practice poor form and poor standards, and you will get really good at poor form and poor standards. It’s only perfect practice that produces perfection. We fall prey to imperfect practice when we want to compete every day. We forget that to compete we must train, and we must train at a higher standard. True, we are all human. We may never reach perfection, but that doesn’t mean we can’t pursue it with relentless enthusiasm.
Each time you are in the gym, it’s the time to make yourself better..for YOU. Not for the clock, the weights, the reps, the leaderboard, but for yourself. Dedicate your time to training to higher standards, to perfection (or as close as humanly possible). Instead of competing against the unmeasurable or uncontrolled, train for competition with YOU. Yes, that means being your own judge and no-repping yourself when your chin doesn’t clear the bar or the medicine ball doesn’t hit the right height on the wall. That means going to full extension every press, pull-up, and pushup; getting below parallel in every squat, and finishing every clean with your elbows in front of the bar. It even means touching your toes or chest to the bar EVERY TIME or, *gasp* not counting that failed double under (that just whipped back of your legs) as an actual rep.
I will go on record and totally admit to faults on all of these things, especially chest to bar and double unders. But I will also declare right here, right now that I will heretofore hold myself to the standards of perfection. Always. Every time. Even if it means I have to record a low score or a slow time, I’ll do it. Because I know that the most important perfect practice is the difficult perfect practice. Over time, the difficult perfect practice begets a perfection that can run on autopilot. Think of driving, walking, writing. We all learned and mastered these arts and can now trust our subconscious to take care of movement while we do other things simultaneously. The best performers in any walk of life are the ones that can trust their subconcious to take care of the hard tasks.
I know, for me, it’d be super cool not to worry about whether or not I’ll be able to perform double unders or chest to bar when they are programmed in a WOD. To just have those movements accessible in autopilot, how neat would that be? So which movement do you worry about? Pick that one to be super duper perfect about next time it shows up in a workout. Then be even more perfect the next time and the time after that. Soon enough, perfect practice will instill confidence, generate improvement, and bring you ever closer to that which you now ask of yourself — perfection.
by Admin | March 21, 2018 | BLOGS | 0 Comment
By: Don Fisher, Ultra Committed Outsider and March Athlete of the Month
As you may, or may not be aware, I have completed 6 consecutive months of being in the Committed Club. As I finished this past week, and enjoyed my first two consecutive days off from the gym since last summer, I couldn’t help but reflect on why I did this, what it took, and the pro’s and con’s.
The good and bad:
- The good: I have lost 15 pounds and kept it off regardless of what I eat.
- The bad: I need some new belts as they are too big.
- The good: I am eating better in general.
- The bad: I still will occasionally eat garbage for lunch, and then I work out like garbage in the evening.
- The good: I was Captain Ring Row last summer, now I can do pull ups in a WOD.
- The bad: My ability to do things faster and stronger has not made me less sore the next day.
- The good: I have formed some really strong friendships from being at the gym so much. I am probably not the quiet guy anymore.
- The bad: Any day now, Jess and Cara will probably ask Alan and I not to return to the gym.
- The good: My family was very supportive and pretty quick to change our routine to allow me to get to the gym 5 days a week.
- The bad: It became a slight obsession – going to the gym to “get my 20 in” replaced “going to the gym to get fitter”. I was constantly nervous about getting injured, being too sore the next day, getting sick, going away…anything that would keep me from going. This would be my cautionary tale to anybody attempting to do this…don’t focus on the goal at the end, just enjoy the process every day.
But the most important takeaway I have had is it reinforced the community aspect of Outsiders. I basically have spent 8 hours a week at Outsiders. And so do a lot of us! Not only are we doing it voluntarily, we are paying to do it! And paying quite a bit more than a “normal gym”! Well, nobody would pay to spend so much time around people that sucked. From the best coach to the newest gym member, the support and positivity is consistent. I have never felt bad leaving the gym...maybe I didn’t PR that day. Maybe my back hurt and I had to scale the WOD…a lot. Every time, I was encouraged, congratulated, and even thanked for being there. I kept moving forward…in large part due to the coaches.
Every coach is different, but awesome in their own way. Sundays with Lance is a special club dedicated to suffering; the 430 happy hour WODs with Jess and Cara are a great way to relieve stress, have fun and workout at the same time; and Josh was great in helping me get in workouts during open gym time.
I have run multiple road races…competed on many teams in different sports throughout life at a variety of levels….this was the hardest, yet most rewarding thing I have ever done. Family and friends always ask me why I am doing all of this for just a t-shirt. I chuckle and nod…and know that there is no way I can possibly convey what Outsiders has done for me.
I started at Outsiders two and half years ago when my life hit rock bottom. You saved my life then… and I think in some ways it is saved every time I walk in those doors.
by Admin | March 7, 2018 | BLOGS | 0 Comment
Written by: Stan White
The path of life always seems so clear in the rearview mirror. The twists and turns that avoided dangerous pit falls. The small hills that were preparing us for the mountain we had to climb. The trouble is the path forward is much less clear. It always seems just out of view. We have this vision in our mind of where life’s path is leading us, but so often the next bend in the road takes us in a completely different direction.
When I look at my life from a year ago, heck, six months ago, I am shocked with how it has changed. I never would have guessed the house I am living in, the relationships that have been forged not to mention fatherhood is something that defies description. I suspect when I look back at the next year or two, I will continue to be surprised with what God had in store.
This certainty of uncertainty is why fitness is toward the top of my priorities. While I have no idea what lies ahead, I am confident it will include many challenges. I think of all the unexpected challenges that members of our Outsiders family are facing as we speak. When that next challenge comes, I want to be ready. I wonder, will I be strong enough? Will I have enough endurance? Will I have enough focus? Will I have enough mental toughness? Will I be able to persevere? In a grander sense, will I be fit enough?
As we are in the midst of the CrossFit OPEN, and are searching Instagram for the magic tip that will shave a few seconds from our score, keep in mind why “fitness” is such a priority for you. With all the things in life that compete for your time, you come to the gym 3, 4 or 5+ hours a week. Why? Suffering together that make us better. Sure, we can do burpees a little faster and squat clean a little more weight, but I think we are continually improved in deeper ways as well.
As CrossFit’s founder, Greg Glassman puts it, “CrossFit prepares for the unknown and unknowable…or [for] getting ready for war, getting ready for earthquake, getting ready for mugging, getting ready for the horrible news that you have leukemia. What awaits us all is challenge, that's for sure.”
When that challenge comes, I want to be ready.
by Admin | March 5, 2018 | BLOGS | 0 Comment
Congrats to all those who made the February Committed Club.
Special shout out to the Ultra Committed Chris Wheeler who has made it in the committed club for 12 straight months and Joann Doyka, Jim Timmerman, Randi Hyatt, Don Fisher and Ben Menzer who have made it for 6 months straight.
by Admin | February 12, 2018 | BLOGS | 0 Comment
Written by: Colette Wheeler
Hey team, it’s Open Season. The CrossFit Open, that is. In probably every class you’ll take between now and February 22, your coach, your peers, Stan, or a combo of all three will be calling for your registration. If you are already interested in signing up, go ahead and skip to the end of this post for further instructions. If you’re on the fence or decided against it, then by all means -- read on.
This is my 7th year of CrossFit. I participated in the Open in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. Honestly, I signed up in the past because I was a coach, and it’s just sort of what I thought I should do. As a result of some ill-guided, misplaced ideas and opinions regarding the Open and CrossFit in general, I wasn’t too keen on the whole concept. For the 2017 Open, I had joined Outsiders, and although I was pregnant and hadn’t really worked out during the three months prior to joining, I did all the Open workouts at Friday Night Lights. Holding tight to my preconceived notions, I wasn’t registered, but by the end of the experience, I had finally come to see what all the fuss was about. To put it bluntly -- it was awesome. This year, I’m signed up and psyched up for those five weeks of workouts. I certainly don’t have ambitions of competing past the Open at regionals or the games, but I’m really pumped to see what I can do with the tasks set before me. I know there will be successes and failures, and I’m excited to surprise myself in both aspects.
But that’s me. Let’s break down 3 reasons you will want to do the Open this year:
Remember that whole thing we posted about community a little while ago? Well this is IT, people. This is community writ large. It’s kind of like CrossFit’s holiday season and it’s WORLDWIDE. CrossFitters around the globe tune in each Thursday night to watch each WOD announcement. Then, that night or the following day everyone takes a shot at completing the task set before them. TOGETHER. The competition stage is the world, and your team is Outsiders. We break a sweat and then we break it down -- together and with the whole of CrossFit.
Remember that post about continuous adaptation the other week? Well this is IT, team. This is a new situation, a new stimulus, a new push. To really maximize the benefits of CrossFit (your health, wellness, overall humanity, etc) you have to reach for the next challenge. It can be easy (and tempting!) to become comfortable in your own gym with your expected place on the Leaderboard. The Open comes around to provide that check-up. The Open will showcase your strengths and expose your weaknesses. This is a great way to track your fitness journey and to catalogue how truly awesome you are becoming (as well set new goals to achieve!).
It’s not about “should I or shouldn’t I”. Like Murph or Fran, The Open can be seen as CrossFit rite of passage. I’ll be the first to admit that, for me, the Open didn’t really start out being super inclusive. It really was a competition to see who could compete at the CrossFit Games. Now, I have come to realize, it’s different. We have age groups and scaled divisions. You can find out what people your age/gender/scale are doing across the world. Together, we test ourselves, together we better ourselves. We step outside our comfort zone, together. If CrossFit has taught us one thing, it’s that we can do more together. It’s that simple.
So now that you’re ready to sign up...how do you go about it?
- Head to games.crossfit.com
- Click the sign up button
- Enter some general info,
- You’re done! You’re in!
Okay, so maybe you’re not yet convinced yet. I am, after all, a little biased. Well, check out the list of names on the gym whiteboard. Ask, one of your friends why they’ve signed up, and then sign yourself up to support them! If you work out on Fridays (and any class), the WOD will be an Open workout. You’ll end up doing the workouts anyway, so register yourself to track yourself! We’ll have more info to come about Friday Night Lights and all the logistics about the OPEN at Outsiders. The CrossFit Open is so much more than finding the fittest on Earth. It’s a worldwide movement to better humanity. It’s about find the best version of YOU. Sign up and join Team Outsiders in the Open!
by Admin | February 5, 2018 | BLOGS | 0 Comment
Kerri Whalen - 27
Bruce Lentz - 27
Patty Abbott - 26
Devon Troop - 26
Ashley Greenberg - 26
Lance Hubbell - 26
Kaleigh Hunt - 26
Rose Wall - 25
Jackie Nicoll - 25
Jason Moneymaker - 25
Elena Mentzer - 25
Joshua Garland - 25
Joann Doyka - 25
Nick Hollander - 24
Colette Wheeler - 24
Jay Duffy - 23
Kristyn Lipka - 23
Jason Eagles - 23
Leslie Speckart - 23
Randi Hyatt - 23
Sarah Wilhelm - 23
Amanda Shrout - 23
Jim Timmerman - 23
Shannon Zeidler - 23
Cara Clements - 22
Dana Beziat - 22
Russell Ward - 22
Matt Shrout - 22
Chris Wheeler - 22
Mike Aiello - 22
Kellie Bedford - 22
Olivia D'ottavio - 22
Dominic Levis - 22
Rachel Shevland - 21
Suzanne Eagles - 21
Mark Hunt - 21
Joyce Hollander - 21
Brian Stamp - 21
Marc Cousins - 21
Travis Gillispie - 21
Marie Dias - 21
Breanna Nelson - 20
Don Fisher - 20
Ben Mentzer - 20
Phil Yacubski - 20
Shannath Merbs - 20
Diane Strickland - 20
John Wilke - 20
by Admin | January 29, 2018 | BLOGS | 0 Comment
Written By: Colette Wheeler
As a collegiate runner, I ran a lot. I ran in the morning, I ran in the evening, I raced on Saturdays, and I ran 14-milers at 7am on Sundays. I ran long and, for the most part, I ran slow. Every day was predictable, and pretty much every day could be made comfortable because my body had long since adapted to the high-volume, low-intensity, unvaried stimulus presented. Often, the most uncomfortable part of my training was reaching a max boredom limit and having to persevere through the remaining miles of a particular run.
On rare occasions, my team and I would visit the weight room to “lift” and “do conditioning” off of the roads. “Light and high reps” was the prescription for distance runners, so I spent my time doing a whole lot of 5-10 lb curls, light leg extensions, a few slight elbow-bends that passed for pushups, and very dubious 70# “squats". Overall though, the party line read something like this: “more is better, so to be a better runner, you just run more”.
This regimen did not make me a better runner. At the time, my results disappointed and baffled me; however, through my exposure to CrossFit I now see exactly where the system broke down. My training lacked variation and intensity -- two key components integral to improved overall fitness. Yes, I could run for a long time at a decent clip, but ask me to sprint to a finish or power up a hill and I would not excel.
Okay, this isn’t a sob story about my “wasted” college running career. I went to a Division III school; I have no illusions of grandeur about What Might Have Been. I share this anecdote because it is in some sense familiar to many. We fall prey to the idea that “more is better”, so great volume of one exercise will cover many bases of fitness. Due to the nature of the human body’s ability to adapt to a stimulus, that is simply not true.
The human body readily adapts to a presented stimulus. This is a good thing, it’s the main driver of evolution and enables the continuation of our species. However, with regard to fitness (and CrossFit), continuous adaptation is key. Constant variation of movement at high intensity creates that continuous need for adaptation within the body. Without it, we merely continue existence at a new, comfortable plateau.
So how do we recognize and define variance and intensity? How do we apply it? Variance can come in all forms - movement, weight, rep scheme, wod length, etc. Intensity manifests through achieving the intended workout stimulus (engaging one or more energy systems - phosphagen, glycolytic, oxidative/aerobic).Variance and intensity depend upon one another. Without variance, intensity drops, and vice versa.
We will look first at intensity. With a simple Power equation, intensity is quantifiable. Put on your math hats and get ready.
Check out this equation:
Power = (Force x Distance) / Time, That is a nice equation. Now check out these numbers: We have a 135# female (that’s the Force). She has an arm length of 2 feet from shoulder to knuckle (Distance). She completes a strict pull-up in 6 seconds (Time).
There are 5 reps, so multiply everything by five. Voila, that female produces 305 watts of Power. Hook her up to any light bulb in your house and that bulb would explode.
Strict: 5 x (135# x 2 ft.)/6 sec = 305 watts
Kipping: 5 x (135# x 2 ft.)/3 sec= 610 watts
Sounds cool, but now compare it to the possible power output by a kipping pull-up. Same Force, same Distance, but way faster Time. By changing her speed, she ratchets up her intensity and doubles her power output! Incredible.
And now you may be thinking, “well why would we ever do strict pull-ups?”. Enter variance and human energy systems. Gah. First math, now science. I know I know.
Check out this table of energy system awesomeness:
3 reps heavy DL, 5-10 second sprint
30 - 120 seconds
200-400 meter row
> 2 minutes
1000 meter row, Cindy
Stay with me now. This is thrilling stuff, people. Really.
The phosphagen system covers most power- and weightlifting movements (squat, deadlift, presses, snatch, clean and jerk) and strict gymnastics movements. Think “high power, short time period”.
The glycolytic system activates for efforts sustaining one half to two minutes in duration. Still high power, but with a blend of cardio mixed in.
The oxidative system is probably the most familiar system. We also know it as the aerobic system. Workouts that are longer than 2 minutes utilize the oxidative energy system. Think “cardio”.
An athlete can be intense in all of these systems, but it’s the variance of those systems that really matters here. Take deadlifts, for example: Monday and Wednesday WODs both have dealifts, but Monday prescribes a very heavy weight and Wednesday prescribes a relatively light weight. Using the same “comfortable” weight in both workouts will completely eliminate variance and snuff out the magic brought by intensity.
Why would someone choose to do the same weight in both situations? Well, it can be a result of poor coaching, uninformed scaling, or just plain old ego. CrossFitters of all types can fall into this trap, and it is a joint effort by both athletes and coaches to sidestep the trap whenever possible.
Remember adaptation? When we feel comfortable, we have adapted. Be concerned with the right simulus. Sometimes that’ll mean to push the weight and sometimes that’ll mean light and fast. Yes, the new level of movement will feel a lot harder, and yes, you may drop some spots on the leaderboard when you are outside your comfort zone, but you are getting BETTER and FITTER and HEALTHIER because of it. To get all that you can out of CrossFit, continuous adaptation is a requirement.
So now what? The preceding text is not a call for everyone to do every movement as prescribed, RX. Far from it. It is an explanation calling for smart, intentional loading or scaling of workouts in order to preserve variance and high intensity performance. Most of us come to a CrossFit gym to “get fit”, or to improve our health and overall wellness. Unfortunately, “fitness” isn’t a trophy we can earn in a short time and then display on our mantle forever after.
We must constantly, deliberately, skillfully challenge ourselves every day to be better, stronger, faster, fitter, healthier than the day before. CrossFit has shown, time and again, how variance and intensity produce incredible, life-changing results in so many areas of fitness and life. Celebrate the successes each day brings knowing that because you improved today, you can improve again another day! If you’ve adapted and are skilled at a certain weight -- load more on the bar! If you like the heavy barbell, take some off and try to go faster. If you have mastered a step in a gymnastic progression -- level up and push to the edges of your capabilities! Believe in your coaches, your abilities, and most importantly -- believe in yourself. Find that intensity and get after it.
by Admin | January 1, 2018 | BLOGS | 0 Comment
Written by: Colette Wheeler
As CrossFitters, we take classes and community for granted. Most of us take CrossFit classes, and on the rare, odd day that we have to WOD alone, it’s a real downer. The class setting just seems so natural, so embedded in how you “do” CrossFit that we forget how special, how uniquely wonderful it is to our health and wellness. So now that we’ve reached the end of the traditional season when we gather together to break bread, let’s take a moment to look forward to the hour we gather each day to break a sweat.
It’s no coincidence that we are drawn together to eat and exercise. These are, after all, two activities essential to living a full and healthy life. Way back in humanity’s early days, we thrived in a hunter/gatherer society. To eat we had to move, and to move we had to eat. Nutrition and movement were just simply “living”, and we “lived” together as a group. Then humans developed agriculture, which tasked a few to tend to foods and enabled the majority to focus attention and energy elsewhere. Undeniably, this task-change rocketed humanity to incredible heights; however, movement and nutrition diverged and the benefits of group movement were lost for the majority. Fortunately, CrossFit provides the link back to the benefits of group movement: The Class.
Exercise for exercises’ sake is HARD. Children and adults alike crave structure, and without structure in our exercise, just figuring out what to do can wear a person out. Lucky for us, in a class the bare minimum requirement is to simply “follow the leader”. Coach says “do 10 squats”, and you do 10 squats. Coach says “do 10 burpees”, and while you may grumble a bit, you do at least 7 (come on, let’s be honest) of those burpees. Every moment of that hour is planned and executed by another person. Without going into great detail—“fitness” applies to the mind AND the body. The whole package. At the CrossFit class, you can leave your heavy burdens at home, in the car, or at the door for safe-keeping. The mind rests and recovers while the body gets put to work doing the things it was designed to do!
The Class awakens our inner competitor. We all have a bit of The Competitor in us; it’s how we as humans have been programmed to survive. We needed to be faster than, smarter than, better than competing elements to thrive and provide. We inherently learn and are motivated by watching others, so we NEED others around us to drive us toward bettering ourselves. The CrossFit class sets the stage for that inner competitor to activate and excel. Whether it’s a full-out sprint to the finish, a challenging lift, or a gymnastic achievement, we gain confidence in our own abilities by seeing others around us perform. One’s inner monologue changes from “ha, no way!” to “well, I bet I can do that, too!”. When exposed to other crossfitters, the Inner Competitor creates and presents a better Outer Human.
Of course, at the heart CrossFit is its community. The community in a class environment is a logical extension of our behavior outside of the gym. When enduring pain or discomfort any other time of day, we come together, hold hands, exchange words of encouragement, what-have-you. Exercise and the forging of fitness is fantastically difficult—so of course we choose to do so together. In a class, you’re not alone and much less uncomfortable as a result. You revel in the sweat and glory in the burn. The music blares, your coach is with you—in your face, at your side, seemingly everywhere at once—your classmates are all around you, the clock counts down, the reps go by, and before you know it, the WOD is done and meaningful high fives and fist bumps are exchanged. Everyone has just been through the same torturous gauntlet of movement, and every high five says not only “good job!” but also “we made it, we did it, all of us together and we didn’t give up”. Camaraderie, the sharing of laughter and suffering, binds together the CrossFit community. You come to know the people around you, their families, their joys and hardships, and your life is more full.
As we stride into a new year of possibilities and beginnings, let’s every day say, “‘tis the hour”. ‘Tis the hour to break a sweat together. ‘Tis the hour of giving and sharing, of laughter and struggles. ‘Tis the hour to compete against each other and with ourselves. ‘Tis the hour for coming together, for supporting one another. ‘Tis the hour for fitness and for health.