Jun 3rd, 2009
By Mike Minium
M.C. Escher’s Relativity
The first six workouts of the Nasty Nine are done with, and it’s been an interesting experiment thus far.
I wanted to step away from the results of the competition for a moment, though, and talk about the importance of perspective when it comes to things like the Nasty Nine. When every other post of late is about the CF Games or the Nasty Nine, it’s easy to get caught up in it all. Competitions can be a fun way to energize people’s workouts, but it’s almost always just a temporary thing.
CrossFit is a skill-based fitness program. Both of those pieces–the skill part and the fitness part–are critical.
The skill component is huge, yet more often than I care to admit, it’s pushed aside, or even worse, ignored altogether (and this is my fault, in case you’re wondering). In the pursuit of a time or number on the whiteboard, technique gets compromised, or even worse, people resort to the minimum standard required for a movement to be considered legitimate. Although this is often necessary in CF competitions, is it really the most legitimate path to getting stronger, faster, and fitter over the long term? And will it address weaknesses (and ultimately eliminate them)? If someone has issues with depth on the squat, will barely getting down on the squat, sometimes achieving proper depth, sometimes not, be the best way to address said depth issues?
For the competitive types out there, who would you rather be: the guy who practices a squat over the longest range of motion possible, and is pleasantly surprised when competition standards are easier than his own personal standards, or the guy who does the opposite, who always tries to skirt the edges, and is caught off guard when competition standards are made tougher?
CFHQ trainers often describe the following model for CF skill acquisition (and ultimately fitness itself):
In this model, you first have to develop solid mechanics (or movement patterns). You then have to be able to repeat those mechanics until they become rock-solid after repeat exposure. And then, and only then, do you add intensity (either speed of movement, increased load, or both).
You’d do well to understand where you are on this spectrum of development.
The second part of the CF equation is that it’s a fitness program. Fitness, as it’s defined in CF, is a hedge against sickness. See this picture for a visual of what I’m talking about (from CF Ventura). And this means that CF is ultimately about your own health and fitness. I’m going to say more about the health-and-fitness piece in a follow-up post, but let me just give you a couple quick take-aways:
* Emotional health is just as important, if not more important, than physical health.
* The CF workouts you do at our gym should directly and positively contribute to your emotional health, just as surely as they do to your physical health.
And finally, keep this in mind: Your workout is your workout, regardless of what others have to say, and no matter how good their intentions are.
It’s past my bedtime, and I’ve really jumped all over the place on this one. I’ll consider it a success if just one sentence I’ve written resonates with you.
We’re holding a free “Community Day” workout this Saturday June 6 at 11am. We’ll be doing the workout at our new gym here on 5741 Doyle Street. All are welcome!