At least once I day, I get asked these two questions. What makes CrossFit so special? What makes it different than any other exercise program that I have already tried?
The answer to this question is that the goal of CrossFit is to help you actually live your life better. Not just to make you look better. Whatever kind of life you lead, whatever your goals are, CrossFit can help you prepare and achieve everything you set out to do. How? By training and teaching you to do your normal daily movements more efficiently and effectively. Here are some examples.
In addition to training your physical movements for increased efficacy, CrossFit can also help you achieve any of the goals you have in your life whether they be inside or outside of the gym.
Every single person on this planet has goals and dreams in life. Some of us may want to run a marathon, others of us may want to be able to pick up our pickup truck. Others may want to be able to get up and down off the floor to play with our grandkids and still others may want to be able to walk up and down the stairs without knee pain. How about the person that wants to be more confident at work or the person that wants to learn to play the piano?
Let’s find out!
THE 10 GENERAL SKILLS
In CrossFit training, we work 10 general skills consistently. Some of these are pretty straight forward and others could use a little more detail.
For those of us that would like to finish a marathon. Working on Cardiovascular Endurance seems pretty straight forward. But why is strength and agility important to the long distance runner? You need to have a certain level of strength in your leg muscles to physically travel 26.2 miles in one sitting. Not to mention to handle to all the pounding on your joints that running produces. You simply have to have strong muscles to be able to handle that kind of stress. And who knows, you may need to dodge that person that just fell over in front of you because they weren’t strong enough to make it all the way. Say hello to agility!
Let’s try another example. I need to be able to get up and down off the floor a million times a day to play with my 3 year old. Those of us that are younger may take this for granted, however, having the flexibility to sit with cross legs on the floor of on your knees is an ability that many of us have unfortunately lost. Not to mention that if that little 3 year old decides to take off running into the busy street, we will need to quickly get back up (speed) and grab that kid’s shirt (accuracy) and pull them back onto the sidewalk. Oh and did I mention that we should also be able to accomplish this without falling over ourselves (balance and coordination) as that 3 year old kicks and screams and flails all about because they are mad they couldn’t play in the street? It’s amazing how much skill it takes to simply play with kids.
Ok, last example. Learning the piano. How in the world can CrossFit help me achieve this seemingly unrelated task? Let’s start with the obvious. Accuracy, Coordination, and Speed. you must put your fingers in the correct place at the correct time all while looking at and reading a piece of sheet music. That takes talent and multiple skills. In addition, it takes stamina…. mental stamina. We need to be able to go the distance; To struggle through the movements, the motions, learning the notes, learning the scales, the terminology without giving up. Doing CrossFit gives us all a new level of mental toughness and stamina that just doesn’t come from anywhere else. And because you are so used to working your brain just much as your body, learning the piano comes that much easier.
Now we now that these 10 general skills can be applied to any of our goals in life, let’s go one step further.
APPLYING CROSSFIT TO LIVING LIFE BETTER
The CrossFit Pyramid shows us how this all works together to create the life we have always dreamed of.
The foundation of everything a person does starts with nutrition. Food is the fuel we use to propel ourselves forward just the same as gas is used to fuel a car. Put in the wrong kind of gas and watch the car break down quickly.
Metabolic conditioning refers to our ability do work. We need to be able to do things very quickly, over long periods of time, and everything in between. If we cannot function in all three of these time domains, we are severely limiting our capabilities as a human being. So naturally, this is the second pillar of our functional human lives.
Gymnastics refers to being able to move your body around in space. Can you stand up, sit down, climb a fence, sit-up in bed, etc? By working these type of movement in CrossFit workouts, you are increasing your ability to move your body quickly, efficiently, and throughout all time domains. And guess what? To be a functional person, we need to be able to move our bodies around. Mind blowing, right?
After those three layers have been established, we next see our strength component come into play. Because you never know how much that bag of potting soil will actually weigh when you pick it up or if you might need to move that piano you are learning to play into the next room. And because you combined your strength with the knowledge of how to safely move your body around, you can do any task much more effectively because the heavy load won’t destroy your body.
And where does this all end up? In the sport of life! You might play soccer, ski, scuba dive, be a parent, or sing a song. It’s all part of life. Once you provide yourself the ability to move yourself and objects around in this world, you become capable of doing all the things you love in life better! So we have come full circle to the ultimate goal of CrossFit. And did I mention that your confidence skyrockets with each of these pillars as you know that you will be able to handle anything that comes your way?
So if you ever wonder if CrossFit is for you? The answer is yes. We don’t just improve your physical fitness. We improve your entire life!