I have a friend who…Let’s call him “Steve”. Steve is by all definitions a Competitive Crossfitter. He is a fantastic athlete and amazing coach. Recently Steve posted a picture of an Airdyne bike in the middle of a field.
There is a famous Games athlete who I follow on Instagram. Recently that athlete posted a picture of his treadmill on his porch….in the woods…facing out toward an amazing trail.
These two pictures had me scratching my head. They begged the question…why do we replicate a movement within the same environment where we could simply perform the original movement? In other words…why would you run on a treadmill in the woods when you could just….run in the woods? Why would you get on an exercise bike in a field when you could…you guessed it…ride a real bike?
I come from a different world than Crossfit. I found Crossfit as a means to improve on what I already enjoyed, which is mountain biking and obstacle course racing. As a training program, Crossfit has worked amazing for me and made me better at all sports I enjoy. It has even opened up the doors to new activities. As I have become more involved in Crossfit I am seeing a trap that many people seem to fall in to. Many people seem to be missing one of the biggest tenants of Crossfit….”learn and play new sports”.
Crossfit for me has always been about becoming more fit and then applying that fitness in other areas. Improvements in my squat have directly affected how much faster I can pedal my bike up a trail. The cleans and pull ups I perform in the box make jumping and climbing walls on an obstacle course much easier. I see my training applied. I can quantify it. I find the higher level of fitness I achieve in the box makes my activities outside of the box infinitely more enjoyable.
So what is the point of Crossfit? What is the intention?
The Crossfit website answers this by stating “All CrossFit workouts are based on functional movements, and these movements reflect the best aspects of gymnastics, weightlifting, running, rowing and more. These are the core movements of life.” … My translation of this is preparation to succeed in a variety of different activities. Going by MY translation…if we are preparing to succeed in a variety of activities, we need to get out there and test ourselves. That means if you spend time on the Airdyne in the box…then if you are outside get on a real bike. If you are on the concept 2 Rower…apply that and get in the water. But don’t take your Airdyne outside…and PLEASE don’t take your Concept 2 to the river.
So what is Crossfit to you? In a broader term…what is exercise to you? Why are you putting in the work? Is it purely aesthetic? Do you just want to look good in the mirror? Do you work out just to get better at working out? Are you competing at a regional level (we all compete in our boxes, and I recommend anyone try a local competition / compete in the Open as it breeds excellence) Are you doing solely for health / weight loss? What other sports do you want to be good at?
In an upcoming blog post, I will discuss my issue with “exercise to lose weight” and how if we change that mindset, we will more quickly achieve our goals and get more satisfaction out of the process. In the meantime we highly encourage all of our readers to get out and try new things. Rather than post a pic on Instagram of you on a treadmill, we want to see pics of you running in the woods! Find a low hanging tree branch and knock out your pulls ups and toes to bars.
Our mantra is to “Think outside the box”. How do you think outside the box? What do you do to break from the standard fitness routine to keep it interesting? Let us know in the comments
Thanks as always for reading, and if you have anything you want us to write about…let us know in the comments!