As CrossFitters, we have discovered something wonderful. Something only a select few (comparitively speaking relative to the total population of the world) people in this world have found. We have discovered a brand of fitness that allows us to push ourselves to the limits. We have found something that allows us to be more fit than some people would ever dare to imagine they could be. We are under the tutalage of some of the best coaches this world has to offer, and we are happy people. We are taught, nay bred, to be elite athletes, able to compete at top levels, or just against ourselves. We are taught to use good form, work hard, rest smart, eat smart, and be healthy fit people.
We have fallen so in love with CrossFit that we dub ourselves things like psychos, firebreathers, and "Legit" CrossFit. We often feel offended if someone insults or questions CrossFit or our methods and we drink the CrossFit Kool-Aid the way some people drink their morning cups of coffee. Our version of fun is doing tabata on the weekends and at parties we like to see who can throw kettlebells the farthest. We are our own unique brand. We revel in torn calluses and bruises, and throwing up is a badge of honor that tells the whole world just how hard you pushed it in that circuit. We love CrossFit to the point of obsession. In fact, we love CrossFit so much that we recruit people to it at any cost. Anytime, anywhere. But the question on my mind is, should CrossFit save the fitness world? Should we continue to give people the information that we know? This is not to say that as CrossFitters we know everything. We are constantly learning. But we know the basics, and the theory behind it all. So should we continue to recruit people to our ways and give the fitness world globo gymers the information they really need?
We as CrossFitters know, and are walking/talking/living/breathing proof, that working your total body 4-5 days a week makes waaaay more sense and is way better for you than the old Tommy Trainer routine. You know that routine. That routine of cardio and arm and leg days with some abs thrown in so you can get your nice six pack to show off while you down 40's at Dewey beach on the weekends. We know that being completely fit is better for your body. We know all of this information and we try to pass it along to others. We talk about it, blog about it, do free drop ins, but the question that remains is, should we?
Let's be honest for a moment shall we? How good does it feel to be considered an elite athelete? How good does it feel to be able to, as Adrienne put it, walk among mere mortals and know that their entire workout probably equals your warm-up? We don't CrossFit so we can get that feeling, we do it because we love it, but man, it's nice to know that you can rock through a circuit, while some Joe Schmoes are telling you how hard their lat pull downs were today. It is a smidge of an ego boost.
But one of the really cool things about CrossFit is the kind of underground mentality that seems to persist. I remember an early Jerry saying that he doesn't like to advertise. He'd rather his name be spread through word of mouth. (PS-Jerry, don't think you need to worry about that anymore) We don't make lots of fancy pretty gyms. Hell, we don't need them or want them. Give us an open warehouse with a garage door and we're like kids in a candy store. We see lines of C-2 rowers and racks of weights, a few climbing ropes, a full scale chin up bar, and we can't wait to get some mats and a white board and be good to go. Hell, we don't even need paint. This mentality is part of what makes CrossFit CrossFit. How will that mentality change if we continue to up our membership and CrossFit becomes mainstream? And by mainstream, I mean like globo gym. We as CrossFitters fight to keep standards high, but even now, we know that some affiliates do not hold to the same standards. As we grow, will we be able to still maintain that high standard or will it slip? Will a few bad apples ruin the reputation of a really good program?
Think about it for a moment. Everyone, save the people with medical conditions or other impairing issues, can CrossFit. The scalability of CrossFit is part of what makes it unique and is what would make it possible for everyone to do. It's functionability would also help people the world over. So in truth, everyone should CrossFit. But let's say that as CrossFitters, we do such a good job of getting the word out, that lots of people do join CrossFit, and now there's a CrossFit on every corner. Or let's say, that Hollywood begins to push CrossFit even more after the 300 movie and Meet the Spartans. How does that affect us? With so many people, we can no longer call ourselves elite. Elite refers to a small select group. How can that be the case when CrossFit has won the world over?
Now, before everyone jumps on my hind end for posting this, I want you to understand one thing. I am neither agreeing nor disagreeing with this post. I am posting it with the intention of making you think. I can see the positives and negatives to CrossFit ruling the fitness world and in truth saving it from itself right now. The fitness world needs more functional athletes as opposed to athletes who specialize or just plain old aren't working hard enough. Or athletes who are convinced they are strong because they can't put their arms down. That's great. But when you need to drop down and pick up something off the floor, can you do it without injuring yourself?
Bringing CrossFit to a mainstream stage would show the world just how much functional athletism kicks the backside of specialized athleticisim and is better overall for your body, but my question is, what would the ramifications be? Our program basically practices natural selection. It is difficult enough that it weeds out those who are not able, for whatever reason, to participate and only the truely elite, not necessarily in body, but in determination and will, stay and choose to challenge themselves. If it is brought to the main stage will the program remain that way or will it be altered to accomodate those who are not determined enough? Will people begin to scale in a negative way? We know that as things gain popularity with the mass markets they tend to change. Perhaps as CrossFit grows, it will evolve. Perhaps we will have something similar to martial arts and have to level our skills. Who knows? But if change is in the cards and that is the case, what shape will the CrossFit evolution take? Where will CrossFit be in 5 years? 10?
Coach says that CrossFit is forging elite fitness while also forming elite community. I'm not sure your community could get much bigger if CrossFit were to hit the mainstream. Think of how amazing it would be to speak the CrossFit language wherever you go. But at the same time, it would no longer be an elite language. It may no longer be the "I workout in the downstairs basement of my neighbors house and we tore out the drop ceiling so we could hang a chin up bar" kind of mentality, which is often what draws some people to CrossFit. Like I said before, I'm neither agreeing nor disagreeing with what I've written. I'm merely posing a few ramblings. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.
Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better. ~King Whitney Jr.