CrossFit Didn’t Make Me An Athlete. It Made Me A Better One.
As any athlete knows, training in the gym can lead to increased athletic performance on the field. Sports specific strength and conditioning is the norm from the high school level to the pros. For years I remember doing speed ladder drills, plyometrics, squats, and countless other exercises, all to try and make myself a better athlete on game day. It has been 5 years since I played my last down of football, but my competitive drive is fueled now through CrossFit. It might sound heretical, but what I do now runs contrary to the beliefs of the great Kenny Powers. I train day in and day out to simply be the best I can at exercising. I would never have worried about how far I can walk on my hands when I was playing football; it served no functional purpose. But with CrossFit, I have had to adapt from a world of sports specific, specialist training, and become a generalist.
I walked into a CrossFit gym for the first time in the fall of 2011. I needed a way to fill the competitive void that existed from no longer playing sports. I quickly learned that being strong was a very small part of functional fitness. I struggled to overhead squat a PVC pipe, and doing gymnastics once my heart rate got up was like watching a wounded animal.
I was no longer the strong guy in the gym people looked up to, I was the guy getting my ass kicked in workouts because the “Rx” weight was something I didn’t have the mobility to overhead squat. While it was demoralizing, it also motivated me to get to the gym every day and get better. I do not like losing, and the challenge of CrossFit was exactly what my competitive spirit needed.
It has now been almost 4 years of CrossFit, and it still challenges me every day. That’s the great thing about functional fitness. Whether you’re a beginner, or a games athlete, it never gets easier, the ceiling for what can be accomplished just gets higher. There may not be a game at the end of the week, but I still want to get stronger, get faster, handstand walk further, do more muscle-ups. Obviously being in shape and healthy is extremely important for longevity, but CrossFit is more than that. George Mallory’s reason for climbing Mount Everest was simply, “Because it’s there.” We don’t always need a greater purpose for why we do things, but if it motivates you, and challenges you to be better, that’s what makes life worth living.