Big and Small CrossFit


Warning: the post below is some thoughts that have been kicking around in my head. It’s 536 words long, so if that’s too much for you, no worries, skip down to the workout and hit it hard. If you read it and disagree or agree and have some thoughts of your own about it, please post to Comments. And then hit the workout hard.

As CrossFit grows and spreads, and it certainly is at an incredible rate, it is evolving into more than a fitness regimen. I don’t think  this is a surprise to anyone, from the early days of CrossFit, many non-physical benefits to fitness and health were noted and understood. For many CrossFit practitioners, these non-physical benefits are the equal of the physical ones. They have found that CrossFit makes them better fathers and husbands, mothers and wives, better students and workers, better friends. Better people. People who have kicked addictive and destructive habits, gained the courage to leave dead-end jobs or end abusive relationships, discovered the confidence to finally ask out the girl of their dreams, and other such life changing actions, through the non physical intangibles gained from CrossFit abound. And I mean abound in the strength of the original Latin term for surge or overflow. That is a lot of people, enough that I feel safe writing about the spirit of CrossFit.

The spirit of CrossFit finds a grander purpose in the practice of CrossFit than strength and conditioning. The usual CrossFit  is “small CrossFit”, concerned with fitness and the strengthening of the body. Small CrossFit is not small in a mean way, but merely small compared to large CrossFit. Small CrossFit is of great importance on its own, but it is also the root of “big CrossFit.” Big CrossFit is mindful of the purpose of life, of how a person fits in and benefits the greater society. It is the mind, soul, and body used together to synergistically better society. Yes, I know it sounds idealistic and overly altruistic, but please keep in mind that tens of thousands of CrossFitters packed into the Stubhub Center last month for the CrossFit Games and there was not a single incident or arrest (I spoke with both police officers and a Stubhub bigshot). And there was no lack of alcohol. It was the same last year as well. That is pretty unique and a perfect example of big CrossFit.

Now, don’t worry, I am not going to start chanting or implying that CrossFit is the cure for society’s ills. Actually, just the opposite. I am going to continue saying “knees OUT”, and talking about clean eating, and trying to get people in the doors of my (and any other) affiliate. To focus on big CrossFit at a grassroots level, which is what an affiliate gym is, is to forget that the big picture is made up of details and it’s the little details–technique, coaching, nutrition, intensity, community, fun, etc–that keep someone in the gym long enough for the intangible benefits to happen. The beauty of the big picture is that it can take care of itself.

I know there are people reading this that just care about getting a bigger clean, or a faster Fran, or getting to the Games, or jumping on some of those hot CrossFit babes, and are thinking, “eff this hippie shit, CrossFit is about being bad ass.” And that is just fine, totally cool dude. Keep focusing on heavier cleans, and faster Frans, and looking better nekkid. Doing all that stuff takes focus and discipline. Remember, the details add up to the big picture.

Please post thoughts to Comments.