Dave Leys, CrossFit oldtimer and Team 6 member, pushing his limits at a recent visit to CF West.

Dave Leys, CrossFit oldtimer and Team 6 member, pushing his limits at a recent visit to CF West.


What is intensity and who has it?

I am going to throw one way to define intensity out there and see what everyone thinks.  Here goes: intensity is the ability to push beyond the ordinary in a given situation.  

So, how does that apply to CrossFit?  A CrossFit WOD is hard.  I don’t think anyone is going to argue with that.  There comes a point in most every WOD where people think about giving up and stopping.  The second run on Helen, for example.  In my definition above, pushing beyond that desire to stop is intensity.  The more intensity there is in a person, the harder they will charge through that stopping point.  And, the next level after that is to just not have the stopping point.  That’s intensity.

CrossFit intensity is certainly a learned, not inherent, beast.  However, there are backgrounds that seem to lend themselves to CrossFit style intensity more than others.  Fighters, dancers, rock climbers, wrestlers, special forces, rugby and water polo players, to name some examples, all seem to have an edge in the intensity department.  They are used to pushing their bodies, and spirits, hard.  They are used to lactic acid coursing through them like battery acid, to their heart ricocheting off their ribcage like bullets at the OK Corral, to kicking it up a notch when most people just want to settle into Miller Time.

What these people bring with them to CrossFit is not a physical ability, although you would be hard pressed to find someone with better body control and awareness than a dancer, or a higher VO2 max than a polo player, or more relative pulling power than a climber, or more inured to pain than a fighter.  It is a spiritual ability. 

Most people, the vast majority actually, are very uncomfortable with the idea of pushing themselves so hard that they literally can only collapse on the floor afterwards.  Their minds simply rebel at the thought of it.  They can’t push themselves beyond the ordinary in a given situation.

But anyone can learn intensity. That learning curve is reflected in their WOD times.  And quite often, that learning curve is reflected elsewhere too.  In their everyday lives. Intensity can be a great boon in life. And nothing teaches intensity, embraces it really, like CrossFit.

Bravos? Rebuttals? Salient, trivial, or completely irrelevant thoughts?  Please post to Comments.

Congratulations to Golden on a scorchin’ Grace time of 1:56.  CF West now has 3 athletes under the 2 minute mark on Grace.  I think the next challenge should be to get at least 3 athletes under the 8 minute mark on Helen.  How about we shoot for the end of April?

Evie, resident rollergirl bad ass and 6am regular, has a match Saturday at the SC Civic Auditorium.  If you are looking for some excitement that doesn’t involve cat o’nine tails, but does involve torn fishnets and warpaint, stop by.  Here is the info.


5 Rounds

1 Squat Clean 185/135#

3 Box Jumps 40/32″

5 Chest Slapping Pushups

7 Clapping Pullups

Post WOD and time to Comments.