The person who takes the banal and ordinary and illuminates it in a new way can terrify. We do not want our ideas changed. We feel threatened by such demands. “I already know the important things!” we say. Then [the] Changer comes and throws our old ideas away. — Frank Herbert.
CrossFit has done just that. It has taken the ordinary and illuminated it in a new way. There is not that much brand new about CrossFit. Cleans, swings, pullups, sprints, presses, jumps, front squats. Yep, been around for a while. So why does CrossFit terrify? Its concept of intensity threatens mainstream fitness thinking. Its concept of athletic egalitarianism threatens mainstream strength and conditioning. It’s not the minutia of CrossFit, the movements and the lifts, but the essence. The philosophy, the pedagogy, the macros.
Take a 40 year old soccer mom and train her as you would a rugby player? Sprints, lifts, squats, jumps. Leave her on the floor and tell her “good job, but really work on keeping the arms straighter on the 2nd pull next time.” What? That’s not the way it is supposed to be. That kind of stuff is for college athletes, not family therapists and literature majors and my mom. It’s ridiculous to hold these people to the same regimen and standards that one would linebackers and wrestlers. We beg to differ, and the evidence, the results, prove us right again and again.
Along with it all, is the fear, the utter terrifying fear, that comes with being told “you can do it”. That is one of the most frightening phrases ever uttered. They may not know it, but people love hiding behind a perceived inability to do something. It is very very comforting to stay where you are and it is scary to have that taken away. Perhaps the greatest achievement of CrossFit is to absolutely insist that “you can do it.”
We don’t want you to just push your limits, a second faster here, a pound heavier there, one more rep now and again. That’s the little stuff, the micro. We want you to fundamentally reevaluate what you, as a human being, are capable of. Because, no matter what is thrown at you, no matter how impossible it may appear right now, you can do it.
And that, those four words, constitutes a completely new approach to health and fitness, to life.
A new way.
Please post thoughts to Comments.