Every now and then we need reminders. Why are you doing that? Who are you doing it for? What got you started? Is it good for you? Are your goals realistic? From a health and fitness perspective, we give you those reminders often. But those reminders are also new information for all the people newer to our facilities. Today, we’re talking CrossFit!
Among all the varying definitions and explanations of what CrossFit is, one of the most common is it’s the “sport of fitness.” It may have something to do with the competitive nature of the training environment in CrossFit gyms, a bit to do with all the exercise competitions using CrossFit-style workouts, and helluva lot to do with the Sport of Fitness™ being the official tagline for the CrossFit Games.
In fact, that trademarked tagline provides the distinction between CrossFit the training program and the sport of CrossFit.
CrossFit the Training Program
CrossFit the training program is what CrossFit was truly designed for. The overwhelming majority of people doing CrossFit are training for lifelong health and fitness. They want to be better cyclists, runners, hikers, parents, healthier grandparents, athletes – they want to be the healthiest and fittest they can possibly be throughout life.
They use CrossFit to increase their level of general physical preparedness (GPP), and a better GPP correlates to better performance in life or sports, and in overall health and wellbeing.
People under this category are by no means lesser athletes than anyone else, they simply have different goals. Training once a day in class on three to five days a week is sufficient to realising some of those goals. With good and varied programming, training that way is sustainable for life and should see consistent improvements in most areas of fitness.
Take many of our members, for example. We’re nearing our seventh birthday and many members have been with us for five to six years. They’re healthier and fitter than they were before joining, and they continue to progress physically both in and out of the gym!
Some might spend extra time working on weaknesses or preparing for an event such as a marathon, a triathlon, an in-house throwdown, or a local exercise event, but overall, the sacrifices here are minimal and training in class is more than enough preparation.
These are the people we exist to serve. You are the reason CFJ was opened. This was the reason you joined in the first place. You are the majority of our clientele. That’s just how we like it!
CrossFit as a Sport
A Recreational Sport
Many people using CrossFit as a training program grow to enjoy the competitive aspect of it. This competitive edge is typically fostered in training where you have your previous scores to beat, where you’re using the person beside you as motivation to keep moving, where the group environment itself drives you to work harder. These people grow to enjoy that competitive aspect so much that they regularly enter local events – it becomes their weekend sport.
Here, aside from a good base level of GPP, some specific goals are required to ensure safety and enjoyment in competition. The more serious recreational athlete may need individualised programming, will need to keep their nutrition dialled in, and will need to learn about managing themselves in competitions.
While people here make up a much smaller percent of our clientele, we have the systems and resources in place to support them. While some extra sacrifices are made here, the goal is still to chill out and have some fun. Performing well in an event isn’t the be all – like participating in a local club sport. Whereas playing sports professionally demands a vastly different commitment.
Events is written in bold to highlight the fact that the majority of local exercise events are not competitions. That is because the primary goal of those events is participation. Sure, there are some events with prize money and/or prizes for podium finishers, but let’s be real – it’s about participation and expressing fitness, not so much testing fitness. Similar to a mountain bike or running event. They serve to get you out of the gym to express your fitness.
The CrossFit Games
By this I am referring specifically to training towards competing at either Regional or Games levels of the CrossFit Games. While just about every Games athlete trains CrossFit to grow their base level of GPP, the Games have evolved to include a specific skill set. While aspiring Games athletes must still ensure a strong GPP (for life and for competing at the Games), they now also need to acquire the specific skills required to compete effectively at Games level.
Specific skill training can be referred to developing ‘specific physical preparedness’ (SPP). Therein lies the difference between CrossFit and The CrossFit Games.
It’s the same in all sports. You can use the sport as way of keeping fit, but if you want to compete at a high level in that sport you need to be conditioned specifically for the demands of that sport. As with any sport, the sacrifices start mounting here. More specific programming is required along with a staunch dedication to keeping nutrition and other recovery practices dialled in. Athletes often have to train alone and may sometimes become alienated from the community. They’ll have to train through the aches and pains. But for them, it’s okay, because it’s what’s required to realise their goals.
Be it in our gym or the general CrossFit community, these athletes form a tiny percent and therefore form an even smaller percent of the general population. South Africa has had just ONE athlete in the recent history of the Games come close to the top 10 at the Games – you do the percentages.
Just as we support recreational CrossFit athletes, we have always supported athletes with genuine aspirations to compete at a higher level. There are no quick routes for these athletes, and for most, it will take years to realise their goals. The reality for athletes aspiring to compete at this level now is that they need sponsors that will give them the money needed to maintain their lifestyles AND training AND pay for travel, pay (lots) for a coach to program and coach one-on-one, saddle up for non-fun-CrossFit, and most importantly, have chosen their parents wisely 😉
Your goals ultimately dictate the face of CrossFit you choose to follow, so record some tangible goals. Set short term (3 month), mid-term (6 month) and long term (1 year) goals. Record why you have those goals. List how you’re going to achieve those goals and then review with a coach.
We’re here to help you achieve those goals. You may just need more consistent training in class or a bit of extra flexibility work. Maybe you need some help in preparing for an event, or want to level out your fitness so you’re better prepared for a local event. Or perhaps you’d like to take a good stab at getting to Regionals, in which case you’ll have to be prepared to prepare for many, many months.
Competing in the sport or not, there’s a far greater picture – your lifelong health and fitness, and some fun!
As our favourite Pat Sherwood quote goes, “The goal is just to get fit, make it the best hour of your day, stay safe, turn up the music, high five some people, and blow off some steam. So remember that. RELAX. HAVE FUN. WORKOUT.”
The first ever CrossFit Games Open was in 2011, before we had properly begun to run classes. Including Zak and myself, we had five people complete the 2011 Open! Every year, the conversations I have surrounding the Open are very much the same. Especially when people learn that I have registered too. The first question is inevitably, “Where are you trying to place?” And my answer is always, “I’m not!”
You don’t have to place somewhere to compete. Nor should you only compete only if you have a good chance of winning or placing highly. In CrossFit or in any other sport. Competition – sport – is where you get to test all the abilities you’ve developed in training. Sports sit at the tip of CrossFit’s hierarchy of development – now that you’ve worked on nutrition, gymnastics, weightlifting and throwing, find a medium to express all of that fitness.
One medium are CrossFit-based events. Others are triathlons, ball sports, obstacle races. All tell you something about your fitness, and all play a wonderful role in leading an active life. Here are some reasons you should compete in something, even if you “aren’t competitive” or don’t plan on placing anywhere significant.
- You get taken out, way out, of your comfort zone.
I always say that I’m an 80% kind of athlete. In training, I generally work at 80% of my abilities because I’m just a little uncomfortable there, and it’s enough to keep on track for my goals. It’s one of the reasons I love to hate the Open – even if I wanted to, I couldn’t get by on 80%. The environment pushes far beyond where you want to go, and far beyond what you thought you were capable of!
Every year in the Open, at our Throwdowns, in local fitness events, we see our members beating personal bests – just because of the environment of the competition.
- It’s a ton of fun!
Especially with the format we have in place this year that the ambassadors are driving. It looks like we could have our biggest Open attendance ever!
- I can try and explain this, but you have to experience it. We often talk of the camaraderie developed amongst the people you train with most regularly, but you get to know the people you compete with a whole lot more. Aside from that, the competition arena – be it your gym or a big stadium – is an exciting place. The quiet just before the call of “GO!”, the cheering from the spectators, having a referee or judge hold you to standard – fun!
- It sets a benchmark
Your performance in any type of competition will give you numbers against which you can track progress. It will tell you what you need to work on, and your results at the same event at a later date will give you insights into your progress.
- It could be the nudge you need to up your efforts
Sometimes not winning or not performing as well as you’d hoped is just the kick up the ass needed to better your efforts in training. Striving to be better than yesterday is essential to training, and finding out – through competition – that you aren’t growing better is often just what you need.
- It’s a ton of fun!
So, get registered for the Open 😀
- You get taken out, way out, of your comfort zone.
NAME: Gavin Wolff
WHAT DROVE YOU TO JOIN CROSSFIT JOZI ?
I was looking for something different to Virgin Active and saw the sign pointing to the old box at Rebel, so out of curiosity went to have a look and was hooked.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A MEMBER FOR?
It must be around 5 years, as I was one of the first members to join at the old box
WHO INSPIRES YOU?
The new members who come in looking nervous as hell and then finally hang in, join a class and excel. Great to see that enthusiasm and change in them. As well as the coaches who have a lot more patience than me.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING WHEN YOU AREN’T AT THE GYM?
Working for a living, as I need to pay for Crossfit classes!
TELL US ONE INTERESTING THING THAT PEOPLE MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU?
I love to spend time flying every weekend. The freedom of being master of your own destiny in the sky cannot be matched and you have no one to blame but yourself if anything goes wrong.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE CHILDHOOD T.V PROGRAMME?
I am that old that TV was not around when I was a kid 🙂
Will Superman comics suffice?
IF YOU HAD TO HAVE A SUPER POWER WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
I’d be happy to give up a super power just to do OHS properly 🙂
WHAT WOULD YOUR PERFECT WORKOUT BE?
5 rounds for time
400 metre run ….Followed by 10 deadlift @ 70kg, 7 x pullups, 5 x burpees – 30 seconds rest between rounds
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE CLASS OR SESSION AT CFJ?
My 60th birthday workout
WHAT MIGHT WE FIND IN YOUR FRIDGE AT HOME?
Fish and veggies
WHAT IS THE COOLEST THING THAT YOU HAVE ACHIEVED AT CFJ?
Entering the Open a few times
WHAT CHANGES IN YOUR HEALTH HAVE YOU NOTICED SINCE STARTING?
Major difference in fitness, flexibility and strength. Never been ill since the day I started
LIST SOME OF YOUR BIG GOALS.
What still eludes me is the dreaded overhead squat and also stringing together muscle ups.
NAME: Andrew Kyriacou
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A JOB?
I’m an operations manager for a Real Estate company. Yes I sell houses so you can trust me 🙂
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TRAINING AT CFJ?
Since Feb 2014.
WHAT ENCOURAGED YOU TO JOIN US WHEN YOU DID?
Stratos in my ear telling me how great the programming, the community and everything in general is.
ARE THERE ANY MEMORIES FROM YOUR FIRST DAYS THAT YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE?
I started just before the 2014 Open and was really impressed with how the bulk of the community entered and got involved.
WHAT IS THE COOLEST THING THAT YOU HAVE ACHIEVED AT CFJ?
Completing the 2014 Summer Challenge. Best shape of my life.
WHAT CHANGES IN YOUR HEALTH HAVE YOU NOTICED SINCE STARTING CrossFit?
I eat better in terms of types of food. For eg. I have cut out sugar completely. Now I need to work on quantities nom nom.
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU’RE NOT BUSY GETTING FITTER AT CFJ?
I try spend as much time with my family as I can, especially outdoors. Star Gazing and Rock Climbing top of the list.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENTS SINCE JOINING CFJ?
Training 5 days in a row and arriving on time.
LIST SOME OF YOUR CFJ BUCKET LIST ITEMS.
Sub 2 minute Grace and a 100kg snatch.
WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO EAT OUT IN JOZI?
In good faith I must remove KFC from the equation…I must say the Grill House is always good and look out for a place called Marble.
IF YOU COULD INVITE 3 FAMOUS PEOPLE TO DINNER, WHO WOULD THEY BE?
Colonel Saunders – I need that recipe.
WHO INSPIRES YOU AT CFJ AND IS THERE ANYONE ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO GIVE A SHOUT OUT TO?
In good faith I must remove Angie, she generally inspires me in everything (in the zone…. boom). Basil Aronis, the man is a machine.
TELL US AN INTERESTING FACT WE MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU.
I enjoy cooking, although my wife doesn’t like the aftermath left behind in the kitchen.
IN NO MORE THAN 5 WORDS, TELL US WHY YOU CrossFit.
High intensity and heavy s*%t
The reasons people have looked up a CrossFit affiliate to train at has changed over the years. We had the early adopters to jumped on because it was the new and different thing to do, but ended up staying because of the friends and ongoing results. And now we have the late majority who may still not have heard about CrossFit but are looking for that thing that’s going to help them achieve their health and fitness goals. What hasn’t changed, however, are some of the perceptions of what goes on in a CrossFit gym, especially with regards to the workout of the day (WoD). Let’s look at some of the most common misconceptions about the WoD.
The MetCon IS the WoD
For those readers new to or still learning about CrossFit, MetCon is short for metabolic conditioning. It’s a type of workout conducted almost in a circuit style, and designed to improve the conditioning of the body’s energy systems. What we use to improve stamina and endurance. It’s what is most popularised about CrossFit, probably because it’s what sets it as different from other training methods. However, the WoD isn’t just the metcon.
The WoD is the entire workout of the day. That is, everything that goes into that hour of training. The whiteboard education, the warm-up, your technique/skills piece, the metcon (if you’re doing one on that day), the strength work (if you’re doing it on that day), the cool-down, and whatever might be added on a particular day such as practice and “play” time. So if you are doing a metcon on a particular day, it’s just a piece of the WoD.
You Only Do MetCons
Again, this misconception probably came about because the metcon is what is most broadcast about CrossFit. That’s not all we do, though. If we did, we wouldn’t be addressing all your other components of fitness like strength, balance, agility and coordination. We’d just be running you into the ground, and we certainly wouldn’t be adhering to CrossFit’s ideal fitness which states that you should:
“Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, and presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc., hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports.“
There’s much more to the WoD than just the metcon!
The WoD is Programmed on the Day
“Constantly varied” forms part of the definition of CrossFit. But variance does not mean random. Much thought, planning and structure goes into the programming of our WoD, including the warm-up and cool-down pieces. At times we do certainly need to make changes on the fly, but that’s a rarity. All coaches know what the workout is well in advance and prepare for it accordingly. What goes into the WoD is not an afterthought.
You’re Competing with Others in the Class
The environment of the gym during a WoD drives a competitive spirit, and we certainly tap into it deliberately. But the purpose of the WoD is not to better someone else. It’s to do the best you can do on that day. So you’re ultimately competing with yourself. Having people just ahead or behind you is simply a source of motivation for you to work harder. If you finishing ahead of or doing more than someone else is what drives you to work harder, then the group environment is a win. How far ahead or how much more you do means nothing. It’s just you versus you.
You Do What they do at The CrossFit Games
The growth of The CrossFit Games have been both hugely beneficial and detrimental to the affiliate community. Thanks to it being broadcast globally, more people than ever would have are being introduced to an aspect of CrossFit, and that’s beneficial. What the athletes do and accomplish at the Games, however, is a pinnacle of human performance and most people, CrossFitters included, inevitably think “I could never do that!” While it’s not impossible, it is true that you will never do what they do in a regular CrossFit class.
You’ll do some of the same movements but the load and volume will be different. You’ll perform similar workouts but the pace will be different. You may even eat similarly to some of them, but your body will never look like that. CrossFit the training program – what happens during the WoD – and The CrossFit Games are two different aspects of CrossFit. The WoD is there to get you healthier and fitter, enable you to try different sports or compete in local CrossFit-style events, and it’s programmed for all levels of fitness and experience. It will challenge and test you, but only relative to your abilities.
On a side note to all you CrossFitters out there, there’s no such thing as “WODing.” It’s training, what you do during the WoD 😛
Posts tagged with ‘CrossFit Games’