Why do we do CrossFit? For most of us CrossFitters, I don't think it's anything to do with atonement for nutritional indiscretions. Then again, maybe sometimes. But that shouldn't be the case for the bulk of the time!
Just last Saturday, a guy approached us in the gym while we were in the midst of our Painstorm XXIX workout. Not the best of times, really, considering we were all sweaty and dishevelled, hands covered in chalk dust, doubled over at the waist and panting, as we valiantly tried to banish to the back of our minds the depressing fact that we had only about a hundred and fifty deadlifts, pushups, and cleans to go before we could sink to the ground and surrender our souls to heaven.
Well, anyway, this guy thought it the most opportune of times to come over to us and chirp merrily, "So, what are you guys training for?".
"Life," I immediately replied in between sharply-drawn breaths, as I dusted my hands and approached the bar for my next set of 13 deadlifts.
He looked slightly confused at my answer and so I said "We do CrossFit. Check out CrossFit.com".
He sat and stared in wonderment for a while as we continued plugging away at the Painstorm, knocking out clean after clean, deadlift after deadlift, and burpee after burpee.
"There, take that," I thrust the scrap of paper on which I had scrawled the WOD, into his hands. He looked at it, and out of the corner of my eye I could see the wheels beginning to turn in his head.
20,19,18,17... whaaat... 3,2,1... holy crap, that's a shitload of deadlifts and pushups and cleans! Where's the decline dumbbell flyes, you know, to fry the pecs? How about the wide-grip lat pulldowns to give me some good ol' back thickness? And what on earth is up with the volume?? This is pure insanity! I couldn't possibl... erm, I wouldn't train this way!
Well, anyway, suffice it to say he didn't hang around for long. But I wonder if he did in fact check out the CrossFit website!
The reason why I do CrossFit is to be prepared for whatever life has in store for me. That might sound too profound for something like fitness, which most people are apt to construe as an accompaniment to, not a core constituent of, their daily lives. But the CrossFit pedagogy goes above and beyond the daily WOD posted on the main page of the site, something I think most people who are new to the concept have yet to grasp. CrossFit is far more than the sum of its parts - it's a lifestyle that revolves around working towards and then maintaining your body in a superior state - ready for all of life's curveballs.
The benefits derived from doing the WODs are buttressed by good nutritional protocols and a focus on rest and recovery wherever necessary. Going one step further, there are, undoubtedly, psychic benefits that arise from engaging in CrossFit. The increased sense of community and camaraderie that result from training alongside people is simply priceless. Friendly competition boosts the results of everyone in the team and serves to motivate all. Improved levels of fitness have been shown to increase productivity and be soundly beneficial with regards to school, work, and life in general. CrossFit has taught me to step out of my comfort zone (this happens all too easily whenever I do a WOD) and I think I've become a better person for it.
The blurb on the "What is CrossFit?" portion of the Mothership's website says it best. It pretty much helps to explain why you see people of all ages, body types, and backgrounds in CrossFit gyms. All CrossFitters' goals differ in specific terms, but everyone is united by a desire to attack life with renewed vigor, and in the process, accomplish things they never thought possible.
... Our program delivers a fitness that is, by design, broad, general, and inclusive. Our specialty is not specializing. Combat, survival, many sports, and life reward this kind of fitness and, on average, punish the specialist. The CrossFit program is designed for universal scalability making it the perfect application for any committed individual regardless of experience... The needs of Olympic athletes and our grandparents differ by degree, not kind. Our terrorist hunters, skiers, mountain bike riders and housewives have found their best fitness from the same regimen.
-What is CrossFit?, from CrossFit.com