CrossFit: Hanging Our Hat on the Numbers

CrossFit’s often holier-than-thou attitude has gotten (and maybe always will get) it into tussles with folks outside of our cultish community.
By Logan Gelbrich, CCFT ,

CrossFit’s often holier-than-thou attitude has gotten (and maybe always will get) it into tussles with folks outside of our cultish community. With how often we throw around the words “elite fitness,” as relative newcomers to the training world, we’ll naturally ruffle a few feathers along the way.

I am OK with that.

As someone who isn’t asymmetrically attracted to the “red zone” of training and feeling like my life is ending during workouts, I am still fully vested in CrossFit. I’ll continue to endure the training to explore my fitness potential. But, though I know what a two-minute-and-twenty-second “Fran” feels like, that’s not why I absolutely cherish the CrossFit manifesto. I respect the black-and-white nature of a faster and a slower “Helen” time.

It’s my view, and you may agree, that CrossFit brings a seemingly unusual level of integrity and concrete ethos to fitness. Not that non-CrossFitters are lying, cheating heathens, but I enjoy the undeniable standards of this modality.

I need to be sure to mention that our general obsession with the “no rep” and our ability to place the almighty score above all else can, in fact, be our biggest downfall. Coaches that teach standards rather than movements are an innovation for the worse in the CrossFit community, in my opinion. It’s clear that our biggest assets can quickly become liabilities.

These are just a few cons to what I’d call CrossFit’s biggest “pro.” And that is integrity. Maybe it does get a bit silly that CrossFitters hang their hats on the minutes and seconds that it takes to complete a workout. Maybe we tend to evaluate how many hip creases get below the knee more often than we cue quality lumbar positioning. But, considering that a vast majority of other general fitness modalities use training as a means to an unclear end like “ripped abs” or “toned arms,” I think we’ve pioneered some much-needed substance in the fitness masses.

I’m proud to say we, as a community, use concrete performance metrics to qualify our efforts.

I truly believe that the mind shift from the slippery slope of aesthetic-driven end goals to the rigors of performance goals may be CrossFit’s greatest gift to the world. Counting pull-ups yields a much deeper ethos than “really toning those arms,” in my biased opinion. Now it’s our responsibility to keep this asset from becoming a chink in our armor. My hope is that CrossFit athletes and coaches can walk the line of upholding standards and quality movement long enough for the entire world to jump on board this life-changing train.

Logan Gelbrich

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