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Sustainable Motivation

This beautiful beast we call CrossFit is the perfect storm of so many elements that, in my opinion, were always missing from the fitness industry. The connotation shift that happens when folks take on CrossFit for the first time could very well be the most important adaptation CrossFit yields.


OK, fine. Loosing 60 pounds is pretty damn incredible. Getting off of blood pressure medicine is more than remarkable these days – It’s miraculous. Adding fifty pounds to your back squat training CrossFit is cool, too. I still hold firm, however, that the most critical change folks experience in CrossFit is a mental one.

When people realize for the first time that fitness doesn’t have to be what they thought it was, their lives will be changed forever. It’s this very mind shift that is at the root of what I call “sustainable motivation” in CrossFit.

Two very specific elements contribute to this sustainable motivation that are missing from 99% of fitness conquests. The first is that everything is quantified. Whether it’s a time or task oriented session, the numbers in CrossFit are what hold everyday men and women to the accountability that governs a competitive athlete’s training sessions. These numbers become the first part of what make this sustainable motivation possible because there is always room to improve. These numbers shed light on a linear progression with no end. The look-in-the-mirror-standard of most fitness worldviews is muddy and full of wretched ideas like “maintenance,” which we all understand as “plateau.” CrossFit has none of that. CrossFit has “Better than Yesterday.” Those very words create an endless feedback loop that will change anyone’s life by definition, no matter where they’re starting from.

The second piece of CrossFit’s ability to last in the lives of its athletes is arguably just as critical as the first. This critical component is that CrossFit is FUN! Folks that have ridden the roller-coaster of fitness and all of its peaks and valleys (mostly valleys) didn’t see that coming. Exercise (that works) can be fun?

What the…?!

And, because this stuff is fun, we can imagine sticking around for a while. There is community. Hell, you can call it camaraderie, even. Continuing to show up for something this rich in intensity and workload is made possible, in large part, by the fact that one can have a good time doing it.

Who would have thought?

Any training regimen is only as good as one’s ability to comply with it. If there’s a better training program out there, but you aren’t willing to comply, what use is it? CrossFit is the perfect storm not just because it yields incredible real life gains, but also because lots and lots of people will actually do it. It’s my opinion that because it’s got this built-in sustainable motivation that folks will be willing to do it for a long time, too.

Logan Gelbrich