I was never a skier, but I understood the metaphor. I was having dinner with Nate Helming a few weeks back, and in conversation, he related CrossFit to snowboarding. He brilliantly went on to describe the early days of this “thing,” snowboarding, which had left all the skiers wondering.
I’m paraphrasing, but Nate described that everyone was learning. These guys were headed down the mountain, mostly sideways, taking all the good snow on this weird board, while the conventional skiers were left to be either curious or angry.
We all know how that panned out. Snowboarding is legit. The best in the world truly are remarkable, and the bar was raised exponentially across the board. Now, it’s an Olympic-level sport.
I understood it.
Nate continued on to commend the progress, exponential at that, of the capacity of not just athletes in CrossFit, but of the coaches as well. Everyone is getting better, and it’s to the point where it’s scary good. CrossFit has ruffled its fair share of feathers, and maybe it will continue to do so, but we don’t completely look like the crazy guys going down the mountain sideways taking all the good snow anymore. Got our feet under us, and we’re here to stay.
Naturally, Nate didn’t add that he’s at the forefront of the very effort he described, but it really is people like him that are driving this thing forward. Helming Athletics, Nate’s project, based out of CrossFit San Francisco, is asking big questions and ruffling feathers, and the result is his piece of this beautiful revolution.
Specifically in his example, Nate is shaking up the endurance world. Historically, Socratic questioning always has had remarkable power, and Nate is another prime example of this. His questions, much like those of his friend and partner Carl Paoli, are keeping the world of strength and conditioning in check.
Snowboarding evolved. CrossFit is evolving. The worst thing we can do is be the skiers watching from a distance, shaking our heads. Jump in and let’s push this this forward.