Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Keeping the Conversation Going

Yesterday I found myself in the middle of a pretty interesting discussion regarding CrossFit HQ and the purpose or intent of the CrossFit Games 2011. If you're not in the know...check out the letter that prompted it all and the response by My Ignition.

I guess the big question that's being tackled is "Is CrossFit for everyone?"

Now before you get all up in arms about this, let me clarify. Everybody who's been around CrossFit knows that anybody can do it. As Glassman puts it, CrossFit is scalable to all levels of fitness and that's what makes it a great program for everyone. So I am not asking if using CrossFit as a training method is for everybody.....we all agree that it is. I'm asking if CrossFit competitions, the Open Sectionals, Regionals, the CrossFit Games is for everyone. So in that respect I have to disagree with My Ignition and say that YES the CrossFit Open, in fact all CrossFit competitions are for everyone (even your grandma!) who has that fire in their belly and wants to push themselves to new levels. I think many of the CrossFit Community members who fancy themselves as Firebreathers forget that most of us have no real aspirations of winning! But that doesn't mean we shouldn't be allowed to play the game. One example I have is from my own gym CrossFit Katy. One of our team members is doing the Open for two reasons....She wants to support her daughter (who is also doing the Open) and she loves CrossFit and pushing herself. She wants to see how she measures up AND have fun doing it. She's 53 years old and has absolutely no aspirations of making it to Regionals, even in the Masters division. She is just using this opportunity to challenge herself and, as The False Start puts it, shatter those false limitations that we all put on ourselves. When the first WOD was announced, she had never completed a double under in a workout in her life, but you know what...on competition day, she completed 47 double unders!!! That's what it's all about. Did she give a crap that she still had the lowest score in the gym...HELL NO! She was damn proud of herself as she should be. That's what it's all about. Why should breakthrough moments like that be limited to daily WOD's at your local affiliate? Most people need that little something extra, like the Open, to push themselves to shatter those obstacles.
Now, this doesn't mean that I think it's HQ's job to make sure that everyone, even your grandma, competes in the Open. As My Ignition puts it, it's not HQ's job to market the Games to make it seem like a picnic, because he's right, it's no picnic! And I really don't think that HQ shouldn't have the spotlight on the Elite Athletes. It is the purpose of the Games to find the fittest man and fittest woman on Earth. I think that's where we come in as trainers, affiliates and a community. It's OUR job to encourage our athletes to compete. To push themselves to new levels. The online format of the Open this year means that the Games is more accessible then it's ever been before and we should be taking advantage of it by promoting it within our own gyms and communities. We have to let people know that there is more to the Games then simply winning and losing. The spirit of CrossFit runs much deeper than that. I know I will continue to encourage and push all of my clients, Firebreather or not, to compete whether it be in the Open or in the next local competition. CrossFit is a sport and we should all be allowed to play!


  1. I may be newish to Crossfit, but I am not new to competition or elite level sports. I think I have a uniques understanding of both spectrums. I think you misunderstand what I was saying about it not being for every one. The reason it is not for everyone is because it involves a choice , someone has to choose to pull that special effort out of themselves. That is all you need, an excellent effort and you are able to conquer your mountain (more power to you). That 47 year old lady belongs in the open because she chose to accept her challenge. I agree that we should encourage people to join (heck I beg people to sign up) but they have to make the final choice.

    I think this is a great conversation by the way. Iron sharpened iron today .. Thank you so much!

  2. Ok now that you put it in those words, I believe I understand what you're getting at. I define it as "being CrossFit" and what I mean is, you're right, some people are never going to make that choice to push themselves. Some people don't "get it" and those people are never going to succeed at this thing that we all love because they don't want to. You can tell when somebody "gets it" and when somebody doesn't. But then again, there are plenty of people out there that "get it" but are still afraid. Afraid of being judged by or compared to the best. Those are the ones that I'm looking to reach out to. Those are the ones that we should be encouraging to break self-imposed boundaries and just do it for the sake of doing it!
    I love that that this convo is happening as well. Thank you for helping me define myself as a trainer and community member.

  3. Good stuff Leah and My Ignition. The 47 double unders is a great story. Totally dig: "Most people need that little something extra, like the Open, to push themselves to shatter those obstacles."


  4. @Leah . . . . Thank you!!! You get exactly what I was trying to say amongst other things that these Sectionals could have gone a long way in reaffirming and reaching out to people who may be questioning why they should enter and may not "get it" right now but through this Cf HQ could have helped them understand and helped them "get it". That it doesn't mean you have to have a sub 2 minute FRAN or the Games should be watered down but to do it for yourself. There is a woman who is doing the Sectionals and has a score of 21 posted. That means 21 double unders and ZERO ground to overheads. These are probably the first 21 double unders she has ever done but guess what she did it!!! She has a score posted in a Worldwide competition and is part of a Worldwide community. Who cares if she has no chance of making it to the Games or Regionals. I think we could have and should have had triple if not quadruple the number of people "competing" in these Sectionals.


  5. p.s. Great blog but I beg you to change the color scheme. Got caught looking at it at work and now my manhood is being called into question... :)

  6. @FuncThat! HAHA! Awesome...I'll think about it! :)

  7. @Ronan Thank you for giving me something to think about! The community is what makes CrossFit so amazing! I look forward to many more discussions like this that both challenge us and bring us together as a community.

  8. Great post Leah, so proud of that 57 year old lady! I made the choice to participate in the Games because I am in a rut and I need something to get me excited about working out again. Don't get me wrong I love crossfit but somewhere along the way I have lost my motivation. Maybe I looked at the Games in a way that makes "elite" crossfitters frown, but I feel you are right in saying that everyone belongs at Crossfit and why not look for a way to keep it exciting! The more diverse our gym is the more successful it will continue to be. I have been sick and have not been in the gym in nearly 3 weeks and the only thing bringing me in is doing those darn double unders(which I can't do either)! :) Thanks for your blog and your encouragement

  9. Another good post on this subject. I like how MyIgnition phrased it there, it involves a choice. It's a choice to join, not a selection process. If you want to compete you are in, if you don't you are out. Simple. That said, I know there are amazing and inspirational stories out there of those that have chosen to compete.