Anyone who met me on their first day at Fire for Effect, and/or was taken on the tour of our facility, should remember a line that I use with everyone who joins our ranks…regardless of whether they are completely new or have been participating in CrossFit for the better part of a decade…”you are NOT going to the CrossFit Games. Now that we have that out of the way, we can focus on the things that really matter.” That couldn’t be more true. I only wish there was a way to somehow emphasize that with more strength verbally.
In the past few months, I (along with some very big names, like my mentor Rob Orlando) have felt a sense of vindication, support, and relief of sorts when Greg Glassman, the Chairman of CrossFit Inc., went public with his opinion and remarks about people's priorities. He does NOT like that CrossFit has slowly turned into a “Games Culture”, appealing to and inviting only elite athletes, and/or misleading people to think they can be the next Rich Froning. THAT is not what this methodology and sport was ever intended to be.
When Coach Glassman started the CrossFit methodology with the simple nomenclature of ‘high intensity, constantly varied, functional movements’, it was in direct contrast and response to a lot of things that didn’t work (which was pretty much everything). Most exercise regimens didn’t suit the goals of most people looking to get fit. Glassman set out to try to “undo” years of misinformation. On one side, you had ‘Generation Iron’….people like Ronnie Coleman, Lee Priest, Dorian Yates and others, hulking masses of human beings (all in absolutely horrible physical condition today, along with some who have died like Rich Piana). These people spent hours and hours at the gym, eating 5,000+ calories a day and spending thousands on supplements. Then, on the other side, you had the Jane Fonda nonsense, which advocated being waif-y, "skinny" as healthy, and the fad ‘no fat’ diets where you'd eat 1,000 calories or less a day. Real wholesome stuff at that like rice cakes and iceberg lettuce.
So Coach Glassman took all the best things from calisthenics, gymnastics, powerlifting, strongman, Olympic lifting, and a few others, and combined them. He programmed short, varied workouts daily, and the results speak for themselves. In short, simplicity. Workouts comprised of triplets (three movements), couplets (two movements), and the occasional chipper. This amazing workout soon it turned into a sport, which resembles ‘field day’ when we were all in elementary school. But then Reebok got involved, and it grew and grew and grew…like a mutating virus. Slowly the emphasis turned away from simplicity while working hard with a community, and it turned into complexity and booty shorts.
In other words, back to square one. All those ‘attitudes’ we ran screaming away from at places like Golds and LA Fitness are now infiltrating CrossFit boxes everywhere. The norm used to be boxes that welcomed everyone, and the person at the back of the pack was getting more praise, support, and accolade than the one who finished first. Then, the notion of being the best crept into people's heads, and the ego's started to grow. Now, the norm is trying to be an elite athlete who PR's every day. The icing on the ‘not going to the games cake’ are the injuries due to over training. This is a huge pet peeve of mine. The SAME people who think they are going to Regionals (even though there is no Regionals anymore, but you get what I'm saying), the Games, or other delusions of grandeur--are the ones who are perpetually injured. They can’t accept their personal limits, trust the process of Glassman's methodology, and ASK for some accessory work. Instead they stack miles of running on top (constant solid state running is NOT good for you, sorry not sorry if that breaks your heart), pile on weight before they perfect the technique, or try things on their own at home that they don’t have the skill set to program or assess.
Look at all the REAL accomplishments that have occurred at Fire for Effect within ONE year of business. Ask Tom about his blood work in comparison to the last time he went to the doctor for a blood panel. Ask Joe if he ever thought he would be running again and how he shredded 30lbs off in 8 weeks. Ask Lila about conquering her fear of box jumps then doing 70 in the same night. Ask Jess about being the strongest she's ever been, and having the confidence to do any task she needs to around the house. Ask Jim about how toes to bar used to be like his kryptonite, and now he looks forward to them so he can showcase them. Ask Robin about being almost asymptomatic with lupus. This list goes on and on. We're so proud of ALL of our members, and we love that you bring the fire every time you're here. Your health should, and always will come first at FFE.
Guys, year after year this elitist nonsense gets more insane. There were literally dozens of torn pectoral muscles at the Eastern Regional last year. Scores of popped Achilles the year before. For what? I’m obviously not anti-competing, nor is any other member of the staff…most of us compete. What I AM saying is…well…let me put it this way, I play guitar. I can’t wait to be out of the Army and start a band (not a hipster nonsense band. I’ve had my share of hearing that nonsense this year, haha) so I can play my heart out. I’m going to play because it’s fun, and I love to make music, and sing, and share memories. Not because I think I’m going to be a rock star.
You can dream big, but keep your head on your shoulders. Keep health your central focus, and you'll be seeing personal improvements everywhere you look.