Posted on January 02 2017
Why So Serious?
Advanced Athleticism and Expectation
By Courtney Soboleski
Remember when CrossFit for you was about excitement rather than education? When you spread the word about this amazing new sport because you felt empowered and energetic? Not because of some nondescript list of health benefits or a memorized sound-bite you’ve mastered through repetition.
Sometimes it feels like we’ve collectively - as long term athletes – traded the emotion that made us fall in love with CrossFit (or whatever your sport may be) for something else entirely. We’ve lost most of the building blocks for our love of the sport along the way. We’ve managed to convince ourselves that in order to be ambassadors of the sport, we need to be doing two-a-days or 3 hour long sessions. We need to be hitting numbers on par with national level weightlifters or perfecting Games-level gymnastics movements. Our skills and capacities should mimic the Games and our mindset must be perpetually fixated on the next bend in the road.
We’ve stopped enjoying the process because fitness has become a by-product of our goals, rather than goals being a by-product of our fitness. Sure, its partially because our understanding of and appreciation for what we’re capable of has evolved. Mostly its because Carson has become the gold standard, and anything less than that is mediocrity – regardless of whether you will ever step foot onto the Tennis Stadium or not.
I’m not sure where along the way this happened. My guess is that as CrossFit has become more mainstream, images and videos of incredible people performing incredible feats have permeated our daily lives and produced a level of anxiety (and expectation) that we were just never susceptible to before. It’s natural. We’re a community of individuals who accept nothing less than perfection – both from ourselves and our peers.
But can I just throw it out there that this is exhausting?
Most of us have something that precludes us from the Games that we have no control over. Body composition, age, obligations… very rarely do I meet an athlete who’s just unwilling to put in the work. And yet here we all are, subjecting ourselves to that “dark place” that isn’t really representative of why we started in the first place, or even of where we want to be.
In talking to a number of athletes, coaches, business owners, and experts in our field, I can tell you that we’re all thinking the same thing. It’s just that no one is bold enough to break the mold yet. No one is ready to go into the box and do a 15 minute AMRAP and call it a day. We don’t practice something new and then walk away. Very few follow main site or do just one workout a day. And actually having fun, without any regard for how it will impact the season, your PRs, or anyone else’s perception of you, is rare.
We have forgotten that world class fitness – as defined by the guy who made world class fitness a thing – is about keeping workouts “short and intense.” Its about “regularly learning and playing new sports.” Its about “mastering the basics”.
Instead, we’ve diluted what it was always meant to be for most of us; because being prepared for the unknown and unknowable isn’t actually doing every unknown and unknowable movement or workout. It is three basic things: practicing and training a few major lifts, becoming proficient at controlling your own body weight, and hitting conditioning hard and fast. And yet not a lot of people are actually doing any of those things.
And so I’m challenging you. Walk into your affiliate or garage tomorrow with a purpose and with an intent to actually doCrossFit. Do CrossFit in a way that fulfills you again, inspires excitement, and would make you proud to stand next to who you were when you first started it all.
In short, don’t let the daunting pursuit overwhelm the joy.
Courtney is a full-time data analyst, part-time coach, competitive 48kg weightlifter, food blogger at Half Quart Creation, and mom.