In the never ending talk and pursuit of working towards that next PR on our lifts, WOD times, rep counts, we can sometimes lose focus. Why do we workout? Not just the heart health, nutrition-conscious reasons. But what does it do for us?
Fitness is freedom. And in several different ways. For starters, there is therapy that can be found in going to the gym, shouldering some heavy weight and being able to stand up. Regardless of our daily problems for an hour or so those problems don’t seem as bad. When I am doing deadlifts, my mind is not on bills, or meetings or emails. My mind is able to focus on one thing, moving this weight off the ground. Standing up regardless of what’s going on. Its a reassuring reminder that hard work can pay off, that progress, how ever slight, I still progress. Small improvements one day will be large improvements.
The crossfit community itself is a great part of that therapy. Everyone is there for the same surpose. Even if you are brand new, it only takes a few visits before everyone starts to learn your name and know who you are.
This time of year usually ends up being on of the most popular for building camraderie. When the Crossfit Open comes around, people are cheering each other one, regardless of the skill level. Watching someone Rx’ing a WOD, getting their first Muscle Up, or finally stringing together those elusive double unders. There is something about the shared struggling, that gets us to stop worrying about everything else in the world for a little bit and just be there for our fellow man or woman. Its no wonder that there seems to be a massive increase if Facebook pics and friend requests during this time.
On the other side there is more to working out than just what happens in the weight room, box, or gym floor.
Nobody walks into a crossfit gym for the first time with the intention of being the best crossfitter ever. We come to the gym for other reasons. We come for reasons outside of the gym. Everyone wants to be healthier, stronger, faster, more durable….etc etc, but not just to brag about PR’s. For some its because we play sports and want to be a better competitor, for others its because we want to live longer, we want to live better, we want to be able to rough house with our kids, we want to go places and do things. We don’t want our limitations be because of us.
One of the best examples of this is in our children. There are things that we can do and get away with as a kid that we couldn’t imagine our bodies would let us get away with now. I can’t tell you how many trees I jumped out of, how many cardboard boxes I rode down the stairs, somersaults done off the couch that I did as a kid. Children can be a source of at least a few heart attacks a week but every time they fall, they cry for a moment, then getup and they are off again. Kids don’t worry about how far they are running or fast, they
Sometimes we miss out on the simple things. Running, jumping, swinging. We workout for our health, but in the end we just want to be able to do more. Our fitness is our freedom to do the things we want. Playing sports, chasing kids or pets. Its our ability to be able to deal with more things. When the elevator is broken, we can readily take the stairs or walk down the street instead of needing a cab or getting a ride. Fitness can simply be the ability to get things done. We take things for granted or get accustomed to our own limitations. Kids are funny like this, always trying to push their own boundaries, always trying to do something new. Somewhere along the way we stopped doing this as we aged. This thought doesn’t always strike us until it is too late and we go to do something that we once were able to do only to find that now we can’t.
It is said that “Youth is wasted on the young”. Fitness is our ability to resist this notion. As long as we have the ability to DO, we maintain our freedom. Bench Press and curls may look good now, but squats and pull-ups mean that I will be able to get up and stand on my own well into my years. Continue to do more, so that you can always do more. Go play a new sport, learn a new skill. And if you run out of ideas hang out with someone still in a single digit age for the day.
For other ideas: