The Magic Is in the (Quality) Movements

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The Magic Is in the (Quality) Movements

Let’s be honest: working out is not a sport. Working out is a way to help you get better at sports.

Your mom doesn’t care that you can clean 300 pounds if your knees crack every time you walk. Your high school volleyball coach doesn’t care that you followed Wendler 5, 3, 1 if you can’t keep your serve in bounds. People only cared about Trent Richardson squatting 700 pounds because he was one of the best running backs in Alabama history. If he was a special teams player on a Division III team, nobody would care.

[I]f you don’t understand the purpose, then you are missing a critical element to your training.
Being in the CrossFit bubble as we are, it is easy to forget the purpose of working out. I’ve been there. My best six months of was in 2009 at age 19 (6:48 “Helen,” 420# deadlift, 16:51 “Kelly,” 250# split jerk), also known as my worst six months of basketball. I prioritized practicing handstands over practicing dribbling; I allowed my form to slip in order to PR; and somehow I completely forgot that my scholarship depended on me breaking a press and hitting mid-range jumpers – not doing Murph until my hands got cheese-grated and I couldn’t shoot a basketball for four days.

tara torn hands

“But I PR’d, Coach!”

Just because something is competitive doesn’t mean it’s a sport. Mario Power Tennis for the Nintendo Wii, for example, has been known to be fiercely competitive around these parts, yielding some of the most creative cheating methods seen in the free world. But even though it does contain some sporting elements, nobody confuses it as a sport. To treat something as a sport means that the overall outcome is the point of emphasis and is primarily measured by a win or a loss. But the element of competition provides many “non-sporting activities” with a thick shade of grey. This includes CrossFit.

If you are getting paid or sponsored (or have a reasonable opportunity to get paid or sponsored), then you have legitimate grounds to consider CrossFit a sport. But otherwise, it’s just working out. However, adding competition to the workouts is great and a big part of what makes CrossFit so effective. It adds a sense of focus rarely seen in workout programs and replicates a sporting environment for athletes whose careers are over. In addition, competition provides an incentive for otherwise unmotivated people to work out. Competition is healthy, and if you lose the ability to compete then you may become a pussy.

But to get the most out of CrossFit, you need to be disciplined enough to pick and choose what to be competitive about.

If you are in a race, throwdown, battle, sponsored event, lift off, or any other synonym for a CrossFit competition, then compete away! When the Filthy 50 comes up, by all means go for it! Compete with the person next to you – or even better, compete with yourself. But for the majority of your training, your attention should be shifted away from your time, rounds, or weight. Instead of competing to win the workout, compete to have the best form, technique, and mechanics with every movement you do.

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