A CrossFit athlete participates in a CrossFit workout

DEFINING CROSSFIT, PART 3: VARIANCE

*The third in a series of three articles meant to more specifically define CrossFit and bring a little more clarity to why we do what we do everyday.

As we discussed in part one of this series, in CrossFit we use functional movements to train for things we need our bodies to be able to do in everyday life.  Another key aspect of being ready for the unknown and the unknowable of life is the subject of this article: variance.

The goal of CrossFit gyms all over the world is to create in our athletes a broad, general, and inclusive fitness.  One of the ways we do that is by aiming to train each of the ten general physical skills in equal measure: accuracy, agility, balance, cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, flexibility, power, speed, stamina, and strength.  

Further, we can measure the breadth and depth of our fitness by using what we call “the hopper.”  Imagine a hopper with bingo balls inside it and each ball contains one physical activity: it can be literally anything, a 5K, 1RM deadlift, cutting down a tree, a basketball game of HORSE or shoveling some snow (currently extremely relevant for us Texans).  The fittest person will do well in any and every activity in the hopper.

CrossFit athletes prepare for a CrossFit workout

Put simply, we want to do everything in our power to be prepared for anything life throws at us.  We do that through variance.  Some days we lift weights and have a short, intense metcon.  Some days we just have a longer metcon.  Some days we lift dumbbells, some days we lift barbells.  We jump, we run, we hold positions, you get the idea.  

The person who goes to Gold’s a few days a week for traditional bodybuilding training will surely build a strong bench press and an impressive physique.  However, that person is very unlikely to achieve truly well-rounded fitness, which should be everyone’s goal.  

It is very common for a person to spend several years frequenting a traditional big box gym and get big and strong.  But that same person often can’t squat to full depth or raise their hands over their head.  Does that type of person pass the “smell test” of being fit?  No.

We believe that fitness + luck = health.  That is, by doing everything we can to ensure our fitness, we’ve done everything we can to ensure our health.  The rest is luck.  

The CrossFit athlete should make it a habit to do three things regularly: 1) perform constantly varied, functional movements at high intensity several times a week, 2) eat meat and vegetables, seeds and nuts, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar, at levels that will support exercise but not excess body fat, and 3) get good sleep.  

If we do each of those three things as often as possible we are not just doing everything we can to be ready for the physical demands of life, we’re also doing all we can to delay the ravages of the aging process for as long as possible.    

About the Author 

Edward Getterman is a Certified CrossFit Trainer (CF-L3) and the owner of Twin Bridges CrossFit in Waco, Texas. If he can’t be at the gym or at home, he’d prefer to be at Walt Disney World. He loves deadlifts, hates running, and believes above all else that CrossFit is for everyone.

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