CrossFit often gets billed as a lifestyle, something more than just a gym or an exercise regime and I completely agree. CrossFit, particularly Saxon CrossFit, is far more than just working out. It is something that, if you embrace it, will impact many aspects of your life in an incredibly positive way.
Now for me there are two different faces to the CrossFit lifestyle:
The one seen on Netflix and YouTube – hardcore athletes slamming barbells, pushing their limits and embracing the suck.
And the one not so publicised – normal people focusing on their fitness and well-being, trying to be a little better each day and striving for optimal health.
These two lifestyles might seem miles apart and it might seem strange that they could co-exist in the environment of the same gym. But they can and do, in fact they compliment one another.
When you first walk in to a CrossFit gym you will probably see what on first sight is chaos. People lifting, people running, people jumping, people swinging about. There will probably be music playing, coaches shouting and other members cheering. It might all seem quite intimidating, a little bit of that first Netflix type lifestyle.
Then when the workout is over and the music is turned down, you’ll see that the vast majority of people there are ‘normal’ people. They’ll be teachers, nurses, students and retirees. They’ll be a mix of super fit, pretty fit and pretty new to fitness. They’ll be chatting about their days, their evenings and how challenging they just found the workout. They’ll be a little bit more of that second lifestyle, the just trying to be better each day element of CrossFit.
Now both lifestyles are what draw people to CrossFit. Some, like myself, walk into the CrossFit world wanting to be the best, wanting to crush competitions and find their limit. Some, also like myself, want to find the thing that is going to keep them fit and healthy into old age, that thing that is going to mean they can chase their grandkids around into their 90’s.
The trick is to know which lifestyle you prioritise.
For the vast, vast, vast majority of CrossFitters optimal health and well-being is the sole name of the game. What can I do today that is going to make me a better human tomorrow?
How can I be faster, how can I bet stronger, how can I live longer and fuller, how can I feel more energetic and how can I move better?
Obviously exercising in our classes is going to make you fitter, fact. But that part I mentioned earlier about CrossFit impacting many aspects of life, well that takes part outside of the classes. CrossFit will have you thinking about nutrition and what you cook and eat to keep you fuelled. CrossFit will have you thinking about how you sleep, how you relax and how you recover from the stresses of life. CrossFit will have you thinking about how you socialise, how you engage with and impact people and who impacts you. CrossFit will make you think about your priorities and goals and will hopefully help you achieve them.
This is the lifestyle side of CrossFit that gets under-represented in the media because, well let’s face it, it’s not sexy enough. Matt Fraser slamming barbells and high-fiving other jacked dudes is better viewing than a relatively fit 35-year-old dude discussing how his squat mechanics have improved and how that has carried over into his everyday life or how he has made some great friends at CrossFit which has helped him with some social anxiety issues he was having.
This is the lifestyle of CrossFit that I want people to know, to embrace and really get behind. Being elite level fit is awesome – slamming barbells is awesome and pushing your boundaries is awesome. I will always support people wanting to compete in this epic sport and will continue to do so myself.
But for me it’s all about highlighting a better life, a longer, healthier life and being surrounded by people who will support you in that goal.