What if CrossFit was an acronym?
Since the gym is in a bit of an uproar due to the impending move into our new space on Mellor Ave, we’re breaking from our current on-going series for the week. We’ll (probably) pick back up with another Muscle Training Primer installment next week, but for now I’m going to share what I like to call a “Random Shower Thought” with you. Maybe this will become it’s own semi-series. Who knows?
So, what if CrossFit was actually C.R.O.S.S.F.I.T.?
I found myself thinking about this after the Labor Day workout. From my time as a trainer, gym owner, and athlete I’ve found that the most successful people – the ones who rise to high level competition, make huge improvements to their health, or go on to become trainers/owners themselves – all seem to share many characteristics. Just for fun, I started making CrossFit into an acronym of the traits I’ve seen that lead to that success.
You don’t achieve greatness with half-ass effort. Plan and simple, people who rise to the top of their game – whether that game is athletics, consulting, investing, whatever – are absolutely committed to that game. In fitness, you don’t make huge improvements in your health by walking into the gym a couple times a week, going through half-hearted motions without a plan, and then leaving. Sure, you might sweat. Hell, you might even sweat a lot! But when you put in sub-par effort you get sub-par results. Every day in the gym – every day in life – should see 100% of the effort you have available at that moment applied to whatever it is you want from the work you’re putting in. Anything less shows lack of commitment.
Note that “100% every day” doesn’t mean you’re at your absolute, all-time best every single day. It means you’re doing the best you possibly can with what you’ve got (energy, resources, etc.) on that specific day. The 100% from yesterday might be the 50% of today. Do what you can, every day, and don’t hold back.
You know what a lot of unsuccessful people have in common? Excuses. They blame people, things, and events for their failure. It could be the weather, the gym staff, their coworkers, traffic, the economy, their family…when someone who has the wrong mindset sets their thoughts to it, they can find any number of reasons why they failed, but those reasons are almost never their own fault. Successful people take responsibility for their success and failure, and realize that what you make of your life is, in the end, 100% on you. The same goes for whatever results you see from your diet and exercise. It’s on you, and only you, to determine what you eat, when, and how much. It’s your responsibility to make time to exercise and pursue a healthy lifestyle. Do it, or don’t, but accept the results you get for your efforts.
A great person needs to be open to new things. This can be new experiences, new people, new ideas, or new challenges, just to name a few. The hallmark of someone stuck in a rut, all other things being in place, is being closed off to the world. This can take the form of a refusal to explore new avenues of development, ignoring the educated opinion of experts in your field because they don’t agree with you, or failing to take necessary steps in a business that carries reward in exchange for risk. In health, you need to be open to the fact that something might not be working, that you need to make changes to see results, and that doing the same thing repeatedly isn’t always the best path to success.
Bar none, truly successful people in all things respect themselves. Self-respect is the hallmark of healthy pride, and there is no reason not to have it and show it. Too often, people will fail to take action simply because they don’t respect themselves enough to make things happen. You can see this in different forms for different people, even when looking towards the same goals, and with the same effect. If you don’t exercise because you don’t respect your body, or if you don’t exercise because you don’t respect your own worth as a person, the net effect is the same: you don’t respect yourself and you’re continuing self-destructive action (or inaction). No matter who you are, you have worth and you should have pride in being you. Now go do something cool.
Pride is not the antithesis to selflessness, and both can easily exist in the same person at the same time. Many people who become trainers start out with a healthy dose of self-respect – wanting to be better, stronger, faster, healthier for their own sake, which is totally awesome and fine – and then dovetail into wanting to help other people do that as well. Even the people who don’t go on to train others can show selflessness in the gym – or at work, in social gatherings, etc. – by doing a very simple thing: value the accomplishment of others just as much as you value your own. It really is that simple. A selfless person doesn’t have to give all their money to charity; run into burning buildings to save orphans, kittens, & kitten-orphans; or join the clergy (any of them, pick one, doesn’t matter). You just need to respect others – their lives, wants, needs, and problems – as much as you respect your own. This can be described in one, concise sentence: Give Value First.
How many people do you know that seem to have Life A.D.D.? By that I mean, they can’t seem to focus on any one thing for long enough to actually be great at it. So many people treat life as a “do all the things at once to a minimal effort and see what sticks”, rather than just picking a small handful of things they’re really passionate about, and throwing their efforts into those things until they are phenomenal at them. Developing a laser-sharp focus is the thing that carries people above average and into extraordinary. To some, this may look like obsession, but what is obsession other than focused passion? As long as it’s healthy, who cares? Find a focus, a passion, an obsession and become the best person you have ever met at that thing. Then find a way to get better at it. Then get better still. Don’t practice something until you’re good enough to do it right; practice until you’re so good you can’t do it wrong.
Being honest with others is hard, but being honest with yourself is a daily struggle. When you look at your day to day life, are you honest about the things you accomplish (or fail to accomplish)? The greats tend to be highly introspective, using their Focus and Self-respect to determine if they’ve truly done all that they could to accomplish a goal. If you look into yourself and find something lacking, integrity means you admit it, deconstruct the problem as honestly as you can, and take steps to fix whatever didn’t work. Someone who lacks integrity sees their own failings, and either ignores them or blames someone/thing else for them. This trait falls right in line with Responsibility, allowing us to shape how we deal with the things that happen in life. In fitness, this means admitting when you don’t get to the gym and making an actionable plan to do so. It means seeing your efforts objectively, and deciding if you could have given more. It’s looking at your diet and not providing yourself with some ready-made excuse about why you ate McDonalds three times in one day.
Often, life is painful, difficult, annoying, disappointing, and frustrating. Here’s the thing: it’s like that for everyone you have ever met, everyone you ever will meet, and every human who has ever lived (or ever will live, probably). A great many people who take life by the short-&-curlies and wring what they want from it don’t accomplish things due to a lack of adversity. They do it in spite of – or sometimes because of – the difficulties they face. Tolerance is the ability to look at the crap, accept that it’s there, and then go do something awesome anyway. I have two phrases I like to use for this one:
“Embrace the suck.”
“Suck it up, Buttercup, and lift the f***ing weight!” (metaphorical weight or lteral, doesn’t matter)
So, what’s your CrossFit acronym?