At Riptide CrossFit, we tend to say “we don’t care about how you look, we care about how you perform.” At first glance that statement sounds like it is meant for competitive athletes only, and since it isn’t, let’s explore the meaning behind what we mean “perform.”
Human performance can be measured in many ways, many of which come to mind are competitive in nature. Let’s step back for a second and think of the human body as a system. This system’s sole purpose is survival. Beyond survival there is really not much else the system is built for. Granted, part of the survival it is built for comes in procreation, however, thinking of the system as a sole unit, it is built to not die for as long as possible, in other words.
We now take this alternate approach at seeing our body this way, and think, “what are we doing to survive?” Many of us think survival is based on money generation, in order to continue to feed ourselves and build the best shelter possible, however, is that the best survival possible?
In purely Mechanical terms, and it could be said in Biomechanical terms, a system’s well-being is based on intake of exhaustible resources, on maintenance, and on storage. Gents, think of your dream 1969 SS Camaro Red Camaro, with Black racing stripes going over the top of the sleek design shell. This Camaro is kept performing at it’s best by replenishing exhaustible resources, in other words, adding fuel. By maintaining the car – oil changes, coolant flushes, transmittion fluid flushes, belt changes, etc. And by proper storage – a nice garage is a must once you are committed to maintaining a healthy relationship with such a beautiful piece of machinery.
For the ladies let’s think of something simpler – nails. In order to have your nails ready for those Fridaynight romantic candle lit dinners, you have to replenish resources – nail polish, clear coats, etc. Maintain the nails – cuticles, nail clipping, etc. And storage? Well, in nail terms, let’s think outside the box and say that storage would be wearing gloves. So if you are, say, cooking that nice dinner, or you are gardening, or you are skiing, or doing just about anything that might get your nails in contact with the destructive elements, you wear gloves. Those of you who love these nice, neatly kept nails, we know there is serious work that goes into their “performance.”Similarly, let’s look at our human body. Exhaustible resources? Food and Water. Storage? Shelter of any type, be it a home, an apartment, a tipi, a hut, or a tent. Now we come to the topic of maintenance. This is where we want to be. The modern man has in many cases dumb down this item to believing maintenance can be showers, shaving, and grooming. These hygiene processes, although are necessary, are not so strongly and directly linked to long term performance. There are men and women over 100 years old, who’s bodies have out performed the average man, who live in places where grooming and showers are not as readily available, such as the Amazon rain Forrest, Africa, and other rural settings.
So we the question is, what are we doing for our basic body maintenance? Do we care what we look like if our performance is short lived?
CrossFit started as a strength and conditioning program, aiming to push athletes to the highest level of fitness. At one point people started figuring out the term athlete isn’t deemed only to those guys on TV at the Olympics, or playing for the NFL, or NBA. The term athlete can be deemed to the human machine. When looking a a human from this perspective, then we realize, perhaps these programs do prolong our life, and not only prolong the actual lifespan in years, but also the quality of our life throughout those years.In these terms CrossFit has become not only a program, but much more – a life style. There are cliches about CrossFitters, and there are stereotypes, but beyond those nuisances, there is a movement in the health community due to this CrossFit program everyone is buzzing about.
So how can CrossFit make us perform better? I would say, beyond all the hoopla and the competitions, and the noise and the graffiti, it makes us aware. Our weaknesses are quickly apparent during our first ever WOD, no matter what our athletic background is. If we are a power lifter and have to do gymnastics, if we are a gymnast and have to do lifting, if we are a no-experience type athlete then the cardio, the gymnastics, and the lifting will hand it to you.One perfect example of a single movement which shows people many things about their physical ability is the Overhead Squat. This movement will bring even the biggest and strongest guys to his knees if he doesn’t have proper mobility, technique, movement, and stability. All these terms might seem familiar but aren’t yet fully defined to many of us so we will be diving into these more this week.
For those of us who do want to perform better beyond the gym, but in life, I can say our program is as well rounded as can be in just 1 hour per day. It’s sort of funny when people become so defensive about their time and can only be at the box exactly 60 minutes, and can’t stay the extra 5 minutes stretching, or rolling their legs, or so on. It isn’t looked down-upon, but what ARE we doing? Are we there just to look better? Just to get in shape? Or are we there because a bell went off the first time you got whipped by a WOD, the bell that says “I have to be better than this.” The better comes with awareness and time.
For those individuals who want more, there is always a Competitor’s HOMEWORK up on the board daily. This homework, in reality shouldn’t only be for competitor’s, however, those individuals driven to compete are some of the only who stay to do this homework. Please notice, many times, 2 to 3 days per week, the homework isn’t even any more working out, but instead recovery and mobility.
Beginning tomorrow we begin a blog series which will be going into what the term MOBILITY and what MOBILITY WODs are. Why they are important to our long term health and why we are all responsible to know about our own bodies instead of leaving it all in the hands of Doctors.
Keep reading in this week as we explore Becoming a Supple Leopard, by Kelly Starret of San Francisco CrossFit.