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CrossFit = Physical + Education: A Blog by Coach Dennis

Many of us walk into a CrossFit facility the first time and think, “What the?” Where are the treadmills? Where are the mirrors? And why is everyone doing the same thing?

To steal a line from the Clash many are likely thinking “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”

For the younger crowd, search iTunes to learn more about the Clash.

But for everyone, the answer is clear, stay. The reward will be great.

On the surface CrossFit can seem simple, much like a gym class. There are a few basic movements, all performed during a class with other students, and there is a “teacher” coaching. You work hard then go about your day. A few things are true; it is much like a gym class, you will get to see your friends, you will train hard, and your mind and body will change.

Through all of this work and enjoyment, and quite possibly without realizing, you are receiving a physical education.

First, the physical. You are participating in a physical regimen supported by years of trial and error, research, and most important, innovation. While it’s true CrossFit is widely accepted as a legitimate fitness program, skeptics remain. Fortunately, this skepticism has caused many to walk through the front doors to see what everyone is talking about. As any experienced CrossFitter knows the physical also includes performing movements such as a clean, snatch, handstand push up, and muscle ups, to name a few.

These movements are tough, as they should be, but scalable to individual need. Each requires an athlete to work hard, test their strength and stamina, and be willing to keep their ego from interfering with progress.

Next, the education. Whether it’s a foundation session or boot camp class, athletes quickly realize the need to learn a new language – Box, WOD, AMRAP, EMOM, RX, and the dreaded time cap – as well as the need to count.

Wait, you want me to work hard, sweat, get dirty, and count? How is that possible?

Time will prove learning both is possible.

You will learn the language, polish your math skills, and over time yes, both is possible.

Many athletes learn a great deal about themselves as well. Transitioning from feeling like a new kid on the block to a vital part of the community may take time, but realizing the human body is capable of doing incredible things can happen on day one. Performing a deep air squat, a complete range of motion push up or powerful jump rope sequence can be exhilarating. Many do so in disbelief.

Did I really do that? Yes you did, and there is plenty more to come.

Be patient, remain committed, and never give up. Trust your mind as your body begins to question this new found path to wellness.

My path to a CrossFit gym was like many others. I was an athlete throughout my younger years to include high school which lead to a full athletic scholarship in college. The bang on the body was more than I wanted so leaving my scholarship behind I quickly entered into the law enforcement profession where I remain today. While serving as a SWAT team member I learned about this thing called CrossFit. I “trolled” CrossFit’s “mainsite”, subscribed to the daily email, and watched lots of videos. I can remember my first workout like it was yesterday.

Humbling and confusing, it was like wearing a suit for the first time; uncomfortable but I knew it was pushing me to get serious about myself. That was 2007 and I haven’t looked back.

My workouts have taken place in a high school gym, a local park, a franchise gym, and now an affiliate. The progression has been slow, and my ego has been challenged. I can no longer bench press 500 lbs., but pull ups are easier. I no longer train alone, as the strength of the community is more consequential than I am as the individual.

I’m no longer part of the young crowd, but I have embraced my longevity to be an example for others including my wife and daughters.

I am in better shape, physically and mentally, and all of this change is thanks to learning about this thing called CrossFit.

 

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