An article has been floating around the CrossFit pipeline about doing what they do better. Good. As soon as we believe our shit don’t stink, then we’re neck deep is ego poop. Journey over. So a little self assessment is a darn fine thing.
The article features the 7 “biggest” mistakes, technique, program design and motivation gaps that would behoove box members, and in many cases, non-CFer, to consider addressing. But if a program comes from a holistic philosophical foundation, then these particular mistakes wouldn’t have any merit for a slightly hyperbolic blog title.
Heck, they wouldn’t exist at all.
The real mistakes we’re delving into here are not exclusive to the CrossFit world. The trend of alt-fitness has reached way beyond CrossFit, and, frankly, the entire fitness industry might see fit to consider this list. Does this include you? Well it includes me. For anyone taking this personally, remember I write as a reminder to myself first and foremost. The relevance is not reserved for any single program or model. These are simply universal concepts that need constant addressing. If your program of choice happens to be the example I use, you can chose to take it personally, or you can measure the significance. Maybe you’ve transcended the examples given. Good for you, enlightened one. Meanwhile, I, personally, still have work to do.
The true mistakes would be major flaws in the foundations of structure, weaknesses in thought, and the poor conceptualized programming that results from the philosophy itself, or lack thereof. As usual, the Why trumps all. So, of course, that would be #1…
The REAL 7 Biggest Mistakes
1) Having no purpose. Or, at least not completely defining our purpose. The Why is often forgotten in the quest for What and How. Yet without the Why, the What and How serve as much purpose as governmental red tape or bad pop music. Stuff that keeps us busy as a distraction from what we really need. As an example, let’s look at CrossFit. An interesting phenomenon that no one seems to be talking about is how the CF Games are simply a collection of challenging WODs done as serious competition. Nothing wrong with this. At all. We crave benchmarks for our physical process, and need personal tests to judge our journey.
But there seems to be a big point being missed. If CF is to live up to the modern idealized functional training model that it portrays itself as, then it might behoove the games to be more challenges that DON’T resemble the WODs. It is creating a culture of training to train. Competitive powerlifting can be afflicted by the same tunnel vision, often more so. Crank up those squat and dead numbers because, and only because, you want bigger competitive squat and deadlift numbers. They’re both examples of competing in working out. Are we training simply to get good at doing workouts, just to be good at being in the gym? Perhaps not, but it can sure seem that way. Life is out there somewhere. Let’s train for it.
But if we haven’t a system that creates the direct correlation between life and training, it will only happen by happy accident, if at all. It isn’t a direct transfer, no matter how functional a program might seem on paper.
Our definitions of strength and fitness need to be far greater than what’s on most system’s homepages, or in textbooks, or taught in certification courses. In fact they need to be personal, carved from the nitty gritty experience of our time on this big blue party fun ball, and crafted from getting our calloused hands dirty and our curious minds exploded. If we have no concept of the physical influencing and bettering the metaphysical, then we’re just trendy fitness hamsters on a wheel (or under a barbell).
2) Believing the power output model is the only way, or even the best way, to develop intensity. Speed without embodiment has no lessons. Doing more before doing better is simple poor training. I’ve babbled this many times before.
3) Calling yourself “coach” without earning it. Sorry son, but a couple years of training, a weekend certification and a shiny, new blog give no one the right to be a “coach.” This term used to be the athletic version of Sensei, something earned after years of apprenticeship, study and being constantly ass-deep in the practice and perpetuation of the art. When did it turn into kids thinking they had the chops to teach (or, in many cases, not so much ‘teach’ as ‘monitor’) complicated movement patterns done for speed by large groups of people?
4) Having no foundation program. Not just a beginner’s program (or ‘on ramp’) but a system of checks and balances for the foundation movements to ALWAYS be an ongoing journey of mastery. Covet the basics, both physical and metaphysical, and let it take you a lifetime.
5) Having no program, period. Scaling a WOD or a workout is not programming. Having a plan from point A to point B, C and Z… that’s programming. You are on a journey. Always. Make it empowering, for you and your clients.
Fixing these last two mistakes would eliminate the entire list on the original article.
6) Believing what you’re doing is all there is. Not only has this been done before, but often better. Plus, there are more movements and techniques than the randomly organized 15 or so constantly seen in most WODs, bootcamps or even bodybuilder workouts. Engage in new movement challenges often. This, of course, doesn’t mean just adding more superfluous reps to the drudgery you’re currently comfortable in. Move. In many ways. With many purposes. Your body wants to move in millions of ways, more than your brain can even come up with. Are ya stuck doing the same patterns all the time?
This, of course, means also addressing your motivations and ambitions. Dream a little! See the planet as your playground of embodiment, and explore the crap out of it through movement and participation. Your lessons are limited if your movements are. Your dreams are stuck if your experiences don’t expand.
7) Not having Tribe in mind. Since personal empowerment doesn’t exist without somehow bettering the tribe, we need to continue asking the question Are We Useful?