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CrossFit is an interesting phenomenon. It has so many positive qualities and influences on the people who do it, as well as those who are influenced by CrossFitters, be they competitive or merely recreational athletes.

The school of CrossFit

How lessons we learn in the box help prepare us for life

CrossFit is an interesting phenomenon. It has so many positive qualities and influences on the people who do it, as well as those who are influenced by CrossFitters, be they competitive or merely recreational athletes. CrossFit has really opened my eyes to some interesting aspects of our daily lifestyles. There is so much more to life than just grinding away at work every day, day in and day out. Your family needs you, you need to spend time with your friends, and it is always good to challenge yourself by trying something new. There is also a growing need to put away your smartphone and engage with others in a real-world setting, not via a screen in our increasingly pervasive digital world. And, possibly most importantly, we need to slow down. When you do you’ll be surprised at what you’ve been missing and will continue to miss if you don’t stop and take a second to assess your life.

Iím going to generalise a bit here, but for most of us the same daily scenario plays out: From the time we wake up in the morning until the time we go to bed at night, everything is on the clock and rushed. People generally donít give themselves enough time in the morning to get ready at a leisurely pace. They set their alarm clocks for as late as possible to get as much sleep as possible, which is understandable given the demands of modern life. But even then, has that sleep been good and restful? In most cases, it has not, which means we wake up to an alarm clock still feeling tired, run down and weak. Then we rush to get ready for work, only to leave and join the melee of daily traffic. Here we sit, on the way to work, in a reclined position, not having to engage any core muscles. Most of the time many of us are also on auto-pilot as we go the same direction, the same way, at the same time, every day, which generally means that our mind is also disengaged. At work we continue to sit for most of the day, propped up with ergonomic back support in our office chairs. While this endless sitting is interspersed with a break or two to get coffee or, worse, a cigarette, weíre generally inactive for most of the day. After work itís back into the car to either head for the gym or CrossFit box, or home. For those who head home, itís not long before weíre once again seated, this time on the couch for our daily consumption of mindless entertainment via our televisions.

"CrossFit helps people get into the type of condition that allows them to take on other challenges, both in life and in sport, most of which they may never have been able to even consider previously."“CrossFit helps people get into the type of condition that allows them to take on other challenges, both in life and in sport, most of which they may never have been able to even consider previously.”

Worse than all the sitting is the fact that, from morning through to night, most of our time is spent on phone calls, messages, social media, or working on computers and tablets, as we furiously search for some form of app-enabled instant gratification. As we continually crane our necks and poke our chins out to view the next tidbit of information that pops up via our on-screen notifications, we fall ever deeper into the clutches of the modern-day pandemic that is inactivity. Sadly, all this time spent in unnatural static positions is slowly killing us by making it it increasingly harder to live the life our bodies were designed to. I mean, many people canít even sit up straight anymore without the assistance of a chair to recline on. Nutrition is also a very contentious issue. Due to the lack of planning and everything being so rushed during the day, nutrition is also often overlooked. This has led to a dichotomous life; one where our need for instant gratification is at odds with the reality of life where the attainment of any meaningful goal takes time and concerted effort. And there is no environment where this is more evident than in the sporting arena.  Strength athletes, gymnasts, endurance athletes, Olympic athletes, and martial artists, in fact any athlete looking to improve their physical prowess, needs to put in an inordinate amount of time to achieve their goals. Yet, more and more I see people walking through the doors of CrossFit boxes looking for the next quick fix ñ 40 minutes a day to counteract the effects 12 or more hours they spend each day destroying their bodies. If CrossFit has taught me anything itís that most people live extremely unhealthy lives. The sad truth is that many donít even know that they are killing themselves by not exercising or engaging in some sort of physical activity, in addition to the terrible decisions they make with regard to their nutrition.

Whatís even more distressing for me is that the main reason for this is that living this way is easier. It requires less effort; less hard work; less planning; and less commitment than it takes to follow a healthy life. In a world where convenience has become the ultimate sales proposition, society no longer knows what it means to endure. Many have not and never will know what it feels like to toil tirelessly in pursuit of a hard-fought goal. This life requires that the body and the mind simply take the path of least resistance, and this has serious implications, the most evident of which is our loss of natural movement and mobility. People no longer know how to move efficiently. They think their daily aches and pains are just the signs of ageing. They blame life for making them fat and unfit.

Yet, I still hold hope for the human race, and that hope grows every day when someone new enters the doors of my box, or any box for that matter. You see, the philosophy behind CrossFit has opened peopleís eyes to the danger of their unhealthy lives and has made them aware that they need to make some changes; sometimes drastic changes to better themselves and their health. This is because CrossFit is more than just a mode of exercise. It teaches us about the need to improve every aspect of life, and not just focus on the 60 minutes we have to train each day. This is why CrossFit has filled the gap that many other exercise modalities were unable to achieve. CrossFit makes us more mindful in life ñ of the way we move, the way we eat, and the way we think. In the box, we help people get into the type of condition that allows them to take on other challenges, both in life and in sport, most of which they may never have been able to even consider previously. These people are realising that itís not only biceps and abs that make an athlete. Functional strength, efficient movement, and optimal performance are also key. But more importantly, CrossFit challenges us through our daily WODs, the Olympic lifts, gymnastics, and

“Most of the time many of us are also on auto-pilot as we go the same direction, the same way, at the same time, every day, which generally means that our mind is also disengaged.”“Most of the time many of us are also on auto-pilot as we go the same direction, the same way, at the same time, every day, which generally means that our mind is also disengaged.”

It teaches us about the need to improve every aspect of life, and not just focus on the 60 minutes we have to train each day. This is why CrossFit has filled the gap that many other exercise modalities were unable to achieve. CrossFit makes us more mindful in life ñ of the way we move, the way we eat, and the way we think. In the box, we help people get into the type of condition that allows them to take on other challenges, both in life and in sport, most of which they may never have been able to even consider previously. These people are realising that itís not only biceps and abs that make an athlete. Functional strength, efficient movement, and optimal performance are also key. But more importantly, CrossFit challenges us through our daily WODs, the Olympic lifts, gymnastics, and metcons that predominant this form to training, which better prepares us for the challenges we face in world outside the box. In a word, it helps us to develop ëgrití, a quality that is sorely lacking in modern society. CrossFit forges mental fortitude and lazer-like focus. It gives us confidence and the ability to deal with whatever life may throw our way. This means weíre better equipped to deal with the chaos and stress, and lays the platform for us to live more structured, healthier and fulfilling lives. It has become the panacea
to the ills of modern life. Thank you, CrossFit.

About the author: Julian Reichman-Israelsohn is the owner and head trainer at CrossFit Platinum

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