The greatest adaptation to CrossFit takes place between the ears

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“The greatest adaptation to CrossFit takes place between the ears.”

-Greg Glassman, Founder of CrossFit

Day after day we march into the gym to do battle with barbells, gymnastic rings, rowing machines, kettlebells, jump ropes, and countless other inanimate objects. Hours upon hours of physical struggle accumulate as the days, weeks, and months pass. CrossFit is NOT easy. The truth is, it’s quite hard. At times it can be frustrating. A fair question from a non-CrossFitting individual would be, “Why do you put yourself through all of this?”

An easy, fair, and accurate response could simply be, “I do it because CrossFit is the most effective strength and conditioning program on the face of the earth.” That’s honest and tough to argue with. If something else was more effective, we would be doing whatever that was. Alas, that is not the case.

However, the benefits we reap from CrossFit training far exceed improving our engine, strength, and gymnastics. The founder of CrossFit, Greg Glassman, once stated, “The greatest adaptation to CrossFit takes place between the ears.” As is so often the case with this man…he was correct.

CrossFit is hard because of variance. It’s easy to walk into the gym everyday and do things you enjoy and excel at. However, it takes a special type of dedicated and disciplined individual to show up and work hard on things which provide struggle, frustration, challenge, and occasionally failure. (Did you get the 1st muscle-up you ever attempted? Many don’t.) Because we train with variance everyone will have days when they are king of the mountain, and other days when they are dead last. But everyone shows up, works hard, and supports each other. While your body is strengthening, so is your mental resolve to not quit when life challenges you.

CrossFit is hard because of functional movements. Functional movements require you to engage your brain and move your body in a coordinated sequence in order to perform them successfully. In a normal gym you just plop your butt down on a piece of equipment and push against a foam pad in a predetermined range of motion. You don’t even need to think! The movements we train require your undivided attention. Even a simple movement like the air squat is 100 times more challenging than traditional gym equipment. We need to be thinking….”OK, I’m keeping my midline tight. Now I’m sending my hips down and back while my knees track beautifully over my toes. Oh, and I need to keep my torso upright and make sure my weight does not shift onto the balls of my feet.” From there it only gets more complicated with the clean, deadlift, snatch, jerk, kipping pull-ups, etc, etc. The list goes on and on. And yes, these movements strengthen your body. However, the type of person who is willing to be patient and learn how to perform technical, complex movements is not the type of person to back down when things in life get hard.

CrossFit is hard because of intensity. What a wonderful world it would be if lazily moving around the gym got you in phenomenal shape! As we all know, that is not the case. Hard work and effort yield results in the gym. Working out with intensity is not pleasant, it is very uncomfortable. But intensity is directly linked to getting the results you want from training. Again, this is analogous to life. Hard work gets results in the gym and outside the gym, and CrossFitters are not scared to work hard.

Here is another excellent Greg Glassman quote, “It doesn’t get any easier, and you wouldn’t want it to anyway.” He is exactly right. What we do in the gym every day is hard. The positive attitude, discipline, and mental fortitude required in CrossFit have a direct correlation and impact on your life outside of the gym. So the next time someone asks you why you do this to yourself you can say, “I do it because it makes me a better person.”




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