When I first began CrossFit I fell in love with the fun of it, but I’m human and so it didn’t take long for me to get caught up in the aesthetics and then the competitive side of things as I progressed. In general, it’s safe to say that few people exercise with the main goal of having fun, but what if we did? What if instead of using exercise as something we do because we feel guilty for what we ate the night before, we instead used it as an expression of what our bodies are capable of?
Yes, of course we want the increase in work capacity, the increase in health, the better looking body, the fist bumps, but don’t do it for those reasons alone; they’re short-lived. Instead, come in and move your body because you can, because you have a capable body filled to the brim with potential. Workout because you have the freedom of moving your body outside the confines of normal life, which at this point consist mostly of sitting in chairs and staring at screens.
For many, our workout is our only way to really connect with the physical world. We spend the majority of our day in our heads looking out (thinking, analyzing, judging, decision-making, etc.) that it’s easy to forget that we’re apart of this on a physical level too. We need this escape to reestablish balance, and we know this because lack of it generally leads to a long-list of problems, mental and physical. So come in and let your exercise, your movements, be a physical expression of you. Find pleasure in that. Sure, there are certain criteria that should be met in an air squat, but your air squat is still your air squat. Nobody can do it exactly like you.
Stop calling it exercise and stop referring to it as something that “has” to be done. This hour is something we “get” to do. Moving is what our bodies were designed to do, and it’s necessary for a well-balanced life. Don’t worry, your body will continue with the good stuff, just relax and try and enjoy the program for more than a smaller waistline. Yes, workouts will be tough, but embrace that. Stop and look around the room at the like-minded athletes who are willingly putting themselves in the same “dark place.” No matter how hard it gets, you’re doing it of your own accord, so remind yourself of that. Move because you have a capable body. Move because it’s the very first thing you ever learned how to do. Move because you’ll miss it when the day comes that you can’t move anymore.
Well said Shane! Love it!
Oh, hell yes. That hour is fucking magic. It’s work, hard work. But its also meditation, a loud and sweaty celebration of the fact that we’re alive and can do this stuff. And every day is a chance to do something new, or an old thing better. And there are days where I didn’t feel like getting up and going there, but I’ve never — ever — regretted being there and doing the deal. And I love that every day at 5:30 a.m. there are 23 other like-minded individuals with me. I love you all. Thanks for putting this into words, Shane!
Shane – Very well put. I think your piece hits a lot of us between the eyes. Really resonates. Going two or three days without a WOD is tough on the soul, something is missing that impacts body/brain chemistry.
Googs – I agree. It is a meditation, a time to recalibrate and recharge. The part of your post I struggle with is the 5.30am part. You people are my heroes. I will see you at 8.30a, when and if the stars align for me. 😉
Shane, this is so awesome. I feel you on this, 100%. So grateful that I am able to use my body in the ways that I can, and that I have access to what I consider an amazing privilege, Roots.
Shane, this is precisely what Crossfit did for me! As a former gymnast and someone who struggled with eating disorders and body image issues for over 20 years, it wasn’t until CF that I truly healed my relationship with food and my body image. Until CF, I ate and exercised in order to be thin or thinner. I hated my body. Even once I had stopped the eating disordered behavior, I still had the eating disorder mentality – it was a constant struggle. CF changed all of that for me. I learned to appreciate my body for what it can do, how strong it is, and what I’m able to accomplish. I’m a f’ing badass now. I can’t believe what I’m capable of sometimes out in the real world when we put it into action. Food has become medicine and fuel and disease prevention. I have such intense gratitude for Crossfit and Roots and my dear community there that shows so much love and support. And what do you know, turns out it’s fun as Sh&#!
This was a great read, Shane. Though I’m still gonna call it “exercise.” It’s in my contract.
Shane, thank you for putting into words what so many of us experience every time we walk through the doors at Roots. Reading this and the comments I have tears streaming down my face. Like Mango, I’ve struggled with eating disorders and disordered eating my entire adult life. As an endurance athlete I was always trying to be thinner and faster. Meanwhile, I was pumping myself with bigger and bigger doses of steroids everyday to combat the symptoms of an out of control autoimmune disease. All in the name of being thinner, fitter and faster. Ten years ago, in the midst of an autoimmune flare that was failing to respond to steroids I was counseled by my medical team to consider aborting a pregnancy at 27 weeks because they were afraid my kidneys and lungs wouldn’t last another 10 years. I was offered a handful of pamphlets and ‘time to think it over’. That conversation saved my life. I told them to shove it and walked out of the office determined to find my own answers. It took almost 8 years of using food as medicine to reclaim my physical health but it wasn’t until I started CrossFit 15 months ago that I was able to FULLY heal my whole being. I’m now 100% in remission and watching my oldest daughter turn 10 later this fall – something they said I wouldn’t do. So with that, every workout is a celebration of what I can do and what I will do in the future. And ‘Fat’ isn’t in my vocabulary anymore. Now it’s only ‘strong’ and ‘healthy’ – something I would have never been able to experience (and model to my daughters) without CrossFit. So for that, I am forever grateful to the entire staff and community of athletes at Roots.
After a 15 hour day of sitting, staring at a screen, thinking, meeting with lots of co-workers, this post is exactly what I needed. Thank you Shane! #Inspired
CrossFit has been my midlife breakthrough! I joined Roots after a harrowing divorce and you all have preserved my sanity and saved me thousands on therapy bills. Thanks for this post. And thank you for the the open and honest responses..
Shane…this exactly why I come to Roots. <3