When did we water down CrossFit to become nothing more than a prescription to peak physique?
When did the goal of squats become booty bounce, or presses become chest meat?
When did we start caring more about how CrossFit makes us look and less about what it can help us do?
We’ve labeled CrossFit as simply another way to get our ideal Ken or Barbie body, alongside the Bowflex and Thighmaster. But in its rawest form, CrossFit is anything but. So why should we refocus our CrossFit goals toward performance rather than physique?
The name says it all.
Consider the “average” body of a Games athlete — broad, tight, curvaceous muscles in all the right places. These athletes did not train with the intent to look this way. Instead they trained to be cross fit — being highly capable across the 10 fitness domains. They aren’t being judged on their 6-pack. They are being judged on their performance.
And CrossFit, in essence, isn’t physique fitness (working out to improve our looks). It is called functional fitness — improving the functional movements we perform daily.
Physique in not a good indicator of health.
Society has played a mean trick on us, making us believe the thinner we are, the healthier we are. But often, thin on the outside can mean sick on the inside — malnourished, weak, diseased. A good indicator of health is not what we look like but our level of functional fitness — what can we do on a daily basis. Just because we look the part (ex: trim, tight, lean), doesn’t necessarily mean we’re healthy.
Physique is fickle because we are often changing — not just day by day — but moment by moment. Try comparing a picture of yourself at the beginning and at the end of the day to see what I mean. And, as much as our society values youth (and as much as we want to hold onto a trim, fit physique) time will inevitably take it away. Hormones, stress, environment and gravity all change our bodies.
What isn’t as fickle is our functional fitness. If we can squat to pick up a pencil at 9am, we can also more than likely do it at 9pm. If we can deadlift the laundry Monday, we more than likely can also do it Friday.
And as looks fade, movement and strength become a good indicator of quality of life. Therefore, focusing on what we can do yields more lasting results as we age.
So if we are immersed in functional fitness at its core, we must commit to performance as our primary motivation — moving well, lifting heavy, functioning fluidly among all fitness domains.
Physique is just the side benefit.