A New Year
Like fire or water, it seems love and hate can spread fast these days.
Once the internet takes hold of something it gets ripped apart. Like a forest fire raging in a dry summer heat. Like a hurricane flooding a coastline city street. If something is popular, so is its hatred. Particularly online.
Social media is afire with the love of CrossFit, so accordingly it is flooded with CrossFit hate.
When Mike and I started into CrossFit training towards the end of 2007, even before CrossFit Amplify took roots, in many ways it was looked upon as a new-fangled workout regimen. A bit extreme and somewhat insane, fair or unfair. Yet although it was pretty much the norm to receive weird looks from neighbors or fellow globo-gym goers, there wasn't the swelling wave of hatred that has seemed to pick up speed recently. Sure, people disagreed with the CrossFit philosophy since its onset in 2000, but branches of the military, law enforcement and first responders were consistently showing interest not necessarily because of the extremity of the workouts, but because of their functional aspects. Likewise, the general public was interested in the novelty of constantly-changing workouts with consistent results.
With the advent of the CrossFit Games and the inclusion of Reebok and ESPN, CrossFit is far more mainstream than just four or five years ago. And if something is mainstream, then, as expected, haters will show their face. Or, shall we say, hide behind a computer screen. Keyboard warriors are an expectation at this point, surfing their own oil-infested internet waters with a lit match in tow.
It's an "us vs. them" ideology that permeates many parts of life-- sports, education, nationalism, race, religion. Fitness is no exception. At the risk of sounding completely corny, can't we all just get along?
The obvious answer is no. We are fire and water. But it brings up so many other questions.
For instance, why disrespect other people who are doing something they love? Moreso, those enjoying a hobby with physical benefits? Instead of making fun of people that want to get fit, instead of taking video to fuel social media fires, how about stepping up with encouraging words? How about asking, teaching, or at least engaging in a conversation if you think they are doing something wrong?
I wrote about this exactly one year ago today, with many of the same questions. It seems this is just as much an issue of bullying as we see in adolescence. Read all about it here, if you didn't last year.
To quickly elaborate, in a few regards CrossFit hate stems from people promoting their love of the gym life. We're a cult, after all, so memes and message boards blast the obsession that some exude.
In other regards there's the injury debate. It's a topic that I'll save to detail at another time, but understandably, fitness professionals and physical therapists ultimately want what's best for the health and well-being of the general public. Good. Fine. Never an issue. The pursuit of safe movement is valid and necessary in any athletic endeavor. Bad form, incompetent trainers, ego over safety? By all means, critique. Still, ever see the CrossFit fail videos? Half of what gets shown and laughed at isn't even from a CrossFit gym. Which is why it's easier to just turn a deaf ear, like throwing a bucket of water on the bonfire of hatred. Go on enjoying the benefits, so long as technique and movement efficiency exist. Just don't feed the trolls with ridiculous new exercise combinations.
And as far as the argument that people will lose strength or conditioning gains because of CrossFit? Looking at statistics within our lifts and workouts, we see many more gains in our gym than fitness losses. But we're just one gym in one city in the world. In the end it's about finding something that works for you.
The real reason for bringing all of this up is to highlight the continued excellence we see in the Amplify community despite whatever icy back-and-forth exists on the internet. It's been yet another great year of physical and mental growth, and our Amplify family is increasing all the while.
New to our AmpFam? Welcome. The journey is fun, but the outcome is better. And the group of people here are second to none. Check past posts regarding the fitness equation, progress, attitude, community, etc. Ask questions. Seek out answers.
Each year I reflect on the Amplify community and share some basic thoughts and thanks to what has developed. This year I echo those sentiments. But I also issue a challenge. A motivational challenge to each and every reader, as prompted by our own fiery love/hate relationship with CrossFit and the tough workouts we endure.
The challenge? Step back and do some self-reflection. Sure, the normal questions should take place, like thinking about what goals you have and how you will pursue those goals. But bigger than that is to set fire to the wave already in motion.
What brought you in to the gym in the first place? Why did you step foot into Amplify?
What are you doing to take the next step, to make the next advancement in your fitness journey?
Where can the trainers help? Specifically, what can you communicate that would further benefit the time you put in the gym each and every week?
Is there a fire under your ass or are you just going through the motions? Is the drive still there or do you you need to reignite the embers?
Are you attacking your weaknesses so they come crashing down under the weight of the waves of your work? Do you need to water the roots of your love of fitness by finding more physical challenges to branch out towards?
Whatever analogy works, use it. We'll be here to stoke the fire or water the parched ground for you to find footing and burn/melt through your goals, this year and always.
- Scott, 1.1.2015