It can be intimidating to take a step into a CrossFit “box” or watch the “CrossFit Games” on TV and quickly assume that your level of fitness is not up to par, or may not measure up to the type of training CrossFitters do. However, often times, what we might not realize is that CrossFit is infinity scalable, and can be for anyone!
Many of the athletes you might see on TV or YouTube that perform at the elite level, also known at the CrossFit Games have taken exercise (also known as “training”) to a whole new level. Many of those athletes both train and compete as a full time occupation as an athlete, just as a full time professional NBA or NFL player would. Their days and weeks of the year are often spent in the gym training, and when they are not, they are fueling, practicing recovery through sleep and body/tissue work, and preparing for the next training session or competition.
It may be nerve-wrecking to think about the potential injuries that may arise when you see athletes at your local box completing several of one movement such as pull ups or deadlifts. However, your coaches at your gym will prepare you for movement with mobility and stretching, instruct you with proper movement patterns, and guide you towards proper loading and intensity.
On the other hand, professional or high-level competitive athletes in the sport of CrossFit often times push to limits beyond their current capacity because they have trained for it both physically and mentally, which could then be more prone to injury.
As of recently, CrossFit, as an international brand, is moving back towards the idea of lifelong health and longevity, and taking the main spotlight off of the CrossFit Games/sport of it. The majority of us who fill gyms or “boxes” throughout the world are simply aiming to stay fit and be healthy. CrossFit training can be long term for anyone who wants it to be, but that also means that there are certain guidelines we should not prescribe to, for example, attempting several 1-rep maxes over the span of a few days, especially with injuries, mobility issues or you sit all day.
As a community of coaches and athletes, we can use the structure and guidance of preparing for fitness and executing with proper movement and relative intensity in order to achieve improved health. It can be a means of preventive issues for health such as diabetes, or heart disease, but we must train smart, and address limitations when necessary; leaving our egos at the door is a crucial part in being a successful, lifelong athlete and healthy person. It’s also important to know when to seek out extra recovery methods after a nagging pain has been bothering us for some time.
Awareness and education is key, and coaching is also crucial. If people fear the potential for injury, they should speak to their coach! This is also why the coach-client relationship is important because the client may not be transparent about their concerns if they don’t necessarily find trust in their coach or hold them to that regard of respect and responsibility, so coaches: pay attention to your athletes and know who is walking through your doors, what stories they carry, and how you can best help your athletes succeed at improving their fitness.