The oh-so familiar definition of CrossFit is “Constantly varied functional movements at high intensity across broad time and modal domains”. This definition is part of the difficult process of putting objective specific elements to the highly subjective concept of “Fitness”. Less well-known in CF circles, however, but of equal importance and emphasis in CF Level 1 seminars, etc., is the following:
MECHANICS – CONSISTENCY – INTENSITY
In specific order, it is the pathway by which proper bodily mechanical functions – in everything done in the gym – repeated with disciplined consistency would lead to the type of intensity of effort that would produce the desired outcome in our fitness.
Do you remember when Grant or Alex or Caleb talked about those 3 things during your Fundamentals class (back in the day) or during On-Ramp (current version)? Did you understand and comply with the discipline that must accompany the effort to strive for MECHANICAL VIRTUOSITY (doing the common thing uncommonly well)? Did you focus on what you were doing, striving for REPETITIVE CONSISTENCY (every time to you warm up, set up, lift, move)? Did you ask a coach to observe you specifically to see if you were doing things consistently well? Only then, did you ramp-up to the INTENSITY of effort you were looking for when you came into the gym? “Getting your ass kicked” was what you were looking for / expecting, right? You saw it on TV, you heard about it from a friend, read about it in a Fitness magazine. “Let’s get smoked!” Then suddenly the coaches start talking all Zen-like about stuff that’s not intense at all, like PVC Overhead squats in a door frame, or giving you smaller KBs than everyone else is using. Wait, what? The people in that Reebok commercial were using bigger kettlebells than these!
Most of us deliberately sought out this gym because we were looking for INTENSITY. CF promises that and we expect our workouts to deliver. If you are like me, right from the start, you started to compromise on the mechanics and/or the consistency as you pursued the intensity in your workouts. And you got smoked! Those workouts were tough, you made sweat angels every time, high-fiving from your back, and now you felt like a CrossFitter.
After 2 years, I went to get my CF Level 1 certificate. And I returned embarrassed at how much I had forgotten, or ignored, or failed to pay attention when the CFKT coaches were teaching me. I had been, for 2 years, largely concerned with the intensity part of the equation at the expense of the proper mechanics, or the consistency. Oh, I tried to be mechanically sound, and I learned to be more consistent than not, but not as part of a dedicated effort. My weights were progressing, but when I saw pictures, my form was sadly lacking. Now, with the awareness that, as a holder of a CF L1 Certificate, it was incumbent upon me to get me right, so that I had the credibility, the skill (or awareness of lack thereof) and the knowledge that a certificate of training implies, I started a journey to really fix myself. In SCUBA training, I learned the phrase “Instructor Quality Movements”, meaning actions and skills demonstrated underwater that were so deliberate they could be used to teach other divers the particular skill being shown. I realized my efforts had not been on developing “Instructor Quality Movements” in our gym.
I went back through Fundamentals and On-Ramp (TWICE! ) This time, I really worked, to listen and to apply what the coaches were telling us about our set-up, our mechanics, our consistency. I committed to re-building my squat, even going to my book and starting all over at the early numbers I used to put up. I re-learned the timing of the kipping PU. I spent a month on thoracic mobility alone…leading to getting my first 95# Overhead Squat. Yes, I got better at some things, and set other limitations aside for action down the road. It was tough to take those steps back. The realization that what I was doing needed correction, sometimes major correction, other times minor. But it was the right thing to do.
When I started at CFKT, I said that I had a “5 Year Plan”, meaning I needed to keep at this for at least 5 years. That seemed like a long time in the future, but now it’s here. Like laps around a track, one blends seamlessly into the next. I am now in my 5th year and it’s time to do a re-set, establish a new plan and start to work the plan. I know that the pursuit of Mechanical Consistency will be the foundation for the Intensity I seek. In CFKT…and in life!