I’ve been involved with CrossFit for 10 years now. Two as a member of a St. Louis area box, and 8 more as an owner and coach at CrossFit St. Louis. Those years have brought me on a journey that I had not planned. I have found community. I have found perseverance. I have found opportunities to be charitable. And I believe I have found my way to… well… what I believe.
I believe that you cannot out-train a bad diet. I also believe that I will never stick to a zone diet or any weigh and count diet from a book. They’re just too complicated. But I also believe, that if I eat like a caveman, consistently, with only one cheat day each week, I feel better, I keep bad weight off, and I perform better. I believe that eating meat, vegetables, seeds and nuts, some fruits, few starches and no sugars is the way to go for me.
I believe that the CrossFit Games, for a time, destroyed my perspective on health and the purpose for CrossFit. Watching the games athletes and aspiring to be like them in my mind, led me to disappointment, overwork, and a bad sense of what my fitness is to be.
I believe that a great definition of health is the one that CrossFit puts forth. Health is defined or reveals itself as increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains. I also believe that many affiliates, ours included, have gotten away from seeking this health measurement goal and chosen to measure health as being able to lift heavy loads, of course, heavier than we did before.
I believe that our bias should be toward having no bias at all. That we should work equally hard at improving our performance in Endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance and Accuracy. I believe to become overly focused on any one of these, to the exclusion or minimizing of any of the others demonstrates a bias, and usually, one in the direction of what we were already best at.
I work with life actuaries, underwriters, and doctors. I believe them when they tell me that I can lift heavy weights frequently and “feel healthier”, but that, while this will help me maintain bone density and muscle mass, it will not add a day to my years. I also believe them when they tell me that cardiovascular fitness has been proven to statistically, on average, add years to a person’s life. Doing burpee and ass bike work sucks but provides measurable longevity benefits.
I believe that there are benefits of lifting too. I won’t have to move out of my 2-story house as I age because I don’t have the strength to climb the stairs. And, I am less likely to fall down and break a hip, (so often “the beginning of the end”), so yeah, I believe that strength training too is important, and “could” increase my life expectancy. But not beyond what I would have lived, but simply by decreasing my chances of dying from a poor strength related accident.
I believe that the mission of a CrossFit gym should not be to prepare a person to compete at the games. Or to compete on the Olympic or Power Lifting stage. There are specialized programs for that.
I believe that the main mission of a truly observant CrossFit gym is to help people live longer, healthier lives. Pure and simple. This will not meet everyone’s expectations. Some will want only to get stronger. Some will want only to get more toned.
I believe that CrossFit St. Louis should be a place where people find encouragement to reach for those longer, healthier lives through applying sufficient portions of the 10 skills previously discussed. I believe that people should be encouraged to work BEYOND the health benefits of 10-skill programming and reach their personal goals of strength, better body tone or whatever, but that those things are not specifically the mission of CrossFit St. Louis.
“CrossFit St. Louis, Health in a Box”
*All of the pictures in this article are of current or former members of our community at CrossFit St. Louis. Many have moved over the years, and we miss them, but at the same time, welcome new faces to help every week.