How Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Strength Combine to Produce CrossFit Athletes
The Spartans were onto something.
Not as famous as their Greek counterparts, the Athenians, who were also often their enemies unless Greece as a whole was being attacked, the Spartans knew something few other cultures knew at the time — if you want to win, you have to be physically tough. When boys were seven years old, they were removed from their families and sent to train as soldiers. The system emphasized duty, discipline, and endurance. They were disciplined harshly and deprived of food — all in the name of being prepared for war. Girls also were removed from the home at age seven and sent to school where they learned wrestling, gymnastics, and how to fight, and endured other physical training. Spartans believed that strong mothers produced strong children, and women were allowed to compete in athletic events, the only culture to do so until the twentieth century.
Fit 2 Serve CrossFit is not your average fitness center, gym, or CrossFit box. We believe you have to be not only physically fit, but also mentally and spiritually fit in order to endure our broken world and have the strength to serve others as we’re called to do. If you are in the Las Vegas area, we’d love to meet you. Visit us today!
WHAT IS CROSSFIT?
According to Greg Glassman, the founder of CrossFit, CrossFit is constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity. But CrossFit is much more than that — and it can be different for everyone who practices CrossFit. To some, CrossFit is a passion as much as painting is. Some live to conquer WODs (workouts of the day), set PRs (personal records), and beat others in their box. Others come to enjoy community, catching up with friends on their lives while working up a sweat. Still others are seekers, meaning they are unsure why they are in a CrossFit box; they are just there. And these people are not there by accident.
Until you’ve tried CrossFit, you don’t really know what the hubbub is all about (and no, CrossFit is not what you see in the CrossFit Games where less than 1 percent of the CrossFit population participates in). Is it just a full body workout routine? Is it a fitness class with barbells? Don’t you run — a lot — in CrossFit? What is CrossFit in layman’s terms?
CROSSFIT IS PHYSICALLY CHALLENGING
This point almost goes without saying. When you combine gymnastics, weightlifting, and metabolic exercises (running for example), you’ll be challenged physically, especially if you haven’t been exercising for a while. When you have to master a move as technical as the Snatch (lifting a barbell directly overhead without pausing), every neuron in your body will be firing. When you’re asked to do a CrossFit Hero workout with over a hundred reps of several movements plus a run, your body will most likely hate you (luckily, your brain is in charge at this point). And the next day when you can’t bend over to pick up a pen that fell on the floor, your body will DEFINITELY hate you.
WHAT ARE CROSSFIT HERO WODS?
CrossFit Hero WODs, or workouts of the day, are CrossFit workouts named after service men and women who have given their lives for our freedoms. CrossFit Hero WODs are known for being long, tough, and challenging, with a heavier-than-normal weight load if a barbell is involved. Weight vests are used a lot to mimic the conditions our military in the field face every day.
The somewhat sadistic part of CrossFit and CrossFit Hero workouts is you won’t be able to wait to do it all over again. You look forward to feeling that sore and to being that debilitated. Why? It’s definitely not because you enjoy pain. It’s because when you’re sore to the point you have difficulty moving you know in your heart you’ve grown — and not just physically. Maintaining homeostasis is the antithesis of what CrossFit is all about. If you want to progress in any sport, it’s going to hurt. This goes for any challenge you face in life.
The reward of endurance CrossFit is this: when you look in the mirror in six months time, odds are, you won’t recognize yourself physically, emotionally, spiritually, or mentally. You’ll be leaner and stronger. You’ll see muscles on your body you never knew existed. You’ll feel on top of Cloud Nine when someone tells you how good your arms look or how much weight you’ve lost. You’ll be a happier person. You’ll have more energy. You’ll accomplish more. Things that used to bother you, such as staying late at work to finish a project, won’t anymore. You’ll sleep more soundly. And you’ll get up the next day ready to tackle whatever is put in front of you.
CROSSFIT IS MENTALLY CHALLENGING
CrossFit attracts different people for different reasons; that’s part of the beauty of CrossFit. You get your average person just looking for a great workout and a weight loss trainer. You’ll get your super-competitive person who loves weightlifting and is just looking to beat the person next to them. You’ll get your casual fitness person who is “trying something new.” Then you’ll get the CrossFitter who is there to prove something to themselves — that anything can be done if you put your mind to it.
CrossFit is more mentally challenging than physically challenging. How so? You have to be willing to push yourself or you won’t progress physically. Sure, you can show up and do the moves at a lighter recommended weight than you yourself are capable of and leave having burned a bunch of calories and feeling better about your health— but did you grow mentally?
Going through the motions is typical today. Because it’s easy. It’s easier to stay in your job that you hate than quit your job and look for what makes your heart sing. It’s easier to stay out of politics and not pay attention to the world around you rather than engaging in your community, state, and country, and taking an active role in positive change. It’s easy to hit the snooze button and miss gym class. It’s easier to lose yourself in video games and TV shows rather than focus on spiritual growth or self-development.
Nothing about endurance CrossFit is easy. This is true at Fit 2 Serve Crossfit in Las Vegas as well. You have to show up, day in and day out, and do the work. You’ll have to fight through workouts, cry out when the going gets tough, and dig deep (even to that dark place) to push through to the end. But one thing is for certain — if you do, the person who walked through the doors of your local CrossFit box is not the same person who will exit those same doors an hour later.
And on those days when you have no desire whatsoever to do another endurance CrossFit workout, you’ll show up at the gym anyways. The first day you do so, that’s when you’ll know you’ve changed — even if you don’t necessarily see it yourself.
CROSSFIT IS EMOTIONALLY CHALLENGING
When you’re in the middle of a CrossFit fitness workout, doing a movement perhaps you’ve never done before, or at a heavier weight you’ve never done before, you have to dig deep to finish. You’ll have to go places you’d rather not go. You may even shed some tears. But afterwards, euphoria and serotonin don’t even begin to describe the feeling you get from having done the workout. And, yes, you may be sore to the point you can’t move the next day — but all of that is temporary like this world we live in. What is permanent is the boost in self-confidence, self-esteem, and inner glow that only comes with doing things others aren’t willing to do. You may be the only one who knows you did it, and you’ll be the only one to remember it. But you did it. And you’re stronger because of it.
CROSSFIT IS SPIRITUALLY CHALLENGING
When you do a CrossFit Hero workout such as Murph, DT, or Crain, you may be brought to your knees. In fact, CrossFit is known for athletes who fall to the ground after a tough WOD and make a sweat angel (and, yes, this is a bragging point). But while you’re on the ground, you’ll think about why you’re here in this moment. You’ll think about who placed you here. You’ll be grateful for the amazing body you were given and the amazing life you lead — all undeserved. You’ll grow spiritually as you realize none of this would be possible without God’s help. Those dark places you’re brought to, you get through them only because of God.
WHAT’S A CROSSFIT ATHLETE?
Everyone who does CrossFit is called an athlete from the moment you step through the doors of a CrossFit gym. CrossFitters are not called participants or members like in a traditional gym fitness class. Why? Aren’t athletes people who get paid in a sport? Webster’s defines athlete as “a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina.” No surprise the word athlete comes to us from the Greek word “athlos,” meaning “contest” or “task.” It was the name given to those who participated in running, jumping, boxing, and wrestling competitions at that time (which was just about everyone who was a male). For CrossFit, anyone who participates in the “task” and tries his or her hardest to the best of his or her ability is an athlete. If you have a goal, say to finish 3 rounds in a 20 minute workout, you’re an athlete.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER ON THE OUTSIDE
If you’re looking for a weight loss trainer, CrossFit is it. Through weightlifting, you’ll build muscle, which burns more calories than fat. If you’re looking for fitness classes, endurance CrossFit is it. Through constantly varying the workouts and the intensities (aerobic versus anaerobic exercises), you’ll build endurance, strength, speed, and stamina. If you’re seeking a full body workout routine, CrossFit is it. Often, you’ll see moves that target the lower body (squats for example) coupled with moves for the upper body (pull ups for example).
Does this mean CrossFit is for everyone? No. But there is something out there, physically speaking, that is for you. Something such as rock climbing that will challenge you in the same way. From endurance races and running 5ks to attending your local gym’s Spin classes and group fitness classes, there are so many physical exercises to choose from. Find what works for you.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER ON THE INSIDE
Through Fit 2 Serve’s amazing coaching staff who constantly motivate and encourage you, you’ll find your self-confidence and self-esteem are improving. You’ll believe you can do it (and you will), and the community within the gym will prop you up as well. Everyone at Fit 2 Serve CrossFit is available for advice, conversation, or coffee — to talk about the good and the bad in life. At the end of the day, CrossFit in its essence is just a workout. What time you got or how many rounds you got is meaningless the next day. The reason for physical challenges is to grow you as a person. Fit 2 Serve CrossFit is there for you as you do.
CROSSFIT LEADS TO HELPING OTHERS
Now that CrossFit has gotten you mentally tough, physically strong, emotionally stable, and spiritually sound, what do you do? We’re all called to serve others, and now that you’re stronger in every capacity, you’re fit to serve your community. Whether you have a heart for the homeless or for raptors, or you love to teach kids or rescue kitties, you’re able to serve your community — all because of God and partly because of the challenges a sport such as CrossFit provides.
Sparta was a warrior nation, holding a belief that loyalty to the state was above all else with an emphasis on obedience, endurance, courage, and self-control. The word “spartan” means self-restrained, simple, frugal, and austere. The Spartans had a great civilization that was educated and prospered. However, the Spartans eventually diminished in power and strength. History will tell you the decline of the Spartans was because of military defeats. However, the Spartans were not strong in other areas — namely spiritually.
The Spartans can teach us a lot about how to survive mentally and physically. However, we also have to be spiritually strong in a world that aims to tear you down. In order to have anything left over at the end of the day to give to others, you’ll need all aspects of strength training. Yes, physical exercise is work, as is spiritual and mental. But work well worth it.
FIT 2 SERVE CROSSFIT IN LAS VEGAS
Fit 2 Serve CrossFit in Las Vegas believes in the process of strengthening your body to improve all aspects of your life. From relationships to giving, CrossFit training will give you just that little extra to hold the door open for others, to attend a fundraiser late at night for a worthy cause, to organize a bake sale for your child’s Cross Country team, to cook a meal for a grieving widow, or to overcome your pride and call your friend who you haven’t spoken to for months because you had a squabble over something silly. It is in these moments that you will see the result of all of your hard work in CrossFit come to fruition.
Being strong physically as an athlete will prolong your life, so you’ll be around longer to touch more lives. You’ll be able to see more things, do more things, and be more things for others. Fit 2 Serve CrossFit’s mission is to build others up, so they, in turn, will pass the strength along. If you’re in the Las Vegas area, contact us today to learn about all of our CrossFit programs, including CrossFit Kids and CrossFit Endurance.