Our Specialty is Not Specializing
By Michael Crespo
One of the things about the CrossFit methodology that has always appealed to me is our definition of fitness. CrossFit defines fitness as “a physical capacity that would lend itself well to any and all contingencies”. The idea of preparing for the “unknown and the unknowable” has appealed to my soul ever since I first read about it in the CrossFit Journal.
When it comes to fitness, people tend to get caught in the same routine. I might offer a client a workout and they might like it so much that they ask if they can do the same thing at home everyday! Or people pick up a new activity and then do it in excess. While I can definitely appreciate passion and specialists, I am writing this week as one proud Generalist. I am proud to not be particularly good at any one thing, but pretty good at a bunch of things. I love to learn and try new sports regularly. (Except for hitting softballs off of a tee, but that’s because I need to improve my coordination).
I enjoy basic gymnastics like handstand walking and pullovers (rolling around the pull up bar). I enjoy light to moderate weight training. I recently ran a marathon with a couple of our community members with no additional training. That was fun! It is not so much the showing off of the skills, pounds, or time but it is a competency that I love.
Life circumstances change in an instant. Before you know it, you are forced to adapt. Whether it is carrying your injured pet or tending to someone in a car accident or a friend asking you to move a couch or an emergency where you are forced to carry your entire family. Training as a Generalist means that as life gives you more weight,you will be ready for it. I am of the belief that the challenges we face in the gym prepare us for the challenges we face outside of the gym. Being able to do something you never thought possible will open the door to ask you what else is humanly possible for yourself.
One of the other really cool things about CrossFit is that our version of cardio “metabolic conditioning” is a great bio marker of your health. Being able to do 45 pullups and 45 Thrusters like in the CrossFit workout “Fran” in seven, five or even under two minutes is not only an excellent marker of fitness, but also about your Health. There are of course the other factors of health such as sleep, nutrition, relationships, altruism, fun, and rest, but I would argue that a person who is trained generalist or “CrossFit” may already, or should strive to be fit in each of these areas and not solely exercise and his or her physiology. Fitness in each of these areas leads to better Fran times. Fitness in all of these areas leads to an improved quality of life.
I may not be exceptional at any one thing AND I seek to be pretty good at a bunch of things, and that is something I am proud of. I do not know what the future holds, but I am preparing for it. I’m also preparing others for it as well, something I’m grateful for each and every day.