Are you guys doing Crossfit?
I used get asked this a lot, and it used to offend me.
After all, I'd traveled to workshops and seminars, earned certifications, and tinkered and toyed with developing my own system. How dare you assume I'm on par with someone who spent a grand and two days to become a "coach"...
Over the last couple years, my perspective has changed a lot.
At some point I realized that I was being just as ignorant as the professionals I was trying to distance myself from. Based on my own philosophy and assumptions, I was drawing myself into a bubble.
Surely, I can learn from these genres, I told myself at some point. I took something away from every path I walked, from unpaid internships, to seminar hosts I didn't agree with, to corporate fitness sterility, to charging a going rate for training from a two car garage, to running someone else's system that was not well planned or programmed. Community center politics, unpaid consulting, having my programs ripped off and given to unqualified trainers...the list goes on.
I believe it was Martin Rooney who told me that you can get bitter, or get better.
I realized that, while negotiating all those obstacles, I was pretending my side of the business was "where it's at", although experience said it's the same as any other piece of the fitness industry.
So I detached from the ideal. I went to the Crossfit Level One Seminar. I became a NASM Certified Gym Trainer.
You know what?
I learned a lot.
I learned that by drawing my own bubble, I was always the best at it. Of course I was. It was my system. Did it get results? Hell, yeah, it did! I was in the best shape of my life, running ultramarathons competitively while lifting for fun and retaining the mobility to play parkour and staying competitive at obstacle course races.
It was a system where I used everything I had learned and built a perfect program to support my physical ambitions.
The only thing was, my clients were getting an hour. I generally trained up to 8 hours a day. With that kind of volume, I think the most impressive piece to my programming was that I didn't get hurt from overuse.
I didn't get hurt from overuse.
I did get hurt from a miscalculated vault over a fence and tore my rotator cuff, however.
Under the tutelage of my friend, Michael Haley, a Physical Therapist from Rhode Island, I managed to recover quickly without any doctor's intervention. Through Skype, he assessed and gave me progressions to restore ROM.
Around the same time I was getting strength back, I attended Scott Sonnon's TACFIT certification course. This was the first time in a long time that someone challenged me in how I move. It quickly became apparent that my T-Spine had taken a nap, my glutes were on vacation, and my hip flexors were quite happy leaving that extra bit of extension for next time. Although I scored high on all the workouts themselves, and my coaching was on point, my own movement had become compromised, as I'd slowly developed compensations.
Because of this, I was told to practice, then send a video before I could earn my certification. In doing so, I certainly reconnected to my body and saw the value in mobility drills.
I had previously convinced myself that if you train the big moves, the small moves aren't necessary. Not true.
The body is lazy. If you work it hard and no one's watching, it will start to find shortcuts.
Shortcuts lead to decreased ROM and/or imbalances. These lead to big movements becoming more dangerous.
My definition for mobility is being able to get into or out of as many positions as possible.
By developing strength, endurance and power only, it's inevitable that you'll lose mobility, unless you're a genetic ninja. They are out there, and they're all over Youtube and Facebook saying to just keep moving and it'll all work out.
....and perhaps it will....
However, that's just as short sighted as any other mainstream fitness viewpoint.
I always have preached about not "setting goals". Why not be the best you can be that day, that hour, or in that challenging moment. I still believe that.
I also learned that you must take time to support your best you.
This means doing the things to keep your mind/body intact and your ROM fluid.
In the gym business, they spent a lot of time putting people on BOSU balls and doing a lot of fufu exercises in the name of "core" and "stability".
Part of the TACFIT programming is mobility work, but unfortunately it's not addressed much in the Level 1 seminar. It's body weight, and some of the movements are pretty complicated.
Along came Animal Flow. Using a lot of the same movement patterns from the advanced progressions of TACFIT, they were broken down into fundamental movements over the course of two days. I've been practicing for about three weeks now, and I'm more mobile and balanced than I've been in years.
Plus, it resonates with the way I've always training. It's fun, it's challenging, it's engaging, and it never gets boring. It's become part of every session, because since I drew that bubble around me, I tend to attract the kind of clients that don't resonate with boring.
Which brings me back to the opening statement.
"Are you guys doing Crossfit?"
The answer is still no, although I can say I'm a Crossfit Coach(although I usually don't), but I don't get mad at all.
The reason people ask this is because they're seeing a community, whether it's two or twenty people. They're seeing people doing challenging movements, supporting each other, laughing, and having fun.
Crossfit is the first to have created a mainstream culture like this.
If I can create an environment with that kind of power, along with all the lessons I've learned and skills I've acquired, I'll feel comfortable with my legacy.
Passers-by don't see the meat and potatoes of your program, only the vibe.
As any good system is, mine is a constant work in progress. Not only is it Constantly Variable, but it's Constantly Evolving as well.
Stay tuned until next time, where you can learn a little about where Melissa is coming from...