Saturday, May 28, 2011

Naked CrossFit Aggression.

There is one and only one reason that I used “naked” in the title. The number one word that has been googled, leading the random visitor to my blog has been “naked.” Yes, isn’t that funny? Or is it sad how many people are googling “naked Crossfit women?" But the words actually make sense for my topic anyway, so I figured I’d take full advantage of the search engines.

Let’s find a synonym for “naked” -- evident, undisguised, direct, outspoken. Yes, this would define my opinions on CrossFit, or anything in general. Let’s define “aggression” -- hostile behavior, or attitude. Yes, this would define how my opinions might be received today, or in general.

Things that irritate me about CrossFit. . .

First, let me say that I love CrossFit. It changed my world and has had a hugely positive impact on my life. I think that truth is apparent to anyone who knows me, or who has read my blog. But like with any relationship, there are things that make you crazy mad and wish you could change -- even though you’re entirely committed. Makes sense, right? So, let’s go. And these things aren’t in any order of importance.

CrossFit’s use of Olympic Lifting Terminology:

This bugs me like no other. CrossFit continually uses the wrong terminology to define Olympic Weightlifting. Example: “Squat Snatch.” Okay people, there are only a couple of things that define a lift – your starting position, where you pull from, and where you receive the bar. When you see the word “snatch” – this means the lift is taken from the floor and received in a full squat. Simple as that. Unless you see it written as anything else, it’s taken from the floor and received in a full squat. If you see the word “hang, or high hang” preceding “snatch” this is defining where you will begin the lift. If you see the word “power,” this defines where you will receive the lift – with the thighs horizontal or above. Insert “cleans” in the same process. Simple.

Affiliate Fees:

This a subject brings one word to mind. Greed. When CrossFit started affiliating, I believe the fees were $500 per year. They are now $3000. Let’s talk about why this bothers me. CrossFit begin as a grassroots movement. They told us that “anyone can be successful in your garage.” Well, that might have been true in the beginning, but it certainly is not the case today. Take your average garage CrossFit gym. Do the math. Figure out how many bodies you can run through classes in your space each month and see what you come up with. I can tell you that you will find that the days of the “CrossFit garage gyms” are over. It can’t be done profitably. No way. No how. CrossFit has taken their original followers, the garage gym people, and run them out of business. That’s sad. I was a part of one. That makes me sad. Shame on you, HQ, for making it impossible for the “little guys” to survive and complete in this market.

Back-Biting among the CrossFit community:

I have had first hand experience with this. I have not only been a part of a small affiliate, but I am also friends with others in the nearby CrossFit community. Not only is there a considerable amount of bad-mouthing of affiliates within small areas, there is no sense of camaraderie among local gyms. Maybe your area is different. Ours is not. Again, this is sad.

CrossFit Main site putting up videos displaying bad form:

This is especially bad for newbies. Not as bad for those of us who know the difference, but still unforgiveable. When I started CF 3 years ago, I went to the main site to see how to perform movements. And I had a good coach. I still went there for further education. I got great instruction. It is not the same today. Almost weekly, they display an “elite” athlete performing a WOD as rx’d in an amazing time. Here’s the problem. Most of them look like crap. Read the daily comments after they post a video like this. You’ll find that I’m not the only person who shares this opinion. The wod calls for a “clean and jerk” but what they show is a “thruster.” Why not just say “ground to overhead” so all of us who give a shit aren’t offended when we see someone bastardizing an Oly lift? There is never a plausible excuse for poor form. CrossFit methodology is based on doing things right – which separates us from the rest of the fitness world.

Bad CrossFit Trainers:

There are bad coaches in every sport and there are bad personal trainers everywhere, but bad CrossFit coaches? That bothers me. Why? Because, once again, what CrossFit stands for is proper movement. It’s what we preach. It’s what we are supposed to teach. I had a recent encounter with a guy who’s been going to a local CrossFit gym, for 3 months. He casually mentioned that he “thought” he knew how to deadlift. What the F*#K? He “thought?” He ought to know without a doubt, if he’s been trained well, that he knows how to deadlift. I mean, that is awful. AWFUL. I will add that his guy didn’t know what a hook-grip is. I will repeat. . . didn’t know what a “hook grip” is. If you are a trainer and reading this, then tell me how you feel about a guy going to classes at a local CrossFit gym for 3 months and having no idea what a hook grip is? If you aren’t disgusted, then I don’t know what to say to you. Enough said.

Passing the CrossFit Level One Cert:

What does it take to become a CF level one trainer? Well, up until a year ago, all it took was around $1200. Now it takes $1200 and the ability to pass a very basic exam. Why does this bother me? Well, I believe that a good trainer should be able to physically to perform the movements they teach. When Cari and I went to our cert, we were the only 2 women who could do a muscle up. And there were many people, men and women, who couldn’t even do a pullup! Currently, anyone who has money and basic intelligence can call themselves a CrossFit trainer. I think there should be a physical exam before you are given the permission to teach others. Would I pass a test like this? I can say without a doubt, yes I could. So could Loraine, Cari, Brady, Jay, Jeff, Charity and tons of other Level One Trainers I know. Unfortunately, there are also more than I could imagine, who couldn’t possibly teach movement properly, because they don’t move properly themselves. I’ve seen them at the certs I’ve attended. Does this make CrossFit different from obtaining any other fitness cert? Nope. My point is, yet again, CrossFit is supposed to be better.

Reebok sponsoring the 2011 CrossFit Games:

Reebok makes a shoe called the EasyTone. Imagine this. . . you lace up your fancy Reebok EasyTones, and get fit by walking through the aisles at Wal-Mart! Wow. Who needs to do squats to get a better ass?! And if the shoes aren’t enough to get you to your fitness goals, then you can also purchase their line of EasyTone clothing. These have “toning bands for increased muscle activation.” Seriously? This is who CrossFit wants to promote and partner with? But CrossFit will gladly take their money for a huge purse for this year’s games. I can’t imagine anything that goes against what CrossFit stands for then shoes and clothing that claim to get you fit by doing nothing but walking around. Oh yes, I see a ton of CrossFitters speed-walking the Orting Trail “for time.” You know what gets you fit? Hard work. That’s it. CrossFit has always had this “anti-establishment” attitude. Really? What kind of message is this sending? Can you say “sell-out?”

Rant over. . .

I still love you CrossFit. I really do. Maybe we just need counseling to work through some of our issues?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I'm doing the best I can

At this point in my life
I’ve done so many things wrong I don’t know if I can do right
At this point in my life
Although I’ve mostly walked in the shadows
I’m still searching for the light

You see I’ve been climbing stairs but mostly stumbling down
I’ve been reaching high always losing ground

You see I’ve been reaching high but always losing ground
You see I’ve conquered hills but I still have mountains to climb
And right now right now I’m doing the best I can
At this point in my life

I love sad songs. Songs that speak to my heart. Somehow, I find them oddly comforting. A favorite of mine is an old Tracy Chapman song called “At this point in my life.”

I’ve done so many things wrong, I don’t know if I can do right. . .

This line is self-explanatory. And if anyone reading it can’t empathize with that feeling, they are either super-human, or someone who’s lived such a perfect life, I can’t relate to them.

Although I’ve mostly walked in the shadows, I’m still searching for the light. . .

There are those happy people you know that can always see the bright side in any situation. I’m not that girl. I bought a tee shirt last year that made me laugh when I picked it up. It said “Little Miss Sunshine.” I guess only those that really know me, know how funny that is. I’ve struggled with depression for the bulk of my adult life. Actually the first time I went to see someone about it, I was 24. Does this bother me? Absolutely. But I can’t change it, so I deal with it. So yes, I spend days in the “shadows.” But do I ever stop “searching for the light?” No.

You see I’ve been climbing stairs but mostly stumbling down. I’ve been reaching high and always losing ground. . .

Life is filled with skewed perspective and distorted goals. This is only made worse if you are cursed with being someone who feels like “it’s” never enough, whatever “it” may be. There is always something to reach for. Usually it’s beyond your grasp. And when we don’t attain it, we may feel like we’ve stumbled. We’ve lost ground. But maybe, just maybe, if we actually get a hold of it, we will find that it wasn’t the key to happiness anyway.

There was a time in my life that I truly believed, and I mean I really, really believed, that if I weighed 118 pounds then life would be perfect. Perfect. I chased that number until it made me almost crazy. And then I had my baby girl, Sophia. She was a sickly baby. We had many visits to various specialists at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital. During this time, the baby weight fell off. I didn’t weight 118 pounds. I weighed 112. But interestingly enough, life didn’t feel “perfect” even though my jeans were hanging off my body. Not at all. My perspective had changed. What I thought was the answer, was resoundingly, not.

This is just one example of how we sometimes believe if we can just do “this” or just get “that” then life will be perfect. It's often not true.

Then there is also the cold, hard reality that sometimes we try our best and we fail. Simple as that. We try. We fail. It happens. We’ve been told that if we “just work hard enough” we will reach our goals. It just isn’t true. Sometimes you won’t reach your goal. Ever. That’s when we learn to cope with lost dreams. Sounds sad and cynical, but I believe it to be very true.

At this point in my life, I’m doing the best I can. . .

I love this line. Love it. Love it. Maybe you have to hear her sing it to appreciate the feeling in it. Can’t we apply this sentiment to so many areas of our lives? Our relationships, our friendships, our workouts? Sometimes, although no one can see it, you really are doing the best you can. At this point.

I think more than anything, we want to be loved, and appreciated for who we are, in spite of our mistakes and our shortcomings. We want someone to support our crazy, unattainable goals, and then comfort us when we don’t reach them. We also need to understand that life isn’t perfect, not even close, and it’s continually evolving.

But hopefully, every now and then, we have the time to sit and listen to a beautiful song that makes us pause, and reflect. Think about our choices. What we think is important and why. How we got here and where we want to go.

And right now, I'm doing the best I can. . .

We need to consider the beauty and ugliness in our lives. It’s filled with both. Beauty and ugliness. The key, I believe, is learning to recognize which is which. And then do the best you can.