I just got back from the CrossFit Northeast Regional competition where I wasn’t sure where to look—at the athletes competing or the athletes cheering in the stands. I have gone to these types of competitions many times, but it never fails to amaze me that I am surrounded by people who are in incredibly good shape or at least interested in getting there. I am amazed by the feeling of community that happens not just amongst us watchers, but also among the athletes who cheer one another on, even though they are competing against one another.
It sort of boggles my mind.
I’ve written about this before, but I have worked in medicine for 20 years and we still are trying to find a way to get people motivated to want to be fit and healthy. What am I saying? Most physicians and healthcare providers aren’t healthy themselves. How are they supposed to motivate their patients to get there?
At these events I am surrounded by thousands of motivated, healthy people. Thousands. And I know there are many more events just like the one I am attending all over the world with thousands of more motivated people.
The audience can’t be compared to any other—not soccer, football, baseball or any other sport where the spectators may or may not be athletes and they may or may not be interested in following a similar lifestyle as the athletes.
Think about it: When you watch a football game or even a tennis match, does it inspire almost the entire audience to get back in the gym and continue on a healthier life style?
For Crossfitters, healthy is a way of life. Workouts in the gym can mirror workouts in real life. Athletes learn about themselves, about their bodies and about being part of a community.
It boggles my mind that there are so many organizations and people out there who want to shut CrossFit down. The claims are that too many injuries are caused. But when you compare the benefits this movement has created versus the truth about injuries, it has to make you wonder.
The truth is that there are just as many injuries occurring in other sports. It’s just that people aren’t interested in doing these other sports, so you don’t hear about injuries that can’t happen when people aren’t participating. With the rise of interest in yoga, for instance, there has been an increase of injuries from actively doing this physical activity.
What I find amazing is that when most people are injured, they usually defer from returning to the given sport and often stop doing any physical activity. Not Crossfitters. They heal and get right back at it, like most people with a passion.
For a physician like me, hearing that people have a passion for fitness is music to my ears. It’s inspiring to see so many people excited about being in shape, about having muscles in places they never realized could exist, in eating health and in having tons of energy.
If my patients and clients alike could find this passion in doing something healthy, I would know my work was almost complete.
What inspires you? What gets you out of bed every day wanting to move, lift, run, and better yourself?
Whatever it is, find it.
CrossFit may not be for you (though it can be for anyone as it can be modified to suit the person), but try to find something that has this recipe:
1. It inspires you to move and push yourself
2. It incorporates healthy eating challenges so that you can learn more about nutrition and what works for you.
3. It involves community.
4. It is fun and involves a variety of movements and activities so you never get bored.
Me? I’m off to WOD (work out of the day)!