Integrity: There is more to Life than Winning...There's being Awesome!

CrossFit excellence gymnastics Inspirational integrity personal development weightlifting

The point is, I've been questioning why I'm training and why I work so hard to be fit. Does it all add up to competing in the various CrossFit competitions? That has proven exciting but ultimately unfulfilling. And even if I did one day hypothetically win the Games, what then? Would I be done with staying fit? I hope not. I didn't get into this to beat others. I did it for myself.

I've been trying to regain the initial motivation I had to train hard, that inspiration that drove me to explore new avenues of movement and ways my body could work. I'm realizing that the problem I'm having now is too much of a focus on living up to others' expectations. I'm forgetting about what I want for myself. Fitness for me was always about unlocking my own greatest potential, not competing with someone else's. And just in time, I have rediscovered gymnastics, the ultimate strength program for unlocking your own potential, because it only uses your own body and nothing more.

CrossFit Politics: Developing Strength thought Lifting vs. Gymnastics

We've been focusing a lot on getting stronger lately, which has meant a great deal of heavy barbell lifts. This has largely worked for me, but my fitness life has devolved into an endless quest to increase weights in the same movements. And I'm getting bored with it.  A bigger and bigger bench press is only useful in one plane of motion, with one kind of movement, and has limited outside application. It is useful in CrossFit because CrossFit has lately taken on a barbell bias, with a lot of the gymnastic elements marginalized. The coordination, speed, agility, and balance aspects have all been pushed aside by an obsession with stamina, endurance, power, and most of all strength.

I have some opinions on why this is happening. As CrossFit has become more popular, more and more non-athletes have joined up. It is generally pretty hard to teach gymnastics to these people (I know because it is my job at my gym to design and coach a new gymnastics program). As a result, most gyms are defaulting to barbell training as their mainstay for strength development. As a result, we've gotten a whole generation of CrossFitters who are really good at lifting. This in turn has led to people developing a preference for lifting. So the coaches and judges design most of the competition events around lifting, and only incorporate very basic gymnastic elements.

Marching to Your Own Beat

I love training gymnastics, but I've let it fall to the wayside lately because I felt it wouldn't help me compete in regionals. But that just makes me resent my training. It's no fun if I'm training something I don't want to, just for some competition. So I've decided to forget regionals. Oh, I'm still going. But I'm not going to train specifically for them. They will just be a weekend out of the normal routine, a hiccup in the larger continuum of my training goals. I will train as if they do not exist, focusing on my goals, not the arbitrarily set goal of regionals.

The reason: when I think about it, it isn't enough for me to just win. Being the best by someone else's standards is not good enough. Even if those standards were higher than my own, it would still not be good enough, because the standards have to have a personal bearing on my own life. I think this applies to a lot of things in a Warrior's life, and  I know this contradicts a lot of what I've said about meeting the requirements of a situation rather than putting in a good effort. But I think this is a subtler understanding of the concept of excellence. It isn't good enough for me to be the best, I must be my best. This may be more, less, or simply different. But to go chasing someone else's goals, to follow someone else's standard of excellence, is an exercise in futility and frustration. Know what your values are, and own them, even if they are not so sublime as others would like. That is the road to integrity and wholeness of character.

I'd love to hear your comments on how you think this new philosophy relates to excellence in your own life. What standards do you hold yourself to? Are they your own standards or someone else's?

Image source: Baldheretic on Flickr

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