It’s definitely fun to see ourselves get a little stronger and look better naked. It’s also super cool to be able to hike up mountains, do obstacle course races, and never need more than one trip to take in groceries.
A lot of us probably use a combination of these things to try to stay motivated in CrossFit, or fitness in general. But why do we care about staying motivated, or why is working out even good for us in the first place?
I’m sure you can think of tons of reasons, but for me it boils down to health. Well, being the loss averse human I am it’s more accurate to say avoiding sickness. If you’ve taken your CrossFit L1 certification, you know about the sickness-wellness-fitness continuum model. Maybe you’re tired of hearing about it, but bear with me while I go over the quick version for everyone else because it’s a super badass thing that’s happening.
In short, CrossFit thinks that a proper training program is one that improves all of your health indicators together, and not one at the expense of others. So, when you become better at CrossFit, your health markers should become better also. Better fitness equals better health.
Let’s look at 3 Aarons at different stages of the sickness-wellness-fitness continuum. First up is sick Aaron — he’s obese, has high blood pressure, isn’t very happy, and can’t run 400m without walking. Sick Aaron works out for 6 months and becomes well Aaron.
Well Aaron is in an average healthy weight range, his blood pressure is fine, he’s happier, and he completed the Murph workout without dying. Nice job well Aaron! But now let’s say he keeps CrossFitting for another year to become fit Aaron.
Fit Aaron looks athletic and has abs. His blood pressure made his doctor say “OMG this is so good!”, he’s super excited all the time, and runs a 5:30 mile.
Now let’s take all three of these Aarons and put them through some unlucky event. Maybe it’s pneumonia, or a car accident, or the loss of a close friend. Who do you think handles this tragedy the best?
We agree that all of the Aarons will take a step back. Fit Aaron might fall to well Aaron, and well Aaron might fall to sick Aaron. Who knows where sick Aaron might fall to. But that’s the idea of this whole model — improving your fitness makes you measurably more badass!
When life throws you curve balls, you can handle them better and recover faster the more fit you are. That’s some pretty cool stuff. Check out this article for a real story on “Mr. 5 AM”, Stephen Walker, who credits his fitness as a big reason for surviving a serious brain infection.
I catch myself all the time being overly focused on the specifics, and not looking at the big picture. I’ll be wishing I was better at this lift or that skill and getting down on working out. If I can catch myself doing it, sometimes I’ll zoom out a bit and go back to this whole sickness-wellness-fitness thing. If I’m better than I was a month ago, I can be happy knowing I’ve built up a little more of a hedge against sickness. I am physiologically more badass, and that is a seriously awesome thing all on it’s own!