Sitting on a bench in the sun on Dunbar Street Tuesday chatting with a friend and former coach at CrossFit Vancouver we reminisced about the old days when CrossFit was a means to an end not the end in itself.

Interestingly, on Wednesday Thunder brought up the same subject expressing her belief that CrossFitters should play other sports outside CrossFit.  And CrossFit founder Greg Glassman agrees.  It is after all in the original CrossFit prescription.

Before Reebok, before the CrossFit Games, before there was a CrossFit on every corner, CrossFit was populated by athletes from other sports who utilized CrossFit for broad physical preparation to support their own sport.  For me it was Judo.  Did we compete in CrossFit?  Hell yes, of course we did, that’s how we were wired, that’s why we came to CrossFit, to get a competitive edge in our sport of choice.  But CrossFit was a means to an end.

We loved CrossFit because it gave us strength and conditioning unrivaled by any other training methodology.  But CrossFit did not define us.  I self identified as a Judo player not a CrossFitter.  My training partners were Ultimate Frisbee players, Volleyball Players, Stuntmen & Police Officers.

There were no Reebok Nanos, no slick T-shirts, no wraps, no sweatbands, no compression gear.  Just gym shorts for the guys, shorts & sports bras for the gals and then we hit the WOD.

My friend called the new breed of Reebok-geared, social media savvy, CrossFit obsessed folks “Joiners”.  People with no other hobbies and a big hole in their life that they needed to fill with something.  CrossFit has become their identify.  That sounds cultish.  As much as my life revolves around CrossFit, I cannot relate.  I love CrossFit for its efficacy, I love it for the community, I love it for the results but always for me CrossFit is a means to an end.  It is the tool with which I have forged myself into the athlete that I always dreamed of being.  It is the path through which I can help others transform their lives!

To paraphrase a Glassman quote: “CrossFit is about training for life, not living for training.”  Get to the gym, hit the WOD, have fun then get out there and live your life and yes, by all means, go play some other sports.  Hike, bike, surf, ski, run, paddle, play.

In the theoretical hierarchy of athletic development sport is at the apex.  It is only in the chaotic world of sport where we are forced to bring all our physical skills to bear.  And though we call CrossFit the “Sport of Fitness” it is not a sport the way Ultimate, Wrestling or Rugby are sports.  CrossFit is a competitive expression of athletic skills.  We help athletes develop Metabolic Conditioning, Gymnastics, Weightlifting & Throwing and we do it well.

I don’t play Judo anymore and haven’t picked up any new sports to replace it.  I coach CrossFit full time so it has become my main activity.  Truth be told I am more of a book and movie guy than outdoorsman or athlete so outside my daily WOD I do not move as much as I probably should.  But despite all that I do not believe that CrossFit should be your everything.

When I am out and about I delight in the physical feats CrossFit allows me to perform.  I love helping friends move, I love horsing around with my son on the beach.  These activities give me opportunity to express the hard-earned functional fitness that I have developed in CrossFit to a degree that I never enjoyed in Judo.

Come to CrossFit to get fit.  Then take your fitness out into the world!