This is going to be a pretty short post, but it’s something that we feel is important. While this is a topic that can be applied to absolutely any area of your life. We, however, are going to be strictly focused on diet and exercise.
Why are you doing what you’re doing?
This is something that you should be able to answer for every workout and every meal. Even if the answer isn’t a great one, you should at least know the reason or intent behind what it is that you’re doing. Is the intent of your meal to add muscle, subtract fat, or is it something that isn’t ideal nutritionally but is intentionally higher calorie for recovery and psychological benefit?
“Because I saw it in a fitness magazine.” That’s the wrong damn answer to explain a meal if you care about your health and body composition. Food is one of the most important pieces of this whole fitness game and you need to understand how certain foods impact the body, brain, and endocrine system. Go read The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet by Robb Wolf if you haven’t. If you’re lazy, check out Eatology and let someone make the hard decisions for you.
The same thing goes for your workouts. Why are you doing what your doing? Is your workout making you stronger, faster, or more powerful? Maybe you’re benefiting your balance, flexibility, and mobility. Maybe you’re not super concerned with your lactate threshold or VO2 max and you just want to do something because it’s fun and different. That’s awesome and we totally support that, but you should make that distinction mentally.
While this whole topic isn’t unique to CrossFit, it is something that we see as being of a higher concern for the average CrossFitter than the average typical gym goer. Most people going to a gym are primarily concerned with adding muscle or subtracting fat. Cool. Easy. The average CrossFitter on the other hand is trying to add muscle and subtract fat while also improving cardiorespiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, accuracy, agility, and balance. While they are trying to accomplish more inside the gym than the average person, they often have a more limited grasp of why they are doing the workout that they are.
“Because it’s what’s on the whiteboard.” That is far from a sufficient answer, especially if we’re talking about paying dollars for a service. If you go to a CrossFit box and you generally don’t know or understand why you are doing what you are, ask your coach or trainer. If they don’t really know why you’re doing what you are, what it transfers to, and how it benefits your overall “athletic game,” we would suggest strongly reconsidering “why” they have earned your dollars.
Should this all be a huge revelation, start here: Work Harder, Not Longer