I learned CF's moves primarily on my own or with friends. This winter I spent a day in Calgary with Peak Power learning the Olympic lifts a little better, but I wanted more, and to understand more. This is why I went to a Crossfit Level One Cert (L1). These certs aren't cheap; $1,000 for the weekend. There were 55 people in our certification, and five trainers from CF. The trainers were damn good--professional, knowledgeable, charismatic and just all-around great at presenting. Seeing the presentations alone was worth the money for me, I learned a lot. Well done to them, thanks. I'm going to do some sort of critique of the cert at some point, but right now I'm just thinking too much about what it means to be fit, why, nutrition, and a bunch of other mental and physical fires the event kicked off in my head. That too was worth spending the money. My real short review of the certification is this: it's worth it from a value point, a learning experience, and many other metrics I use to evaluate an experience. There were problems, but for Christ's sake if there aren't problems in an intense two-day experience then there's not much point to it. I will go through those problems at some point, but I'm just on fire mentally thinking about fitness and CF and am more interested in that than going through relatively small problems with the cert.
Anyhow, I've spent the last 36 hours trolling the web, working out, and thinking a lot about fitness due to my experience at the cert. I've been training myself and others now for over 25 years. Crossfit has really shaken my view of fitness up a lot, and I am sincerely grateful for that. I can (and did at the certification) argue with various pieces of CF, but the whole is damn effective for life fitness. Not for sport-specific fitness, but at having a functional and strong body to work with. As I get older that is becoming more and more important to me; the first time I did a CF workout in Brazil I had to do Burpees. I realized I couldn't jump for shit anymore. I've been doing Burpees ever since. CF corrects my weaknesses because I don't create the workouts... Some of my friends do their own fitness programming along CF lines, but for me this isn't the way forward. I want the randomness that the CF main site WODs give to me. I'll get strong for my sports through doing the sports, and use CF to keep my body functional as I age.
One thing about CF is that, like anything successful, it has its haters and proponents. I've been reading like mad on the web about fitness theory, and of course getting an eye and brain full from the fully indoctrinated and the haters. Just so I can get this out of the way, I believe certain parts of CF are just wrong, or at least fully deserving of mockery. I also believe most western governments are disasters, but I'd much rather live in Canada or the US than say, oh, Somalia. A classic logical fallacy is to look for specific problems in a system and then take the whole system down as a result.... I'm good at that, and I could chew on CF's problems (I think the Zone diet is utterly useless, the CF games are in the same category as figure skating (a judged sport isn't), and that anyone using gothic fonts on T-shirts with things like "FORGED! should be drop-kicked in the head on the spot). There, I've outlined my main problems with CF, now can we move on? Seriously, the pluses are much, much larger.
The biggest training realization I've had in the last year is that I'm now training for two events at the same time: The rest of my life, and the specific sport I'm up against next. By the rest of my life I mean maintaining a high level of physical function as I get older. I want my joints to retain strength through a full range of motion, and to be able to broadly do anything I could at 20 now that I'm 43. Failing that, I want to be as functional as I can be as I age. This is what the CF is for at my stage in life. I'm also training for sports as diverse as kayaking, paragliding, rock climbing, ice climbing, alpine climbing and kid chasing. If I have basic strength and full range of supported motion in my body then I can train specifically for those sports through doing them. At 20 I trained hard specifically for climbing, and specifically for hard technical climbing, and I likely lost some function by doing so much isolation work... Now I need that function back. I refuse to accept that 43-year old guys shouldn't be able to jump. Or even 80-year old guys, at least more than any other 80-year olds. I've been thinking about this idea a lot, the CF level one cert really drive this idea home to me. The trainers are probably going, "Dude, that's what you got out of all our lectures???" but that's a great gift.
Now I gotta go train for life a bit, and maybe go train for climbing this afternoon by going climbing. The life training likely won't make me a lot better climber, but I'll be a fitter climber, and I'm not going to throw my back out when I lift a box of paint out of my basement like I did yesterday (no pain). And when I have to bust ass fast up a hill to a climb I'll do a better job of it. CF isn't the only way forward by any means, but it's a decent way forward, and it's open to interpretation and change. It's a bit like running Linux on your computer; it's an "open source" system, so you can customize it, tweak it, play with it, and argue with it. That's more fun than Windows if you're into that sort of thing, which most of us who claim to be into training are.
Give 'er! Direct cert review coming at some point, I'm just too fired up by some of the ideas to deal with that right now.