To My CrossFit Friends: Try Adaptive Training for the Long Haul

Adaptive training is sustainable, body-wise, and freer compared to many manifestations of CrossFit. CrossFit has gems to offer, but I believe they were borrowed gems. Those gems were adopted from elsewhere and combined in a “Box,” or a “crucible.” The toughest gems came from elite forces training, that is, combat training. Do or die training. Still, part of military training, even elite military training, is readiness. And readiness involves recovery, and non-injury. If you’re injured, you’re not ready. If you don’t recover properly, injury risk spikes.

For some that may have temporary appeal, especially to younger people. Yet younger people lack experience, and seldom see conflicts of interest in business models that target them. Young people often appear non-conformist…all at the same time in the same way. It is a vulnerable time. And some people are lonely. Lonely as hell. The comradeship they lack they may seek in an intense, physical, shared experience. For that reason, they are less likely to see those conflicts of interest lurking.

Let’s think outside the Box a bit. What is a healthy versus unhealthy gift of individual power to a culture or authority for mind-body training? Some CrossFit groups may dial-in a healthy balance in their approach, especially after recent controversy. On the other hand, there are the other reports:

Getting Fit Even If It Kills You

CrossFit’s Dirty Little Secret

Idea Fit Discussion

Navy Times

How CrossFit Forges Elite Failure

And you can Google the rest of the negatives, of which there are many.

On the other hand, you will also find the positives and Google them too. Any CrossFit member or gym owner will be more than happy to tell you the positives. Yet others will say if you aren’t committed, they don’t want you. And I’d say you should be ready to respond with a laugh at that manipulation game. Just remember, not every useful wonder of chemistry is good to mix at the same time. You can get hurt or die from the ensuing explosion or gaseous poisoning. True it is also of training. Excesses are not consistent with durable endurance or sustainable fitness, and therefore excesses in training are not always consistent with readiness.

Military, sport, art, and work readiness is about fitness and conditioning, but training isn’t about getting injured, it is about proofing against it when the real thing trained for is going on. Studies in stress inoculation make it just as much about mindset, adaptive sleeping, recovery, and rewiring after traumatic experiences. The stresses are measured and periodized by time of exposure and response during training. Check out this summary of researched-supported points in the work of Lt. Col. David Grossman, specifically:

Section three describes the mental attitude necessary to be a warrior. The book goes into greater detail about stress inoculation and its importance to effective, realistic training. There are also some important training principles outlined.

Principle 1: Never “Kill” a Warrior in Training. Learners are expected to complete a scenario even if hit, stabbed or shot. As a trainer, tell them, “You’re not dead until I tell you you’re dead!” Don’t give up, always win.

Principle 2: Try to Never Send a Loser off Your Training Site. Have your participants go through a scenario as many times as necessary in order to have them succeed. Scenarios designed to make the trainee look foolish or fail just prove that the training designers are jerks.

Principle 3: As a Trainer, Never Talk Trash about Your Students. Don’t ridicule or try to tell funny stories about the last trainee who tried to complete your scenario. Your role as a trainer/leader is not only to pass along knowledge but also to inspire. You cannot do this when you are not respected. If criticism is to be given, give it in private. If praise is warranted, do so publicly.

I’m sure this could include: don’t give Rhapdo to your trainees. Don’t injure your troops in training so they are disabled for the real fight.

But are you training for combat? It is as much about mindset, and handling what your body does. Listen:

LTC David Grossman interview.

So to some extent CrossFit, run by those who are trained coaches, can achieve some of these training goals. Yet not everyone is training to be a warrior any more than every tool in a toolbox is a hammer. However, even military training leaves boot camp behind and graduates into a more sophisticated, measured, and periodized experience over time. It mixes individual control with leadership. Most individual civilians who are training for combat don’t have the rest of the training. They are not warriors per-se, but want to be ready for what this society teaches them to fear — which is about everything. Which begs the question: should training be motivated by fear? Or should training be inspired by the commitment to master fear?

For now, let’s discuss.

Updated into 2 parts, Part 1: “You’re Not An Athlete,” Analyzing an Early, Indirect Psychological Obesity Catalyst

If we give ourselves to the team, we will serve the good of all teams.

If we give ourselves to the team, we will serve the good of all teams.IMG_6242IMG_8962 Let’s talk about that.

Are you an athlete? Let’s talk about that.

I remember school, that grouping of children by statute in which arbitrary determinations of “jock” versus “gangster” versus “freak” versus “nerd” identified people according to the Plato’s Cave rule.

Have you concluded that you are not an athlete because of this caste-filing system? I believe many people have, especially those who drop out of physical conditioning, or who struggle with believing they belong in a training life of value.

Mass society, as Alvin Toffler the futurist pointed out in his “Previews and Premises,” and “Wave” books, has been reaching its limits over several decades and is forced to change. Mass approaches to the jobs society needs done are losing efficacy to nimbler, more adaptive, and custom modes of human endeavor.

An example: Mass culture’s investors swear to us that mass agriculture is necessary to support the populations it has made possible, what I call an AB-Argument (Addiction-Bureaucracy meme). But that system is changing what food is.

Change happens slowly under the weight of Addiction-Bureaucracy in part because bureaucracy demands consultation and control in that change. However, there are powerful sea changes to speed these processes along from time to time.

In Fitness, Adaptive Training is such a movement. It can take us from the mass commercial approaches to training to an individualized path. Community lives best by temporary confederacies of good purpose, and less by growing, monolithic, robotic authority. The central power theme with high adult to teen ratios provokes the arbitrary identifications like “jock,” “nerd,” “slut,” and other caste system labels that the very teachers it employs fight a futile battle to correct. While this may have been unplanned, authority can use these limiting legends to keep control over high ratios of students to coaches / teachers, etc.

There are Prom Queens and Homecoming Kings and MVPs and scholars by ritual popularity, however, not always by merit of character. And everywhere we hear the word “pride” credited with the wins. I realize this is a commonly used term that many people use to mean love of one’s team, school spirit, and  loyalty to their success. But using the word pride to describe those things is off-kilter. That’s because the same word means a narcissistic desire to hold one of the caste system titles, whatever it takes. That is the trend we see in professional sports.

From my perspective you are an athlete if you mentally and physically condition yourself to excel in your sport, art, work, ethical, and spiritual life no matter your age. To deny any part of one’s development for the more easily developed physical talents is to set-up the highly trained body and mind for a descent into character-rot.

An adaptive training life continually responds not to the rituals that flatter athletes, but to the greater purposes that give mortality its highest meaning for each one, and for all. The rituals may be part of the mix, but they do not govern the athlete. The athlete chooses his or her areas of endeavor, and leads her or himself to excel for the sake of seasoning the community with excellence in service to a community of persons, not to an industry or institution.

To serve people is to be a leader. To serve an industry or institution without remembering “by and for the people,” is to become a materialist willing to value things, wealth, and glory over people.

This leads me to sever this piece into two parts. The next part is on the use of the word “Pride” in athletics and other human endeavors, and how that backfires even when well-intentioned.