A Fork in the Road

Forging Elite Fitness

CrossFit’s Motto is Forging Elite Fitness. The early CrossFit adopters came from the military, and first responder communities. It soon spread to the Martial Arts and those who wanted to test their physical mettle. The workout were published on the web and soon developed a large following as well as a large detractor population.

Back in the day when we first got started with CrossFit the workouts were posted with scaling options. Unscaled was labeled “As Prescribed” Rx, this we were cautioned were for the elite only. From here the scaling became more childish in it’s labels, porch, puppy… The not so hidden message was that if you weren’t Rx you weren’t really CrossFit.

This attitude of Elite also meant that the athlete was meeting all of the standards for the Rx, especially the movement standards. Otherwise how could we compare one athlete who does a full depth air squat with one who does the Air Squat your Dr. does?

Around the same time as CrossFit Forging Elite Fitness came a number of follow along exercise programs P90X—the “X” is for eXtreme, that has to be good—and “Insanity”, I’ll let you figure that one out.

If you life is about running into burning buildings to get into a gun fight with some bad hombres, then you’re fitness better be elite. The problem is if you’re doing P90X what’s elite is probably your ego—oh yeah we leave ours at the door in CrossFit, ahem—and you’re going to really want to see Rx next to your name on the whiteboard.

In 2007 it seems like CrossFit came to a fork in the road, the method was under attack both from its detractors—there are many—and copy cats—you can’t copy right a Burpee so there’s no lock out technology. Declaring the proponents of CrossFit as the Fittest on Earth makes perfect sense for the Brand’s longevity, throwing down the challenge to anyone who wanted to compete also broadened the playing field, and there wasn’t much chance that a Non-CrossFit Athlete would win.

At this point CrossFit hit the fork in the road. One path led to the Sport of Fitness the CrossFit games the declaration of the Fittest on Earth. The other led to longevity, this path is the newer one, the sport of fitness has always been what CrossFit was about.

In 2007 the owner of Optimum Performance Training (OPT) James Fitzgerald won the first CrossFit games. This was a walk on, come one come all event. More of a party. No one really knew what these athletes were capable of, and by today’s games standards it wasn’t much. It was an eye opener.

In 2008 James went back to the games after a year of training more specifically to compete—you see previously to this first games very few people put their elite training into everyday use, quite possibly only the elite military does this—our son found out about CrossFit from the Air Force Para Rescue he was training with. James did not win the second games, in fact he almost died! Clients. The 2008 Games was won, on the male side, by Jason Kalipa who couldn’t do a pull up the year before. This is a testament to the training model of CrossFit.

In 2010 the Games moved to the StubHub center in Los Angeles and became a yearly fixture in the CrossFit world. This selection process for the Fittest Person on Earth became the main purpose of of many if not most CrossFit gyms, including us, as they adopted a training model to send people to the Games. The problem with this is that training for the games is not a sustainable model. I would argue the Forging Elite Fitness is not measured by the games because it’s not sustainable especially with amateur athletes.


If Forging Elite Fitness is one path on the CrossFit road, Longevity is the other.

James Fitzgerald went on to start OPEX Fitness a Coaching School which we are Certified by. Our brand of training is based on three main influences, CrossFit for the group classes, CrossFit/Opex for the Personal Coaching Clients and Rolfing/CrossFit/Opex for the Structural Fitness Clients. It is James who first pointed out to us that the required training for the Sport of Fitness does not lead to Longevity in fitness, in fact just the opposite is true—how many people who chased after a games spot do you know that are injured or burned out? James uses an analogy of a sports car to describe the difference; a Ferrari is great to drive and is easy to break, a VW Bug can go a long way between tune-ups and is reliable. Most of us need to train like a VW not a Ferrari.

How do you train like a VW? Put most of your emphasis on your Form, assure you can do the movements correctly throughout a workout, be your own judge don’t short a movement. If you can’t do a Toes to Bar replace it with Jumping or Prone V-Ups. Don’t count a rep you don’t complete with perfect form. Going fast and sloppy is just that sloppy!

Don’t lift a weight that’s to heavy for your ability. You’re only training a bad habit. Ask the Coaches for an accessory exercise to supplement your strength needs. Your form is best practiced below 70% of your Rep Max. Pay for a 30 min skill session to get some concentrated Coaching.

If you want to train for the Games let us know, we’re happy to get you on that path.

If you want to play with your children and be better at life, let us know, that’s the path we’re on.

The guidelines that James Fitzgerald gave me for my training was 80% for the MetCons and 100% for the Bench Mark workouts. If you have a question ask a Coach for a couple of ways to approach the workout.

While we don’t use Rx or other designations on the White Board, when we use workout from the CrossFit main site we do annotate the intensity (usually weight) that is used as a reference point. If you’re not recording your workout results, this doesn’t matter.