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CrossFit is like gardening.

David Sheppard

Despite hardcore shirts that claim otherwise, CrossFit is nothing like war. It’s not an extreme cult of badass super-people. Doing CrossFit is not like military training, or martial arts.

CrossFit is like gardening.

A gardener cultivates his or her plants. He waters and fertilizes them. She puts them in the right kind of soil and in the right kind of light to flourish. He patiently nurtures them until they bloom.

In the same way, a CrossFitter should nourish his or her body. She should work on skills and practice good positions. He should increase loading/intensity incrementally as he pursues his goals. She should spend her time in the gym learning about her body and helping it become better, stronger, faster, and healthier — not treating it like it’s the enemy.

Time in the gym is not time to punish your body. It’s not time to “make up for” the unhealthy choices you may have made in the other 23 hours of the day. It’s time to give your body the stimulus it needs to grow. It’s time to nurture your body. It’s time to help yourself become better.

This means that exercising in ways that make your body feel pain is a bad idea. Things that hurt you don’t make you fitter — they make you injured. Scale appropriately. Listen to your body — and your coaches. Ask them to help you when something feels weird, or when your body is giving you signals you don’t understand.

Don’t obsess over getting that “RX” next to your name or beating your previous time or weight. Those things are great when they happen, and you should celebrate when they do, but trying to force them puts you in the position of doing things that aren’t healthy just for the sake of a meaningless number.

The trick to getting PRs and RXing WODs for years and years to come isn’t obsessing over PRing or RXing today – it’s nurturing your body so that your physical capacity continues to grow and improve in the long term.

Exercise is not war. It’s gardening. Cultivate your body with the care and dedication that you would give a garden that you depended on for your survival — because that’s what it is.

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