Better might be better than best
I spent the past weekend at the Rogue Invitational in Columbus, OH. A two day CrossFit competition where some of the fittest men and women in the world competed in a variety of events including, typical CrossFit fare like muscle ups and cleans, but also some more exotic elements like shooting and ruck run that ended with a quarter mile trek wearing a 30# pack AND carrying a 125# sandbag. I can’t help but be inspired by the incredible performances, but it can also be distracting. I watch these athletes and think I want to do that. I want to be as strong as I can possibly be. I want to lift all of the weights and do all of the things. But for what? For these men and women it has become a job. For the rest of us this constantly varied, functional movement, executed at high intensity thing is merely an avenue to a long, productive, and active life. Hopefully. There is still colon cancer and people who drive and text to consider.
I am not saying there isn’t value in continually striving for more. What I am saying is that trying to do it ALL isn’t necessary. When we watch people push the limits of what is humanly possible it can seem like more is more. This is a false assumption. There is a large divide between how fit a person possibly be, and how fit one needs to be. In fact elite CrossFitters, like elite athletes in many sports, are not the pinnacle of health. As you approach the limits of human potential you are going to place stress on the body that isn’t in line with maximum wellness. Do not neglect the gap between the pinnacle of health and the pinnacle of performance. Could I achieve a 600# deadlift and a 5 minute mile? Probably, but for what? A 400# deadlift and a 6:20 mile put me way ahead of the curve and saves me a whole lot of time in the gym and on the track. Also these numbers while not as exciting deliver a stimulus to my body and brain that will provide the salubrious benefits we are seeking. It will lack of functionality not sickness that lands most people in the nursing home.
What if I put my effort into being the best I need to be instead of being the best I can possibly be? I We have a finite amount of time. We even have a finite amount of willpower. Lets use our limited resources to get the most bang for our buck. Yes I want to be strong. Strong enough to make all of the things in life easier. I don’t need to be the strongest. I want to be enduring. Enduring enough run after my kids, run through an airport, and join a company soccer team. I don’t need to run win a marathon. It can seem like chasing our best is the obvious path to better but what if I just chased marginally better? A little better everyday. Chasing the healthiest, happiest version of myself instead of the “fittest” version of myself.
This week in the gym let’s focus on better. Just a little bit. A little bit better each and every day. And I really do mean a little bit.