In front of a sold-out crowd in Carson, California, athletes Rich Froning and Samantha Briggs exhibited mental strength and peak performance, as such, were crowned the fittest man and woman on earth. They endured grueling tasks like gymnastics, weightlifting and stressful body movements until they earned their spots at the top of the podium inside the Stubhub Center for the 2013 CrossFit Games.
CrossFit is a not-so-recent fitness program started by Greg Glassman in his small gym in Santa Cruz in the mid-1990s. His philosophy was to take “functional movements” and replicate them in the gym at an intense, heart-pounding pace to help build mental strength and mold better athletes to achieve peak performance. Today there are roughly 7,000 CrossFit affiliate gyms across the world.
Just a small look at the intensity of these competitive tasks displays the mental strength of these athletes, but unlike profession football or baseball players, these men and women are not full-time athletes, but enjoy achieving peak performance just the same.
Like the spectators in the stands, most of them will return to their regular jobs Monday morning. So how does CrossFit transcend beyond a gym and transform these athletes into the “fittest on earth?”
A Community of Mental Strength
Imagine going to the Super Bowl, but instead of regular spectators, the stands were filled with thousands of college and semi-pro football players. The CrossFit Games spectators aren’t just fans, they’re peers. Many of the CrossFitters in the stands workout at the same gyms as the competing athletes back home, and are in good enough shape to compete alongside them in regional and lesser competitions.
CrossFit preaches community of mental strength in conjunction with “forging elite fitness.” You might go to the gym with a buddy, but with CrossFit, you go as a family. It’s a mantra that some jokingly call a “cult”, but those involved at their local gym, or “box,” don’t mind the label and often embrace it.
Every workout at a CrossFit gym is timed, scored and stacked against the rest of the class. The scoreboard isn’t there to humiliate you, it’s there to motivate you. With the promise of community comes accountability. Athletes can’t get away with going through the motions like nobody’s watching because at CrossFit, somebody is always watching and that competition pushes athletes unlike most fitness centers.
Beauty in Strength
The 2013 CrossFit Games streamed online and aired on ESPN through stations available at satellitetv.net. And it wasn’t just men competing in the games, CrossFit invests heavily in its female athletes who are just as impressive, if not more, in their physical abilities.
CrossFit wants to redefine female beauty – from the thin runway model to the model athlete. Inspiring a new definition for attraction doesn’t build mental toughness, but the confidence and hard work to achieve such a form does. For starters, aspiring for a size zero waist usually doesn’t consist of daily muscle-ups and power cleans. The work these women put into building a new type of beauty builds more than a new body, it builds character.
Attitude of Mental Strength
Broken down into its individual pieces, CrossFit is nothing new. Gymnastics and weightlifting existed long before Glassman founded the company. But combined with its program and culture, CrossFit is raw and gritty. It puts novice and experience athletes through the grinder until they come out new on the other side — this is the attitude of mental strength. It’s a philosophy that runs from Rich Froning all the way down to a kid on his first workout, and it is most certainly tough.
Help yourself and others develop the mental strength to achieve peak performance and become a certified mental strength coach. The program is approved by IDEA and accredited by NSCA and ACE. Find out more now by going to Mental Strength Certification.
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