This is the most common question I get from my “regular gym” friends. They are in the routine, no pun intended, of going to the gym and performing the same activity for the same amount of time everytime they go to the gym. Run 30 minutes on the treadmill, swim 20 laps, do 3 round of 5 reps of 4 different lifts…ROUTINE.

I always wonder, “why DON’T you do a different workout everyday?”  One of the fundamental aspects of Crossfit is the promotion of universal fitness. This is partially achieved by the differing WODs assigned each day.

If an athlete practices on a specific skill or ability, he may become very good, even great, at that thing. However, if he is asked to do something else, then what?  If I am fast and super-efficient at running for 5 to 7 miles, I will necessarily be poor at running less than 5 or more than 7 miles. I have conditioned my body to specialize on a particular distance…anything else will not meet the needs of my specialty.

Interestingly, life rarely asks us to perform ONLY the thing we are best at. CrossFit promotes universal fitness because survival, professional endeavors, high adventure, or just life REQUIRE universal fitness. So the workouts are different every day. How does that promote universal fitness, you ask?

The human body uses three metabolic pathways of energy for any action: phosphagen, glycolic, and oxidative. If the body needs HIGH POWER for a very short period of time, it uses the phosphagen pathway.  If MEDIUM POWER is required for a longer period—up to several minutes—the body uses the glycolic pathway. Finally, when long periods of time – more than several minutes – require low-power activity, the body chooses the oxidative pathway. In an article entitled “What is Fitness?” CrossFit Journal notes that  Favoring one or two to the exclusion of the others and not recognizing the impact of excessive training in the oxidative pathway are arguably the two most common faults in fitness training.”

The ultimate goal of CrossFit is for its athletes to perform well at any and all possible tasks. If an athlete, a human body, is ready for whatever the gauntlet of life might throw at it, the goal is achieved.  On any given day, we may have to burst into a run to keep the toddler out of the street, spend several minutes moving boxes and books from one location to another, then sitting for 30 minutes helping that toddler in the bath. 

OR hastily donning 40lb. of equipment and running to the truck, riding for 20 minutes to the site of the fire, then assisting another firefighter as he aims the water at the fire. 

OR hiking for an hour to the rockface, prepping ropes and carabiners for 20 minutes, the climbing hand over hand up the face of the rock.  All of these activites…and so many more…require the doer to be universally fit, to be able to access all three pathways of energy.

Today’s WOD called for running, lifting, squatting and crunching. Tomorrow I may have to pull up and push up and jump up…and each day, my body gets better at pulling energy from the best pathway to fulfill the power required so that I am ready for anything…

THAT is why I do a different workout every day.

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