…and I agree with them. 

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Let’s look at some of the specifics of my obsession.

  • If given the choice, I would rather drive than fly when taking extended trips so that I can pack dumbbells.

  • If I have to fly, I will research CrossFit affiliates in the area or see what kind of gym facilities the hotel has to offer so that, if necessary, I can pack extra bags to make odd objects at my destination. 

  • People frequently comment on how I leave parties early so that I can go to bed by 8pm.

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  • I go to bed early not because I have to wake up at 4am EVERYDAY, but because sleep makes me feel better and if I feel better when I wake up early, I am more likely to finish my workout before the chaos of the day begins.

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  • I write about CrossFit, I read about CrossFit, I talk about CrossFit, I metaphorically associate 99% of the experiences in my life to CrossFit. I can only imagine how annoying this is to people who don’t do CrossFit.

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But what if calling this an obsession, though accurate, is a misplaced pejorative comment?

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What if what appears to be an obsession to something as mundane as a workout methodology is actually an enviable clarity of purpose in an otherwise muddied and confusing world trending towards the dehumanization of the individual in pursuit of capitalistic exploitation?

In other words, what if in being obsessed with CrossFit, I am also obsessed with my emotional, social, and physical health, and as they say, if you don’t have your health, what do you have?

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A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the idea of fitting all of our choices into the framework of choosing an option that is either fast, easy, or cheap

I spoke at length about how this metric can help clarify our choices because if we are only able to pick one of these options – fast, easy, or cheap – we can better understand the cost of that choice as a function of the other two. 

Recently, I’ve been struck by how many of our life choices actually hide their costs in an attempt to convince us that they are a worthwhile lifetime pursuit, when in fact, they only serve to remove our independence, personal agency, and long term sense of meaning. 

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About 12 years ago, I had the opportunity to make a choice concerning my career in the Navy. Traditionally, one of the most important milestones for a Naval Officer is command at sea. In January of 2011, my career was on that trajectory. However, I personally felt that the cost of staying on that path would eventually outweigh the benefits. 

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Instead of staying the course of a traditional career, I chose an option that torpedoed my upward professional mobility within the standard Navy promotion system, destined me to statutory retirement at 20 years of service, and allowed me to open Fairwinds CrossFit.

Let’s do some math.

  • I know how much the choice I made cost me in retirement dollars – about $500,000 over 20 years – not cheap.
  • I know how much the choice I made cost me in effort – about a decade of working 3 jobs and finishing a second master’s degree – not easy.
  • I know how much the choice I made cost me in time – almost 12 years of therapy and thousands of hours of ongoing self analysis – not fast.

Through my fast, easy, cheap metric, it kind of looks like I made a poor choice. 

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But, I have also been wondering how people can invest years of their lives in jobs that offer the perception of professional success but alienate them from their families; provide significant financial compensation but degrade their physical and emotional health; and yield increased social status while leaving them struggling to remember why they started in the first place. What happens to these people when they realize how quickly they will be replaced and forgotten weeks after they depart?

If I am obsessed with CrossFit, I would argue it is because CrossFit clearly defines the cost of my obsession.

  • Do you know how much it actually costs you to be obsessed with your career? Your cars? Your clothes? Your professional sports teams?

CrossFit costs about $25/class. 

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  • Do you know how long it will take you to recapture your health, your relationship with your kids, the passion in your marriage once you find the time when you finally have enough time?

A CrossFit class takes about an hour. 

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  • Do you know how hard it will be to define meaning in your life during those final moments of consciousness on your deathbed?

I do CrossFit to improve my work capacity across broad times and modal domains.

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Brené Brown is quoted as saying, “clear is kind, unclear is unkind.” In my experience, the time I spend at CrossFit offers a clarity that eclipses any other thing I do.

Move large loads, long distances, as quickly as possible. Do this 4-5 times per week. The result will be world-class fitness. It’s kind of easy to become obsessed with that level of clarity even if the obsession is optional.

I guess what I am trying to say is I have no problem with being told that I am obsessed with CrossFit. I 100% agree.

Perhaps the more important question is…why aren’t you?

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See you on the Creek.

-Coach Jack