CrossFit: Sport, Fitness, Or Both?
According to Chatham’s Chad Langan, owner of Maple City CrossFit, there doesn’t need to be a debate, because CrossFit can be both.
“CrossFit as a sport is a multi-tiered test to find the Fittest Man and Woman on Earth,” explains Langan about CrossFit as sport.
The CrossFit Games, which have recently been picked up and televised by national sports television networks like ESPN, offers big prize money, national exposure, and an opportunity for many athletes to continue competing, even after they complete a career in another sport.“There are a lot of high level athletes who come from different sport backgrounds who use CrossFit to fill a void after their careers are over or to maximize their performance while participating in their high level sports,” explains Langan, who opened Maple City CrossFit in 2014 with business partner Kyle Buchanan.
Many people however, don’t enjoy participating in fitness type activities as a competitive sport, and Langan wants people on the other side of the CrossFit as sport debate, to know that competitions are only a small part of CrossFit.
“CrossFit isn’t just a sport,” says Langan, “In fact it is one of the smallest parts of what CrossFit is. CrossFit is a lifestyle choice. It is an excellent method of training for individuals who need to feel accountable at the gym. CrossFit isn’t for just the high level athletes or the fittest of the fit; it is for the regular everyday people in all societies, from the high school football player to the 50-year-old mother of three,” continued Langan.
Whether you prescribe to the sport side of CrossFit, or believe it is simply a method of training, it’s hard to ignore the number of athletes, whether they be hockey or football players, runners, or golfers, who are signing on to utilize the benefits of CrossFit in their offseason training.
“What we’re finding is that there is a lot of high level athletes that still have plenty of weaknesses. When they use CrossFit as a training method, these weaknesses are exposed and we can truly unlock their full athletic potential,” says Langan who has trained high level hockey players like Kyle and Brett Hope, NCAA golfer Mackenzie Butzer, and his sister Hokey Langan, who was a former NCAA hockey player and member of Team Canada.
For these athletes, CrossFit is becoming a vital part of their training, and an activity they love.
“Crossfit has made me more fit than I have ever been,” says Mackenzie Butzer, who is in her first NCAA golf season with Bethune-Cookman University.
“I have more strength and endurance than I have ever had,” added Butzer. “My strength has increased, which resulted in better ball striking and longer distance. My performance has improved immensely. I will never stop CrossFit.”
Langan, who graduated from college to be a paramedic and firefighter, and is now a CrossFit Level 2 coach with specialty certificates in gymnastics and Olympic lifting, knows that classifying something as either sport, or fitness, will undoubtedly turn some people off. That’s why the 22-year-old says people shouldn’t label CrossFit, but rather, just see it for what it is, an opportunity to get healthier and stronger, either recreationally or competitively.
“If CrossFit is seen only as a sport it defeats the purpose and ideals of what CrossFit is. It is scalable, constantly varied, high intensity, and designed for everyone. Don’t be discouraged or intimidated by CrossFit as a sport, but understand and be excited about a new challenge.”
“My advice, try it,” says Langan. “If you have skepticism about CrossFit, it is likely because you`ve never tried it, so get out there and see what it’s all about. The worst thing that comes from CrossFit is a love for fitness.”