Recently a conversation online erupted after the question was brought up about comparing the difficulty and “toughness” of CrossFit vs. Ultra Running vs. Farm Chores vs. OCR. It was a lively conversation and today again I found myself talking to one of the trainers at the CrossFit affiliate I train having a very similar conversation.
Admit You Are Crazy
The first thing to acknowledge is people competing in most sports as adults are in one way or another “crazy”. Whether you like it or not if you care about a sport and compete at a competitive level as an adult people will probably call you crazy at one point or another. Whether you are in the gym 6-7 days a week, often twice a day or you hit the roads or trails prior to dawn to get your miles in, the truth is crazy can be translated to committed. Once you go above and beyond just the baseline fitness levels, you can put yourself in the crazy category. If you are actively training for competition, sorry to say you are in the crazy category.
It’s Not Harder It’s Just Different
Every sport has it’s difficulties, even the most mundane seeming. Sinking a 20ft put with a slopping green can be just as hard as overhead squating 2x’s your body weight and just as hard as running around in circles for 24 hours of obstacles. It’s just different not harder. If a competitive CrossFit athlete loses focus for a few seconds it could mean the difference between a win and not making top 15. The ultra runner needs to be able to sustain a level of concentration and constant feedback. The 5K runner needs to watch every step of his pacing. Just as the farmer needs to ensure his axe hits the wood in the right spot, otherwise they might loose a toe. None of these are easier than the other, just different.
I constantly find people try to put down one method of fitness or training. Whereas each has it’s ups and downs. I think it’s wrong to tell the ultra runner that they don’t work as hard because they don’t go as fast as a marathoner. Or tell the CrossFit athlete that their training has no carry over into life. Truthfully, if someone is trying to better themselves and their fitness, embrace it. Be thankful they are working on becoming a better version of themselves, don’t hate the method. I find it close minded to say this or that athlete is not working out as intensely as another. Intensity comes in different forms and and we are all wired to react to different type of competition and training.
Finally to set the record straight, farm work is still the original workout. If you want to experience what the original workouts were, just go to a farm and work the fields, feed the animals, chop wood, pull weeds, and harvest the crops. Now that truly is the original workout, or as our grandparents would say, a normal day.
What are your thoughts? Do you think one thing is more difficult than the rest?