Mirror, mirror not on the wall, one more thing I love about CrossFit

A blog reader, with a wonderful blog of her own (you should go read it) first pointed out to me that there were no mirrors at CrossFit and I confess I was shocked that I hadn’t noticed it. My excuse: I guess I’m past that. Also, I’m usually working too hard at CrossFit to notice things like the absence of mirrors.

And while I used to use mirrors while lifting weights at other gyms for attending to form and posture, that’s very much not needed at CrossFit. I’m usually working with a partner whose job it is to help me with form (and then my turn to help her) and there’s a coach on patrol making sure we’ve got it right. (Thanks Dave!)

But now I’ve noticed it, I officially love it and I’d add it to my six things about CrossFit if I hadn’t already written that awhile ago. (For the other six things posts, see here.)

So why are there no mirrors at CrossFit? Here’s some answers:

“A CrossFit gym is NOT just like any other gym for a few reasons.  In most CrossFit gyms there are no mirrors.  This is because we believe that your body, when trained properly, will know the proper form by feel, not by sight.  After having a certified CrossFit coach guide you, you will be able to perform a lift or a squat to perfection just by knowing and trusting your body; and with months of practice.  Mirrors distract you from that internal feeling that you should know you are in good form.  Mirrors can also be distracting and prevent you from doing a great lift if you are too focused on the slightest quiver in the mirror.” More here

From  Back Country CrossFit:

“There are no mirrors in our gym because we don’t care what you look like.

In fact, we don’t care how old you are, or whether you’re male or female. We don’t care what color your skin is either. Or if you’re overweight or loaded with muscle. Or if you’re tall or short. Or blond. Or brunette.

We treat everyone like an athlete, and there’s no profiling here.

Traditional fitness facilities are loaded with mirrors. They’re everywhere. If you stand right in most facilities, you can see your rear delts and your pecs at the same time, or you can line yourself up with precision to surreptitiously check out the cutie around the corner. Very clever use of light and glass.

But the mirrors don’t lift the weight, and they don’t help you fix your form.

Appearance doesn’t matter. Effort does.

Try this: go stand in front of a mirror and go into the bottom of a deep squat. Look yourself in the eye. Then realize your neck is arched into a bad position. Then come to our gym and squat in front of a brick wall while we cheer you on.

We all want to look good, and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you look around the Internet, or our gym, you’ll find a lot of fit, athletic-looking CrossFitters. Fitness and a great diet indeed have fringe benefits, and we’d be ignorant to ignore them.

But our gym isn’t about appearance. We’re about fitness, and if you improve your fitness, you’ll look better. Guaranteed.

But perhaps it’s best not to focus on that. Ultimately, appearance is a subjective measure that says nothing about your fitness. Some of the most beautiful people in the world are very unhealthy, and many of them will tell you that being judged on appearance isn’t very fun or good for mental health.

So we judge you on performance. Are you improving? Are you getting stronger? Are you getting faster? We write down what we lift and how fast we lifted it because that gives us a solid number that doesn’t lie.

Two hundred pounds went up five times. Fran was under 5 minutes. You ran our loop around the block under 3 minutes. You beat a personal record. You got stronger. Or faster. Or both.

You improved.

No mirror will tell you that.

We’re actually putting mirrors in the bathrooms very soon. But they’re not there for you to evaluate your appearance.

They’re there so you can look yourself in the eye and ask one important question:

Did you give your very best effort in the workout?”

Mirrors on the wall

4 thoughts on “Mirror, mirror not on the wall, one more thing I love about CrossFit

  1. I generally agree with this, but as someone who practices forms of dance as well as crossfit, I find mirrors invaluable in understanding what a coach says about lifting form. I’m just very visual that way, so when a CF coach tells me I’m rounding my back in a lift, it takes me a long time to make a correction and to get a feel for what not rounding looks like and feels like. In contrast, when a dance instructor tells me I’m holding my torso too far forward, or need to tuck my tail bone under, I can adjust and see what looks right in the mirror and then remember what the correct position feels like much easier. I think I’ve progressed a bit slower in my oly lifts because of this.

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