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CrossFit, Tough Mudders, Color Runs, and the rise of social-physical challenges - Grantland


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We've all probably overheard someone say, "CrossFit kicked my ass last night." For the longest time, I just assumed it was some sort of post-Zumba phenomenon taking place at 5:30 p.m. gym classes across the country. In fact, CrossFit is an attempt to collapse the monotony of cardiovascular machine culture and the simplistic vanity of weightlifting culture. Exercise can make some people feel alone without a gym buddy to share a routine, but CrossFit gives participants a diverse range of exercises that strains and trains the body in a noncompetitive team context. The underlying pitch of the social-physical exercise activities is that standard exercise doesn't actually fulfill your physical human needs. Gliding on your elliptical or even jogging on a track reduces participants to hamsters on the proverbial wheel. Instead, we should be preparing for a Red Dawn–like existence after the nuclear fallout of World War III while also working on the same "team-building" skills that our employers attempt to facilitate.

Didn't this used to be called "team sports"?

Yes. I'm surprised that racing in mud is not an Olympic event yet.

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