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As Prescribed

Part of growing into the sport of CrossFit is learning the language, and believe me, CrossFit has a language all its own. Now, if you’re not a CrossFitter, fear not. I’m going to translate some concepts back into their English root forms, so everyone is on the same page! Two letters form the backbone of every CrossFit workout – “R” and “X.” A seemingly unlikely combination, since you can’t really make a word out of them. But put together, they describe a term more commonly known in the medical community as “Rx,” or “as prescribed.”

Every medicine you get from a doctor comes with a prescription. Whether digital or printed, your healthcare provider tells the pharmacy what medicine you are to take, the dose, and the dosing regimen. This is printed on your handy little pill bottle just in case you forget. When you follow the instructions from your doctor, you are taking your medicine as prescribed. In CrossFit, Rx is a similar set of instructions provided for the workout. Just like your medicine has a dose, most workouts have a weighted movement. The weight “prescribed” will be listed next to the movement. What most people don’t realize is that the specified weight is only one part of an Rx workout. Everything else written in the workout, including the time in which it must be completed, is also Rx. Just like the medicine you take, the goal of the workout is to make you better. In CrossFit, we define this as increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains, also known as fitness.

What amazes me is how obsessive people become about the work. In other words, the work becomes the goal, or rather, trying to Rx the workout becomes the goal. Can you imagine doing the same thing with your antibiotic medicine? Could you see yourself becoming so focused on the dosing regimen you no longer care about getting better? Could you imagine posting your daily medicine routine to your social media feed and then wondering if everyone else taking the same antibiotic as you took it as prescribed? Yet athletes do this in the gym every day. The goal of the workout isn’t the workout. The goal is increased work capacity.

Capacity is the name of the game, not just in the gym, but also in life. The greater your capacity, the greater your performance. One of the reasons CrossFit translates so well into building spiritual fitness is that it’s constantly varied. It’s varied on purpose to build capacity to do many things. The beautiful thing is that’s what people are looking for in their everyday lives as well. They want to build capacity to do many things. Things like being present and not distracted by technology. Things like not letting their performance at work define them. Things like being generous with their time and talent. All of these can be achieved as a result of building spiritual fitness. You just need to increase your spiritual capacity.

And that all starts with daily and weekly habits, the work, if you will. Habits like prayer and Bible reading and meditation and community groups are all places where you’re giving God space to grow your spiritual capacity. Think of these habits like time in the gym, only you’re not in the gym, you’re spending time with God. And this is where God is transforming you, renewing you from the inside out. It’s not about moments of spiritual capacity, it’s about the momentum of God’s capacity to expand yours. The result? A spiritually fit life. Whether physical or spiritual fitness, don’t let the work be your goal. Live into the belief that capacity will ultimately determine the outcomes.

Questions for Reflection:

Do you find it difficult to keep the big picture in mind when you’re training in the gym? Have you developed any tips or techniques to maintain focus?

Building spiritual fitness requires time with God. How have you structured your life to make space for spiritual transformation?

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