Author: Craig Miller

When I’m on my way to coach, I love to listen to “Chasing Excellence,” a podcast by Ben Bergeron.

He has so much knowledge and expresses it in a way that is easy to understand. Last week I listened to an episode called “The 10 Components of Fitness.” To be proficient at CrossFit—and in life—you have to be well rounded in these 10 areas of fitness: endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. 

Most sports or athletic challenges focus on just one or two of these skills, requiring athletes to become specialists. But what good is it to run a marathon in 2.5 hours if you can’t pick up your baby without hurting your back? And how practical is a 600-lb. bench press if you get winded carrying your groceries up to your third-floor apartment?

Developing each of the 10 components of fitness requires a different approach.

For example, double-unders—coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy—require focused, deliberate practice. If you want to get better at them, you need to come in fresh, set a ten-minute timer and do as many reps as possible. If you try to learn double-unders in a high-intensity, fast-paced workout, you’ll just get frustrated, have a terrible workout and leave covered in welts. 

If you’re trying to increase your 1-rep-max deadlift—strength and power—you probably won’t get there by doing DT. Five-by-five back squats will make you stronger, but they won’t shave seconds off your mile time—endurance, stamina, and speed. And if you don’t have the flexibility to keep your heels down and chest up during the overhead squat, it doesn’t matter how strong you get; you’ll never be able to keep the weight overhead.

To be good at life—to be prepared to tackle any task you’re faced with it, be it moving furniture, carrying your children or walking a mile to the nearest gas station when your car breaks down—you need competence in all 10 components. You don’t have to be the best at any of them, but rather as good as you can get at all of them.

Becoming well-rounded takes discipline, humility, and measured assessment. You need to be able to identify areas in the gym and in life where you could improve, set a S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely) goal, develop a specific plan to improve the weakness, and stick to the plan. This is where having a coach helps. 

There will be days when the plan won’t be fun, you aren’t seeing the progress you expected or maybe you even slip backward a little—but that’s not the time to give up. That’s the time to give it even more attention and get help from a coach. If you can stay on the plan even through struggles, there is nothing that can prevent you from achieving your goals.

Consider these skills, discuss them with your Strong Tower coaches and develop a plan to improve your weaknesses.

Then watch yourself get better at life.