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It’s Not About the Numbers by Jay Rhodes - CrossFit Journal

In Rest Day/Theory

February 11, 2011

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Jay Rhodes finds something in CrossFit beyond a big deadlift and a great Fran time.

Through a friend, I first became aware of CrossFit in February 2009 and was immediately welcome to the idea of getting in and out of the gym in well under an hour. I wasn’t quite sure how to follow, but I managed to find a few workouts I wanted to try. Though I loved the workouts, I was pretty inconsistent with the frequency.

Fast-forward to October 2009. I had started to work out again, albeit inconsistently and with no real direction. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get back into it the way I was before summer. It was homecoming weekend at my university, and parties were everywhere. My parents were planning to visit but had to cancel at the last minute. My Dad had gotten sick. It sounded like it was probably the flu or something. It wasn’t.

There was one point when he did not move for nearly four days, terrified that the slightest movement could put pressure on his spinal cord and leave him paralyzed. After sitting there in a hospital chair holding the hand of the guy who had taught me to play sports and nearly everything else, and with him immobilized and in severe pain, I made a decision that I would do my best to get absolutely everything I could out of my body. I had proof that it could be gone in a second.

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62 Comments on “It’s Not About the Numbers”


wrote …

Great article! Quality of life is everything! Very inspiring!


wrote …

Geat article! The experience is what its all about!


wrote …

Great Article, well written. I agree that though we strive for the numbers that go on the board during each workout, the real goal is different for each athlete. I personally work with the knowledge that on every day that I complete a workout, I am more fit than I have ever been before. As a coach and trainer I live for the moments you mentioned when a client realizes they can do whatever they want. Thank you for sharing your story.


wrote …

Sometimes I get emotional when I see someone push themselves during a wod or competition, and it seems so silly to be affected that way because it's "just exercise." However, I don't think we can help but be touched and inspired by guts.

There's always a new goal in CrossFit, always more to acheive, but I want to be a big fan of celebrating the person who keeps showing up and working hard, even if they never compete or become elite, just because they've chosen excellence and they're going after it.


wrote …

Wow.. you really nailed it man. Exactly the way I feel. Great Article! Hope your dad is continuing to get better.


wrote …

Thanks for sharing your story. I get it. My dad is 89 and my mother 85. Seeing their frailty over the past few years has motivated me to train and eat clean consistently. I want to be lean and strong at their age and realize that you can't fully recover from decades of neglect in a matter of months.


wrote …

Jay, thanks for sharing. In fact, I can somewhat relate. I was in a pretty bad auto accident yesterday, where I was struck by another car, and flipped my truck a couple of times! The awesome thing is, I walked away from the accident without a single bruise, cut, or scrape (after I had to climb out of my truck!). The EMTs and police said they were amazed I wasn't hurt or at the worst dead. Wow, did that hit home with the quickness.
Fast forward a couple of hours. My dad is not in good shape at all and has been in a state of depression for some time. I went to him to show him the pictures of my truck and let him know I was okay. He gave me the biggest hug you can imagine. We don't have the best relationship in the world and have never been emotional with each other. This just made me realize that I could easily be in very bad shape, and at the blink of an eye, your life can change! With that in mind, I want to use everyday to push myself, and body to the limits, while helping to provide an example to my Dad that it is possible for him to turn things around, both physically and emotionally.
I am so happy and thankful that I came across your story/testimony today and wish you and your family the very best. I know it has definitely hit home with me!


wrote …

Great article! Very good point about working your body while you can. Everything you can do now will make your "senior years" that much better. I also appreciate your views on us "Average Joe" CF'ers who are there for their own personal reasons and not to necessarily become the next Games winner.

My Prayers go with father and family.


wrote …

Nice Article! Thanks for sharing. I wish you and your family the best, I want to help as many people as possible to reach their goals. I agree with Chris Lohman. Thanks again for sharing.



replied to comment from James Sellers

You're amazing Rhodes!


wrote …

For some reason that replied to James comment??


wrote …

thanks, Jay. you summed up my own attitude about Crossfit. keep it up.


wrote …

Nice article. I think it's easy to get caught up in more weight or faster times, when as trainers we are here for the people that want exactly what we want-to be more fit, more capable, and in better health. The bigger numbers and faster metcons will come in time, but seeing someone do something they wrote off doing because it was crazy or hard is an awesome sight to behold.


wrote …

Great article, and a very inspiring story! I too know what it's like to have a sick dad, and still try to keep your business and training afloat. My dad, a retired police officer, suffering from dyalisis for the past 11 years, is want keeps me going to Jay! Thank you for the story, and the inspiration, all the best to you, your training, life, and your dad!


wrote …

Excellent piece! I think this would be an eye-opening read for all those people who don't get how we CrossFitters can be so obsessed with doing what we do. Thanks for sharing your story mate, and all the best to your Dad.


wrote …

This was a great article. Thanks for sharing your story and opinions. The community benefits greatly from these types of stories.


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wrote …

Thanks for sharing your story Jay. Very inspiring!


wrote …

Thanks mate! You know what it´s all about!


Joseph Alexander wrote …

You are a great ambassador of the community. Thank you for your thoughts and efforts. Very inspirational.


wrote …

Cool article. Right on target. I'm 53 and almost missed the bus concening my health. I have a great wife and 3 great daughters and I was doing nothing on my part to keep my health so I could be in there lives. Thats changed, Your right it's not about Fran times. For me it's about doing the right things for the ones you love. cant wait till 83, penny loafers and a thong, yea baby.

Your a cool dude keep up the good work


wrote …

Great article Jay! Crushed it!


wrote …

yea buddy


wrote …

Excellent article! I never try to push CrossFit on friends, family, or co-workers; it never seems to work. What personally drives me, is to inspire other to care for their body and health. Lead by Example.


wrote …

This is what its all about! Truly inspiring to help others gain confidence and realize than they can do more than they think they can.
*thumbs up*


wrote …

I think you stepped away from the emotional component which comes with completing only few workouts, and really started chipping away at the mental drive required to succeed. Everyone defines success differently, and for some, they reach it with emotional satisfaction after a single workout. Others revel in the psychological effort of the whole system. Embracing any craft and defining, then squeezing value from it, is a feat of willpower and intellect.

Maybe this is what those new Jeep commercials try to convey, saying that we as a nation (I'll co-opt Canada for this point) have to embrace the doing, the process, including the very personal trials and experiments. Crossfit is like a fitness bazaar, open to the browser, the interested shopper, and the savvy, obsessive collector. I like this philosophical stuff, because it's where i struggle. I can sandbag any workout, but the numbers are ultimately mine, and a product of the weeks and days of preparation, not necessarily the instantaneous effort. The effort in any workout is for the future; the present is what builds future progress. Mental presence lays the foundation for what we choose to be.

Very good work, thank you for sharing your personal thoughts, I know firsthand how deep family illness can cut. And thanks for clarifying yet another purpose to get back on the rings.


wrote …

Great story and very motivating! Hope your Dad's doing well!


wrote …

Nice. Thank you for sharing


wrote …

Amazing article, i started crossfit, six months ago and for sure after i readed your article, now am more motivate than before. tahnx for your sharing, man.


wrote …

Exactly! Really well said Jay.


wrote …

Outta the park brother. The essence of what we can try and do.

Best to your father.


wrote …

Well-written and on-target.


wrote …

My deepest source of motivation came from the hospital as well, having worked there for almost a year when I was 18. Seeing all the old and not so old people that "wanted but couldn't" and had to undergo surgery made me realize several things.

First, what you invest in your youth/adulthood is what you're going to get back from 50-55 onwards. Nutrition, health, fitness, psyche.

Secondly I couldn't look a person in the eye who just lost his leg or whatever and tell him/her that I'm just too lazy to walk somewhere or run and jump around, having fun. If you value life in any way, I can't imagine not to invest in my physical well-being. That's just a waste.

Good article. :)


wrote …

Love the article brother...CrossFit and it's community motivates and changes lives!


wrote …

That what its all about man. Excellent article.


wrote …

Great article. At 40 I am in the best shape of my life, but strive for more. Going through my level one cert was one of the most challenging things I have done, but one of my proudest moments. Our affiliate is the police department and crossfit is the program we use to train recruits. I love to watch the transformations of people that have done nothing for years and see them after crossfit. Life is so short and have learned that lesson well over the last year. Three friends and co-workers have died this past few months and it makes me realize how precious life is. I have never met a community of people like this. When I go out of town I always see if there is a box close.

Continue the great work. Your article is very inspiring.


wrote …

I couldn't agree more. My brother and I were both members of different CrossFit affiliates for a while, but in order to save money we made our own box in his garage. We now work out 4 times a week, with a group workout on Saturdays where any of our friends or family, or friends thereof are more than welcome to join. That's the exciting part. Watching someone climb a rope for their first time, or figuring out a kipping pull up. Makes me want to quit being a chef and open up my own affiliate...


wrote …

Great journey Jay, I can see your father getting better and better, alng with your athletic capabilities and your coaching.

ps: I love how you mentionned Harley in your description :D


wrote …

This is what makes CrossFit so cool and unique. It is about helping others and the community. Great article.


wrote …

I am an old college athlete who allowed my self to go to hell. I am became lazy, and unmotivated. I always had a great role moldel in my father who is still in tremendous shape, but had failed to follow his example. I had some friends who were doing X-Fit, and it sparked my interest.

I started my X-Fit journey with my wife and daughter on 11/1/10. I started at 302 lbs. On 1/10/11, I began the Paleo lifetsyle. I am now at 255 lbs, and going down daily. I feel reborn and energized. 200-210 lbs is my ultimate goal. Lean and hungry for a challenge.

The welcoming nature of my instructer at the gym, and the open hearted nature of the people in the gym have guided me and inspired me to become better every day. The people is what attracts me to X-Fit. Like the article talks about, it is the community that has brought me in, and helps me to go through the pain and enjoyment of every workout!!


wrote …

It was a great article.
I have also found that numbers pale when compared to life's achievements.
Thank you for your time and effort.


wrote …

Great article! This is what makes crossfit what it is! No end in sight! Always something to improve at. Could relate to the line about having an operation and coming back within six months to kill some wods. Stronger than ever


wrote …

Great story, a lot of us have used crossfit to overcome hard times and I truly sympathize with yours, I have read more humble articles, too many people writing how WODs and times don’t matter and then telling how good they are, how much progress they have made or what competition they expect to do good in. All the best to you and your father.


wrote …

I really like the way he wrapped up this article. I had personal trained outside of the Crossfit realm for several years before I got involved (with Crossfit) but when I did it turned my world upside down. So when I was asked yesterday at a local event "What made you ultimately switch?" the best response I had was "You can't beat or even parallel the family/community environment that crossfit creates." I love this article.


robert day wrote …

really great article and struck several chords with me. unfortunately my father passed away sunddenly without me ever having the chance to say what he meant to me. value and love you father and keeping up the good work


wrote …

nice story jay,
Iam from Czech republic and I started trainig people just a few month ago and it is totaly true that the biggest thing is to see these people how they fall in love with the chance for the better live. It is absolutely thrilling for me and I never want to do anything else than share crossfit phylosophy with other people. This comunity is unstopable and it makes me become a better person.. Great way how to live the life.



wrote …

Great Article, very inspiring. You are so right, it's not really about the numbers it's about the everyday people who have found Crossfit and stuck with it. I have a number of friends who "like" the idea but are not willing to put in the work. Like you said, It's much easier to sit around and drink beer. I myself have been in these shoes. I started doing crossfit back in Nov of 08' but after six months found it easier to slack off. I have been on and off again since then but currently have been going for 7 months strong. I believe my commitment and attitude have changed significantly since getting back into it. The numbers will come but it's who you can inspire to make a change in their life that counts!


wrote …

Nice Article. Dead on.


wrote …

Well written, Rhodes. Both you and your dad are an inspiration. Keep up the good work! Hopefully will be able to cheer for you at the games. :D



wrote …

Jay, great article. You mention inspiration and obsession. We all draw inspiration from different places, some darker, less pleasant than others. Mine (more typical) came from being a collegiate athlete to waking up years later after having kids, stepping on the scale and saying WOW! How did that happen! And then a health scare of my own (in my late 20s!) Many boring routines and no progress sent me searching for something that would make me sweat. What I found was a new way of life. A way of life that I can be proud of and share with others, especially my kids. Obsession, absolutely! There are three things important in my life, family, Crossfit way of life, job. I wish I could merge the last two, but that would be, well a long story. In summary, an article that just about everyone in the Crossfit community can relate to some small piece of. Now in my mid 30s, I am going to take a shot at the open sectionals and hope just to make regionals with the true goal of making a hard run at masters in several years. Thanks for writing.


wrote …

Reading this article was 10 minutes very well spent. Sometimes what drives us in workouts is the fact that in the back of your mind you know someone else is going through far more pain than you are. I love the dedication you have to your Dad, and in helping others smash through what they thought was impossible. It's great to see you're not taking your body for granted, keep it up!


wrote …

Looks like you got a good response! You deserve it. Sharing your heart, walking your talk and being an inspiration to others is a good thing. Keep it up big guy!


wrote …

Jay, I'm dying to know your CURRENT 400m time. You and I have the same PR (mine from 12th grade), and CF has transformed my young adult (age 35, CF'ing for 1.5 years) life, but I'm nowhere near 50 seconds (or my 1:54 800m) today. I'm OK with that, but I was wondering if your training has allowed you to flirt with 50 seconds so many years later.

Great article...



wrote …

Thank you everyone for all the feedback and stories of your own successes.
It's truly humbling and I wish all of you the best.

Got an e-mail from my Dad earlier:

"I reread your article and also all the busted me up again. Clearly you hit a chord with the Crossfit community too....congrats.

Hope I still inspire you as the feeling is quite make me very proud.

Anyway...gone to ride the exercise bike...spring is right around the corner and I have to be in good shape for outside riding. You reminded me that I have a few goals too...thanks for that.

Cheers and we'll talk soon...Dad"

Gonna go give him a call now!

Matt- I have no idea what my current 400m time would be. I can tell you its nowhere near sub 50....but I imagine I could manage a maybe 54-55 second 400.
I don't run very much it's hard to say.
I did the 4 Rounds of 400m run/50 squats last summer in 8:41 I believe, and afterward ran 3 x 200m all in 25 seconds. And a couple months ago on the mainpage WOD Run 1600/1200/800/400 I started off with a 5:23 mile without too much trouble.
I think a straight 400m run at the Games would be very interesting!


wrote …

"After all, there are much
worse obsessions than chasing elite fitness and helping
others achieve their goals."
You put it perfectly-there ARE much worse obsessions. Crossfit is amazing and hard to explain to non Crossfitters. I think I'll have them read your article. Thank you!


wrote …

Jay - thanks for taking the time to write this article. It rang true to me as I was also motivated by a sick parent, especially when I saw my health start to follow suite at a young age. I got my diet and learned what "real" exercise is. Glad to hear you dad is able to get his bike back out on the roads!


wrote …

Nice work...both in your box & your article. Since I have watched your YouTube video & read the article I find myself pushing so much harder in WOD's. I don't just want to be on top the whiteboard but instead be proud of the performance I put forth. In your video it appeared you did that each an every WOD. Thank you for sharing...You are CrossFit.

Chest up & heels down in CF-Games 2011!!!


wrote …

Recently lost my Dad and Crossfit was a lot of what helped me through. It's not just the physical but the mental strength that you develop when you put everything into a WOD. That mental strength is there when you need it most. Thanks for the article and the vid is awesome.


wrote …

This is one of the most inspiring articles I have ever read. Thank you for believing in what really matters and above all, thank you for putting it into practice. I wish your father a faster recovery. You two are lucky to have each other.


wrote …

hey man
i watched the vid and read the story and i know what you are saying and i have only been doing it for 4 months. the community in the box and with everyother crossfitter out there is very uplifting

thanks for sharing


wrote …

A truly inspirational story,very close to my situation except i don't have a sports background.But i am crazy about crossfit and gonna leave my engineering job to become a crossfit trainer soon.


wrote …

I've been doing crossfit for about 5 years now and although the WODs are hard, I've found that the hardest part is the mental aspect of crossfit. We have a new affiliate opened up in Inverness, Scotland (Crossfit 57 North). Great guys and great folk that attend. Got my ass kicked by Diane yesterday and suffered a mental kick in the teeth being beaten by everyone, regardless of the fact that I was pretty much Rx on the WOD. Had to login to find a pick me up and to put things into perspective again. This article hit the mark as needed. It isn't about the numbers at all, that is just the proof that it works. It is about life, being the best that you can be and seeing the best in others. If they need help to see their potential then be there to see it with them. I'm still aching but ready for the next WOD now. Now I'm going to be thinking, the numbers don't count, all I have to do is finish. Thanks for the article, I needed that.

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