I know a few people involved in CrossFit competitions, and having seen what they’re capable of, I have to admit I’m impressed.
The CrossFit principle of “constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensity across broad modal and time domains” supposedly avoids the pitfalls of specialisation in more traditional forms of fitness and sport. For example, no matter how good I am at kung fu, I might not be so good at doing chin-ups, rowing a boat, or running a moderate distance. Fitness is very narrow, as your body quickly and efficiently adjusts to whatever specific activity you are doing.
Which is why I think we need a new discipline for parents, which I’ll call ‘DadFit’. DadFit recognises that parenting requires a unique subset of physical fitness, a blend of endurance and strength rarely seen in more traditional forms of exercise.
Like CrossFit, DadFit will involve “constantly varied functional movements”, albeit of a very specific variety; functional movements such as:
– Carrying a 12kg toddler in both ‘squirming’ and ‘dead weight’ modes at randomly varying intervals over a distance categorised as ‘further than I realised’.
– Getting in and out of a car with 12kg toddler, nappy bag, toddler’s shoes, a ball, and three bags of groceries.
– Gently lowering a semi-somnolent toddler onto his bed without waking the child or crippling one’s back.
– Removing a screaming toddler in full tantrum from a public place while maintaining a vestige of dignity.
What truly sets DadFit apart from other exercise regimes is that DadFit is trained under very particular conditions.
Firstly, DadFit must be performed within the haze of debilitating long-term sleep deprivation. Secondly, while DadFit exercises are timed, it is important that competitors feel they might go on forever. Thirdly, while other exercise regimes are typically performed according to strict standards with impartial oversight, DadFit exercises take place in a condition of complete existential doubt. At no time should DadFit competitors have any confidence that they are performing the exercise correctly.
There is of course a corresponding ‘MumFit’, but it’s not for the faint of heart. I hear the warm-up alone takes a good nine months.