Three Athletes and the Bartender

By: Mike Collette B.S CES C-PT


The Bar

An Elite Ironman Athlete, a competitive Strongman athlete and a CrossFitter walk into a bar after a day of training. They go up to the bar and take a seat. All three are in good spirits and look tired from a day of training. The overweight bartender ask’s them “what can I get for you?”. The Strongman replies, “we will take 3 beers and 3 glasses of water please.” The bartender looks at the three of them and asks why they are all so tired. The Ironman Athlete replies, “we just got finished competing!” The bartender replies, “oh, very nice, what did you compete in?”.  The three athletes look at each other with no response until the CrossFitter replies “we competed in a test of fitness“. The bartender looks the athletes up and down without much to say, but more so looks confused. He then asks “well, what do you mean fitness? You all look pretty Fit, did you compete against each other? Did you all have separate competitions today?” The bartender is obviously intriqued(and for the purpose of this story has a vested interest in finding out why they are all so tired : ) ). The CrossFitter replies, “well you see, we are all very good friends and we wanted to see out of the 3 of us, who was in the best shape and the winner has a free bar tab today!” “Ha! Proclaims the bartender, “Of course you won!(pointing to the Ironman athlete) I’m sure you ran circles around these two!”. The Ironman athlete proudly replies, “of course I did! But, we didn’t just run, we also lifted some weights first.” Oh”, says the bartender. “Well in that case, I am sure the big guy over here (pointing to the 6’2 foot, 300lb Strongman) lifted twice as much as you two, he looks crazy strong!” The Strongman, grinning, proclaims “that was the easy part, no problem for me!”.
The bartender then grabs the beers and waters for the three athletes and places the bill down in front of the CrossFitter. “Well, here you go! Looks like you’re paying for this round my friend!” The CrossFitter looks down at the check, takes the two copies of the bill and hands one of each of his friends, the Ironman athlete and the Strongman. The two start to pull out their wallets to split the tab. The bartender looks confused again and says, “Wait, so you won?! How can that be?”. The CrossFitter replies, “You never have to finish first to be the fittest.” The bartender, who doesn’t really know what to say, asks “what do you mean? How can you win if you don’t finish first?” As the three are getting up to leave, the CrossFitter says “You are only as fit as your biggest weakness. Tackle your weaknesses in any domain of fitness, be it running/lifting weights/gymnastics etc and you will be a better athlete and capable of things you never could imagine! That is what CrossFit is all about.” The three walk out as the bartender cleans up. That night he goes home and contacts his local CrossFit box to see how he can get started. His reason? He wants to get in the best shape of his life, “time to make a change” he says.
Not The End, The Start.
Moral of the story: Fitness is a balance between various elements. How it is defined in this story is “doing well at any and everything”. Clearly the CrossFitter didn’t lift more weight than the Strongman or out run the Ironman athlete. There is an endurance and strength spectrum. The Ironman athlete is much closer to the “endurance” side and the Strongman is much closer to the “strength” side of the spectrum. In CrossFit, we try to narrow the gap between the two and stick around the middle. You can’t compare Elite athletes in a specific sport to someone that is balanced in all domains. But when you talk about being “Fit”, truly “Fit”, you need to have a balance between Strength, Power, Flexibility, Endurance, Stamina, Balance, Coordination, Agility, Speed and Accuracy (10 general physical skills). Do the common uncommonly well=Virtuosity.