Dr. Ian Wellard blog his CrossFit research journey

Ian Wellard, editor of Researching Embodied Sport: Exploring movement cultures chronicles his thoughts and experiences of conducting auto-ethnographic research into CrossFit through his new blog ‘Embodied Research: A blog diary charting my experiences during a period of intensive strength and conditioning training’. Below is an extract from his latest post:

“..I have never considered myself strong in terms of the amount of weight that I could lift. Whereas I might be considered strong in terms of my endurance and maybe how hard I could hit a ball, this does not necessarily equate with the type of strength that is required for CrossFit and the dominance of weightlifting techniques upon the whole sport. While I find it enjoyable and exciting to be doing these activities, I’m still aware that I am constantly evaluating my own ability within this context. Recognition of my lack of ability is made more acute by the sessions which are dominated by recording maximum scores for lifting weights and constant surveillance of one’s own performance (related to how much one can lift, how much one can squat, how much one can deadlift and so on). Much of this recording of the amount of weight lifted is related to constant scrutiny and measurement of one’s performance and James seems to spend a lot of time making detailed calculations about my body weight and the projected weights that I should be lifting at a later stage.

The constant scrutiny within the sessions is, therefore, an aspect that makes it difficult not to be constantly reminded of one’s own abilities, or in this case lack of ability or weaknesses. At the same time, it is also really difficult not to make comparisons with other men. These ‘other’ men who compete within CrossFit are invariably 30 years younger than me and probably at least one and a half times my weight. And even though I am aware that I will not be competing within the same divisions as those men (as I would be competing within a Masters division and an older age bracket) it is still hard not to look at their performances and feel slightly inadequate in relation to them.

There are several factors that are contributing to these feelings of uncertainty about my own ability and they particularly relate to my perceptions of my body as being light and weak as well as awareness of broader social descriptions of an ageing body that is considered weak in comparison to a younger and stronger body…” 

Published : 13/10/2015

To read more from Ian’s blog, click here.

To find out more about Researching Embodied Sport: Exploring movement cultures, click here.

Edited by Ian Wellard

  • Researching Embodied Sport

    Exploring movement cultures, 1st Edition

    Edited by Ian Wellard

    Despite a growing interest in the sociology of the body, there has to date been a lack of scholarly work addressing the embodied aspects which form a central part of our understanding and experience of sport and movement cultures. Researching Embodied Sport explores the political, social and…

    Hardback – 2015-09-04
    Routledge Research in Sport, Culture and Society