I wanna talk about this article, and this article, and this article.
Let me give you a minute to read them…..
Done? OK good.
One thing that really irritates me about the fitness community is the constant bitching between the ‘gangs’. All gangs do it; Weight lifters think Globo’s are idiots, Boxers think MMA’s are wankers, Ballerina’s think tap dancers are fat….and everyone hates CrossFit.
CrossFit is the ugly step sister of a lot of other fitness regimes; Gymnastics, Boxing, Weightlifting, whatever else may be in there. And the other styles hate them for it.
So why with all the hate? There’s a really good article here that talks a bit about what people think of CrossFit, I really enjoyed the read and think it brought up some valid points. But I’m going to share my observations about the sport, community and public outcry.
“CrossFit is a cult”
In some ways that is true; they have their own language, behaviors and inside jokes, but that’s true of any activity. You will always find within a culture that similarly minded people will flock to each other. Base ball players talk in ‘on base percentages’ and and ‘runs’, marathon runners talk in ‘km’ and ‘energy supplements’. These are all things that I have no idea about, but that’s OK because I’m not part of that world.
“CrossFitters are always pressuring you to join”
Now that’s unfair. It’s true of any community that the people within it enjoy the company, and want to share it with others. Have you never been told you should try yoga or pole dancing? No one bats an eye when they’re told they should try organic food or skydiving, but as soon as someone suggests CrossFit everyone loses their shit!
“You have to be fit to do CrossFit”
Moot point, your reading this blog so you know better than that. Next.
“CrossFitters are all crazy intense”
I agree that videos like this are pretty accurate of what people expect a box to be like. But there are crazy fanatics in every sport. Yes it’s true that when you are in the middle of a really hard workout, people may be screaming and swearing around you. You may yourself be screaming, or swearing, or crying (like me). There are studies showing the effectiveness of swearing in relieving pain, and screaming is a natural reaction to great exertion. This does not mean that if you were to do CrossFit you are required to work to this point, it just means that others choose to, it depends entirely on your goals and reasons for being there.
“CrossFit Athletes don’t just do CrossFit”
Exactly! No good coach will ever tell you that you shouldn’t be doing other activities. They want you to run, bike, swim, do yoga, play sport. Most of the top athletes also do at least weightlifting and yoga. Have you ever heard of a runner that doesn’t lift weights, or a swimmer that doesn’t work on mobility? No one activity is the be all and end all of athleticism. And on that note;
“CrossFit isn’t real gymnastics/weightlifting”
Precisely, it doesn’t try to be! The point of CrossFit is to develop physical ability across a wide range of activities and movements. We lift weights because its helps with overall strength and speed, we do handstand pushups because they work on balance and coordination, we do kipping pull ups because it helps us to work up to muscle ups. But above all else we do these movements because they are fun, and a great workout. So why should it matter if these movements were not developed in CrossFit? No one ever claimed they were! Pump classes never get slammed for using a barbell, and no one ever makes fun of boxers for using a children’s toy to develop cardio?
“CrossFit causes injuries”
Bullshit. CrossFit does not cause injuries, people cause injuries. There have only been 2 injuries in the box I train at and they both happened because they weren’t doing what they were told. CrossFit does not CAUSE injuries, it exposes weaknesses in your body. If you don’t listen to your body and check your ego, then you are going to hurt yourself. Lets not forget this is a fast paced highly dynamic exercise format that uses more muscles than any other workout. If you don’t understand the movement, drop the weight right back and focus on technique. If you are getting a stitch, walk it out. If something doesn’t feel right, talk to your coach and they will modify the movement for you. That being said, a CrossFit box is only as good as its coaches, and that segways nicely into my next point.
“CrossFit coaches don’t know what they’re doing”
I take offense to this one because my coach is wonderful, and a stickler for technique. I have heard him tell people to drop a bar or bail out of a lift if they even start to show poor technique. He refuses to let you use weight if you don’t know the movement, we have 1 dedicated technique class and 1 dedicated weightlifting class every week so we are constantly working on proper form. As I said above, a CrossFit box is only as good as it’s coaches, and a shit coach will have a shit box and by extension, shit athletes who will probably injure themselves. Again, this is true of any activity. A bad football coach can cause death by teaching the players dangerous tackles, a bad choir coach can murder a song. Make sure you do your homework, find out how experienced your coach is, read reviews, talk to former athletes and make an informed decision about which box you will go to.
And finally, the jewel in the crown of the CrossFit hating community…
“CrossFit causes Rhabdo”
This one is so funny to me, but I am going to answer it anyway. People think Rhabdomyolysis is something new that has been drastically on the rise since the main streaming of CrossFit, But and I quote: ‘A search of the National Library of Medicine (PubMed) using the keywords “exercise-induced rhabdomyolysis,” revealed over 146 hits dating back to 1970, long before the days of CrossFit’ – The Scientific Rebuttal to an Anecdotal Claim about CrossFit’s “Dirty Little Secret” .
WebMD has a good explanation of what this condition is, and its causes. And if you’re willing to read a very passionate (albeit biased and unsupported) article like this one, then in an effort to get all the facts you should also read this scientific report compiled by an unbiased doctor on the facts and figures surrounding CrossFit induced Rhabdo. The conclusion? CrossFit does not cause Rhabdo,very few people have developed Rhabdo after doing CrossFit, but there is always more to the story than that. This is not a prevalent issue, its not as though every time you step into a box you’re playing Russian roulette with your life. Statistically its more dangerous to drive a car, or fly a plane, or go for a swim or take a bath. Some people are predisposed to developing Rhabdo, and I would never downplay the seriousness of this condition or the effect it can have on the people who develop it. But it can be brought on by being inadequately hydrated, drinking alcohol, poor kidney function, doing drugs, being overheated, or crush injury. These are not CrossFit exclusive factors. Please talk to a doctor before you join a CrossFit gym, you should be doing that before you start any drastic lifestyle shift, but lets not lose sight of the big picture here. I have a family member who was recently put in hospital and diagnosed with Rhabdo…he’s never even heard of CrossFit.
All this CrossFit racism really irritates me. Why is it OK to talk poorly of any form of exercise that people might try to get healthier or happier? If any of those negative articles stopped even 1 person from trying CrossFit, the authors should be ashamed of themselves. In this day and age where obesity related illnesses are sky rocketing, depression, diabetes and heart disease are on the rise, and our life expectancies are going down, I believe that any step in the right direction is great. The last thing an unsure, unhealthy person needs, is articles like these trying to convince them that if they go to CrossFit they will ‘catch’ a horrible disease that will slowly and painfully kill them. How hard is it to get support from family and friends, when they Google CrossFit and the first thing they read stirs irrational fears about muscles melting on every athlete that does a class?
Now I’m not trying to convince you to join, do whatever makes you happy and healthy. I’m just trying to clear up all this stupid community backlash. I was very wary of doing a CrossFit class, I shared a lot of the same concerns I have detailed above. Personally CrossFit has changed my life, I finally have found an exercise that I look forward to every day. A community of really supportive, down to earth people who are dedicated to improving themselves and each other. But if you’d rather be a body builder, a triathlete, or a yogi, more power to you. I wish you every success in your chosen lifestyle, but please, live and let live.
P.S. My fellow Xfitters, you are not innocent here either, stop bagging on Globo gyms and body builders!