Over the course of my career as a trainer I’ve had quite a few people ask me what I think of CrossFit, if your really think about it that’s a pretty broad question but before I tell people what I think I generally ask them what they know of CrossFit. You know, what crazy is that a number of people really can’t describe what CrossFit is or about, I mean can your really inform someone what Cross Fit really is?
If you were to look at their website it states: “CrossFit is the principal strength and conditioning program for many police academies and tactical operations teams, military special operations units, champion martial artists, and hundreds of other elite and professional athletes worldwide…. The CrossFit program is designed for universal scalability making it the perfect application for any committed individual regardless of experience. We’ve used our same routines for elderly individuals with heart disease and cage fighters one month out from televised bouts. We scale load and intensity; we don’t change programs.” (http://www.crossfit.com/cf-info/what-crossfit.html)
So what the hell does that mean? Well I’ll leave it up to you to draw your own conculsion but I’ll state that I view CrossFit as combination of multiple exercise generas (gymnastics, weight lifting, Olympic lifting, odd object carrying, etc..) drawn into one single program or in some cases workouts. Generally most other websites that you were to look at will describe it in a similar fashion.
What I think… the crappy.
I’ll say that I have mixed feelings about CrossFit because when it first began back in 2000 it seemed pretty damn legit with its programming and development but I, among plenty of others, have seen it morph into a different animal all together. What happened in my opinion is that they left the concept of health and longevity and have developed it into fitness elitist concept (which in my opinion isn’t all that bad).
The real problem I have with CrossFit isn’t the workouts but it’s the trainers and business owners that are representing their niche, most of these individuals are straight up dumba$$s with their methodologies of exercise and fitness. To me it seems like a number of these people just sit back and go “ummmm, what’s the hardest thing I can think of and let me make my members do a bunch of circuits of this until they puke” I’m serious I heard one say that, needless to say I had some faith restored when the owner got wind of that and fired that trainer.
These trainers and business owners have created a cultish persona that has divided some of the schools of training into people that do CrossFit and those that don’t, AND if you don’t do CrossFit you’re not really working out you are just wasting time.
In my opinion the lack a well developed certification program (they do have a levels program with Level 1 being more of an intro into the CrossFit system) and their cert is based on what is called CrossFit Journal which is NOT peer reviewed (big deal to me there). Because of this I feel their programming and workout progressions are not as smart and effective as they could be. In fact a number of top level trainers, in my opinion, left CrossFit because of their lack in proper program implantation and design.
OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG!!! I still have trouble watching this…
This carries over into their injury rate is, I believe, one of the highest out of the fitness realm; in fact it’s difficult to get insurance as CrossFit trainer because of this.
On a side note: Honestly I hear about more injuries occurring with this style more than anything. I had a former client tell me that her husband was going box jumps, fell and his hand landed on a bolt sticking up from the ground! Are you freaking serious, who the hell has a bolt sticking up out the gym floor next to where any member is training!? In addition I can’t tell you how many of my clients I have obtained from CrossFit because of injuries. Hey not to be a smart a$$ but its job security for me 😛
What I think… the pretty damn cool.
This is not a CrossFit bashing session like you may see some others doing because I do see some pretty damn cool things that have begun to happen due to the CrossFit craze.
CrossFit has raised the level of awareness towards fitness and other genera of fitness, thus this has increased the fitness population on otherwise would have been a sedentary populace with examples of the Nationally Televised “CrossFit Games”. In addition this has brought into the mainstream a number of other fitness subcultures (strongman, gymnastics, Olympic lifting) and those have helped gives those sub-cultures the much need respect that they deserve along with an increase in participation.
I have to admit that that the above stated comment is HUGH, I have yet to see many thing accomplish what CrossFit has done in that department.
Some of the original metabolic training principles were right on the money in my opinion of smart fat loss training. Now this has morphed into something else over the past few years but on occasion I run into a coach that still holds true to those principles and has developed some amazing progressive programs.
To piggy back off that last comment I have met a handful of CrossFit trainers that I truly felt they knew what they were talking about and created some amazing CrossFit programs with smart exercise selection and training schedules. Granit I know it’s a coach but in my opinion a CrossFit trainer that does that can do some amazing things.
CrossFit is defiantly a power in the fitness industry and it does have a number of positives to go along with some of the perceived pitfalls about it. Its not for everyone but if you really are interested in CrossFit I want to make sure that you find a good facility so here is what you need to do/ask:
- Walk in a get a feel for the place, you’ll know in a few min if you’ll like the people or not.
- ASK if they have a beginners program or person training to work your way up to class level. If they don’t WALK, get the hell away from there! Don’t even listen if they try to sell you on their “scalability” program stuff.
- If their primary workout is the CrossFit websites WOD (work out of the day) walk away.
- If they meet the above criteria then in my opinion you have someone who is doing it right, give it a shot and see how you like it!
In Health and Fitness,
Travis Merritt, BS, CPT, CES, RBT is the owner of Fitness Revolution in Rowlett, TX.
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