You can’t seem to go 5 minutes these days without hearing about Crossfit.
“Did you finish that WOD today??” they ask.
“Yeah man I almost puked on those last kipping pull ups!” they say.
Wearing the label “cult-like” as a badge of honour and taking extreme workouts to another level.
You simply cannot deny the success of Crossfit. As LL Cool J would say, “it’s something like a phenomenon.”
When you hear from a friend that there’s now a Crossfit “box” in a small town in northern Manitoba you know it’s officially mainstream.
It’s hard not to get pulled into the excitement around it and the allure of the god/goddess-like bodies you see participating in the Crossfit Games on ESPN. You can’t deny these athletes are in absolutely amazing physical condition.
Which brings me to my first point on Crossfit…
1. It’s A SPORT
Crossfit is a sport and most people doing Crossfit training are training to be better at their sport.
There’s nothing wrong with this as long as you view it through that lens – it’s a sport and the training is very effective at getting you better at Crossfit.
The other thing to consider is that when you see the people on TV that look like they’ve been chiseled out of granite, you have to remember those people are professional athletes now. There was a good chance they were going to look like that regardless of the training they did. Just like Lebron James was always going to be a beast athlete.
You can’t look at those guys and think that if you go do Crossfit everyday that you’re going to look like Rich Froning. You’ll likely be in much better condition than when you started (if you can avoid injuring yourself), but you’re not likely going to look like Rich Froning. That’s like saying you’re going to start playing basketball and doing the same workout as Lebron James and you’ll be as dominant as him on the basketball court. Not gonna happen.
2. Work At Your Fitness Level, Modify When Needed
This is a big concern I have when people start going doing Crossfit. They try to, or are forced to, do exercises and workouts that are far beyond they current fitness level. Form goes out the window as a secondary thought and people end up getting hurt.
Now if you end up at a good Crossfit gym with a good coach then this doesn’t happen as much because the good coaches know to modify and scale the workouts.
Unfortunately there is a HUGE variance between each gym and each coach.
If you don’t have a good feel for your body and the way it moves it’s very easy to thrown into a workout by a sub-par coach that is way above what you should be doing, end up compensating during exercises and hurting yourself.
Just know that if you’re someone who currently does some group fitness classes, has never really lifted weights before and mostly runs for exercise, you should NOT be getting thrown into a workout of 60 burpees, 50 leg raises, 40 single leg squats, 30 kettlebell swings and 50 chin ups for your very first workout.
Scale your workouts, modify when needed, work at your current fitness level and make small gradual progress each week. And if you find yourself at a gym that doesn’t allow for that – run away and never look back.
3. The “Good” Of Crossfit
Don’t get me wrong, for all of the concerns I have with the Crossfit workouts, I actually think it’s done a lot of good in the fitness industry and for society as a whole.
Crossfit has single handedly brought weight lifting into mainstream acceptance and has been a huge player in the “strong is the new sexy” movement. A movement I fully, 110% believe in.
The fact that more and more people around the world are now lifting weights, learning Olympic lifts like hang cleans and snatches, incorporating squats and deadlifts into their workouts is fantastic. I could not be happier for this when it’s taught properly and performed properly.
Along with that, more women are now realizing that lifting weights is awesome and having some muscle is not only incredibly healthy but incredibly attractive as well.
These are all very good things that have come in large part from Crossfit, which is awesome.
4. So Should YOU Do Crossfit?
That’s something you’ll have to decide for yourself.
If you’re someone who used to play sports, has good body awareness, is familiar with weight lifting and moves fairly well, then Crossfit might be appropriate for you if it lines up with your goals.
On the other hand if you’re someone who has never been particularly active, is very overweight and this is your first form of exercise besides traditional “cardio”, then I would recommend something else with a little more structure and simpler movements with better modifications to get you started.
As with everything it depends on a lot of variables.
But if you do decide to go that route, please seek out a good Crossfit gym with experienced coaches that have some kind of exercise science/kinesiology degree that are able to scale and modify workouts for your current level and ALWAYS make correct form your very first priority.