Most people are either on two sides of the fence when it comes to CrossFit, and when I say sides I mean extreme sides. Entering into a conversation with a CrossFit’er it would be surprising if you could make 5 minutes into a conversation without them in some way revealing this enormous and influential detail about their life. In contrast, if you bring up CrossFit to those who don’t do it, they equally hold a high opinion against it or really don’t care to even bother with it. Hopefully, this article will address some of these issues and maybe get both sides to understand a little bit more about the other.
5 reasons why people are scared of CrossFit:
- It’s not for me. It’s for the hardcore fitness gods who come down to earth with their hammers to compete against each other on ESPN.Truth is when you look at it on ESPN you are looking at the top 1% in the world. There are 100’s of thousands of people who do CrossFit from every different type of fitness background. This span of people also spans a diverse baseline of fitness from the average joe to the 200lb overweight guy who was just told by his doctor he needs to make healthy lifestyle choices in order to save his life. Well guess what we all need saving. While I hold my opinion that only one person deserves the title of Savior, I defer and say CrossFit does indeed help all sorts of people, significantly! In fact, one of the beauties of CrossFit is that while you might be struggling to do one pull-up you might be working next to a person who can do 50+ but they each get supported and encouraged as equals. In CrossFit, everyone is recognized as putting in the hard work and it doesn’t matter where you start!
- I’ve seen those CrossFit women and I don’t want thighs for miles and shoulders for days.Again I refer to the above statement– you are looking at the elite. These are the select few who probably do CrossFit 6-7 days/ week and might workout twice a day for 3-4 hours total. For those of us with 2+ kids and both are working parents, this would be rather difficult to attain. What I will say though, since we are all busy, CrossFit allows in a short period of time greater results for a body that looks healthy & fit. In fact, I would boast that on average CrossFit’ers have leaner bodies than their counter parts at globogyms! What I deem as also a great quality is that these women and men are more concerned with their performance than how they look. Yes, their bodies get leaner but that is not their primary concern.
There was a study done in the 1970’s that compared children raised in a European home vs an American home. European parents would mainly compliment their children when they completed a task, “Good job Johnny you’re such a hard worker. You did all your chores!” In contrast to most American families many of their compliments would be based upon how their children looked, “Oh you look beautiful today. What pretty hair you have.” Fast forward 15-20 years these same children had self-identity in two different things. The European children grew up knowing their self-worth was in performance, where the self-identity of the American children was based upon how they look and how much attention they got from their looks. The latter would have many more volatile swings in their mood based upon how many compliments they received (Three Seductive Ideas).
Therefore, I draw a parallel to those who go to the gym for pure cosmetic reasons vs performance based reasons. If our goal is truly to make people healthier and more fit, I hold true that one approach to this is a lot healthier than the other both physically AND mentally.
- It hurts people. I’ve heard people getting hurt and my healthcare provider even warned me not to do it.Several reasons for this. One, if the average Joe looks on ESPN and thinks he can do what the elite CrossFit athletes can do, he will hurt himself. I believe this is what differentiates a great coach from a good coach is the ability to tell the person, “not yet. In this passionate culture of fitness, people will want to accelerate faster than they should. A wise coach will be the one to put the brakes on first to make sure proper form and technique comes before intensity. There may also be drastic differences in injury reports from one CrossFit box to the next.Albeit, I cannot “throw the baby out with the bath water” because the same could be said about any gym where someone gets hurt. “Well I might as well not do fitness because my friend tore his rotator.” “Might as well not ever drive because Joe got in a wreck.” That mentality is absurd. The benefits people have received from CrossFit far outweigh the spots of negligence. Even many that I talk to after getting hurt come back and realize that the benefits are worth the risk. I don’t remember one Olympics where a weightlifter didn’t get hurt performing a snatch or clean and jerk. I don’t see the Olympics committee taking the sport out of the games.
- It’s intimidating.Getting accepted into Harvard would be more intimidating than your local community college. If you put yourself into a community where more is expected of you, you’re right that would be daunting and intimidating. However, because more is expected more will be accomplished. So you might like to silently sneak into a globogym, do your own thing, read your book on the elliptical, and no one will hold you accountable if you do that every day. But for that reason that is why CrossFit has better results for fitness than any of their counterparts. It’s much like an athletic team. You all are trying to accomplish the same thing, and hopefully the coach creates a true team mentality in which it’s about helping each other and pushing each other toward that goal.
- They’re all fanatics. Why do they have to talk about it all the time?When there are movements in history that have a good balance of guidelines but allow for those to be passionate to flourish you will get something very similar to the CrossFit era. This might be your own preference but I love people who are passionate. You could be passionate about collecting bugs, and you will find me swallowed up in your world of grasshoppers, ants and Brazilian treehoppers (look that one up). We live in a world where passions are not checked (porn) or there are no passions at all because you are pulled in too many different directions. However, when you are accountable and are supported in an environment that lets you thrive who knows what your potential can be!!