How CrossFit is Ruining My Life:
Before I got into CrossFit I was an ok lifter. I pulled decent weight in any lift. I performed intervals on the treadmill for cardio and I taught aerobics on the side. I worked out every evening, and ate well–for the most part. I wasn’t really “injured,” I mean, my shoulders always seemed to hurt–even then. But whatever, life was fine or at least as good as can be. I didn’t have much to complain about.
Then came CrossFit. All of a sudden the need to be even stronger took control of my life. OMG if I can’t deadlift three times my bodyweight, I’m not FIT?! (This is what I was told at my L-1 Trainer Course. I have 100 pounds to add to my DL before I’m fit.) If I can’t back squat 250+ I’m not elite? I have to do upside-down pushups with my hands on plates, do pull-ups three, no, four different ways, and what the hell is an “OLY” shoe?! Or worse, a NANO?!!!
The standards of performance for crossfitters is insane. And it’s because CrossFit allows normal people like you and me to be a freakin’ STAR every single day in the gym. Imagine you told a high schooler that if he trained like an NFL quarterback that he’d go pro within a few years. And he started comparing himself to RGIII and following the same workouts, three times a day, without any of the other conveniences like a medical doctor on call, physical therapist at his fingertips, Lord knows what kind of specialized supplements, hydration products, or nutrition plan. All you have is this kid busting his ass to emulate his favorite pro baller and killing himself in the process. You’d call him crazy, right?
THAT’S WHAT WE’RE ALL FREAKING DOING!
The thing is though, I sort of also really love it. Like, a lot.
If I never started doing CrossFit, there’s NO way my shoulders and traps and quads would be my favorite body parts. Ok, maybe quads…but never shoulders. Handstand holds, push-ups, snatches, clean and jerks….ROCK. And you can do those in any gym (except Planet Pizza and Cupcakes), but there’s just something different about throwing down your OLY bar, rushing to the wall, repping out 10 handstand push-ups, and racing out the door to bust out a 400 meter run. You just don’t do that anywhere else!
I love CrossFit so much that I can’t imagine myself not doing it. No matter where I am in my future, I want to be doing CrossFit. Even though I hope to compete as a Powerlifter and/or Strongwoman in my future, I really want to still be doing CrossFit.
BUT that said, I have a LOT of pet peeves with it. I know, I know, I’m late to the game in my “blogger must post something about CrossFit gig,” but I’m tired of people either flat out drinking the kool-aid or downright trashing it and its members. There’s a LOT of good in CrossFit. There’s also a LOT of bad about it too. I’m no pro athlete as much as I wish I was, but I’ve been around CrossFit for a good five years. I’ve seen a lot, experienced a lot, hated a lot, and loved a lot.
Here are 9 things that piss me off about my favorite sport:
- CrossFit isn’t actually a “sport.” It’s a conditioning program. It was designed to help people become fitter and prepare for life. It’s functional, it’s high intensity, it’s based off interval-style training, and it is meant to help people get into the fittest shape of their lives. It’s freaking good, hard exercise–that’s what it is. Erik says all the time, “Glassman was a genius. He took exercise and called it something. Branded it.” You can do CrossFit anywhere. With or without weight, with or without a coach. It’s hard exercise. Now, what IS a sport, is GRID racing. A professional sport at that. And I really, really, REALLY love GRID. I’m ecstatic that there is a legit professional sport based around the movements that I’m trying to do every single day in the gym. And it’s even TEAM oriented with strategy, substitutions, coaching, skill, specializations, you name it. Love it. But it REALLY pisses me off that CrossFit HQ and many of its kool-aid followers are denying Grid and are actually trying to bring it down. Are you kool-aid clan so freakin’ wrapped around the finger of good ‘ol Dave Castro (or sponsors who will remain nameless because they may try to illegally shut down my site for bad-mouthing them) that you refuse to see the very “sport” you’re doing in your gym each and every day, go PRO?! How are you NOT excited by this? How are you NOT sponsoring this new league?! I don’t get it.
- Speaking of Dave Castro, this guy just pisses me off in general. I know it’s not fair to say this because I don’t know him and maybe he’s actually really funny and cool and nice and great to be around–I really don’t know. But I know what I see on TV and the Internet, and it isn’t funny, cool, or great. Dave Castro acts like the cockiest douchebag I’ve ever seen/watched/etc., and he reminds me of the guy at the gym who just stares at himself in the mirrors and walks around hitting on chicks. CrossFit is already hard and the average population is terrified to try it because of what they see Castro making athletes do on TV. Of course it’s not enough to trash your body doing the workout “this way,” let’s make it three times harder and ensure no one walks for four days!! And watching Castro at the CrossFit Games, I just want to ask him–“Do you even lift, Bro?” Does Dave do CrossFit? He doesn’t really look like it.
- That said, I just googled, “Does Dave Castro do CrossFit” and the first hit I got was an interesting FORUM. Consensus is that Castro can kick ass–especially in body weight movements, double unders, and possibly long endurance work. Interesting. Also, Castro was a Navy Seal for 12 years. I NEVER would have thought that. Don’t you have to be CRAZY tough for something like that? Castro doesn’t look tough to me–he sort of looks like he belongs in a boy band–but again, looks always seem to be deceiving. Maybe I shouldn’t harp on him so much but still, Dave, why do you have to act so cocky? Did you REALLY have to throw that microphone down like a bad Steven Tyler impression?
- BAD FREAKING COACHES AND PROGRAMS REALLY PISS ME OFF. Let’s talk bad coaches first. Cliche phrases like “You got this,” or “Every rep counts,” gets old after a while. Especially if it’s all that you say. If you can’t coach a client through the right positioning on a movement, don’t just stand there and say “You got this,” but FREAKING FIX THE MOVEMENT! If you know you are coaching complex exercises like a snatch or clean and jerk, instead of surfing the internet for the next pair of Lulus or Reebok shorts that you’re going to buy, RESEARCH HOW TO COACH THE SNATCH! This is beyond irritating to me. This is why people get injured in CrossFit–they either push too hard (in which a GOOD coach will see and STOP before the injury happens), or their form sucks and the coach doesn’t know how to fix it. When I was at my Movement and Mobility Cert, I realized that most people have limited range of motion either in the shoulders or hips or both, among other places. There are a LOT of exercises in which we are constantly compromising our bodies for the sake of “finishing the workout” and finishing it too fast. Coaches need to do a better job of not just “pushing” their members, but getting them to slow down too. (You should probably read this article posted on Breaking Muscle: Hey CrossFit: You Created the Culture So Own It.) And speaking of injuries, I’m not going to go into the “CrossFit Injures People vs. Any Sport Injures People” debate, but this, hands down, is one of the BEST pieces I’ve read about how to prevent injury in CrossFit. If you want to be a good coach and keep your gym injury free, please read this: A Programming Plan for Injury Free CrossFit. You also can’t just attend a 2-day training and walk away with a piece of paper and then think you’re the shit who’s going to change the face of fitness. Being a good coach requires hours of practice, study, learning, experimenting. And that’s what I do when I need to learn something. For example, when I struggled with wall balls, I came up with my own plan on how to improve them. Well, actually Erik helped me but it was a good plan. I won’t bore you with the details but my plan involved throwing all sorts of weight at the target. When I picked up a 20 pound ball, can you believe a coach actually had the NERVE to yell across the gym at me, “Don’t you think you should learn how to throw the 14 first?” And she laughed/scoffed. Cocky much?
Just because a person passes a test doesn’t mean he or she is a good coach. I actually read recently that it takes over 10,000 hours of coaching before you’re actually really good at it. I’m not a good coach. I never said I was. I HATE coaching a clean and jerk and a snatch because I SUCK at them. BUT do you know what I do? I read and read and read everything I can get my hands on. I subscribe to websites who specialize in these movements. I ask people who are better than me. I watch videos. In my spare time, I’m learning something. Not buying my next set of board shorts. I coached a guy recently into getting consecutive bar muscle ups. I can’t do them yet myself, but dammit if I’m not out there reading, observing, studying, and figuring out what to do. Thank goodness CrossFit is starting to realize this. Just last week I received an email saying that CrossFit HQ is developing more coaching level courses. Now, if you really want to be a good CrossFit coach (and can afford the fees, thanks CFHQ for finding even more ways to make gazillions off of us) you can now sign up for an L2, L3, and L4! Coaches need to WANT to be better. If people want their gyms to succeed, they need to put in the work and become better. Demand better. Hire better! Be a freaking better coach and strive to learn more! Athlete Matt Bergeron said on Facebook,
“The worst gyms and coaches are the ones who aren’t learning, asking for help, and staying up reading new ways to improve performance.”
I couldn’t agree more. And I know there are TOO many articles out there on crappy leaders so I won’t try turning this into one, but you can Google many more if this lights a flame in you.
- Right along with crappy coaches are crappy workouts. How many times did you work your shoulders last week? This week? How many times did you lift too heavy in your wod? Maybe hurt yourself? Didn’t scale accordingly? CrossFit’s claim to fame is that the exercises are “Constantly Varied.” I constantly know that I’m going to be working my shoulders. No, I’m not talking in my box, I’m talking about every-freaking-where. It’s almost impossible not to work your shoulders, or not to squat, for example, at least 4 times a week. Even when visiting NYC, the workout had 100 pull-ups (shoulders) and 42 thrusters (squats and shoulders) among a lot of running.
CrossFit, as a whole, isn’t really varied–it’s just a long list of exercises that you do over and over and over. And unless you scale the lifts according to your abilities, you’re probably putting yourself at risk for injury. (And let’s face it, I don’t think enough people scale appropriately. Here’s a GREAT post on How To Scale CrossFit Workouts.) The fittest man alive may be able to work his shoulders every day all day, but can the normal crossfitter? How many times a week does Rich Froning actually do a CrossFit workout, and how much of his training is actually programmed by himself or someone else? How many Games athletes just WOD and go home and how many are following a non-varied program? How many have swim coaches, running coaches, rowing coaches, OLY coaches? Who’s following Catalyst? Wendler? Outlaw? Most of your top athletes aren’t walking into the gym day after day and saying, “Oh lookie, this wod looks fun!” Most of these athletes have a training plan designed by professionals, a nutritional guideline given by dietitians or at the least taken from Eat to Perform or the Barbell Shrugged Podcasts or SOMETHING. There’s a plan. And CrossFit’s biggest claim to fame is its same downfall. I’m sorry, but without a strategic plan in place, how are you really expected to grow muscle? Get bigger? Maybe you don’t need a plan if you just want to burn last night’s dessert…maybe some people just want a good conditioning workout (I think what CrossFit originally started as), and don’t care about gaining muscle and hitting a PR every other week. But many people want to be stronger. And muscle is GOOD for you no matter who you are. In order to get better, you’ve got to practice and it really helps to have a plan! CrossFit’s lack of programming is uber annoying to me. Yeah, I know, you can’t program for life. I don’t care. I’m strong. I work on my weaknesses. When life throws me a curve ball, I’ll still be ok.
- Speaking of programs, STOP CHANGING YOURS EVERY OTHER DAY! How the fuck are you going to make gains in life — anything — if you don’t stick to your plan? Of course you aren’t PR’ing, you change your lifting plan every other week! Of course you suck at double unders, you don’t practice them! I don’t care what your lifting method is: powerlifting, bodybuilding, crossfit, strongman, etc. Have a freaking plan. Follow the gurus who know what they are freaking talking about. I know this will piss off a lot of people but what I mean here is at least follow a schedule. Go three days on, one off, two on, one off, whatever. If you follow a program, unless it actually hurts you, stick with it! See it through the end. You may never know what program will get your furthest! PR-ing the most! STICK TO SOMETHING. Do you know how many people quit a plan right before peaking? Or ditch a nutritional plan right before the results started to show? God forbid you quit lifting all together because your results didn’t happen soon enough? PATIENCE and PERSISTANCE give results. Not deciding who’s box’s strength plan you’re going to follow today, then tomorrow, then Googling the next. Come on, get real.
- CHEATERS SUCK. Aren’t you here for the fabulous workout? Results? Gains? Why in God’s name would you cheat on your workout? Sally burpees faster than you and that drives you crazy because you can’t beat her? Who cares?! Are you ever going to get better at burpees when you skip them? How can you put your score or number or time on the board KNOWING that you lied about it? Sally busted her ASS to finish the workout in 9 minutes but you cheated and everyone else at the box sees that you beat Sally and you feel awesome….for what? Let me tell you something: when you cheat, EVERYONE knows it. This article might not be about “my” box, but I do know exactly who the cheaters are there. If you’re standing next to me and we’re both swinging a kettlebell–let’s say 20 reps–and we’re pretty in sync with our reps and suddenly you’re done 5 reps before me? DUDE that is going to piss me off. Granted, you’re now and forever known as a cheater and I’ll walk away knowing I worked MUCH harder than you did, but still. No one likes a cheater. A cheater brings down the atmosphere of the box and makes people dislike your character. Don’t be the loser kid who everyone avoids. Suck it up and finish last and work on your swings or making your burpees faster. You’ll earn SO much more respect that way.
- People who ask for advice and don’t take it. This may not apply so much to CrossFit as it does in every day life, but I’m sure you know someone you can relate this to. Someone asks for advice, ignores the advice you give, and realizes three months later (or whenever) that you were right all along! Man, this really gets under my skin. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve been asked for nutritional advice and people turn right around and pop open a soda and a bag of chips. YES, I know everyone is different/has different goals/has different likes and dislikes, whatever. I get it. But I can give you “advice” on how to get bigger, smaller, leaner, whatever. I’ve experimented, read, researched, tried, failed, succeeded with so many different ways to eat and what to eat that I actually know quite a few things. So why don’t people listen? I see this at the gym too! Someone asks how to perform a movement, a lift, whatever, and he is given advice, told what to do or what not to do, and then acts like he doesn’t care. Doesn’t try, fails, and then complains about it. I feel like this goes right along with people who think they know everything and actually know very little. The ones who “the more they think they know, the less they actually know?!” I’m not saying for a second that I know everything but at least I am always learning, reading, experimenting, developing, etc. I’ll admit I’m wrong and that my way isn’t always best. I will be a better coach tomorrow than I am today because of my drive to learn how do something better as well as the drive to learn from my mistakes. Thinking you know it all, convincing everyone that your way is the only way is just flat out STUPID. I attend as many certs and classes as I can because there is a WORLD full of people smarter than you and smarter than me. The difference is that I want to learn from the smart ones and better educate my clients, readers, members, etc. And just because you have attended a CF L1 training doesn’t mean you know EVERYTHING about fitness. There’s a whole freaking HUGE fitness world beyond CrossFit. Learn different ways to lift, different types of lifts, study the big guys, the powerful women, the track athletes, the Olympians. Study something beyond your selfies! Get out of your own head for a freakin’ second and stop ignoring the experienced people/platforms/research/podcasts/blogs/articles/videos/programs that you have so much access to in today’s world of technology and instantaneous results. And STOP thinking that just because it’s not a CrossFit exercise, that it’s stupid and shouldn’t be done!!!
- There are way more people on steroids than you would believe and it really pisses me off when people are so fucking naive that they refuse to believe his/her role model would EVER stoop to do anything to be the best. I’m accusing no one specifically, but give me a freaking break people. That’s all I’m saying on that one. (Don’t believe me? Read this.)
BONUS PET PEEVE!!!!
I’m actually adding this a couple days after I started drafting this post. Last night, I couldn’t sleep between 3:30 and 4:30am. So of course, I got on Facebook. I could NOT believe how much CrossFit bashing I saw! It was like all the haters came out past midnight or something!! One person shared a video from the CrossFit games called “Worst Deadlifts of the Games.” The guy who shared the post–total skinny/zero muscle guy, btw–posted the caption “Cross Shit. Where bad form is the norm.” First of all, these were freaking GAMES athletes. And the deadlifts in the video were nothing under 365–which was a female deadlift, btw. Are you telling me for ONE second that A) every deadlift MAX OUT looks perfect? No matter who you are, I’m almost willing to put down money that every person pulls a poor 1-RM, especially when fueled by adrenaline in the middle of a competition. I was at the Arnold Sports Classic this year and I watched FAMOUS STRONGMEN deadlift well over 1100 pounds and guess what? No one is compiling a video making fun of them! OH and B) I really want to see this skinny f#*$(&#er deadlift over 500 pounds. WITH good form. HELL, I’d love to see him attempt the womens’ weights. SERIOUSLY?! WHY DOES EVERYONE FUCKING RAG ON CROSSFIT SO MUCH!?! (Ignore the fact that my first 9 pet peeves are ragging on CrossFit.) I’m complaining because I do CrossFit, I know it, I live it, I know and understand the coaches, the boxes, etc. The complainers are the ones who haven’t tried it, are scared to try it, are intimidated by it, and are too freaking ignorant about it to learn anything. Instead, they just post videos to make themselves seem cooler or something. “Hey, let’s make fun of these guys because they do things we can’t!” Yeah some CrossFitters try stupid things and act a little cocky. (Little?! I know.) But CrossFitters don’t post videos of powerlifters benching to boards or squatting to boxes. CrossFitters don’t post videos of bodybuilders curling in the squat rack or working on their calves! (Which A) I really don’t see what’s wrong with either, and B) if you ARE a CrossFitter who does this, DON’T EVER DO IT AGAIN.) Everyone needs to get over themselves, STFU and then HTFU. SERIOUSLY. I lost sleep over that one last night and OMG it still pisses me off.
Now before you readers go off in the comment section about how much of a bitch I am, let me say one thing: I have made every freaking mistake on here. Well, except steroids. Illegal things scare me. But I’ve ignored good advice. I’ve pushed too hard and injured myself. I’ve switched a program too soon or got bored with a nutrition plan. I’ve made fun of crappy lifters and bad coaches. We aren’t perfect. I am no where NEAR it even though I tell Erik he’s so lucky to have someone like me. (Sarcasm. Sort of.) These are just things that get under my skin because they are lessons that haven’t been learned yet by others. And as much as I can sit here and harp on CrossFit and its cult-members, I hate to admit it, but I’m one of them. Can’t you tell by that last pet peeve?
9 Reasons I’ll Never Stop Loving CrossFit
I will never push myself as hard as I do when doing a group-workout. There is NO way in HELL that I will do 21, then 18, then 15, 12, 9, 6, 3 barbell thrusters and burpees in 13 minutes WITHOUT group support, a coach in my face, a person counting my reps, and others yelling for me to “keep moving!” I will work three times as hard with a group of people who are also struggling, than I EVER will by myself. Trust me, I’ve been doing it long enough to know. And many days, I can’t workout with a group because of my schedule. I HAVE to do the workout on my own. I try to find a time or score on the board and pretend it’s a competition in which I HAVE to beat the time. It never works as well as it does with a group. And can you even imagine the difference that makes for my fitness? I run harder, swing faster, jump higher, rest less, push more. Of course my fitness is better because of this. CrossFit flat out pushes me harder than anything I’ve ever done before. CrossFit has improved my fitness tremendously.
- There is no fitness community stronger than CrossFit. I’m not even sure that I can put into words how strong the CrossFit community is or can be. When you are a CrossFitter, everyone else who does crossfit is immediately your best friend. You have everything in common. You talk in code. You make life-long connections. You inspire each other, you’re driven, and everyone stands together to fight diseases and epidemics. Of course, there are the extremes and die hards…but are there many other fitness enthusiasts who get SO WRAPPED UP in a lift? A workout? It’s crazy how CrossFitters seem to unite and come together consistently. I can go to any city and spot and befriend a CrossFitter. I can walk into any “box” and make friends and enjoy the company of other badasses and work to push towards the same goals as everyone else around me. I love how CrossFitters push one another in the exact same workout when going head to head to finish in record time. In no other sport have I ever witnessed other competitors come back out onto the field or onto the court to help cheer and root for another competitor. There’s a saying in CrossFit:
“The man who finishes last often gets cheered (for) louder than the man who finishes first.” —Sean Woodland Click here to check out this inspirational video!
CrossFit has introduced me–and SO MANY OTHER PEOPLE–to other sports like powerlifting, strongman/woman competition, Olympic lifting, gymnastics, even rowing, obstacle course racing, and probably others. Seriously, would the clean and jerk and the snatch even be half as popular as it is right now if it weren’t for CrossFit? CrossFit’s aim is to develop the fittest people on earth. No one specializes in any specific exercise or sport, so that makes a well-rounded athlete, right? I think I love CrossFit so much because you get to be a powerlifter, an Olympic lifter, a Strongman or even better–a Strongwoman, a gymnast, a sprinter, a rower, and even a swimmer.
Heck, CrossFit even has programming available for football players. And look at the sport of Obstacle Course Racing! One of the most fun, exhilarating ways to put CrossFit training to the test is on a course like the Spartan Beast or a Civilian Military Combine where you actually get to compete in a CrossFit Pit and THEN run the military-style obstacle course! If it weren’t for CrossFit, I wouldn’t have fallen in love with Strongman/Strongwoman training and wouldn’t be throwing my Atlas stones around every other day. I wouldn’t have wanted to push my maxes in the squat, deadlift, and bench press, and I’d never have started studying powerlifting. I feel like my fitness base expanded ten-fold because of all that CrossFit introduced me to. Sure, I get stressed sometimes thinking that I need to be really good at too many different exercises, but hey, that’s what goals are for, right?
CrossFit has improved my body immensely, AND lets me eat more! If you follow me, you know I’m always fretting about food because I freaking love to eat. I work out a lot and it makes me hungry. I have muscles to fuel! BUT I’ve never in my life been more confident about my body WHILE fretting less about what I eat. CrossFit has helped me shape my body the way I’ve always wanted it. I’ve put on more muscle doing a combined CrossFit + strength program (that I STICK TO btw), and I haven’t had to control my food much, other than making sure I’m eating healthy foods and timing my foods so that they work optimally for me. Of course, I can lean up more if I really time my carbs right and stick to whole foods, and of course I can put on more muscle if I, again, plan my food right. I can tweak things, I guess is what I’m trying to say. But I’ve never loved my body more. When I solely lifted and did my post-lifting cardio — kind of like bodybuilding training — I never saw the changes in my body–or as fast–as I do with CrossFit. And before, I had to really watch closely what I was eating, 24/7. I still watch closely because of the metabolic damage I did way back when, but I can definitely cheat more often and still get away with it. Maybe that’s what I love. 😉
CrossFit has improved my overall health. I am pretty healthy on the inside, and I attribute a lot of this to CrossFit. When someone does a CrossFit-style workout 3-5 days a week, a person’s cardiovascular system gets super strong. You’re constantly performing intervals, throwing around heavy weight, running, sprinting, jumping, swinging…your heart just gets freaking STRONG. And because “CrossFit” is practically synonymous with “Paleo” and “Zone” and “No Sugar” words/phrases, you can’t be a CrossFit athlete without constant pressure to eat like a Games/Pro athlete. Heck, the L1 Trainer Course has an entire segment devoted to nutrition: lean protein, lots of veggies, nuts, seeds, berries, some fruit, little starch, zero sugar. I know without a doubt, if I eat crap, my workout is a crap workout…that day and the next, and sometimes the whole week. Food and CrossFit just go hand-in-hand. Plus, it doesn’t help that most women who do CrossFit also feel as if they must constantly look the part. That means booty-shorts, tight tanks or just sports bras, and cute shoes and accessories. You can’t do bicep curls and then eat a half gallon of Ben and Jerry’s and expect to show up to the gym day after day in your sports bra. (Believe me, I’ve tried. It doesn’t work.) People who do CrossFit are constantly trying to build more muscle, so they’re eating chicken and sweet potatoes like you wouldn’t imagine. Chugging protein shakes like they’re paid to do it. (Some are.) Filling up on fibrous veggies. Double checking the Omega count. Ensuring enough water intake. CrossFitters are just freaking healthy. If you don’t believe me, check out ANY of their Instagram accounts…including mine. Of course you’ll see my cheat meals–we’re famous for that too–but I’ll be damned if you don’t see that my insides are well-fed by organic-grass-fed-cage-free-no-hormones-no-nitrite-locally-grown-no-preservatives-no-added-sugars-all-natural food. And I’ve been tested by docs too. I’m good to go.
CrossFit has greatly improved my confidence. Maybe it’s RX-ing a workout (completing it as prescribed) or maybe it’s just the ability to do things like handstand push-ups, ring dips, or participating in the CrossFit Open, but CrossFit has done more for my confidence than I could ever imagine. It’s almost hard to find the words to explain this exactly, and coming from me, that’s saying a lot. I just feel STRONG. And that makes me feel badass. And I don’t feel “manly” strong, I feel sexy-strong. I feel like my body has better curves, my legs have better shape, my glutes aren’t half bad, and being able to broaden my shoulders a little bit has allowed my upper body to look more proportional to my lower body. Even on days when I don’t feel my best, I still know I’m stronger than the average chick and I can do things that not many other girls can do. And that’s cool. When you get asked to do something at work because you’re the strongest one around? That’s awesome. When your nickname is “pipes,” or when you can carry around a full cooler at the picnic by yourself?
That’s just so cool. When you make people’s heads turn because you’re squatting more weight than they’ve ever seen a chick do in any other gym? That’s a freaking confidence booster. Don’t mistake my confidence for cocky though–there’s a gazillion things I can’t do (each one of them gymnastics related) and way too many lifts (OLY lifts!) that don’t even tip the scale on badass. I have a LOT of work to do. But just from where I started to right now, THAT is the difference for my confidence and even my lifestyle.
- CrossFit is definitely NOT boring. My goodness, there is always something new to do, or work on. I am a Type-A person. I must plan out my strength programs and know exactly what I’m doing every day that I go into the gym. (Minus the wod, I still throw the random wods in for conditioning–that’s beside the point.) So I make a lot of schedules and plans and design programs. In my programs, it is IMPOSSIBLE to try and work on improving EVERYTHING in CrossFit. There’s SO MUCH TO DO! Muscle ups, pull-ups (all 4 varieties) push-ups (even more varieties) back squats, overhead squats, front squats, pistol squats, high pulls, snatch pulls, and clean pulls, sots, lifts, swings, throws, drags, double unders, sprints, snatches, OHMYGOD. You can’t fit this into a program! This sort of stresses me out, but that’s why the “WOD” is so great. I can program my strength all I want, but every single day that I step into a CrossFit box, that workout on the board is going to be different. It will be different from yesterday, tomorrow, last week, and last year. There is ALWAYS something new to work on, a skill to try, and a way to improve the skills that are already great. CrossFit is never boring. Your routine that you hate after two weeks? Ha! In CrossFit, “Routine is the enemy.”
- CrossFit has produced GREAT coaches, and GREAT athletes. There are a lot of CrossFitters who were really awesome collegiate athletes, but then had no place to take their training or their sport post-college. The same is for professional athletes who retire from their game and need some sort of fitness routine to fall back on. Many of your best CrossFitters are former athletes looking to find that same thrill they found earlier in life within their sport of choice. And just from my personal experience, it seems that gymnasts, soccer players, and football players tend to make the best CrossFitters. And it’s the same with coaches. As many bad coaches as I’ve stumbled upon, there’s SO MUCH knowledge about exercise being put forth in today’s technology corner that I’m seeing flat out awesomeness from a crazy number of coaches. I swear I learn something different every time I take a class–whether at home or while traveling. My friend Emily emailed me after she attended her first CrossFit class and she wanted to know what kind of training CrossFit coaches go through because she felt her coach was just so knowledgable.
“I am guessing most people who have a negative experience had a poor coach or maybe didn’t get the attention they needed as newbies and had incorrect form. Seems like people hate on Crossfit mostly because of people pushing themselves too hard, incorrectly, or trying things they aren’t ready for. But I don’t really think it’s crossfit’s fault if someone lacks the emotional maturity to know their own limits and hurts themselves because they are afraid of looking bad because they can’t do things that the more experienced athletes can…. I really liked the smaller class size today and I thought the coach did a great job explaining things.”
Amen, Emily. Why can’t everyone get this?! Emily added, I understand not wanting to stand out or being tempted to feel embarrassed if you can’t do everything everyone else does, but it takes mental strength to know your limits. I know the temptation to do something unsafe or stupid in the gym in order to look good or because of what you think other people’s expectations are. If someone is cheering you on to ‘go harder, be better,’ etc., and you are half a**ing it, then yeah, you should try harder. But if you are doing all you can and you know it, just keep doing what you are doing and take that as encouragement to keep it up. I am learning that it is better to do things correctly and compete against myself than to do it poorly and finish with everyone else. I’ve heard all the criticisms of Crossfit, but my experience today was really positive and made me think most of the issues are just people being insecure and dumb and hurting themselves. With trying so hard to lose weight, I really want to protect my body and do it right so I can STAY strong an fit. An injury would be a huge set-back, and trying to avoid that helps me check my own dumb, insecure impulses!
This, by the way, is why she is one of my best friends. She’s hard working in the gym, AND super smart!
CrossFit makes me better at life. I know it sounds cliche, but being stronger in my every-day tasks is pretty much awesome. When I helped my sister move, I was able to carry things around that other people thought were heavy…and they didn’t even seem heavy to me. When Erik’s dad asked for help loading a full cooler onto the back of his truck, I just picked it up, carried it to the truck, and threw it on. After he laughed at me for doing so, I realized he had actually intended to help me lift/carry the cooler. Oops? But it wasn’t a big deal for me. I can carry a LOT of groceries out of the grocery store, and I can move things around whenever I need. I can balance better, squat lower to play with little kids, run through the park with my dogs, and be “that person” everyone calls when they need help throwing a table into the back of a suburban (last weekend). Once, I was asked to use some sort of metal cutting tool to break a lock on a locker in our gym’s locker room because I was the only female at work strong enough to do it. Seriously, that’s just cool. And when I have kids of my own one day, I want to be their strong, role-model, fitness-inspiring mom. I want to be able to do whatever my kids need, and I want them to think their mom is strong and hopefully, they’ll want to be fit and strong too. CrossFit has definitely helped improve my “functional fitness,” even if it’s super cliche to say so.
Overall Take Home
- People who have drunk the kool-aid and won’t open their minds to anything beyond “CrossFit” are really annoying to me…even if I have been that person before.
- There a lot of knowledgeable people in the world of fitness, and you should constantly educate yourself, surround yourself and your members by these people, and never ever stick to one modality. Utilize the people who know a thing or two, and never assume you know it all.
- If you want real gains, follow a strength program and vary your conditioning. Don’t push your members too far and know how to program correctly. Be smart and then get smarter.
- Be a good coach and don’t stop trying to be a better coach, EVER.
- Don’t bash CrossFit unless you bash every other realm of fitness too. Vice Versa.
- CrossFit can change your life, improve your confidence and health, provide variety within boring routines, give you new goals, introduce you to new exercises, and allow you to have so much freakin’ fun in the gym. You might get new friends, learn how to eat better, and your quality of life could become even bigger and better. Why not try it if you haven’t? At least now you’ll know what NOT to do and how to prevent a bad experience. 😉
Ok, let me have it in the comments section! Agree? Disagree? 3..2..1…GO!