- Krissy the Blog Connoisseur
Shucks, Krissy. I bet you say that to all the sarcastic, self-righteous, overly-opinionated wellness bloggers out there.
My new BFF wants to know my opinion of Crossfit, so here we go. I have no problem with the act of crossfitting. Throwing around kettlebells, lifting huge weights without attention to form, and working out until you chunder all over the gym floor sounds like my idea of a good time. A lot of people judge the activity negatively due to this over intensity and the lack of attention to form. As my physical therapist points out, "I love Crossfit. Every time I walk by the gym, I look in and see a room filled with future clients."
He has a point, but at the same time, for some people, it's fun to go extreme. Crossfit is hardly the only exercise that can push a body too far. Hell, even yoga can injure some people. Although I'm not a crossfitter, I spent most of my twenties and thirties doing "extreme" sports - rock climbing, caving, mountain biking, surfing, bombing hills on my skateboard - so I'm not adverse to gonzo workouts. My talents as a fitness enthusiast have never been grace, skill or, frankly, talent. Rather, I possess a Labrador Retrieveresque willingness to hurl my body into anything, so I might be well-suited for Crossfit. Maybe when I recover from my current cycle of injury, I'll give it a try.
All that said, what I do have an issue with is the cult of Crossfit. It is a form of exercise, not the form of exercise. There's nothing magical about lifting a kettlebell or a tire as opposed to lifting a barbell. It's just different. When I walk by the Crossfit gym down the street, the people I see inside are no more fit than the people I see at any other regular gym, yoga studio, or dojo in town. The only thing that separates that gym is the vomit on the sidewalk out front.
If you want to make Crossfit your only form of exercise, more power to you, but that's a little sad. Many people are attracted to Crossfit because it's a hip and trendy. You, I'm not interested in talking to. Please gather up your boardshorts, trucker hat and paleo diet; hop on your fixie and be on your way before I bitch slap that handlebar mustache off your face.
However, for those of you who do it because it's a fun way to workout, why limit yourself? Making these extreme workouts part of a larger regime just means all the more variety. It'll also be a lot more fun, promote recovery and train systems that Crossfit doesn't touch - flexibility, for example.
On this note, I'm baffled how Crossfitters often look at P90X as the enemy. Given I work for Beachbody, maybe I'm biased, but it seems to me that the two systems complement each other nicely. They're essentially the same thing. They both stand your standard weights and cardio program on its head. You just do one at home and one at a gym.
Also, I think it's important to understand that Crossfit isn't for everyone. (Just as P90X isn't for everyone, for the record.) This paragraph on the official Crossfit website kills me:
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.In other words, less healthy people do the same exercise, only not as hard. Why is that a good thing? Isn't the whole point of Crossfit to offer variety? And again for the record, I've watched a lot of Crossfit workouts and talked to a lot of Crossfit trainers. I have yet to meet one I'd trust my 70-year-old father's dodgy heart with.
Take a look at martial arts. They've been around for centuries. Along the way, practitioners figured out that one karate gi doesn't fit all, so different forms have sprung up to suit different abilities and intentions. You don't walk into a Martial Art Dojo and say "I want to do The Martial Art!" and then have the instructor explain that there's only one form of Martial Art and it's awesome for everyone. Same with yoga and surfing and biking and aerobics. Different people have different needs and desires. Crossfit is a good fit for some, but not all.
Same with the Zone-inspired, grain-free, meat-heavy Crossfit diet. It's a fine diet, but it's not for everyone. Some people need more or less protein, fat, or carbs. Some people do well with grains. Some people have perfectly reasonable ethical animal-based food concerns.
To repeat, I think Crossfit is fun and if you want to try it, go for it! But survival is about adaptation. It's why we're here and the dinosaurs aren't. To become rigid with exercise and insist there's only one way to do it isn't Paleolithic, it's Jurassic.