This might get me in trouble. CrossFit.

Everyone who knows me, knows I’m an avid gym goer. I’m not obsessive over it, if I’m sick, I understand that rest is the best medicine, and stay home. However if I’m having a day where I just don’t want to go to the gym? I still go. After my warm up, I’m always happy I pushed myself out of the door.

Now, I’ve done it all. Cardio circuits, yoga, pilates, weight lifting, boot camps, HIIT… you name it, I’ve tried it or it’s on my list of things to try. But, I’ll always be a conventional gym goer who likes to pump some real iron.

Quite a few years ago, CrossFit finally made its trek to my state. I hopped in my car and went to give it a shot. At that point in time, I felt amazing. I’d been clean eating for about four years and I’d even started toying with the idea of training to compete. After my first CrossFit foundations course, I was horrified. Whatever happened to form? It gave way to speed. Which, in CrossFit is the most important goal. How fast can you do that Workout of the Day (WOD)?

I got yelled at. A lot. Go faster! What’s taking you so long?! Um, hey asshole, I’ve got a messed up back because of Spondylosis and I also have Fibromyalgia, I don’t do these right, I end up in surgery having my back fused together, or I’m at another surgeon because I’ve torn something to shreds. The trainer at that box hated my defiance. All in all, I learned very quickly that all CrossFit is is just a dangerous supplement to Super Sets.

I went back a few more times, willing to see if it ever worked out. It didn’t. With a sizable dent in my wallet, I walked away. Power lifting became the alternative choice. After two years, a box for CrossFit opened closer to me. Wondering if all trainers were created equal, I took a power lifting break and set off to give this another shot.

It was still for speed, but this trainer didn’t care how long I took —as long as I did it. So I stuck around longer because I could focus on form and the workout. CrossFit for the better part of a year became my supplement for a good, solid cardio workout to give my body a break from Super Sets.

…. Fast forward to present day. I hung up my CrossFit membership at my box not because of my trainer, he’s a really great guy who I’ve gotten to know very well. But for the new members. CrossFit has become a cult. People walk into a box, do a few foundations courses and suddenly they are fitness Gods. They know anything and everything about working out. What exercises do what. They preach about how if you don’t eat the Paleo diet, you’re not a true CrossFitter. Instead of being open and welcoming to the fitness world as a whole, they cram their CrossFit and their Paleo down your throat.

What scares me, is these people, with lack of knowledge and experience (and poor guidance from their trainers) are passing on their “advice”. This is dangerous. I’ve been training for more than a decade, working with trainers, working in various forms of fitness and I don’t even feel comfortable giving advice and I’m on a more solid ground to do so.

I’ve watched, with my fellow gym rats, CrossFitters try to make the transition to a conventional gym. They realize pretty quickly, it’s a different animal, and that they’re not so “tough”.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I know a lot of people who, like myself did or do both. You really have to in order to maintain the tone AND the strength if that’s what you’re going for. You cannot just do CrossFit and expect to be strong. Sure you can throw that 100 pounds up in a clean or a jerk. But take this into consideration: It’s a plastic weight filled with sand, you’re tossing it up quick so not only are you gaining the momentum from the throw up, but as the sand revolves around, it’s helping to propel the weight up and back. Come into the gym, pick up a solid 100 pound pre-loaded barbell or load one yourself and try to do that. Not happening.

You’re also doing the reps extremely fast. Yes, that will help you tone a little. So you can do 50 kickbacks in say, 20 seconds? Try doing 50 kickbacks with the same amount of weight like this: one second back, one second forward. Each rep taking 2 seconds. Can’t do it. That tri will be on fire after the 15th rep.

And oh do they talk trash about the muscle heads. They’re CrossFit is so much better than going to a gym and lifting weights. They get more jacked than a conventional weight lifter. Hold on, the CrossFitters need to go take 50 photos of this workout….

The rise in CrossFit related injuries is incredible. Surgeries on knees, torn ligaments, rotator cuffs gone to hell. Injuries that can all be avoided.

I’m not saying CrossFit is bad. There are realistic and reasonable people who are involved in it. I’m just airing some cautions about it, especially where it has blown up and gotten so big in 2012. You have pop up boxes with unskilled trainers at the helm, which is dangerous. You want a trainer who has been doing it for awhile, has worked up the ranks. Do your research.

And keep the number to a good orthopedic surgeon on hand.

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Photographer. Writer. Fit mom. Athlete. Trainer/Coach. Nutritionist. Heavy lifter. Yogi. Pit bull mom. Outdoor enthusiast. Food lover. 1st Phorm Legionnaire.

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