In Defense of Crossfit

Okay, if you know me then you know that I am not an advocate for crossfit. And quite frankly, that is putting it very lightly. My beef, believe it or not, doesn’t lie so much with the whole Paleo diet aspect of it. It certainly doesn’t lie in the camaraderie that comes along with everyone’s perspective “box”. And it most definitely does not lie in the fact that all the rage around it has gotten a lot of people off their asses and moving around weights. It really boils down to 2 things that I’ll get off my chest here in a second before I defend the “sport”. You’ve probably heard them before, but I’m gonna tell you again anyways.

1. The lifts:  Olympic lifts in particular. Now, I have a degree in Dietetics as well as a degree in Nutrition, Fitness, and Health. I’m a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, as well as a NASM Performance Enhancement Specialist. I have also learned from some of the best minds in the business in Mike Robertson and Bill Hartman among others. I only say this to preface my rant in that I’m not some schmuck meat head blabbing on here. The fact is that Olympic lifts take a LONG time to get right. Some guys take years perfecting the form on them. So to take Mr. 45 year old who is 70 lbs overweight, hasn’t lifted a weight since high school, and has the core stability of a cooked noodle, and have him perform these complex lifts over and over and over again as fast as possible is just flat out Goddamn stupid. Also, kipping pull-ups are stupid. Do they not realize how fragile the entire shoulder joint is?

2. The “Cult”ure: Okay, I know I said earlier that I liked the camaraderie of it. And within the gym, that’s cool. The problem lies here: Do you know how you know someone does crossfit? They shout it to the whole freaking world, that’s how! We do not care what your Fran time was. We do not care about your PR. You are working out. Great. Go do the work and leave it at that. Look, I’m not saying to never talk or post about that stuff. I think it’s great when I see someone completed their first 5k or half marathon, triathlon, or learned how to properly deadlift for the fist time. But to talk about every Goddamn workout is flat out annoying. Leave the Kool-aid at the gym.

I just re-read that and I sound like a jerk. Which is why I titled this post “In Defense of Crossfit”. You see, my ranting and raving above are why I wanted to write this post. Why is it that we are all so quick to judge? Why do we always have to hate on what other people are doing? Why do we all think that we are doing things the right way and that there’s no way we could possibly be wrong? Why are we always trying to bring others down? I think we all need a little more Bob Marley and Jimmy Buffett in our lives. So here’s where I think Crossfit gets it right.

1. Positive attitude and environment:  They root for each other like none other. They cheer. They call you if you miss a training session. They genuinely give a shit. That’s cool, man.

2. They eat Paleo: I know this one sounds surprising, but let me explain. There are SO many globo gyms out there that people go to and hit the treadmill for 45 mins and yet can’t lose any fat. Crossfitters know that diet is KEY. They actually pay attention to what they are putting in their bodies. They are eating so that they can perform. The fact is that whether or not you agree with this way of eating, they are putting forth the effort to try and better themselves. And I think it’s hard to argue with that. Kudos.

3. They put the ‘Intense’ in Intensity: They do work. It’s an extremely physically demanding endeavor. They don’t mess around. So many folks bitch and moan that they can’t lose weight and most of the time  it’s because they don’t work hard enough at it. You know what, losing fat is hard! It takes dedication, discipline, and consistency both with your diet and with your training. Jogging for 30 minutes, while good for overall health, just isn’t gonna cut it. So hats off to the crossfitters for really getting after it.

Look guys, there’s pros and cons to almost everything. This industry in particular, is as far from black and white, cut and dried as they come. Do I agree with everything they do? Of course not. But it’s gotten a lot of folks excited about exercise. And that is one thing I definitely dig.

Do you agree? Disagree? Leave a comment below. I’d like to hear your thoughts!

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7 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Michael

    Love it. 🙂 Olympic lifts are incredibly complex, and asking someone to do multiple reps with a high weight is asking for trouble. And yes, unless your entire body is straight, and you’re at a dead hang, then any other pull-up is garbage.

  2. Avatar

    AWESOME blog, Alec. Love, love, love it. I couldn’t agree more!!! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  3. Avatar

    Caitlin Yulina

    I really appreciate this one Alec. I’ve been thinking about crossfit for a long time 6 mos to a year and kept putting off joining a “box” because of what other people said to me about it. It’s a cult, you explaining how they don’t really teach people the proper form before throwing them into the workouts. I finally bit the bullet though and found a “box” near me that makes EVERY SINGLE person who joins their gym no matter how fit you are go through an On Ramp program where you work one on one with a trainer for a month learning the proper technique for everything you do. They also keep the classes small and have 2 trainers on hand for every class. I’ve got to say I am pretty happy with how motivated I feel as soon as I walk into the gym. It maybe a cult but its one I don’t mind falling into. I’ll work on not being a person who shoves crossfit into every conversation though 🙂

    • admin

      Thanks Caitlin Drane Yulina! Yeah I realize that not all crossfit gyms are the same. This goes for any gym really. I love that yours has an “On Ramp” program. Sounds like you’re on a good track.

  4. Avatar

    LJ

    Not sure what this article is trying to say/prove?

    Yes Olympic lifting takes time
    To get the correct form, but no a 45 year old outta shape man is not walking into a box throwing around Rx weight. We take a lot of time going through each movement, taking foundations classes, and having
    Coaches guide us.

    Also not all of us shout out every wod score, I know I don’t! And can speak
    The same for a lot of others at my
    Box. In any sport or event you have
    Those that maybe “obsess” a little too
    Much like the body builders that post every workout or foodies that post every meal.

    Is the real issue social media making it too easy to share these things?

    This article has no facts it just seems to be a conflicted opinion.

    • admin

      Hi LJ,

      I realize I stereotyped and very much oversimplified crossfit. Of course there are solid crossfit gyms out there that do it right. In fact, a friend of mine is a crossfit coach. I agree with the fact that any sport or activity will have the jackass obsessives. I put this out there because I get asked about crossfit all the time and wanted to put my thoughts out there. I own my own business, so I have to ruffle some feathers to generate interest (hence the 45 year old man example).

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