This morning, while browsing through facebook, I had the “privilege” of experiencing the ignorance of individual’s in today’s society. It is interesting to me, that an individual with hardly any knowledge on a subject, can read ONE article and become an EXPERT on the topic. Five minutes ago they could hardly pronounce the name of the topic, now they can tell you EVERYTHING about it, and they will, via facebook or any other social media. A “friend” or more like a long lost acquaintance from elementary school will read this article of information and stamp it as FACT. Because everything you read online must be true right?!
WRONG! As I read this article that was posted by someone who has clearly never educated themselves on CrossFit, I am sitting here literally blown away. I know that this individual has minimal CrossFit education, because if they had, they would be well aware that this argument is on one extreme side of CrossFit. The summary of the article that was posted is that CrossFit makes our athletes push, push and push until “we give them” Rhabdo. (https://medium.com/p/97bcce70356d)
I have been in the CrossFit community for 4 years, and a trainer for 3 years. I am the first to tell you, that CrossFit is NOT perfect. And not all CrossFit gyms are the same. Out of my 4 years of training I have never seen a serious case of Rhabdo. And NEVER once have I ever told an individual “you must go as hard as you possibly can, until you throw up and you can no longer feel your limbs.” In fact, in all cases, I err on the safe side. There are so many factors that contribute to an individual and their workout for that day. Including, how much sleep they have gotten the night/nights before, diet, stress, level of fitness and the list goes on.
I know darn well that I don’t go into the gym every day feeling like “man I am going to crush this workout.” We all have good days, and we all have bad days. And guess what? This may blow your mind, but when I have a high level athlete who seems to be struggling that day, I am not going to go over to them and yell at them and say “what the (insert swear word here, because that is what everyone that “knows” CrossFit seems to think we do) is the matter with you? Pick it up!” No in fact I will say “we all have these days, do what you can.” This exact situation happened about two weeks ago, when one of my athletes was just going through the motions. I could tell something was wrong and asked him if he was okay. He said he was fighting a very bad headache and ended up stopping and going home. Contrary to what you all who “know” CrossFit believe, I did not scream at him, yell at him, and beat him with a stick until he could no longer move. Hard to believe isn’t it?
The second ignorant encounter of the day was the response to the post on this individual’s wall “It’s a gimmick, just throw a few exercises and some different rep numbers together and be the best at working out. Garbage.” I can’t speak for every CrossFit gym, but our programming is nothing like that. In fact we spend hours and hours looking back on months and months of programming when we sit down to program. We look at what muscle groups we have and haven’t used, number of reps, length and duration of the workouts, light and heavy loads, strength cycles and lifts we have and haven’t done. And contrary to popular belief, SAFETY is the number one concern when we program. We never program technical and heavy lifts at the end of a long workout. We never program high rep technical lifts. Our olympic lifts are always broken down into progressions with light to medium weight working on technique. When we do allow heavy technical lifting, it is never high rep movements and is always monitored by a trainer making sure technique DOES NOT fail.
Now, I can’t speak for every CrossFit gym out there. Every CrossFit gym is different. We strive to be as good as we can be, we educate ourselves and we go to numerous certifications both inside and outside of the CrossFit world. Do all CrossFit gyms do this? Probably not. You will find knowledgable CrossFit gyms, and you will find uneducated CrossFit gyms. But, I encourage you to dig deeper when you do find the uneducated ones, because not all of them are the same.
This is no different than any other topic. If the topic is important to you; you are going to research ALL sides of the issue. When you research you are going to make sure the research is valid. For example, if you want to find a good school for your child, you aren’t just going to go ask some random person on the street and take their word for it. No, you are going to go to many different schools, you are going to talk to the administration, you are probably going to call some parents at the different schools and see what they do and don’t like. After you have compiled all of the information that you can, you will make an EDUCATED decision of your own.
Obviously, health and fitness are a passion of mine, so this was an easy excuse for me to write on this topic. However, this is much less about CrossFit and much more about the fact that you have the freedom to make an educated choice and decision. The beauty of where we live is that we don’t have a dictator throwing us in prison if we don’t believe what he tells us to believe and we don’t have to do what he tells us to do.
If it is a topic that is important to you, appeals to you, impacts or effects you, then get the facts first. Do this for you, not because you have to, but because you get to. Why? Because you never know what you are missing out on if you don’t actually know what is out there. If you let one article or one discussion make every decision in your life, you will be missing out on a lot that life has to offer. Broaden your horizons, learn about topics you don’t know about, research the contradicting end of a subject that is important to you. You never know what conversations will be had, what lessons you may learn, what people you may meet or what passions may grow.
If this article was the only information I chose to read on the topic of CrossFit, I would have never stepped into a CrossFit gym. I would have completely missed out on the opportunity to discover a true passion for health, fitness and most of all an amazing community.