First off every person reading this post needs to know who the author is. I did not get any health or fitness degrees from a university. In fact, I had been researching, practicing, and training others in Functional Fitness long before I defined it or so much as even got a certification. Therefore, if you want to attack any of my following comments by saying I am not “an expert,” feel free. I won’t argue.
Secondly, I refuse (at this point) to engage in any name calling or participate in one-sided rants for or against Crossfit. I have many friends and even family who are Crossfit instructors and they are top notch!
Thirdly, I will do my best to keep it short and too the point – yes I’ve failed at this over and over.
The reason for this post is my attempt to generate a more reasonable discussion concerning a recent outbreak of vicious, pointed, one-sided, and closed-minded attacks from both the Crossfit and anti-Crossfit camps. I have never enjoyed debating in this way. To be honest with you, I get more upset at the people I “agree with” when they attack the other view points because I fear I’ll get lumped in with these idiots as a “self-righteous, closed-minded, my way or the highway kind of guy.” I already have had this problem with my past debates against muscle-isolating fitness programs, where I had been preachy and less than open-minded.
Time to get on point!SYNOPSIS OF RECENT DEBATES: A Crossfit proponent made the mistake of posting his views in….well let’s say he posted his views in an incredibly easily-attackable way. One quote was that fitness is like a coin (one side is benefits/fitness while the other side is risk). Risk is necessary? Ooops. The attacks were plentiful! Some were all “high and mighty,” while others more sound and logical coming from actual trained fitness professionals. However, most of them were either condescending, assaulting, or down right vicious. Crossfit is evil? Ooops. MY TAKE ON THIS: I feel these “spirited debates” are too loaded when they don’t have to be. Below I will simply go over what I see (as a Functional Fitness proponent) as my pros and cons with Crossfit. The reason this is important is that I have always considered Crossfit not only under the umbrella of Functional Fitness, but as one of the original creators of Functional Fitness programming. Nobody can argue against Crossfit doing a great job of bringing Functional Fitness ideas successfully to the masses, so they deserve a break to some degree. THE PROS OF CROSSFIT AND CROSSFIT GYMS: Crossfit provides free resources on the web. Other than the awesome Kemme Fitness program, good luck finding such vast resources without paying for it. Crossfit has a wide variety of programming to a degree with things like Crossfit Endurance, scaled down workouts, etc. The real good stuff comes when you join a Crossfit gym. Their instructors can be highly trained (although they don’t have to be), but you get a lot of benefits from the gym. If you have intelligent instructors who can monitor your form, you will have access to great Functional Fitness exercises and workouts. Not to mention, the exciting, competitive environment is highly motivational. You can call yourself “an elite athlete,” and have some pride in that. The atmosphere might be competitive, but the comradeship is extreme and that keeps folks coming back and having a good time. Don’t underestimate how important this is. Think about how many people who begin a program just to quit it shortly after because it is not fun and/or nobody keeps them accountable. Just saying. THE CONS OF CROSSFIT: The best quote I have heard to describe the fitness industry’s concerns with Crossfit is this (paraphrased): Crossfit has all the right ingredients for Functional Fitness, but the recipe they use is off. What this means, is the theories behind the formatting and the types of exercises are great. They work movements, not muscles. They focus on the core. They utilize HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). They do more than build strength or endurance – they target power, stamina, balance, coordination, flexibility, strength, endurance, agility, etc. Sound familiar? Yep, this meets my 4 dimensions of Functional Fitness! However, using Olympic lifts to achieve all of this is arguably dangerous. Doing Deadlifts and Snatches for time? I can not agree to that and I am not alone. This point alone is the heart of the anti-Crossfit programming. This is the space where injuries occur and health professionals cringe. There are only two other “cons” I consider, but these are minor and are just my personal issues. One is the lack of variety. Crossfit has tons of workouts, but many workouts have little variety within them, and the exercises used in the overall program is limited in comparison to what I like. The final “con” is the use of timed workouts. I get how this creates a fun, competitive environment, but I don’t like this for three reasons. #1 – many workouts can be done in less than 30 minutes and therefore miss out on the heart health benefits. #2 – This again can be dangerous because form is sacrificed for speed. #3 – This format can turn off the program to more “average folks.” Crossfit junkies might reply by saying “don’t let the door hit you in the rear on the way out,” but I personally am trying to reach the masses to help as many people as I can possibly (and safely) help. CONCLUSION: If I am honest with myself, I can not 100% support Crossfit programming without jeapordizing my committment to safety and responsible training. Crossfit still meets my definition of Functional Fitness, and Crossfit gyms can be awesome and rewarding places to get your fitness on, but I am cautious and nervous of being associated with Crossfit. Yes, I am not taking a hard stance here, but I am at the point where I want it clear that Kemme Fitness is not “like Crossfit.” Time for the discussions to continue. I highly welcome any respectful and intelligent comments on this topic. Please weigh in by leaving commets on this post or the Facebook link.