CrutchFit; The Problem with the CrossFit Craze

Like everything in life, fitness comes in fads.  The steroid of the 70s, took us to the “Let’s Get Physical” Olivia Newton John era of the 80’s, which ushered us into the Taebo Fitness era of the 90’s. ‘Lethal sport as fun fitness activity’ naturally gave birth to the current  “But Did You Die?” era of the 21st century, which is front lined by CrossFit sports, created in 2000 by Greg Glassman and Lauren Jenai. In short, it promotes the idea of dressing “weird, and feeling better than anyone who isn’t part of the movement.”

crossfit pushing

I can’t think of better calling card for our ‘Look at me; I’m better than you in a way you can’t possibility attain’ moment in history.

Thing is, everything that glitters isn’t gold.  * puts on shades because CrossFit is kind of shiny*

Let me start by saying this; in no way is this post intended to sweep you into my massive 21-inch arms and compel you to training with me. Plus, I am madly in love with Julie Foucher who is an avid CrossFitter. Nevertheless, I’m here to report the facts.  CrossFit follows a pretty simple logic; it’s an intense exercise program that pairs dynamic workouts with Olympic level feats of strength. But, it is worth it? In CrossFit, there’s one goal;  you go hard or go home…but sometimes, you go so hard, you can end up going home in an ambulance. The competition is extremely high and it creates a culture of cutting corners which undoubtedly will lead to a higher rate of injuries.

crossfit jumping

In a recent study in Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 73.5% of CrossFit participants have been injured severely enough to have to stop working or training. But, the average American goes to the gym to be healthy and to look good; they aren’t really trying to come anywhere near the bounds of the question ‘but did you die?’ for their workout experience.   Interestingly, a 73.3 percent rate of injury is on par with the average rate at which people get hurt in general fitness workouts but therein lies the issue; as we compare it to general fitness–which ranges from the inexperienced, part-time gym goer to the avid “gym rat” who potentially becomes a victim to over training to the point of injury–CrossFit is supervised. The fact that so many people can get injured while a trained professional is literally looking at them speaks volumes about how the trainers (and CrossFit culture overall) values form, technique, and proper body recovery implementation.

crossfit handstand

Truth be told, I enjoy watching CrossFit on ESPN.  I’m kind of a kinesthesiology nerd. I’m fascinated with the body and CrossFit pushes the limits of what we think is possible. Frankly, that idea is the foundation of my training philosophy and I use similar methods . But, before I am a mad scientist in the gym, I’m a teacher. So, I suggest that we use fitness methods that are challenging and innovative but don’t require folks risk so much. We are constantly in the market for the new-new and lose sight of the definition of fitness. CrossFit isn’t the worst program out (Home workout DVDs are) but clearly not the safest. So, if you’re tired of people dancing all in your videos, flashing their “uniqueness” fitness in your face! Come to Death Row Records… I mean functional training.

* watches guy in the gym do one hundred burpees till he passes out as I functionally train total body while doing my #QLFWRKOUTLIVE tweets*

YOUR NEXT REP: Follow me on Twitter and IG  and feel free to share and comment.  All workout (and thought) partners are welcome!

In the NYC area and interested in improving your fitness level? Let’s get started!

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