The day that I opened by mind and stopped hating on other methods of building physical fitness is the day that I realized that I could write a book, teach it and be a resource to the masses.
If you’ve spent any time lurking around this blog, you’ve undoubtedly come across some posts where I take some jabs at the fitness phenomena known as CrossFit.
While I am not endorsing CrossFit in this post, I do have to pay this fitness monster a few compliments.
Because you see, CrossFit, while not completely in line with my thought process and methodology, has achieved some feats (in a matter of a few years) that hundreds of other fitness fads have failed at miserably.
This post is devoted to acknowledging these feats. Yes, CrossFit, I am going to pump your tires for a bit here, but that doesn’t meant that you and I are buddies by any means…
The first thing that I noticed about CrossFit, all silly training methods aside, is that they have built a community that is unlike any other. And they did it record time, as CrossFit was founded in 2000. We all probably know someone who is a member of a CrossFit “box”, and you have probably heard this person (in conversation) talk about how great it is to workout with the support and encouragement of other CrossFitters. I hear it all of the time. It’s the same attitude and encouragement that you receive when you are apart of an athletic team. No one wants to see anyone else fail. The attitude seems to be that although the workouts are accomplished on the individual level, the greater victory is that everyone finishes the race. I can get on board with that.
CrossFit has given people the hope that working out doesn’t have to be centered around cheesy aerobic bars and headbands, water weights, hamster training (withering away for life on the treadmill), or Jazzercise while blasting the Tina Turner on a treble dominant boom box. It brought “cool” back to giving a training session an all out effort, using every god-given muscle to complete physical tasks. It brought the idea that it’s ok to put the “work” back in working out. A little effort never killed anyone, although pushing it too far has definitely hurt some people. Breathe a little intensity back into your training. You’ve probably got another safe gear to switch in to.
Positive body composition shift.
This builds off of intensity. I like that Cross-Fit doesn’t preach the same old song and dance about working out and it’s benefits for fat loss. Yes, I talk about this a lot on this blog, but I also stress the importance of fat loss as BY PRODUCT of working both hard and smart. Work capacity style training sessions will burn fat like none other, especially when using total body lifts and sub-maximal loading. Assuming the person doesn’t injure themselves or cause long-term internal damage from the training stimulus, it is safe to say that training sessions that involve metabolic resistance-like efforts are going to rip fat off of your body. I’ll even go as far as saying that you can avoid an alterations in your diet (for a little while) and see great results. Lord knows the number of people who would rather exercise over tweak the basics in their diet. It’s habit, I get it, change is difficult for me too.
Iron and women.
Women are afraid of rough hands and bulky bodies. Okay, this might be a bad stereotype, but in my experience most women hate the idea of loading a barbell and lifting it with their silky soft hands. Heaven forbid ladies, you roughen them up a bit. CrossFit made this cool also. When you walk into a CrossFit gym, it’s common to see no cable machine or rubber coated handles of any kind. It’s mostly iron. Skin on iron. Those women who survive the first few weeks of torture, seem to end up becoming addicted to moving weight with hands on iron. You wouldn’t believe the kind of resistance that most strength coaches and personal trainers get when attempting to integrate barbell work into a clients training regimen. I applaud you CrossFit.
CrossFit has done what even strength coaches and highly educated personal trainers could not. They made olympic lifting “cool”. The people in my social network that regularly attend CrossFit training sessions think that Olympic lifting (snatches, cleans, jerks, etc) is the greatest thing ever. In CrossFit’s infancy, I know for a fact that these lifts were being taught half-ass. It was disturbing to think that they were even posting videos on their website, basically showing the crime being committed. Over the years, however, I have noticed that they have progressively taken steps forward in the reinforcement of technique during such lifts. If nothing else, it’s encouraging to see gym owners/trainers taking the time to coach before loading them up for a WOD.
Bright minds surface.
Rogue training equipment is brilliant. I have been looking for rugged training gear that is meant for un-polished concrete for a while. I always wondered why I couldn’t find anything that could be used OUTSIDE of the controlled gym environment. The fact that the bumper plates from Rogue are recycled from used car tires and have minimal bounce when dropped, are a major turn on for me. I can support this. Part of the problem of a person’s struggling commitment to fitness is the dullness of the place where fitness happens. It’s like going to school when you were younger… you knew that you had to go but dreaded waking up for it every day. Get outside, train in your garage or your basement. Don’t be reckless, but don’t be afraid to switch up your scenery to keep your training fresh and interesting.
The Wrap Up…
I feel like I just went to confession. I purged myself on this blog just now. But as I alluded to earlier in the post, I have to stop holding grudges against ideas and methods that I don’t like. Life is too short, there is value is just about everything. The sad part is that the strength coach community does the same thing. I won’t fall victim to being narrow-minded.
Since adopting this sort of open-minded thinking, my writing skills (book-wise) have improved tremendously. I no longer feel pigeon-holed to writing about any one technique. “Cornered” might be a better description. All methods work just fine when executed properly, it’s just a matter of assessing yourself both physically and mentally, your goals and then getting to work.
Cheers to some positive things that Crossfit has brought to the table!