Five truths about CrossFit they probably haven’t told you
It seems not a day goes by that I don’t read something about what it is we do at CrossFit: that it is some sort of cult or that we are a chiropractor’s best source of business. I usually find these write-ups very amusing. Generally, someone who has never actually set foot in a CrossFit facility writes them, but they are written with all the authority of a seasoned veteran. I guess I have an advantage in that we are the only box in our town so when someone from Armidale comments about CrossFit in any way shape or form I know if they have been in to experience it OR if they are speaking completely out of school. So, here are five things that the people talking about CrossFit may not have told you:
1. We really do give a shit about technique. That’s right: we actually want you to learn how to pick something up without getting hurt. You see it does not bode well for us to have someone come for one or two sessions and then get injured and never get near their goals. A lot of CrossFit movements may look unusual, but they require an amazing amount of body awareness and control to complete. To be successful with both the clean and jerk and the snatch you first have to be proficient in the technique.
2. Most CrossFitters are everyday people. That’s right: accountants, brickies, carpenters, teachers, students, mums, dads, grandparents… We aren’t all gifted athletes who look as though we were chiselled from granite. We are regular everyday people with jobs, responsibilities, hobbies and social engagements. It just so happens that we also like to work out together and with a reasonable amount of intensity. And with that comes an amazing sense of community, so maybe it is a little cult-like because I have never come across a more supportive group of people than the members of our box. They look out for each other, they work out together, they socialise. If that is a cult, then I never want to leave it.
3. We can be a chiropractor’s best source of business. YES, I said we can! You see, when someone starts here I refer them to a chiropractor and physiotherapist to see if they have anything specific wrong that may have been missed for years. And then, once they become an avid CrossFitter they will find that they will seek treatment for any niggles that they have. My anecdotal experiences from working in a commercial gym were that attendees seldom actually sought treatment: they usually used the injury or condition as a “reason” to hold off on exercise for a while. CrossFitters get a mindset that they want to improve, hence seeking treatment and getting over anything that is wrong with them.
4. CrossFit is varied, NOT random. If you are attending a gym or any other place and they say they will throw together a CrossFit workout for you or they are making it up as they write it on the whiteboard then the coach, trainer or your friend has no concept of what CrossFit is about. Yes, it is about preparing for the unknown and unknowable, but that does not mean that it is a bunch of random movements thrown together to form a semblance of a workout. Your box should have progressive programing that is varied enough to continue to elicit a response regardless of your training level. If you look closely at our program you will see an underlying strength program and progressions right through all of our met cons and any supplementary work we do.
5. You don’t have to be fit to start. We have everything from 16-year-old athletes to 65-year-old grandparents in our sessions. AND they do the sessions side by side. I can tailor a workout to suit anyone, but that isn’t to say it is for everyone. You simply might not enjoy it – hence it isn’t for you. By being able to adjust weights, reps and even exercises within a workout you can start out at whatever fitness level you are currently at. I am not going to make you lift more than you ever have before and I am not going to make you keep going when you cannot. You will decide when you need to pause and you will give me that filthy look that lets me know I need to leave you to your devices. But if you come and talk to anyone in our sessions you will find that 95% of them were nowhere near fit when they started out.
So, there are five things that you may not have known about CrossFit. You can argue with them and call them out as lies, but really, I don’t care.
The above five things have been my personal experiences since becoming a CrossFit addict a few years back. I have lived them. I eat, breath, sleep and live CrossFit everyday.
So the next time someone says anything about CrossFit, just ask them or yourself one question:
If they are so vocal and so outspoken about this style of training, why?
Why go to the effort of running something down on the Internet, to a friend, colleague, or family member? For if CrossFit wasn’t affecting them or they weren’t thinking about it, then they wouldn’t even mention it would they?
About the Author
Jim Ridley is Armidale’s accomplished personal trainer. Since losing over 25 kilos and becoming a PT, Jim knows where you are coming from. He is the owner of Gym Ridz Personal Training and CrossFit Armidale, 2012 Winners of the Health, Beauty and Wellbeing section in the Armidale Chamber of Commerce Business Awards. It is the only private training studio in Armidale and Armidale’s only CrossFit gym. Jim is also an avid, if not tragic, St George Illawarra Dragons fan.