CrossFit: A Love, NOT an Obsession

Source: instagram.com via Sean on Pinterest

 

Toes to bar. Gets me every time. Thank you CrossFit. (That’s my hand after a single CrossFit workout the other day that lasted 12 minutes long)

Source: instagram.com via Sean on Pinterest

 

My hands healing up after a WOD a couple months ago.

Source: instagram.com via Sean on Pinterest

 

And finally the Coup de Gras of my CrossFit injuries most recently. Yes, the results of one CrossFit workout. This is considered normal.

 

I’ve been doing CrossFit now for over a year. I celebrated my 1 year ‘CrossFitaversary’ back in October. I can’t say I have been exclusively a die-hard CrossFit athlete performing nothing but WOD’s (Workout Of the Day). I went all out in the beginning. Full speed ahead. I ‘drank the cool kids kool-aid’. I thought I had found the holy grail of fitness. I mean I was a former competitive athlete that had been missing the competition. I was no collegiate athlete by any means, but I sure did miss trying to beat the guy/girl next to yah.

I was your typical high school student athlete that tried to stay in ‘performance’ shape during my college years, but slowly reverted to being a gym-rat, since I was a sub-par athlete at best, and life just sort of took over. As an Athletic Trainer I knew what was right, what could work, what should work, and how to go about doing it. I experimented with many different programs, and saw great results trying them all, but my body and my schedule continually changed.

Eventually I created my own ‘thing’ that became a workout of sorts. Injuries and fear prevented me from doing anything beyond the safe bodyweight exercises mixed in with some traditional meat-head bodybuilder-type movements. I still saw great gains, but my workouts were fairly routine.

I had followed and read about CrossFit for a number of years, but I wasn’t buying into it. I was leery about the crazy WOD routines and outrageously fringe-like olympic movements. Eventually testosterone combined with the heaping dose of ESPN televising the “CrossFit Games” convinced me to try it, and I bought into the craze.

Again I saw amazing results. I took it one piece at a time, learning things I thought were never within my grasp. I watched hours upon hours of video to teach myself the olympic movements as well as gain confidence and strength in movements I had been too afraid to try. There was no CrossFit gym (box) near me, so I was on my own with the help of a couple guys at my local gym who shared my new love.

I created and beat personal records over and over again, and I was creating a level of fitness I never had. The down side to all of it was the level of intensity demanded risk. Each week I was battling a new bruise, and new soreness, a new pulled, strained, or exhausted body part. I ripped skin off of my palms as well as my shins and my hands continually needed attention. The CrossFit community would call it ‘battle scars’ or ‘war wounds’. That my injuries and wound were the sign of a ‘real’ workout and a real athlete. Hmph.

I would wake each morning beat up, and I’d go back for more, because of that damn kool-aid. I was concerned enough about safety that I dialed it back this past spring and it payed off. I then had to dial it back again over the summer due to scheduling conflicts, and I came to realize that I’m not like the people on TV or on YouTube. I need more rest and recovery than most. Not to mention I had a job and other responsibilities that required me to be a tad bit more functionally healthy.

I mean I’m turning 40 years old this year, and I couldn’t keep beating my body up the way I was. I needed to find a healthy balance with my CrossFit.

It’s taken me an entire year, but I’ve finally made the discovery that CrossFit is a program that works, but it is NOT the end all to be all. There are many flaws to their philosophy, and there is an imbalance that lines the entire community of CrossFit between what they demonstrate and sell you and what is reality.

So much hype is put into the ‘Games’ and preparation, but quite honestly the top 10-20 athletes out there have the time, resources or lifestyle to allow them to spend 5-7 days a week in the gym (or box) to train for these games that are supposedly up for grabs for anyone willing to participate. In face they are sometimes there 3 times a day, 7 days a week (true story).

The skewed reality is that in order to be a competitor with the CrossFit Games, you better spend half your waking week working out training or practicing everything CrossFit related. You need to live, eat and breath your training. Otherwise you’ll be eliminated by the Regional qualifier, since the majority of the top athletes’ full time job is being a CrossFit athlete.

It gives me pause.

While I would recommend this program to anyone, I would equally caution you to do your homework. Their is a steep, slippery learning curve. I was lucky enough to have a background and education in exercise and sports science. I had prior knowledge in how to train, and how to recover properly. I could understand physiology, biomechanics and have a familiar relationship with functional human anatomy. For the average Joe (or Jane) unless you train at a CrossFit box, you could do some serious damage to your body.

I guess that’s their shtick. Don’t do CrossFit unless they have one of their trainers training you. So they must be highly educated and qualified right? Wrong. A CrossFit ‘trainer’ need only take a weekend seminar and pass a written exam. Then these ‘certified’ trainers are permitted to have you pay them to train you along with 10 other members during a 1-hour class 2-3 days a week.

Oh, did I mention the racket the CrossFit community has going on with fees????? Oh yeah. If you want to workout within the CrossFit world, you better have a deep pockets, that’s all I’m saying.

-Sigh-

In the end, I’ll keep doing Crossfit my way. I’ll still do the WOD’s as prescribed. I’ll still push myself. I’ll still look forward to learning something new, and continue to strive towards breaking more personal records.

I’m just not a fanatic. I’m not obsessed with the notion that CrossFit is the holy grail of fitness. And for that, I’m not considered a ‘true’ CrossFitter.

And so it begins…