CrossFit:What is it?

Monday, May 29, 2017 • Canton, OH 44702

CrossFit has been a fitness topic that gets talked quite frequently. At your current gym or club you might have even met people who said they were former crossfitters. Yet what really is CrossFit? Where did it come from? What do they do, and what are the dangers associated with it? Keep reading and we’ll answer those.  

The Founding

CrossFit on paper was founded by Greg Glassman in 2000, yet many consider CrossFit being around a while before that.

The Exercises

CrossFit is a mixture of a few different disciplines. Gymnastics, weightlifting and sprinting or high-intensity work in various forms. Most workout are short duration yet are high in intensity.

WOD Workout of the day called a “wad.”

The games

Every summer since 2007 the CrossFit games take place. Athletes compete in each region with the hopes of qualifying for finals. The games have become so popular that it can be seen on national television.  

The culture

The culture of CrossFit is a mixture of competition and community. Oftentimes I hear people say something along the lines of “CrossFit is a cut.” The community of CrossFit is something I can’t comprehend because I’ve never seen the support at such a high level in a gym setting. Those who see it like a cult is because they’re not in the sport and cannot comprehend how total strangers can become best friends. Support is what it comes down to. Support and hard work.  Everyone all does different weight, yet at the end of the day it is all a challenge.

The diet

Serious Crossfitters are known to abide by the Paleo Diet. This diet encourages high amounts of meat, nuts, veggies, and fruit yet discourages sugar, alcohol, junk food, grains, dairy, and beans.

The issues

Issues with Crossfit arise with the entire business model. The way typical franchises work is that upon becoming a franchisee you have to follow certain policies and procedures. Yet CrossFit doesn’t go by this because they don’t really have certain policies and procedures. All it takes to open a CrossFit gym is a two day certification seminar and then one can open a CrossFit gym. As a certified trainer who’s put in the money and time I quickly see the flaws in this business plan. There are many people who can pass a two day seminar and that doesn’t mean they’re qualified to open a gym and put people through whatever workouts they deem fit. I understand the CEO and owner of CrossFit wants affiliates to choose what they want to do yet at the same time with the type of lifts this can be dangerous and has been.

The Dangers

For years I’ve heard about the dangers of CrossFit. Before I dive into those let me remind you that there is a danger any gym you walk into. Poor form and heavy loads are the quickest ways to issues. Yes at times it seems that CrossFit is more risky than other types yet that can be due to the types of lifts they do. Please keep in mind that CrossFit does have some of the fittest people in the world. You don’t get super fit from simple easy workouts. Also some CrossFit gyms can more more inclined to injuries than others due to the training of coaches. Since CrossFit is lax in their business model some gyms can have many coaches on staff where others might have one coach for 20+ members. Some coaches might push heavier weight when others care more about form.

With all this being said look up Crossfit’s unofficial mascot. You’ll see a clown that’s named Unkle Rhabdo who is a Crossfitter who’s pushed it a little too far and now is hooked up to a dialysis machine. According to WebMD “Rhabdomyolysis is a serious syndrome due to a direct or indirect muscle injury. It results from the death of muscle fibers and release of their contents into the bloodstream.”Rhab can happen to any athlete yet it tends to happen more to Crossfitters. Some may quickly like to point the finger and say “this is the issue with CrossFit.” Yet it might more come down to the culture of Crossfit. The culture encourages hard work and commitment, not putting a toe in the water, but totally jumping in. Also those coming down with Rhab could be unconditioned like this Crossfitter who came down with it, or poorly coached.

All in all CrossFit has shown the fitness industry that there is a group of people who like to push it to their max.

Good reads

Don’t mess with CrossFit  

Crossfitters You’re Weak

Crossfit’s Dirty little Secret

Crossfit Doesn’t have a Dirty Secret

The Origins

Why Pukie the Clown Isn’t Funny

The Diet

Rhabdomyolysis