So I think I have the whole Crossfit craze figured out… I think that somebody in the fitness game asked themselves…
‘How can I open up a gym with very little overhead…almost no equipment…basically just rented garage space…and get people to pay me big money every month to be a member?
Who would actually pay for something like that?
What if I threw in a few sound fitness principles…added a dash of the average person’s craving to ‘belong’…Sprinkled in some camaraderie and peer pressure…Brought it to a boil…What would I have?’
Now before people’s heads start spinning around, Exorcist-style, let me be clear… Crossfit is hard. Crossfit is demanding. I consider myself to be in pretty good shape and there are a lot of things that I don’t have the endurance or strength:body weight ratio to pull off. I am not knocking the physical benefits of successfully doing Crossfit. Many Crossfit athletes are in amazing condition. I do have a problem, though, that people who have very little experience doing complex Olympic-style lifts are being asked to do them as part of their Workout Of the Day (WOD). Many of these people have not been taught the proper technique to do Snatches, Cleans, Deadlifts etc. and doing them incorrectly can cause injury. I competed in Track and Field for 3 years in college where we had to do lifts like this as part of our daily workout. As when we were taught to throw Shot, Discus, Javelin, or Hammer, we were taught very specific movements to avoid injury and maximize power. I don’t see this much care taken in many cases with Crossfit gyms.
I will say it right now, I pay too much for my current gym. I would like to pay half as much. The problem is, I live about 500 yards from my gym. It has a full length basketball court. Every machine you could want. Tons of free weights. Classes for those who want them. Cardio equipment. A good kid’s facility and an amazing pool that my daughter likes. It has showers, towels, lockers, saunas, whirlpools, and steam rooms. That is why I continue to pay $100 a month. I have no excuse not to go. I am self motivated. I train hard. It motivates me to go whenever I drive down my street. I still think it is too much money, but I might just spend the difference in gas if I chose another gym.
This is what gets me about Crossfit. If I joined a Crossfit gym I would get very little for my money. I would get a garage-like atmosphere. Pull up bars. Olympic barbells. Medicine Balls. I would get truck tires to flip over. No showers. No towels. No steam room…. You get my point. So what am I paying for? Someone to create a very hard set of exercises, in no way personalized for me, that is tacked up on the wall in the gym? Someone to provide encouragement? No…what I get is a bunch of other people who pay a high price for a sense of belonging. For a sense of ‘we are all in this together’. For a sense of not letting each other give up. Meanwhile, the guy who stocks the dispenser full of Crossfit Kool-Aid smiles and counts his money.
Many people argue that they like Crossfit because as a group, they will actually force each other to do the workouts. This concept has been around for quite awhile. It is called Workout Partners. I think many people gravitate to Crossfit because of ‘The Clique’. If they were really interested in their own fitness they would not need a clique of like minded kool-aid drinkers to take a genuine interest in their own health and fitness and get a workout in once in awhile. What happens to a lot of people is that pretty soon all they can seem to talk about is their WOD or their Crossfit friends. They post incessantly about Crossfit on Facebook and Twitter. They exhibit very cultish behavior.
I have wondered lately what would happen if you created a WOD like this and posted it…
SUPER HARD WOD!
400 yard Run
10 power cleans
20 pull ups
50 kettle bell swings
1 very high cliff jump
Repeat 4X (oops!)
I picture a line of lemmings jumping off a cliff at the end…. But at least they would be together…
If you want me I will be at the gym with my headphones on…getting my stuff done, shooting some hoops, taking a steam, using some free towels…. Oh… and sparing everybody on Facebook what exercises I actually did at the gym, though I am sure it is fantastically interesting 😉
Just my $.02