In the past couple weeks the institution of CrossFit has had a decent amount of press in comparison to the past many years. A good bit of it has been relatively critical and as entertaining as it has been for me, CrossFit HQ lights up the social media with all sorts of backhanded, argumentative remarks about the articles.
One of the articles was all about something called rhabdo (Rhabdomyolysis) which is a severely serious reaction to incredibly rapid muscle tissue breakdown. This causes all sorts of damaging toxins to release into the bloodstream and leads to some pretty messed up symptoms.
So, CrossFit teaches about rhabdo in their level 1 seminar, and even makes a joke of the condition by having created a CrossFit mascot named “Pukie”. Anyway, some people don’t understand it, others think it’s funny, some think it’s horrible, and some (like me) just choose to ignore it because CrossFit HQ has always tended to push the envelope with political correctness as they grow (maybe they think it’s cool, maybe they think it will attract attention, maybe they’re just a bunch of weirdo’s, who knows, but they’ve ALWAYS done it).
Anyway, I’ve had a handful of people reach out to me about this article and my thoughts, so I thought I’d write a little something about it.
I will give credit to CrossFit HQ on the fact that they actually raise awareness of it at their level 1 seminar. They are one of the only fitness companies that actually teach all about some of the potential issues that training in their style could lead to. Everyone who has gone to a level 1 seminar will have received a base-level understanding of rhabdo and how to prevent it. In fact, I have had some 5 trainer/coach (not CrossFit obviously) friends of mine admit to not knowing anything about rhabdo, so, credit to CrossFit there for sure.
So, because of the attention CrossFit brings upon itself, it’s easy to assume that training CrossFit will inevitably lead to getting rhabdo. It’s simply not true. Any athlete can get rhabdo, check out HERE, and HERE, and HERE. While intense exercise may increase the risk of more negative issues, it should never be a reason to avoid being intense. Sort of a simple statement that everyone has heard a million times, but: CrossFit does not cause rhabdo, coaches/trainers who push their athletes/clients too hard cause things like rhabdo.
CrossFit claims that since all their coaches have been supplied some info on what rhabdo is, they are actually better informed on how to prevent it than most other coaches. While the statement itself is true, to assume that all their coaches actually practice good coaching methods is a pretty broad and, well, dead-wrong assumption. I have met a TON of CrossFit coaches who have no idea what rhabdo is (and also have no idea how to protect their clients, program properly, or teach proper technique to most movements). To assume the thousands of coaches you put through a 2-day seminar actually care enough to remember and put to practice everything you threw at them is pretty ridiculous. And when you make a public joke of the condition by making your mascot a vomiting, rhadbo-inflicted clown, you’re not helping your cause all that much. So it should not be that surprising that people have a few negative, critical thoughts about the company. It appears as though CrossFit harnesses some sort of pride in the fact that their program has been known to potentially really break people down. A lot of people who actually understand health and fitness know that it is not CrossFit in and of itself that hurts people, but irresponsible coaches that do, as mentioned before. There are bad coaches in CrossFit, just as there are bad coaches with many other backgrounds and certifications.
But if CrossFit really has an issue with people criticizing them, perhaps they’d take a few seconds to change their very confrontational approach. Or, they should continue being confrontational (they claim to not intentionally be controversial, but libertarian), and stop acting all confused and annoyed when people question and criticize them.
Or, all of us people need to realize that this is just what they do. The people who run CrossFit have ALWAYS been pretty abrasive. And now that social media is so popular, and the concept of “trolls” has become a “cool” thing for bored people who think it’s fun to stir up conflict; CrossFit has jumped headfirst into it. And it has brought them TONS of attention. And they don’t care if it’s good or bad. They will fight incredibly established companies and people on twitter, they will talk down to established figures in their own community, they will “play dumb” to conflicts they start, and you can watch the comments and attention roll in.
In my opinion, this is a bit unfortunate and seems to be a little counterintuitive of CrossFit. The concepts that CrossFit originally promoted (and that Greg Glassman talks about when speaking publically) have been some of the most influential in the world for promoting health and fitness. Thousands of new, small gyms, eager to help people live better lives and support each other have popped up around the world thanks to CrossFit. It’s a beautiful thing. Many of the best CrossFit gyms that I have been to (the ones with the best coaches, intelligent programming, understanding of true community and support) generally choose to just ignore the actions of CrossFit HQ and continue to do good, staying out of trouble and controversy.
I suggest that if annoying arguments are something that cause you stress and anxiety, just don’t follow CrossFit on Facebook and twitter, and avoid reading the comments on the articles that pop up about it. They have said over and over again that they could care less if you follow them or not (I’m sure this has led to thousands of more followers as another CrossFit HQ employee has stated). If you like to get all worked up and pissed about stuff, read away! They will not disappoint. I personally find it entertaining here and there.
One of CrossFit HQ’s now-well-known employees made a pretty clear statement about CrossFits approach to what they choose to talk about: “Fuck PR”
My personal thoughts?
I personally love CrossFit as a sport. I train for it, compete in it, appreciate the athletes and what they can do, and how entertaining it is.
I coach all my athletes and clients in athletic performance, not CrossFit. Do you know the difference?
I love that CrossFit has helped create so much more attention to health and fitness. We’ve seen pretty dramatic growth in Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, gymnastics, track, nutrition and general fitness education thanks to CrossFit. That. Is. Awesome!
I’ve made friends and been able to grow my business into two gyms and a pretty successful blog/brand with direct and indirect influences from CrossFit.
I can’t stand the way CrossFit HQ chooses to act. It used get me so worked up that I would get angry (and even now I will sometimes rant on my dislike for them, or allow one of their instigating posts to get me started on a post myself, or even engage them here and there). Now I just avoid their posts if I am feeling like I don’t need more annoying things in my life.
Nothing you or I say will make them change the way they act. So either read their craziness and engage in whatever way you will, or just stop paying attention. But if you want to get worked up, and pissed off, and question why they choose to act like they do; well, you are just wasting your time and energy. Maybe constantly defending themselves and arguing will get old to them, and they will change (I have actually seen a slight shift in wording in that they actually ask for opinions rather than just randomly post stuff with the implication that they endorse it. Also they have been on a kick recently talking more and more about how scaling and modifying workouts are so important to beginners; and understanding proper movement patterns and technique are more important than times. So who knows).
Either way, CrossFit is here to stay, no matter how they choose to act, and no matter how you feel about it and the people that run it. Take what you will from it and try to ignore the crap if it really bothers you. There are plenty of incredible ways to get into health and fitness, choose the one that helps you the most and you’ll probably have a better life. Easy as that!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
PS - If you want to see what I'm talking about with the Facebook and twitter craziness, just spend 5 minutes on either of the those things on the CrossFit page and you'll see. I don't have the patience to link to them (plus, there are WAY too many and I can't choose the best ones)
A Little 'Duck, Duck Goose'
What a weekend! Friday I flew on down to San Diego, CA to get prepped for my CrossFit Kids certification course at CrossFit Brand X in Ramona, CA. I was able to hit up my buddies gym Pacific Beach CrossFit for a bit on Friday night before resting up for the fun in the morning.
The day started off fine enough, a good sized group huddled into the surprisingly gold gym up in the mountains and we got to the lectures. All very informative, talking about the levels of kids classes, how to approach them, how to program for them, how to interact with them and so much more. Each lecture was split up with some form of activity, and we were even able to hang out for a handful of pretty fun classes with a whole slew of pre-schoolers, awesomely energetic little kids, and some impressive teens.
I realize my review of the weekend is a little sparse, I just feel getting into the details of this may be a little boring, or at least the way I would end up writing about it would turn out that way. I think the best way to approach this one is to hit certain topics that I found very intriguing during the weekend, and write about them in some other context besides a lecture. Seeing how the majority of my clients in my training career have been 12 to 18 year olds, I have some pretty decent insight into working with this demographic. So I have quite a few ideas brewing for posts that I think will be very interesting.
Also, for some reason or another I have been hit with about 8 ideas for posts I really want to get writing about. So I think this month may see a bit of the analytical/philosophical side of good ol' me. Oh, and in other news, as of yesterday evening, CrossFit Courage is officially up on the CrossFit main site! Check it out in the affiliates section, under California and Burlingame!
My final topic here is the official announcement of my CrossFit Community Month! Last January I traveled around to about 6 or 7 affiliates I the greater Washington, DC area, I talked with coaches and athletes, did a workout, video taped it all and wrote up a big post on each one. This year I am upping the challenge to myself a TON, all while hopefully spreading the CrossFit love to an even greater number of people. From the 1st through the 30th of January, I plan to visit at LEAST 24 affiliates in the Bay Area, interviewing, working out, videoing and writing about the entire process. This is going to be both an absolute blast, and an unreal demand on my physical and mental body. But then again, that's part of the point huh? I'll be posting up more details about this later in the month as things get scheduled out, so stay tuned for that fun.
Now it's back to Burlingame and back t work!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
After a pretty successful strict press session (160# for two and felt very stable throughout, that's good for me folks!), then a handful of rounds of weighted pull ups and split jerk practice (45# and 80k respectively), I hit my crazy workout.
3 rounds of:
100 meter sprint
2 unbroken muscle ups
4 power snatch 95#
5 pistol squats (each leg)
6 box jumps 30"
7 clean and jerk 95#
8 OH lunges 95# (total steps)
10 half moons 52#
I expected this one to kick my butt a little bit, but I had no idea it would do as much damage as it did. There was nothing about it that was overly taxing in terms of weight (although the clean and jerks and lunges felt like 200+ at that point), it was that there was no time to breath. The 100 meters was way too short to catch my breath, and the huge movements of each exercises was enough to just take it all out of me by the end of the first round. I stumbled through my final breath, gasping for air in 14:06 and I put every ounce of energy into that workout I had! What a great one, I would love to see what other people get with that one.
Now I am down in San Diego, ready to head to Ramona in the morning to attend a CrossFit Kids certification course. Should be a pretty fun weekend, and I can not wait to run around and be active with a bunch of kids. There is nothing like a child's energy to remind you just how fun being active can actually be!
I'll probably miss a post tomorrow, then post all about the weekend fun on Sunday, so look for that one. Enjoy your weekend everyone! I would love to hear any feedback/comment on the post about Process from yesterday, let e know what you think!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Get Discounts Below!