I honestly don’t know how to start this entry, I’m at a loss for words, instead please just picture me giving the hardest eye roll and groan possible. CrossFit is the selfie of our generation. You do it strictly to show people how awesome you are, it’s the only thing keeping your ego together, and it can be quite dangerous if you do it wrong. CrossFit perfectly embodies the millennial generation. It’s self absorbed, based around ego stroking, and tells everyone they’re special. I’m writing this today, not to discuss the merits of fitness or a pro and con list, no, I strictly want to discuss my hatred for this fitness program. Why do I hate it? Well besides the comprehensive list begins, it’s because CrossFit is slowly creeping into the Army and making it a pain in the ass to explain the merits of nutrition, exercise, and preventative care to young adults. It also gives everyone that they are experts in form, even though CrossFit puts very little emphasis on form. Instead of science and experience, I have to explain why their pseudo bro science and emphasis on “work capacity” don’t exactly translate into excellence. That’s not all, but before we go into detail, lets look back to the early millennium, when the world was a more innocent time.
Where did it all begin?
CrossFit (XF) started as a fitness regime based around user and trainer submitted workouts, mainly on it’s online forum. Trainers would look up the WOD or Work out of the Day, and post it up on a white board for their “Box” XF for gym. The XFers came to the gym, and did whatever, some chose to do the WOD. Realize, the WODs were posted online in a Forum, so it wasn’t just the XF Boxes that had access to it, everyone did. Most of the workouts were based on high intensity interval training and plyometrics. I must admit, I actually used some of the exercises back in the day because they focused a lot on strength, agility, and body weight exercises and didn’t have the emphasis on heavy lifts performed to failure.
What it has become
XF went from small communities and users sharing workouts, to a massive conglomerate of gyms, accessories, chalk dust, and ego lifting. The number of Boxes across the US blew up and the demand skyrocketed. Slowly, but surely, XF became the hipster of the fitness community. Because of the massive growth, quality became scarce, there was more emphasis on working out in the Box, and everybody decided their workouts were really important to showcase on facebook and instagram.
Commercialism of the Program
I mentioned the WOD used to be something user submitted, it was basically a community of people challenging each other, mostly things that could be done at your local park. Now, it’s a centrally controlled program for everyone (nobody) that requires a lot of special equipment and for some reason timed. Emphasis is placed on the products you use, what you lift with, performance enhancers, and supplements. This was never a part of the original site. If you don’t think this is something that XF emphasizes, my question would be why the hell did Rouge equipment get so popular? Why the hell does everyone where knee wraps, wrist wraps, and spandex? Why the hell are there so many damn bumper plates!? Ever wonder where pre-workout became popular? This culture of commercialism has made your local gym an 80s ski movie where only the coolest kids have the most swag to help permanently injure themselves.
The Culture it has spawned
XF has created a following that rivals the vegan diet. Everything they do is based not on self improvement, but on ego and the chance to talk to people about how awesome Crossfit is. This is apparent in their damn white boards. The fucking whiteboard is where they write their workouts. Keep in mind, they don’t write a workout that is tailored to a group, instead, they use their own arbitrary weights, reps, and goals on the board. So if you’re a beginner, trying to work out with a group or a buddy, fuck you, get ready to do overhead squats. If you can’t do an exercise, just fake it for time and be happy if you’re tired. The problem is there is no emphasis on form, or focus, the emphasis is do it as fast as possible. Do you know what happens when you pit unqualified individuals with heavy weights, complex movements, and rush them through a series of exercises? A high injury rate with random results. Instead of recognizing this and tailoring packages to meet specific needs or goals, the XF culture just says you have to work harder and track your results. Keep in mind, these results are based on time, not strength, not repetitions, not weight, not form. So what do you get out of all this. Fucking Ego Lifting. People pushing way to fast, with no idea how to do it, to try to beat the clock. There’s no rules, there’s no standards, just post your video and brag, don’t worry about real excellence or self improvement. Those rubber plates, that’s just so you can drop it at the top of your set and let everyone know how bad ass you are for finishing half the exercise. Yes, that’s right, every time you see a XFer drop weight… they just did half the exercise. Look it up, deadlifts, overhead exercises, all that stuff… the other half of the exercise is controlling the weight down. But what’s the fun in that? It’s like doing a curl, then throwing the weight forward.
The fight for relevancy and standards
One of the underlying problems with XF is the lack of standards and certifications. Why ask a real personal trainer, when you can ask a certified LVL 1 XF trainer? This guy has to be legit right? Well no, that course is a weekend long. So now, we have a watered down program to meet the masses, based on a theory, with poorly educated trainers. Another means of searching for relevancy is the damn crossfit games. Why play real sports when you can be the best time trial runner right? Even in the games though, standards are flexible, and poorly defined. The games showcase some decent feats, washed out with painfully executed, and disturbing displays of stubbornness. Because of the aforementioned culture, instead of correcting these “athletes” they showcase them and tout them as what defines the XF mentality.
What is the result of ego stroking, douchebag culture with poorly defined standards? The fucking kipping pull-up. This one exercise clearly illustrates the result of doing crossfit. The pull-up is considered the king of body weight exercises, so naturally XF uses it regularly, they even go so far as to emphasize the muscle up. Of course more pull-ups are better than less pull-ups, so how do we start doing more pull-ups? Kick your body up and swim up the bar like a God damn dolphin. That’s right arch your back kick as hard as you can and just fly up that bar. Guess what, that’s no longer a damn pull up. But no, don’t tell that to a XFer, cause they’re too busy telling you how they can do thirty of them, and how you have no clue what you’re talking about cause you can’t even do a muscle up, it’s functional ect. These are the same people that will arch their back, pull their head back and bounce the weight off the ground during a dead lift, then tell you how that was their personal record. The only thing I’ll leave you with is the question, what about CrossFit is functional, when have you ever had to pick up a balanced load for time?