I’ve been involved in the CrossFit community since 2008, and the sport seems to change yearly. More and more, athletes are pouring into gyms as the sport quickly gains popularity.
The CrossFit Open is an online competition that marks the first step in reaching the CrossFit Games. Each year, participation in the Open grows exponentially. In 2011, about 26,000 people signed up for the first-ever Open. The next year, 69,370 people signed up. In 2013, there were 138,619 participants, and this year registration closed with 209,585 people.
Despite such drastic growth, CrossFit still carries a certain stigma from those who haven’t yet tried it or might have had a bad first experience. I personally have visited more than 20 CrossFit boxes and have worked at four over the span of my fitness career. During this time I have come across many CrossFit myths and I have been itching to address a few of the most common ones! So here we go!
1. CrossFit is dangerous.
Just like most things in life, if done incorrectly it is dangerous. The sport at its definition is broad and constantly varied. To say that the entire sport is dangerous is saying that ALL physical activity is dangerous. CrossFit mainly consists of Olympic lifting, gymnastics and general sports, which commonly include running and rowing. This is what you will encounter when dropping in to your local gym. These are basic activities, and, when coached correctly, can be done without injury.
CrossFit doesn’t cause injury; bad coaching causes injury. There are many gyms owned by people that thought it was an easy way out of their current work situation so they got certified, paid their dues and started coaching with little to no experience in fitness. These are the gyms that hurt people. It’s very easy to avoid these places by simply asking what the coaches’ background is and how long they have been fitness professionals. If it’s less than two years you may want to consider visiting another gym. Also, most good gyms require you to complete an intro course before you can participate in class. If you visit a gym and this is not the case you may want to consider another gym!
2. You have to be fit to join.
People see the CrossFit games on ESPN and immediately think that is what goes on in gyms everyday. That couldn’t be further from the truth! That’s like saying everyone in spin class is training for the Tour de France. Those people are the fittest humans on earth and represent an extremely small population of CrossFit athletes. In my experience, the majority of CrossFitters are people who have been out of shape and are looking for an exercise program that is in a group setting so they will be pushed and held accountable. On average, fitness levels range from college kids to women in their 60’s. If someone that is eligible for a senior citizens discount at Luby’s can do it then so can you!
If you have pre-existing injuries and have been told that CrossFit isn’t for you, try talking to a coach. I have worked with all sorts of injuries and all workouts can be modified and scaled to make them safe for anyone.
3. CrossFit is a cult.
If creating a community based around helping people adopt a healthy lifestyle is a cult, then fine, call it a cult. CrossFitters eat well and encourage one another to get plenty of sleep. They do the same workouts and get excited about one another’s progress. They talk about different healthy recipes and restaurants that offer healthy menu items. It is a positive community in a world filled with negativity. CrossFitters are always trying to improve themselves.
4. CrossFit makes women look manly.
I’m sure you have seen pictures on social media of women lifting heavy and they are more jacked than most men. Then you turn on the television and you see women in the Games with muscular legs and abs. Again, these women are professional athletes and you may not like the way they look but there are millions of people in the world that do! They put in three to four hours a day in the gym training. They eat four to eight times a day in order to keep all that muscle and the strength that comes with it. If you are a normal person and only have an hour three to four days out of the week to workout it is impossible for you to look anything like these women. You have to be extremely dedicated to CrossFit to be like them. Literally blood sweat and tears goes into it.
There is a night and day difference between training for sport and training for fitness. Even advanced CrossFit classes don’t reach the level of intensity and volume that athletes training for competition do.
5. CrossFit is expensive.
CrossFit does cost more than a membership at a 24-hour fitness or Lifetime. On average you will pay $150-$200 for a CrossFit membership monthly. But, when you look at what you spend on cable, Internet, phone bill, bar tabs or shopping, it really isn’t that much. It is your health, after all! If you are going to invest in anything, your health should be a top priority. Let’s look at the cost of a hospital bill, prescription pills and doctor visits. Those are way more expensive than a gym membership.
Most CrossFit gyms offer way more than just a workout. There are nutrition meetings and consulting available. There is a support group you gain from the other athletes in your class and your coach. There are community events and free workouts all month. And the most important thing you get with your membership is the fitness community. When you are plugged in with the people in your community you are a part of a family. These people want to see you succeed! They are just like you and come from all walks of life. I have so many connections in Austin just from the people I met at the gym!
Get to your local CrossFit box, talk to a coach and start working on becoming the best version of yourself!