CrossFit “Exposed”

This “open letter” has hit the CrossFit world HARD!  Give it a read, you will likely laugh like I did.  He’s not talking about TitanFit I assure you!  Yes, I intentionally left off the URL…and any pretensions jerk one that would sign a letter “No Pressure…No Diamonds”, is an ASS in the first degree!

CrossFit Exposed

by Brad on 04/30/13

Please Note Before Reading: ALL links that are provided as reference to verify my position are direct links to www.crossfit.com  In this post I will use their own website to educate you on why you should never step foot in a CrossFit gym again. Ever.

So, here goes nothin. This is one of those post that is bound to piss some people off. Hopefully it’s one or two (or all) of these overnight Fitness Guru’s who can instantly teach a Paleo Macro’s Nutrition Course as well as, while blind-folded, teach anyone how to properly execute a snatch because they are a CrossFitter. Yep, they joined their local CrossFit gym last week, and believe me, they know it all. YES, I sure as hell hope I piss a few of them off with this post. Regardless, one thing is for certain, CrossFit has an incredible sense of community among its training clients. They are loyal beyond reason and will argue their training methods until they are blue in the face. Which, quite frankly, is awesome! CrossFit has brought physical fitness back into the spotlight of mainstream America. And as a fitness professional, I am truly grateful. Bodybuilding couldn’t get it done, it’s time had passed. Yoga and Pilates seems to be handcuffed to its particular demographic; Powerlifting & Strongman Competitions has similar issues; And the P90x and Insanity crowd were never intended to last more than 90 Days. So, the industry was hurting. Obesity was growing. And working out, living a healthy lifestyle and actually putting effort into the quality of life that we live had become a thing of the past….Until CrossFit went mainstream.

When CrossFit hit the market, it shook the nation. In a very, very good way. CrossFit captivated the nations…check that, the worlds, attention. Fitness became cool again. CrossFit provided a new way to workout that was new, fun, competitive, interesting, challenging and community driven. CrossFit got people off of the couch and into the gym for the first time in a long time. It challenged people to better themselves and gave them the opportunity to become part of something that was bigger than themselves. Yep, CrossFit did that. And again, as a seasoned and respected Fitness Professional, I am grateful.

BUT……….

Ahhhhh, you knew it was coming, right? Anyone who knows me KNEW it was coming! You see, I HATE CrossFit. Or at least what it has become.

But how is that possible after all the praise I just gave it? Isn’t that a little Bi-Polarish??? No, I don’t think so. I’m just simply a man who gives respect where respect is due. But I’m also a man who calls a spade a spade when it’s shown to me-even if it isn’t the most popular opinion. And so, that is what this blog post is all about. I want to go on the record and clearly explain WHY CrossFit is, for the most part, the most dangerous and ill advised training method one can commit themselves to in today’s market.

In reality, CrossFit, or the training style that has now been coined as “CrossFit Training” has been around for a LONG time. Just Google “Functional Training History” and you will be quickly brought up to speed on where the roots of CrossFit stem from. But, as for CrossFit itself, here is a 2 second history lesson: CrossFit, Inc was founded by Greg and Lauren Glassman in 2000. The first affiliate gym was CrossFit North in Seattle Washington. By 2005, there were 15 affiliate CrossFit gyms throughout the nation, and today, over 6000 affiliates.

Did you catch that word “affiliates”…..I hope so. Because that’s problem Number ONE! CrossFit is NOT a franchise as many people believe. It’s simply an affiliate. What does that mean? It’s simple really. ZERO Regulation. Think about it. Right now, you can go to well over a million different websites and sign yourself up as an “affiliate”, promote their products/services, make a sale and collect a commission. Yes, there may be some “terms and conditions” that you agree to by clicking a box. But, lets be real…when is the last time you ever actually read the “Terms and Conditions” before you clicked “I Agree”? And when was the last time a company hunted you down to make certain you were adhering to them? I’m guessing, for the large majority of us, the answer is probably “Never”. And well, you can think of CrossFit as something similar.

You see, CrossFit started out GREAT! And as I stated before, it has had a wonderful impact on our nation and world. But then money and convenience became a higher priority than a quality product, and well, CrossFit quickly went to hell in a hand basket. Now, believe me, I have NOTHING against making money and prosperity. Nothing at all. But, when it comes at the expense of jeopardizing the health and safety of MILLIONS upon MILLIONS of people. Yea, I got a problem. A big one. And that’s why I got a beef with CrossFit.

So, let me cut to the chase and break it down for you. As well as provide you with ample proof for you to verify everything for yourself.

1.) CrossFit does not sell franchise’s. CrossFit has simply trademarked the name “CrossFit” and charges $3000 per year to use there name. It’s a simple licensing deal. Anyone that will pay them $3k a year, right a short essay on why they love CrossFit and provide them with proof of insurance (which cost less than $150/year) with CrossFit Inc added to their policy as an additional insured will instantly become a CrossFit gym owner! How Absolutely Pathetic! No Guideline, No Training, No Quality Control. Just a slap on the back and a check deposited. Ohhh, but wait! There is ONE MORE requirement! I almost forgot! My sincere apologies. You Must be a Level One Certified CrossFit Instructor in order to be eligible to apply for an affiliation. Now, that must be difficult….right? Ummmm No. And that brings me ton point number two.

2.) CrossFit Trainer Certification is a Freaking Joke! These are the people that YOU are putting your trust in. The people you view as professionals. The people you pay $250-$400 a month to teach you the proper way to workout and to keep you from harming yourself. These are SUPPOSE TO BE the people with the expertise that’s worth investing your hard earned money into in order to get results and achieve personal goals, right? They MUST be qualified right? Highly trained? Rigorously examined and proficient in kinesiology, bio-mechanics, functional movements, exercise science, nutrition and wellness. Right? WRONG. Absolutely Not! You don’t have to know Jack Shit! Please excuse my language but it’s damn truth. Anyone can become a “Certified” CrossFit Trainer! Anyone. No former education or experience is necessary. Nothing at all. The only thing you have to do is (You guessed it) Pay $1000 to attend a day and a half seminar and pass a 55 question multiple choice answer test that is given at the conclusion. That’s it. That’s your CrossFit Professional Trainer. That’s who you are putting your life in the hands of. Seriously. Check it out for yourself Here (Section 9.1, 9.2, 9.3)

So next time you finish your WOD and wonder why your L5 feels like it’s turned at a 45 degree angle the next morning when you wake up, chances are, that’s why. It’s quite possible, even probable, your CrossFit Professional Trainer learned the technique of a snatch by reading the latest article in Muscle & Fitness 20 minutes before you walked in the door…..seriously. Unfortunately, I’m not joking or just taking shots at CrossFit. I’m trying to educate you on something that happens every single day in the CrossFit world. PLEASE. Check out the links on the CrossFit Inc website for yourself. This stuff isn’t a secret, people just haven’t been educated.

3.) CrossFit is a Self-Serving not Client-Serving Training Model. Regardless of your personal goals, muscular imbalances, capabilities, medical conditions, personal needs or desire of outcome; everyone is going to be given the same workout to do every day. It doesn’t matter if it’s a stay at home mom in her mid-forties who hasn’t worked out in 10-20 years because she has been pouring herself out raising her children for the past decade or so or a young and fit 22 year old fit young man who just graduated college. When you both walk in the door Monday morning, you’re both given the same workout for the day….Really? Yep. Now yes, in fairness, CrossFit does teach (although not typically correctly) scaled versions of each exercise. But, that misses the point! Different people have different goals and need different programs! It’s that simple! We all bring our own set of unique goals, challenges, ambitions, reservations, skill sets and personality traits to the table when we walk into a gym wanting to make some changes. And a program that doesn’t acknowledge that is 1.) Doomed to fail more than it will succeed at providing lasting results for its participants 2.) Is more concerned about serving itself than serving its clients.

4.) And Finally. CrossFit has become a race against the clock rather than a workout focused on improvement. I don’t even know where to begin with this. I mean, I get it. The theory is good. It’s just that the execution of the theory has become horrid. The theory: The faster you are capable of completing a given series of exercises–the better shape you will be in–the fitter you will become–the more progress you will see. Again, good theory. Poor execution. Somewhere along the path of the CrossFit journey, the majority of CrossFit Trainers lost all respect for this thing called “FORM”. Believe it or not its not this four letter word that is just thrown around by people who have been immersed in the industry more than a few years. It’s actually a very important principal that has been largely lost in the CrossFit World in the midst of futile attempts to shave a few more seconds off their “Time”. Come on people. Please. Please. Please. Trust me on this one. Learning and consistently executing correct form throughout your workouts will yield SUBSTANTIALLY greater returns than those extra few seconds off your previous best time. I promise you.

So, that’s it. That’s my reasoning for hating CrossFit. Not for what it is, but rather, for what it has become. I’ll close in a similar fashion to my opening. CrossFit does have a great place in the history books and has done wonderful things for our nation and world. And with that said, I think it is imperative that I mention that there are GREAT CrossFit training gyms in operation today with amazing, well-educated and extremely well qualified Coaches running them (Cant say I’ve found one in Alabama yet). And yes, some of the most elite athletes in the world are CrossFit athletes who I personally have a ton of respect for. Their devotion to improving, practicing and teaching their craft is amazing and fun for guys like me to watch. But, unfortunately, they are the minority. Nonetheless, I salute them for who they are as well as for what they have (and will continue) to accomplish in the world of health and fitness.

No Pressure…No Diamonds,

Brad

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