The SparkPeople Blog

5 Reasons I've Never Tried CrossFit

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
7/13/2012 6:00 AM   :  120 comments   :  86,176 Views

During the last few years, ultra-intense workouts have been gaining popularity—and not just among athletes or hardcore exercisers who are gluttons for self-punishment. Even the relatively unfit and overweight are jumping at the chance to push their bodies to their limits. Why? Some consider it fun. Others feel that is the best (or only) way to really get in shape. Whatever the reason, intense workout programs are attracting a wide variety of participants who have a variety of different goals (whether strength, speed, power, health, muscle tone, weight loss, or looking better naked).
 
By now you've probably heard of CrossFit (the "sport of fitness") or know someone who has tried it. I stumbled upon CrossFit videos on YouTube a few years ago and was immediately intrigued. I would spend hours a night watching people work out competitively and was in awe of their strength and capabilities—not to mention their physiques! I've learned a good deal about CrossFit since then, through my husband and sister-in-law (both of whom are certified CrossFit trainers), friends who do the workouts, and my own research and reading.

As a certified fitness professional with a traditional background (and without any firsthand experience in an actual CrossFit gym), I can certainly tell you that CrossFit is unlike most other workouts and workout programs out there. It strives to be the total fitness package—to help people achieve optimal health and fitness across all measures of strength, agility, speed, power and endurance. (Read CrossFit's full description here.) It combines Olympic powerlifting + gymnastics + plyometrics + speed work + weights + time + competition in a way that continuously challenges one's body in new ways. And although it has a reputation of being intense (which it certainly is, no doubt about it), proponents also claim that it's completely "scalable" to every individual's fitness level.  
 
Sounds great, right? Well, could it be too good to be true?
 
I get asked all the time, "Have you tried CrossFit yet?" "When are you going to come to CrossFit?" "What do you think about CrossFit?"
 
Although I am more than impressed at the results I've seen in countless people who have committed to CrossFit, I've never been compelled to try it myself. Do I think CrossFit could help me get fitter? Yes. Do I think that CrossFit could make me stronger? Of course. Do I think CrossFit would help me look better naked? Absolutely.  So why am I not doing it?
 
I hesitate for a few reasons.
  1. I already love my workouts. I love to run. I love Pilates. I love kettlebells. I love Spinning. I love hiking trails with my dog and trying new workout DVDs.  I don't dread these workouts or do them as a necessary evil. I’m already happy with my routine. I've been told by all my CrossFit friends that once I try CrossFit, I'll lose interest in all these other pursuits. And that might be true. But most of the people I know who have fallen in love with CrossFit never really enjoyed the other workouts they used to do in the first place—they simply suffered through them. Then they found CrossFit, which was new, less boring and totally different, and they became hooked. But I wonder: Would the same happen to a person who really likes their routine as it is? If it's not broken, should you try to fix it?

  1. The injury risk of CrossFit exercises is much higher than traditional forms of exercise. (Read this intriguing piece on CrossFit safety from TriFuel.com.) I know all the CrossFit trainers and enthusiasts are going to try to tell me this isn't true, that when you do the exercises properly and work underneath a good trainer, you are safe and not likely to injure yourself. I beg to differ.

    Lifting very heavy weights increases injury risk exponentially—it's simple the nature of it. Heavy weights can compromise your form at any time despite your best efforts and intentions to do it right. And when you add speed or competition to the mix—which is what CrossFit workouts tend to do—people are that much more likely to skimp on form in order to go faster or get one more rep done. I know countless people who have had both minor and major injuries (including debilitating back pain and even surgery) because of injuries sustained during CrossFit workouts or as the result of the overuse from CrossFit workouts. Sure, injuries can happen during any movement, even walking or even yoga, but for me, the risks seem to outweigh the benefits at this point. Safety is #1 in my book, and I'm unwilling to put myself in a position that could raise my injury risk whatsoever.  And I think that a lot of people downplay the risk involved in these types of exercises. They are not for everyone. While you can scale down, go slower or not push yourself as hard during CrossFit, it kind of makes you wonder:  Is that modified version even really "CrossFit" then?
     
  2. Third, to be completely honest, I'm pretty intimidated by CrossFit. I'm a generally fit person who is capable of doing a lot of physical pursuits relatively easily. But I can pretty much assume that I'd suck at CrossFit. I know a lot of people at the local CrossFit gyms, and I also know how welcoming and community-oriented CrossFitters tend to be. They want everyone feel at home. But I'll admit it: I am downright scared of some of the moves I've seen them do. And tearing my hands open doing pull-ups? That sounds about as appealing as...tearing my hands open during pull-ups. Ew.


     
  3. There are a lot of smart concepts and theories behind CrossFit  that I think make a lot of sense. CrossFit also has a lot of things going for it that other workouts lack. But I have to say that the way many (not all) CrossFit trainers and enthusiasts act—as if CrossFit is the one and only thing worth doing and is superior to everything else out there—is pretty off-putting. A lot of their own marketing materials essentially make fun of anyone who does traditional forms of exercise (like riding a bike or taking Zumba class or doing biceps curls). I mean, really? I find it all to be a little short-sighted and presumptuous to think that this one mode of exercise with a very short history and no long-term research behind it really is that amazing in every possible way.

    I don't believe that any single form of exercise is all a person needs to be optimally fit and healthy. And I also believe all intensity levels can help people achieve their desired results in health and fitness. Variety is the spice of life! No workout is necessarily "better" than another. Overall, I think the emphasis should be on doing something—anything really—to get moving, stay strong and be active throughout your life. If CrossFit does that for you, great! I'm thrilled. If yoga does it, I'm just as happy for you! If you love sweating in a Jazzercise class, who am I to say that you are wasting your time and should try something "better"? Overall, I'd say that the more different things you can do, the better off you will be.  Every intensity level creates positive adaptations within your body. We need low-, medium- and high-intensity workouts, just as we should lift light, medium and heavy weights, just as we benefit from short-, medium- and long-endurance workouts. In my opinion, CrossFit falls short on some of those areas by tending to emphasize so much intense, heavy and short workouts.


     
  4. I wonder: Aren't I already fit enough? Does the average person really need to be "optimally" fit like an athlete like CrossFit believes they should? Isn't it good enough for you and I to work out just enough that we're able to experience life, free of chronic disease, and independent and pain-free? Ultimately, I'm pretty happy with my current status of health and fitness. I have no health issues, no injuries, no musculoskeletal problems, and no hurdles standing in the way of living the life I want to live. I can fit exercise into my life in ways I enjoy. Maybe a different definition of fitness—being good enough and healthy enough—is what really matters.
     
My sixth "bonus" reason why I've never tried CrossFit is that it's so cost-prohibitive. I've never come across a CrossFit "box" (their word for gym) whose membership rate is lower than $150 per month. Some are upwards of $200/month or more--and you're not paying for fancy locker rooms or scented towels. CrossFit gyms are often dirty, bare-bone, and don't even have air conditioning or heat. I'm not sure any form of exercise is worth that cost to me or that CrossFit offers something above and beyond a traditional gym, which is a fraction of the cost. Ultimately, anything you find that you can stick with will give you results based on what you put into it.

But I'll never say never. In fact, there are a few reasons I think I may try CrossFit soon despite my hesitations (a lot of which, I realize, are me being kind of wussy).
  1. I could use the additional weight-training. I've been so bored with traditional strength training lately that I do a minimal amount of it, which I hate to admit. I have lifted very heavy weights in the past, but it's been a while since I've challenged my body that much. To me, one of the best things CrossFit has going for it is its emphasis on heavy lifting—for both men and women. Since I'm turning 30 this year, I'm getting more concerned about my muscle mass and bone strength, both of which will diminish without consistent, challenging strength training. Since I've been having a hard time motivating myself to do the strength moves that I find to be both boring and difficult, the CrossFit format could work well for me.


     
  2. Variety is key! Like I said above, a wide variety of activities, movements and intensity levels is ideal for optimal health and fitness. I've been doing a lot of the same things these last few years, mostly at a moderate to somewhat challenging level. I could use more intense workouts here and there. Plus, every few years, I take on a new fitness pursuit out of curiosity and simply for variety. CrossFit seems like it will fit the bill there.
     
  3. I'm ready for a challenge. I am naturally competitive. I played a lot of sports when I was younger and I'm a driven person who likes to reach goals. Even if I'm just competing with myself, I think I'd really get something out of pushing myself to a new goal, especially when it comes to getting stronger.
     
Without trying it for myself, I can only form an opinion based on what I know as an outsider. Sure, I'm using my fitness expertise and credentials to form my opinion, but I know that I could be wrong or that my thoughts on the subject might change with time and experience. But since I am an open-minded person, I think I'm finally ready to jump in and give it a try. I don't believe CrossFit will ever be the only thing I do for exercise. I don’t plan to stop all the other workouts I enjoy. And I definitely do plan to go at a pace and level that makes me feel secure and safe to avoid injury. So am I totally nuts? Time will tell!


If this blog has you curious about CrossFit, I encourage you to watch the CrossFit Games this weekend. (My sister-in-law will be competing with her amazing team from CrossFit Atlanta—WooHoo!) The Games start today (Friday, July 13) and you can watch online as the most elite CrossFit athletes from all over the world compete in days of back-to-back athletic competition unlike anything you have ever seen before—trust me on that one. It is worth seeing at least once, but I warn you: Watching these athletes will make you feel like a lazy lump on a log…which could be good or bad depending on whether that motivates you to get moving or drives you to the freezer for ice cream. Honestly, my own reaction is often a mix of both!

What are your thoughts on CrossFit? Have you tried it? Would you?
Would you be interested in reading more about my CrossFit journey in the coming weeks? Note: I welcome different perspectives and opinions than mine, but please keep your comments respectful and constructive.

Photos courtesy of CrossFit, Inc.





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Comments

  • FOCUSD
    120
    I know two instructors and they do sound like they're in a cult. There's more to fitness than CrossFit. - 7/11/2014   1:58:06 AM
  • 119
    This was a well written blog. It has given me alot to consider. Thanks - 7/8/2014   1:03:23 PM
  • 118
    I bought a groupon for it, and I loved it. I was strong already from enjoying weight workouts, and worked out with a trainer at all times. Who was often distracted by his girlfriend, who worked out in the mirror directly in front of me no matter where we were in the gym. Not suprisingly, within a few sessions I had a herniated disk in my neck which will plague me for the rest of my life, and as I am relatively young, will eventually need surgery. So.... it was fun, but I regret ever doing it, because it is so easy to hurt yourself. The surgeon told me that between Crossfit,and the Extreme mud-runs, they have never seen injuries like they have seen, and to people in their prime of life. - 5/13/2014   10:30:42 AM
  • 117
    Today I went to my first Crossfit session. I was horrible - lasted only 2 minutes, then I reached muscle failure. The trainers were awesome though, and told me I would work up to longer exercises. Luckily, my gym offers it for only $45/month for members so my total monthly membership is $88. I can go to any class (including spinning) included in that price. I don't know if this will necessarily be for me, but I'm definitely giving it a try for at least one month. The trainers said that everything is very individualized to the person's abilities. Hopefully I can do it. - 3/14/2014   7:31:04 PM
  • LYNNCOLLINS1
    116
    Coach Nicole, I love the article. Amen sister! I feel the same way. Just because everyone else is jumping on the CrossFit bandwagon doesn't mean it is for everyone. I actually tried a class and at 40 years old and an ex-athlete and fitness professional myself did very well. But I was concerned with the amount of weight some of the women were lifting over their heads. These Olympic lifts can take up to one year to learn the proper technique for doing them. Not very safe to throw the general public into a class like this. Personally as a fitness instructor I would not want to be the one responsible for some of these people. - 3/4/2014   11:34:14 AM
  • 115
    This is well written, however, I would certainly have preferred you to have tried a free on-ramp class before making some of the statements you did. It is easy for outsiders (your word, not mine) to see CrossFit the way you and many others do- but for those of us who leave it all in the box, who push ourselves to our limits (which could be equal to any one of your workouts depending on where the CrossFitter is at in their training) and create a community unlike any other seen in any other gym, CrossFit is a way of life, it saves lives, it is therapy, it is family, and it no more dangerous than anything else if you listen to your coaches and you use proper form (things that should be done in every sport and every gym). CrossFit is not for everyone, just like Pilates and yoga aren't for everyone, but CrossFit has been around since the 90's, started from nothing, it is the best underdog story ever. I ask those who think it is just a fad or people trying to get ripped to dig a little deeper, because yes, we lose weight, we build muscle, and we kick a$$, but it is so much more than that. My coaches are like big brothers to me, and when I moved away 6 months ago, I still call or FB with them when I have questions about WODs or new boxes to check out, the people I worked out with are family- we sweat together, we cry together, we cheer one another on, we push each other to be better each and every day, we hold one another accountable. A few months after starting CrossFit I became permanently disabled, I was no longer able to work, as I was diagnosed with PTSD (from being a Social Worker and getting assaulted) and the first place I went... My box, the day I found out I needed knee surgery (from running at over 300lbs, NOT from CrossFit) I went to my box and they modified a WOD for me and all of my WODs until the night before surgery, the six months I spent outside of the box recovering were brutal, but the day I walked back in, felt like like going home again. I celebrate my best and worst days in my box, with my CrossFit family, they don't judge, they don't care what kind of clothes I wear, the car I drive or don't, where I live, how much money I have (not all boxes are that expensive and many will work out deals with you), what I look like, if I have to scale a WOD or do it RX, all they care about is that I show up and give it my all. - 1/16/2014   1:54:44 PM
  • 114
    Coach Nicole, this is a very well written article. I think many of us would definitely enjoy reading about your journey into CrossFit.

    CrossFit, just like any other form of exercise, is not meant to fit all needs. But I agree that you can more accurately gauge your likeness for the sport once you've tried it. The same can be said for Yoga, a lot of people don't want to try it, but once they do the realize exactly how hard it can be!

    Once again, thank you for voicing your opinion and remaining biased in the matter. - 1/16/2014   5:01:29 AM
  • 113
    I also thought this was a balanced article, that reflects the different (and yes, sometimes contradictory) thought processes and factors that go into making choices. There are pros and cons and personal views and impulses and fears, all of which influence our behavior. Maybe what I like is the honest humanity of it - Coach Nicole isn't just jumping on or off a bandwagon, but demonstrating the way some of us might make a decision. - 9/1/2013   11:26:03 AM
  • ELITRAINER
    112
    I like Crossfit. HOWEVER, I also have some serious reservations with it as well. Yes, I am one of those "certified trainers" that everyone seems to loathe on here and, yes, I have a lifetime of fitness experience and even managed a large commercial gym for several years. The good parts of Crossfit are 1: the variety of exercises is exactly what I've always preached to my clients. Crossfit's motto of "our specialty is not specializing" is extremely attractive to me. 2: the combining of strength training and endurance conditioning is wonderful and has been missing for far too long in the fitness industry. I think this is CF's greatest attribute. 3: the community that supports it is highly motivating and keeping people going who would have otherwise quit other fitness programs long ago. 4: their marketing is slick and motivating, even to non-Crossfitters like me. 5: their focus on compound movements and skill-based, balance, and speed movements is missing from most people's fitness routines. 6: it's probably finally the death of the "bodybuilding" mentality in gyms that has kept potential members and people who really need to exercise away from gyms. 7: it's tremendous preparation and maintenance for anyone either entering the military or actively serving. 8: most of the CF movements can be duplicated at home or in most any gym. The bad. 1: it's outrageously expensive. 2: it has cult-like leanings. 3: the "paleo" diet is ridiculous and can lead to rhabdomyolysis due to it's lack of carbohydrates when one over-exerts in a dehydrated state. Even the current CF champ, Rich Froning, follows his own eating plan and eschews the paleo crap. 4: their reliance on instructors and group training is annoying. 5: some of the olympic movements, like snatches, were never meant to be done in an exhausted state and in such rapid succession. 6: their complete avoidance of any isolation movements leaves out many benefits of such exercises that beginners and the injured could reap. 7: the "go until you collapse" attitude is a little silly in the least and very dangerous at the most. 8: those "kippering" pull-ups are absolutely something I would NEVER recommend anyone ever do.
    ALL of the Crossfit protocol is nothing really new. Gymnastics, balance training, running, plyometrics, stretching, olympic lifting, and calisthenics have been around forever. Herschel Walker (the Heisman Trophy-winning NFL running back) advocated high-rep calisthenics and a wide variety of activities way back in early 80's when everyone in the NFL just lifted weights. The Navy SEAL's workouts have resembled a Crossfit "box" ever since their inception. USMC basic training has always been like Crossfit on steroids. These are but a few examples of combining different forms of athleticism into one workout and there are too many others to list here (anyone remember Nike's "just do it" ads from the late 80's?). I think Crossfit and all the buzz surrounding it are sheer genius but I do feel that people like me and others who are happy with our own wide-variety exercise programs would be better off just sticking to our plans. We can always explore and research on our own (Youtube is GREAT for this) and implement the positive aspects of Crossfit a la carte if we see something we like in it. - 8/18/2013   12:53:33 AM
  • 111
    @MOTOTRIONIC- Click on my bio to see all of my fitness certifications and my educational background (a bachelor's of science in exercise). - 8/8/2013   9:24:20 AM
  • MOTOTRIONIC
    110
    ok...gotta also laugh. Every time someone starts by saying "as a certified trainer..." or "as a certified nutritionalist" - knock it off. It doesn't make you credible (unless you tell me there is at least a 4 year degree related to either discipline). It makes you follow a small program, pay a fee, then pretend like you have answers. you don't - just work and live and if others find benefit, do it with them. - 6/11/2013   11:33:41 PM
  • MOTOTRIONIC
    109
    I am also certified, and like how you said "variety." That said, the reason Crossfit does not work for you or this audience is a combination of the fact it is beyond your capability and you are not scaling correctly. Crossing modal domains, combining biologically-correct diet and exercise, and working slowly on technique without trying to compete or keep up with the fitter members of the gyms you briefly experienced is the key.

    I crossfit, I am middle aged, and I am very in shape with minimal time spent and can literally perform very well in any activity I chose.

    Injuries almost always happen because of lack of preparation or exceeding ones limitations because your ego tells you for some reason, even as a newbie, you need to try to keep up with stronger or more experienced members.

    Cardio, stength, stamina, flexibility...nothing touches this approach.

    I like the props to Kettlebells and honestly, any activity is better than nothing.

    But hating on Crossfit is unfair for the uninitiated, the folks that only give it a month or so, or the pilates/yoga/running crowd that doesn't recognize that olympic lifts, established metabolic conditioning and gymnastics movements combined do not equal the fittest on earth. - 6/11/2013   11:30:27 PM
  • 108
    I have just started crossfit at a local gym, we are spending three weeks building up weight lifting technique. Everything that we have done has been about proper form and almost everything has had modifications if you need them. I really like it because they do stress a combination of strength, flexibility, and stamina. In some ways it feels a little like training for high school sports, only with a way better coach. The nice thing about my gym is that they also offer other classes and don't preach at you. I will probably stick with it for a while. Other than the occasional sore muscle or bruise (the bruise was actually from hitfit), I feel great. - 5/24/2013   8:19:15 AM
  • DETOX55
    107
    Great article!

    I personally will probably never try CrossFit for some of the reasons you've outlined.

    People at my gym who have tried it have seriously injured themselves; one ruptured her back and it's likely she'll need surgery.

    It's far too evangelistic for me - I'm always nervous about these sorts of "movements"...essentially, all the followers refuse to believe there is any other way to get fit and look good, which is crap.

    And I TOTALLY agree - why is everyone so obsessed these days with looking like an athlete? It's bonkers...

    Health should be our only goal, unless we want to compete in something specific, for which we need to train specifically for.

    I don't believe for one minute that most of the CrossFit people I know could perform in some of the endurance events I've done because they haven't trained for a specific event, other than the crazy CrossFit Games...!

    They are over cocky and, in my experience, are only doing it to look great and show off to others...

    One thing you didn't mention in your article was the ridiculous obsession they have with nutrition too - a friend of mine (who I've nicknamed CrossFit Guru) is totally convinced that the Paleo diet is the ONLY diet that works...VERY dangerous in my opinion...particularly for this guy who has two young children he subjects to the diet too.....!!! - 4/17/2013   11:19:35 PM
  • 106
    I'm so glad I read this! My bf has been trying to get me to try crossfit for as long as I've known him (he's a level 1 instructor in Houston, TX). I'm a runner, I like Zumba, I like aerobic step classes, I like yoga, & I like bootcamp. Crossfit talks "ish" about all of these things! & like you said, it's a bit offputting. If your program is great it should speak for itself & not have to shoot down other forms of exercise to gain clout. I told my bf that his passion for and faith in crossfit as the "savior of the exercise world" is awesome, but I just don't think it's for me right now. A part of my reservation is also just because I'm stubborn & I don't like people telling me what's best for me, lol. I'm also very competitive, so the liklihood of me going into overdrive for the sake of competition is high, even though I know that I should only be competing with myself. I'm sure somewhere down the road I'll end up "drinking the crossfit Koolaid" to paraphrase Bob Harper, but it'll be on my own time. - 4/3/2013   10:26:33 AM
  • TURVEYDROP
    105
    I've seen people get hurt doing any sort of exercise I've ever been a part of. Just going to the gym, I've seen guys drop weights on their feet, tear muscles doing calf raises on a Smith machine, or screw up their backs doing squats wrong. Each Crossfit gym should be evaluated on a case by case basis just like any other gym or trainer. Go in, talk to the owner and ask lots of questions. Take a sample class. Do the essentials course if you like the sample class. Ask about focus on safety, always, Crossfit or not. If someone is encouraging members to focus on speed over form and safety, run. It should be stresed that you do as many as you can *safely.* As for the money, I don't know many places where you can go and 1) use the gym and 2) take advatage of coaching for a low price. If you want to go in, run on a treadmill, and follow some workout you found in a magazine, fine. But you can easily hurt yourself that way too. - 2/26/2013   10:11:42 PM
  • SBRENNAN0
    104
    There's things I love about Crossfit and things I'm not so sure about. Here's my take, you can read more on my blog here, fitisafeministissue.wordpress.com/2
    012/11/12/six-things-i-love-about-c
    rossfit-and-six-things-im-not-so-su
    re-about/ - 2/4/2013   10:21:34 AM
  • JKENN1
    103
    I did Crossfit for a year. Far too expensive and it destroyed my shoulders and my neck. It took about a year for me to be able to lift weights without having any lingering pain in those areas. Don't do Crossfit! - 1/28/2013   2:51:43 AM
  • 102
    I had the same reservations about Crossfit. My husband has done it for over a year & while I was pregnant & he kept saying I was going to do it to get back in shape after baby. I used to watch him all but vomit after a workout & thought, "Why in the world would I ever want to do that to myself?" After LOTS of pressure after baby, I did try it. I've actually been doing it for almost 9 months & it took me up until 2 weeks ago to REALLY love it. As my husband would say, "I drank the Kool-Aid." It's fun... it's different every day... and it has made me overcome a lot of fear. I used to literally have anxiety over having to do some of the workouts (i.e. the filthy fifty). Now I know it's just a workout & I will finish it... it may take me all day, but I'll finish it! Nothing to be afraid of.

    I feel like you contradict yourself a lot in this post. For the reasons you don't/won't do crossfit, those are the same reasons you want to try it. Do it! And keep doing your other workouts... nobody is going to tell you you can't. My husband made one of those snide comments about the elliptical the other day & I put him right back in his place & told him that I liked the elliptical & if that's what I want to do on my rest day, I'm going to do it. Also, to save on costs, my husband and I just joined a regular gym at $20 a month that has all of the equipment you need & we use crossfit.com for our daily WODs. They do offer crossfit classes at a fraction of the cost of the actual boxes, but we figure we can do it ourselves and save the money. We don't have the benefit of a trainer, but my husband is going for his Level 1 Cert, so at least I'll have a trainer. haha.

    And the number one reason I crossfit... Rich Froning! Talk about motivation! haha. j/k - 1/24/2013   5:10:18 PM
  • 101
    Thanks Coach Nicole for your insight. For me the reasons not to do it is simple. At 63, semi-retired I have the time but not the $$$ and having worked physically all my life I would be too prone to injury. I have many issues to "work around" my physical shortcomings from overuse injuries, etc. It is easier to work around them doing more conventional workouts. - 1/23/2013   1:10:28 PM
  • 100
    Thank you for the informative write up. You do a good job of weighing the pros and cons, and as someone with a limited income I think I'm going to skip Crossfit for now, no matter how much my cousin is pushing it - 11/20/2012   4:57:27 PM
  • 99
    I've been into fitness my whole life and tried just about everything except Cross fit, in it's group setting or "box". I have done WODs at home and they are good workouts. At some point, I will try a workout in a "box", however, I find it small minded to think it is the "only" way to maximum fitness.

    This was Coach Nicoles OPINION, of which she is entitled to, rather she has tried it or not. Just like it's YOUR opinion if you are a complete supporter of CF. There are A LOT of great programs out there, it's about finding what works for you and what you enjoy. If you give it your ALL there are a multitude of different workouts that can get you to that place of "ultimate" fit. Determination and motivation come from within not from a program name. I have a heavy martial arts background and I can promise you, IF you dedicated yourself to it, you would be in the best shape of your life. However, I'd also be a fool if I said that it was for EVERYONE, that everyone could do the work outs, that everyone would enjoy the work outs or that it was the ONLY way to achieve a higher level of fitness.

    For the critics of Coach Nicole's blog, it's obvious that you are die hard CFers. Fantastic for you, but don't down others for their choice or method in getting fit. Sticking with a program is key. If you did a program called XYZ and you had great success with it, you would then sing the praises of XYZ. You're an advocate for success within yourself regardless of the name in program. There are many avenues to achieve ultimate fitness!

    I find I like Insanity, some P90X when I can't get to the gym, kickboxing, tae kwon do, HIIT classes, boot camp, plyo, yoga, etc. Many of the programs out today, have the same movements Cross Fit has adopted. I laugh because box jumps are large in CF, guess what, people were doing box jumps and plyo long before CF borrowed and stamped it one of their exercises.

    Cross fit, IN MY OPINION, is a combination of exercises put together in a format of name and program. That, ironically, is also FACT. Cross fit didn't invent deadlifts, (weight lifting) rope climbs, (conditioning) ring work, (gymnastics), box jumps, burpees, (Plyo), pull ups, sit ups, etc. They put those exercises together in a way that pushes for high intensity training. HIIT (high intensity interval training) classes focus on that same principle. Coach Nicole was dead on with this assessment. Just because it isn't labeled CF doesn't mean it isn't effective. Just because YOU might be a person that has the cash to dump into a "box" doesn't make your form of exercise any better or worse then someone else.

    I personally think CF work outs are good and effective, but I have done hundreds of good effective workouts. So to elevate it above something that might work for someone else, just doesn't make sense.

    Keep the blogs and opinions coming Coach Nicole! - 10/3/2012   7:28:32 AM
  • 98
    If you are happy with your life and satisfied with your routine, then I don't think you need to try something new if you don't want to. I would personally LOVE to try CrossFit someday, but it is definitely cost- and time-prohibitive for me right now. And, like you, I am intimidated by some of the moves. It's the plyometrics that have me concerned because of tender joints, plus I am not in near the great shape as you are. - 9/15/2012   12:16:53 AM
  • 27VERONIKA
    97
    I haven't read all the comments above but it seems those that have tried Crossfit love the program and those that have not tried it are all negative about it. I was fortunate that when I first tried crossfit I had no prior information. I would have looked at a workout and thought there was no possible way I could do any of it. After a year of training I can now do things I never thought possible for me. But I still have never done a workout with weight RX (the weight you see on the site) and scale most of my workouts to my current ability. In the last year I have learned to climb a rope, conqured my fear of jumping on anything higher than 6", can do a toes to bar, double unders, strict pullups and bench pressed 100lbs. I still have made little progress on anything inverted (handstands) and have ton of other skills that I need to work on.
    I describe crossfit like tennis. What I am doing is playing in my neighborhood 3.0 league, the Crossfit games are like the US Open. Are we playing the same game- yes! Will I ever return a 90mph serve? No. But am I training with elite athletes like Federer? Yes! Am I making my game better? Yes!
    Don't hate something or rule it out before you ever try it. You might just like it! - 9/12/2012   12:26:54 PM
  • SNOWALPINE
    96
    I am a 49 year old mother of 3. I started crossfit a year ago & it has changed my life. I never did any kind of excercise before, & I am slim, but had no muscle definition. I decided to become fit before I hit 50, & a friend recommended her Crossfit box. I have never entered a place where I have been given so much motivation! There is always a coach with me watching my technique, & cheering me on. The members have become like family. Crossfit is a place where everyone knows you by name & celebrates even the smallest improvements with you. The word "can't" is never uttered in this gym. All of the workouts are scalable so that I can be right alongside the competitors in our WODs. My results have been amazing. I am toned & have amazing arm & shoulder definition. I look better now than when I was 30. Many of my friends have joined after seeing my results. Give it a try!! Crossfit could be the best thing that ever happened to you! - 9/8/2012   5:31:51 PM
  • 95
    Not for me...I am just not that competitive
    Truly....just call me chicken ! - 7/21/2012   7:57:07 PM
  • 94
    Thanks for writing this up, Nicole!! My niece is into this, and it works great for her. I've thought about it, because of her enthusiasm and I was looking for maximum results for time invested. I've decided it's not for me. The possibility of injury seems too high to risk at my age. I'm afraid I'll undo my good work in learning to like exercise most of the time and do it anyway when I don't feel as up for it. But that's not the only reason. Your description make me realize it's also that I'm not a groupie, and I don't like competition. I'll stick with my mix of kettlebells and Tabatas, dancing, and working out to my library of videos (yours included) at home, along with riding my bike, walking and gardening. I might join a kickboxing class, if I feel I need something to spike it up. But not Cross Fit. Its just not a good "fit" for me. - 7/18/2012   8:51:54 PM
  • 93
    I think your critiques are right on Nicole. What I do like about Crossfit is that by becoming a popular exercise it is giving women permission to lift big weights and it is putting images of what strong women really look like in the public eye.

    But I'm not convinced our regional, crowded, Crossfit-HQ-endorsed "box" is really going to provide a more rounded, attentive workout than the bootcamp place down my street.
    - 7/18/2012   5:19:25 PM
  • 92
    I tried a Cross Fit demo yesterday and it was great. A lot of the moves we tried were "ole skool" gym class activities and a lot of fun to try again as an adult. I like it because there wasn't anything too crazy and you get to go at your own pace/fitness level. I can take some of these moves on the road when I travel because no equipment was necessary. I think this is fine for a real fitness buff but, I'll stick to my running and water aerobics- whatever floats your boat, right? - 7/18/2012   3:33:51 PM
  • 91
    It's the "new" thing in my area and very popular. I've wanted to try it, but don't for all the reasons you listed. I'll stick with all the fun things I do, most which cost me little or nothing. - 7/17/2012   4:23:39 PM
  • 90
    I checked out the site and have to wonder at a few statements:

    "CrossFit is not a specialized fitness program but a deliberate attempt to optimize physical competence in each of ten recognized fitness domains. They are Cardiovascular and Respiratory endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance, and Accuracy." You cannot have both endurance training and strength training and expect results to be balanced. Excessive cardio eats up muscle mass and excessive strength reduces agility and speed.

    "...our program is distinctive, if not unique, in its focus on maximizing neuroendocrine response..." What is neuroendocrine response? I looked this up as well. I found this statement: "To put it in simple terms in order to maximize neuroendocrine response focus on working large muscle groups before smaller muscle groups. Use higher volume and moderate to high intensity with shorter rest intervals between sets."

    I enjoy strength training. However, I am concerned about losing endurance and agility with excessive strength training. If you decide to try this program, I am interested in hearing how balancing between endurance and muscle mass works out for you. - 7/17/2012   3:04:06 PM
  • MARTY32M
    89
    First point, Crossfit says it's used by police academies, special ops teams and elite athletes. I'm 80 years old and so I'm not one of those people. Second point, I'm a child of the Depression, so what I hate most, even worse than exercise, is Spending Money. Third point, one of the comments said one size fits all and I'm supposed to clean 95 pounds. I can just about dead lift that weight. I do things I'm not supposed to be doing, like going over my supposed maximum heart rate, but I do it my way. - 7/17/2012   1:00:33 PM
  • 88
    I think we should try all sorts of fitness formats that appeal to us because variety of exercise is a Good Thing. But not every kind of exercise is good for every body at every stage of life, nor is any type the ultimate. In my case I want to be fit to live my life, not live totally for my fitness. - 7/17/2012   12:37:57 PM
  • 87
    One of my co-workers does CrossFit, and her gym is less expensive than most - but still about $80 a month, which is sadly more than I can afford. And I know what you mean - I LUV pilates and don't want to give it up, but I also know I need to incorporate some type of weightlifting beyond my 5 lb dumbells. Also my hubby and I are training for a Zombie run in October - well there will be some climbing involved in that, so I don't know if CrossFit would be helpful or not. Maybe I just need to go to a kids playground and climb on that??? Please keep us posted if you try CrossFit -- and maybe you could give us your take on Parkour?;) lol! - 7/17/2012   10:30:16 AM
  • 86
    Thank you for your post! I have been following the Crossfit Competion. There bodies are amazing! I to enjoy my workout routine. I have been a runner for 30 years. I have been incorporating swimming into my workout for several different reasons. 1. Knees have been really sore lately. 2. To break up the boredom. 3. It is a Challange for me. It is definetely out of my comfort zone! I would love to try Crossfit but I am scared at my age just turned 49 I don't want to get injured. I have had back surgery 4 years ago. I work out really hard now & push myself to the limit sometimes. I am crazy that way. Ha ha But I have so more admiration for all the Crossfit athletes! They are AWESOME!!! - 7/17/2012   9:30:02 AM
  • 85
    I think Crossfit is cool, but I don't need to spend a ton of money to get in really good shape. If people still want to try crossfit, they do post workouts on youtube. I'm not interested in injuring my body or my pockets to become fit. There are other ways. - 7/17/2012   9:17:59 AM
  • GEORGIA122
    84
    I looked at the YouTube Video. This is what I see. I see a lot of different parts of different training programs thrown together. For example, I used to Power Lift in my 20's. I worked out with heavy weights for the bench, deadlift, and squat. I was on the high school track team. Did sprints workouts, plyometrics, calisthenics, etc. Instead of concentrating on doing one type of workout, Crossfit just does a little from each type and called it something new . Just my opinion. - 7/17/2012   9:06:56 AM
  • ELLAMAE54
    83
    I am going to try a crossfit class this Friday. I am curious. I do Insanity and most recently Les Mills Pump. I would highly encourage anyone who wnats to lift weights as women, and men, to try Pump. I need an at home product to fit my daily workouts in with my schedule. I love this program. I have muscle definition that I have never had before - cehck it out, you won't be disappointed.

    I don't think I will continue with the Crossfit - I want to look like an athlete but I don't want to get hurt either. I am 38 and the older I get the more costly injuries are. The mass lifting with speed is something I am going to skip altogether. This does not appeal to me and not worth hurting myself and then not be able to workout at all.

    Thanks for the blog. I really enjoyed your honest opinion. - 7/17/2012   8:52:26 AM
  • 82
    I am 45 and I have been doing Crossfit for 3 months. All of your points are well taken - it can be dangerous if you push for that last rep and compromise proper form in order to lift more weight. But I must say, it is one of those things that you really have to try, see how it makes your body feel, see what a sense of accomplishment you feel when you jump on a 24" box for the first time, or do your first set of 50 double unders, or your first handstand push-up, or whatever your fitness challenge is. In my opinion, a high quality Crossfit instructor who guides you through the program is worth every penny of the fee. - 7/17/2012   7:33:21 AM
  • BOXERGIRL73
    81
    Great article coach Nicole. I know some people who do CrossFit, and I've always been afraid as well. I love my kickboxing and boxing classess at LA Boxing, which are often very challenging and they use a lot of the same techniques as CrossFit. I just don't like military style which is what CF seems to me to be. As a 40 year old woman, I need motivation, not humiliation. - 7/17/2012   7:12:02 AM
  • WLCM2MYWORLD
    80
    I like crossfit. I have a friend who's gotten certified as an instructor and this past year she's been working us out using body weights. It's been interesting and fun, hard-work and delightly challenging. Lifting 300+ doing dips and squats isn't easy but my arms and abs are tighter, although I still do what we call the "rice-krispy". Some gyms, according to another friend, are starting to offer crossfit classes. If you are interested in learning the sport, find a class and talk to the instructor. They can give you tips on how to modify an exercise so you don't get hurt. - 7/16/2012   3:24:51 PM
  • 79
    Sounds like you've talked yourself into it. I don't think I'll try it. Some of it sounds like fun, but I'm not into cults, religious or otherwise, and there are a lot of things I could do if I had an extra $150-200 a month burning a hole in my pocket. - 7/16/2012   12:54:36 PM
  • 78
    CrossFit isn't new. per se. The name is new, but the concept is not.

    In the late 14th C/early 15th C, Marshal Boucicault would vault into his saddle from standing, climb the underside of a ladder, and run for miles all in full plate armor. We will be building Marshal Boucicault inspired workout area at my house (think CrossFit meets Ninja Warrior in 15th C plate). - 7/16/2012   11:55:31 AM
  • 77
    1.....At about 360 pounds there is no way i could even begin to try crossfit LOL

    2.....That is an very high membership price......they are getting rich for sure LOL - 7/16/2012   1:50:24 AM
  • 76
    It's definitely NOT for me. -- I do not have any "drive" to accomplish those kinds of goals.

    I would much rather be happy, healthy, and fit in a general way that allows me to do the other things that matter to me.

    I want to be fully functional at 80, without meds and without assistance. So I set my goals now at age 50 towards that end. - 7/16/2012   1:28:49 AM
  • MSUSTARGAZER
    75
    I would be interested in reading about your CrossFit journey! I am not sure it is something I would take on myself, but certainly your insights being a person who is on the fence who tries it could be helpful and informative to others. - 7/15/2012   8:41:32 PM
  • 74
    one of my local lululemon ambassadors is a Crossfit instructor, and lulu sponsored free trial days at Crossfit. I didn't like it enough to join, but got a really good idea of what it is like. If I didn't have a child, I'd probably join up. - 7/15/2012   6:25:56 PM
  • 73
    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Crossfit! Ten years ago I had a personal trainer at the Y who was encouraging women to lift heavier weights (heavier than th 10-15 pounds most trainers encourage). Then she moved and I got divorced and life happened and I got back out of shape. I have tried many things over those years and Crossfit was finally what I have fallen in love with for exercise. I do walk/run on "off" days Our coaches are always preaching proper form and have made me go down in weight several times. They won't let people work out if they are injured or will find alternative workouts for them. I just hope each person can find something active they enjoy and will stay committed to and be healthy! - 7/15/2012   6:24:16 PM
  • 72
    just seeing images of folks with that much weight on their shoulders makes my back hurt.
    weight training above and beyond that which is purely for muscle conditioning (not bulking or looking like mr Zane) is not in my future, neither near nor distant. While I might could have sustained that kind of training in my twenties, an exploitation of my back strength caused me to lose nearly all of it. So, I would caution anyone going for this kind of exercise to not push it everyday and if you feel pinches or pulls, STOP and give your muscles several days to recover before returning. (continue stretching and low impact cardio in the interim) - 7/15/2012   6:15:47 PM
  • CHICKFORCHRIST
    71
    Thank you Nicole!!! I too have friends that use Crossfit and I don't think it's right for me. Watching some of the workouts scares me that something will pop out of place or cause permanent damage. I have issues with my Sciatic and I lift heavy for me. I have done P90X and am going to do Insanity this Winter after my 1/2 marathon in October. I agree with your reasons and I have to say that in the long run, the wear and tear on your body most likely won't be worth it. I don't think not doing this type of exercise is MEDIOCRE as was stated in one response. I think that we all know at some point what's best for us and not everyone wants to look like a body builder. I am happy with looking pumped without looking like a man and doing workouts that a man would do. I have nothing to prove. I want to look fit and feel good and be healthy. I think that's probably the majority of people in the world today.

    STICKSGIRL, if you would go back to the end of Nicole's letter and read closer you would see that she also states that she is willing to try it and maybe her opinion would change. Sometimes when we believe so strongly in something our anger can keep us from seeing everything we need to see. Calm down. Take the time to re-read. - 7/15/2012   5:09:54 PM

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