There is one thing worse than those CrossFitters who wont just shut up about how much they love CrossFit. Always going on and on about their ‘box’. Talking about the top tier people like they’re celebrities. Snatch this, jerk that, blah blah blah. What could be worse than this?

The angry people who wont shut up about how much they don’t like CrossFit.

I know. It seemed contradictory to say “I don’t care what you think”, and then proceed to write a blog post about it.  I would honestly just like us all to collectively agree to stop engaging is these debates. No one is going to change their position. That being said, these are my thoughts on the matter (because I know you were wondering just what I thought about it), and after this post, I will no longer attempt to validate my choice of fitness methodology to irrational ‘haters’ with baseless arguments and predisposed aversions.

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These “anti’s” often bash CrossFit for being a cult. The ironic thing about it is that they are in a cult of their own: the anti-CrossFit cult. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you guys are a cult of the worst kind. Why? Because you’re negative. Given a choice between a cult of people who build each other up, talk about something they love, and create a community around it, and a group that is only focused on tearing something that brings people happiness down…I’ll take the happy cult any day.

The worst thing about these people is that 9 out of 10 have never even tried it.  They read some opinion article on some website (kind of like this one) about how a physical therapist friend told them that they are seeing 75 people a day with CrossFit-related injuries (which, by the way, there is no actual evidence to back that claim up at this point).

I don’t really see the point to those ‘articles’.  Do they really think that everyone who does and loves CrossFit is going to stop today because they said they don’t like it? Do they think that none of us have ever heard the “that’s dangerous” argument before? What exactly is the goal, here, other than to puff up your chest and make yourself feel important by tearing something down.

Fun fact. About a year ago, a friend of mine told me she was interested in CrossFit, but a personal trainer friend of hers told her it was insanely dangerous and everyone gets hurt.  She tried it out anyway. Cut to today, when she says she feels healthier, stronger, and overall better about herself than she ever has. Strange, how that worked out.

Let’s just lay this injury nonsense to rest right now. 209,585 people signed up for the CrossFit Open in 2014, according to games.CrossFit.com.  This worldwide, open competition, allows for anyone to sign up to compete. Now, there are about 150 members at the CrossFit affiliate I belong to. 51 of them signed up for the Open. Based on that, let’s say we’re working with a 34% participation rate. If we assume an average 33% participation rate, that means that we can guess-timate around 635,106 are doing CrossFit. Now, if it was REALLY as dangerous as these people would have you believe, all of these participants would be walking around in body casts. Weird. They’re not. Most of the injuries I see are due to one of two things: poor coaching and lack of self-awareness.  People who push themselves beyond where they should and coaches who don’t do their homework are dangerous. Yes. This is true in every sport or exercise methodology that ever existed.

It doesn’t take much research to find articles about people literally dropping dead at 5Ks, half and full marathons. What about concussions, broken bones, broken necks from football? I know numerous athletes who have torn not one, but both ACLs playing soccer. Everyone saw poor Kevin Ware snap his leg in half during the Elite 8 game against Duke. Gymnastics? Swimming? Baseball? Karate? Track? Guess what kids? You run the risk of injury doing any of these things. OK, so maybe you mean CrossFit is more dangerous that running on a treadmill. Well, I’ve seen enough people fall off of treadmills to know that those suckers aren’t fail-safe either. MOVING AROUND INCREASES YOUR RISK OF INJURY. It’s time to get over it.  Do people get injured doing CrossFit? I can’t say no one has ever been hurt.  With proper coaching and generally not being an idiot you will likely manage to avoid killing yourself. Ya know what will kill you? Eating another bowl of sugar while watching the View on your couch. It might not be a quick death..but it’s coming.

I hope they all said goodbye to their families...

I hope they all said goodbye to their families…

Speaking of bad coaching. People just love to talk about how CrossFit coaches are the worst. Ya know what? Yes. Some Certified CrossFit coaches are less than ideal.  You could go as far as to say that some are dangerous. Guess what?  Gyms with those coaches don’t stay around very long.  You need to be able to retain members in order to stay in business. Can’t really do that if all of your members are on the injured roster, can you? Let’s not be so naive as to pretend crappy coaching is exclusive to CrossFit. Have you seen Friday Night Tykes? Kids getting run into the ground playing pee-wee football? I had a basketball coach in middle school who made me run sprints while wearing ankle weights, which I later found out can be very damaging to your joints. Bad coaches are in every sport. Bad trainers exist. Bad EVERYTHING exists.  You don’t have one bad waitress, and then assume that every waitress in every restaurant is just as bad, do you? I’ve encountered far more good, even great, coaches than I have poor ones. This is through years of visiting gyms other than my own. It’s this thing called experience. You should try it.

I’m sorry, I digress. My real point here is to pose a question.  If you don’t like CrossFit, if you think it’s dangerous and ineffective, if because of this you choose not to do it:

Why do you care so much if I do?

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Did CrossFit. Didn’t break anything.

Is Zumba your thing? That’s great. Dance away! Marathons your thing? Splendid! Looks super boring to me but hey, its your life. Run like the wind!

What the hell do you care how I choose to gain my fitness? I don’t understand this need of non-CrossFitters to tell people how much they hate it.  I truly don’t get it.  I choose not to be vegetarian. I’m not writing blogs every day about how much I don’t want to be a vegetarian. I just keep getting up every day and not being a vegetarian.  No one is forcing vegetarianism upon me, and I do not feel threatened by the vegetarians I encounter in the streets. I feel no need to declare why I am not vegetarian. Strange, how everyone minding their own business seems to just work out.

Many nay-sayers claim it’s out of fear for public safety. OK, first of all…I call bullshit.  You found a hot topic subject that lots of people have strong opinions on (for some really inexplicable reason), so you wrote your little hate piece knowing that it would garnish some reactions and gain you some internet buzz for a moment in time and you would feel just so very important.  Congratulations, you’ve gotten your 15 minutes of internet notoriety. Am I rushing to judgment about your motives? Maybe. Here’s why: If public health and safety was truly your concern you would have:

  1. Done even five minutes worth of research beyond Googling “Why is CrossFit bad?”.
  2. Talked to people who actually do it and (shocker) like it to gain an ounce of perspective
  3. Looked beyond the workout to see what else CrossFit gyms are doing to improve the lives of its members.

Let’s talk about number three. Healthy lifestyle is a huge part of most CrossFit gyms. Sure, yet another controversial topic, the Paleo diet is popular. At the end of the day, though, it is encouraging healthy habits and whole foods eating. I’ve yet to find a CrossFit gym that doesn’t emphasize a well-rounded approach to health and wellness. If it’s getting people healthy, and getting people moving, why don’t you just leave it alone and let these people better their lives? Again…WHY THE HELL DO YOU CARE? Be more concerned with the fact that the sedentary still outnumber the active.  Be concerned that too many kids are spending more time in front of the tv than playing outside. Be worried that KFC advertises a 10 piece meal of shitty fried chicken and free cake as a wholesome family dinner. These are the things you should be writing your Huffington post articles about. These are the things that are TRULY killing people. Lifting a barbell 30 times quickly is not.

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Did a snatch. Didn’t die. Weird.

That always seems to be the go-to argument, doesn’t it? “Olympic lifts are highly technical and should not be done for speed.” Again, likely a sentiment expressed by someone who has never even done one but has access to Google. I’ve got some info for ya.  Those of us who make the choice to risk our lives exercising are not doing high-rep, super fast, heavy snatches every day. Running, squatting, push ups, pull ups, jump rope, handstands, sit ups.  Would you tell someone that they should avoid these movements because it just might cause irreparable damage? I’m gonna go ahead and say no, you wouldn’t. Why? Because that would be crazy. Guess what? We do those things at CrossFit gyms every day. Sometimes we don’t even touch a barbell. If you’re going to form a steadfast opinion, it helps to learn the basics about what it is you’ve decided to hate so much.

As you have probably figured out by now, I have a lot to say on the topic.  As someone who has been doing CrossFit for 5 years, free of injury, I do get irritated when people jump on the anti-CrossFit bandwagon without really looking at it. Funny thing is, I do have an injury.  I have a low back issue. Now, buckle your seat-belts kids…it’s not from CrossFit. After it started to get bad, I went to see a chiropractor. Guess what I found out? Not that CrossFit is destroying my spine, but that the sedentary nature of my job has created a compaction between my sacrum and L5 which is causing the pain. My hips are tight, again due to sitting, which is pulling on my low back muscles and causing pain. So, it’s not CrossFit that’s the problem. It’s sitting down too much.  If anything, according to my doctor, the fact that I’m active by DOING CrossFit, has prevented it from becoming immobilizing. Interesting, isn’t it?

Once you’ve Googled all of your CrossHate articles, take a minute to type “CrossFit saved my life”, and see how many stories come up. You might be surprised with what you find.

Instead of referencing other peoples opinions, or telling your stories of a friend of a friend who knew someone once, I’m going to briefly tell you about MY experience. My first-hand experience after 5 years of CrossFit. First of all, I will never set foot into a ‘regular’ gym again.  I was on the chronic cardio wheel of running on a treadmill or elliptical for hours at a time, doing tons of reps of light weights, and generally getting squat out of it. At 28, I am now in the best shape of my life.  Not only that, but I am more comfortable in my skin than I have EVER been.  Like 95% of women, I’ve had body image issues for most of my life. I saw images of what I was supposed to look like, and I just never could get there. I read all the magazines that told me, each month, the new diet or exercise that was going to give me a perfect body. I worked with trainers when I got older.  Sure, it helped, but I was still stuck in this perpetual trap of not quite feeling satisfied.  Then CrossFit found me.  I started feeling accomplished after my hour workouts.  I started lifting heavy things. I started learning more about nutrition and caring about what I put into my body.  With all of this, came this amazing community.  A group of like-minded people that make it easier, and way more fun, for me to reach my goals.  Working out is not a chore anymore. It’s fun. It’s something I look forward to. I’m able to do things now that I never thought I could do. If you told me 6 years ago that I would be throwing 150 lbs over my head and walking on my hands I would tell you you’re crazy. Hell, if you told me I’d feel comfortable working out..IN FRONT OF PEOPLE…in tiny shorts and a sports bra I would’ve laughed in your face and then gone home and reminded myself of all of the reasons I can’t ever do that. Those days are long gone, and I attribute that to CrossFit. I feel better, look better, and live a better life than I ever have and I only expect it to get better. I have coaches who are studied. They have honed a craft. They watch our form. They make sure we’re safe. They program with intention. This is my experience with CrossFit.

Time to wrap up this rant of mine.  Next time you find yourself so concerned with the health and safety of the people doing CrossFit, ask yourself why you care so much. What do you care what others are doing to achieve fitness? Why is it your business how someone else chooses to stay fit?  If it’s making people happy and healthy, keep your negative nose out of it, because frankly…nobody doing CrossFit gives a shit. We’re all just going to keep on living dangerously and putting butter in our coffee.

I somehow managed to enjoy a trip to Austin without needing crutches or an arm sling. Strange, since I did some Olympic Lifts for time the day before I left. Must've been a fluke.

I somehow managed to enjoy a trip to Austin without needing crutches or an arm sling. Strange, since I did some Olympic Lifts for time the day before I left. Must’ve been a fluke.