What CrossFit is Not
By Kaylyn Wiese
“Isn’t CrossFit a cult?”
“CrossFit? The women who do that are huge!”
“Oh my brother’s wife’s mother’s neighbor did CrossFit once…she got hurt.”
“I need to get in better shape first before I go to CrossFit.”
And my personal favorite: “CrossFit? I could never do that! It’s too intense for me.”
All things I’ve been told both prompted and unprompted. When it comes to CrossFit, there are generally three camps. The first consisting of people who absolutely love it. They participate in CrossFit; they love the community, the environment and the results; and they will probably talk about it to anyone who listens. The second camp are generally just as vocal as those in the first camp. These people absolutely hate CrossFit. They’ll tell you it’s a great way to tear your joints up and for women to “get huge” (not a bad thing, by the way). They love to bash CrossFit for all it’s worth, giving no credit to those who actually put in the time and effort to make this their livelihood. Finally, the third camp is generally made up of people who either don’t really know what CrossFit is or frankly couldn’t care about the CrossFit world. However, for the most part, each of the three camps has their own perceptions and ideas of what CrossFit is. Whether you believe CrossFit is the perfect lifestyle or the devil’s craft, most people already know the basic principles of what CrossFit is. What they don’t know, however, is what it is not.
CrossFit Is Not a Cult
CrossFit is a community. A group of people who have chosen to place fitness at the forefront of their lives. Who value being healthy and active and pushing their bodies to the limits of their potential. The people who love CrossFit are truly passionate about it. They live and breathe their philosophies and ideals and practice what they preach. For those who say it is a cult, they are sorely mistaken. And no, I will not apologize for my numerous Facebook posts and attempts to bring people into the gym, because I will not apologize for being passionate about something. Being passionate about something is what makes life worth living. The people who I coach at the gym tell me that they look forward to this all day. They look forward to coming in and spending time with like-minded people while pushing their bodies to the edge. For those of you who don’t have a passion, I encourage you to find it. While it doesn’t have to be CrossFit, obviously, having a passion can be one of the most fulfilling things in your life. It’s the thing that makes you wake up in the morning and feel a tingle of excitement as you throw back your covers ready to carpe diem and do what you love. So no. I will not apologize for my Instagram post of my back squat PR and I will not apologize when I can’t go out, because sorry, “I have CrossFit.” This doesn’t make us a cult — it makes us a community of people who support each other unconditionally because of a shared ideal and mentality that drives us to be passionate about something so amazing.
CrossFit is Not the Magic Pill
Signing up for your first month of CrossFit will not get you in the best shape of your life and make you lose 100 pounds. Nor will signing up for class online. In fact, even showing up to class can’t guarantee you the results you want.
If you want that six pack or even simply to lose twenty pounds, CrossFit will certainly help you to achieve that, but most of those results are going to come from you, not your coach who has to send you emails every week to remind you to show up, not the fact that you begrudgingly lace up your Nanos a few times a week and trudge into class ten minutes late only to put forth your most minimal effort. Instead, the results will come from showing up with a positive attitude and putting forth your best effort, whether that means you finished in 5 minutes or 15. The results will come from the food you put in your body once you finish the workout and the amount of time you spend after class mobilizing and working on skills rather than catching up on box gossip with your friends. You get out what you put in. CrossFit is not the magic pill; you are.
CrossFit is Not Elite
Despite the fact that our motto states that we are “Forging Elite Fitness,” remember that the word “forging” does not imply that anyone has actually obtained this level of “elite fitness.” It takes many hours to forge precious metals, just like it takes many hours to forge your own personal elite level of fitness, whether that be your first pullup or making the CrossFit Games. The glamorization of CrossFit on television and the widespread popularity it has garnered from this has led many people to believe that CrossFit is this sort of exclusive club that only the elite of the elite can join. I am often asked by people if I’ll “bring them” to my CrossFit gym as though we are some secret society that can only be breached through invitation.
Let me clear things up: CrossFit is the workout program that is designed for everybody — from the grossly out of shape to the former D1 athlete. In fact the entire fundamental principle of CrossFit is based around the idea that the workouts that you see performed on television can essentially be adapted for people at much lower levels. Everything from the most complex of gymnastics to the heaviest of lifts can be scaled to meet the needs of your own athletic capabilities. You don’t need to lose weight or get in better shape before you do CrossFit. The only thing you need to bring is a positive attitude and a willingness to learn… and always remember to check your ego at the door.
CrossFit is Not There is To Life
Believe it or not, there is an entire world outside the walls of your gym that is just dying for you to come out and experience it. The reason we train (well, most of us, anyway) is so we can lead a happier and more fulfilling life. It’s so we can go out and climb that mountain and ski that glacier. It’s so we can go camping with our friends and white-water raft through the Grand Canyon. There’s a whole world out there that’s just begging for you to take a bite and it doesn’t lie within four walls. So take a week off and go on that vacation you’ve always wanted to. Eat crazy food even if it isn’t Paleo and for once, don’t worry about making sure you’ve gotten in your WOD. Life is too short to be asking, “Is this Paleo?”
CrossFit is Not For Everybody
Believe it or not, I wholeheartedly believe that CrossFit is not for everybody. Some people come in, take their first class, and absolutely hate it. Some people hate the loud music, the competitive environment, and just the whole idea of it all. And guess what… that’s ok. Just like heavy metal music is not for everyone, neither is CrossFit. But do you know what I believe is for everyone? Exercise. Fact: people who exercise tend to lead longer, fuller lives and have a better appreciation for everything they do. So don’t do CrossFit. That’s perfectly fine.
Here is what I ask, though: I ask that you at least make an effort to incorporate some sort of physical activity into your lifestyle. Whether that be walking your dog everyday or taking Zumba at your local gym. Whatever it is, do something at least three times a week that will get you off your butt and moving. I can promise your butt and even your brain will thank me for it later. I also ask that you don’t bash CrossFit. We’re all just trying to get the most out of our lives and if that for you means going to spin three times a week, then that’s fine. But for some of us, it means something different, and I ask that you respect that.
A. 4 RFT
15 KBS, 53/35
5 Muscle ups / 10 False grip ring rows & ring Dips
50 Double unders
B. Back Squat
Work up to a Heavy 5 rep