Okay, so I tried it. And I even kind of liked it. But I have left my Crossfit Box behind for a number of reasons.
First, let me say that I did gain some things from Crossfit. I do believe in some of their principles and I really like their approach versus the traditional gym fitness approach. Crossfit Webster has a great facility. The owners really care and they are actively involved in the coaching. Also, the quality of the coaching was excellent. They offered a bunch of class options, and also offered Boot Camp, weekly skill development sessions, and a strongman/lifting style program. There is a lot to do there. So the reason why I left was not for any negative reasons associated with the Box or the staff.
Mostly it was issues with the way Crossfit programs workouts ( I know they lay this off on the affiliates, but that doesn’t hold water in my book. Each affiliate should be following some kind of standardized format. Anyway, Crossfit and all that it entails was just not for me and not really compatible with my goals. I actually stayed around longer than I should have, but I was loving the Strongman style training that I was doing. I gained a ton of functional strength and a new admiration for how strong the human body actually is.
In the end, what happened to me was really my fault. I was training without a goal. The goal of Crossfit shouldn’t be to get better at Crossfit (Unless you plan on competing, the yes it should). I had some vague notion of where I wanted to be and thought I could ride the Crossfit Train there. Turns out that isn’t true.
First, let me say this: There are a lot of bad coaches and bad Crossfit Affiliates out there. I don’t think it results from a desire to hurt, fleece or otherwise scam anyone. I think it is a result of Crossfit blowing up too fast, too many people drinking too much of the Kool Aid which caused a lack of perspective. Crossfit is new and hot on the scene and some people have gotten monstrous results. Usually, that is the result of good genetics/body type and work ethic all overlapping. Much of it is really hard work too. There is also the “ALPHA” issues that Crossfit has to deal with.
The average Joe/Jane who goes to the gym and does some exercise circuits does not have the base level of fitness required to hold their own in a box. I have heard it said a thousand times in Crossfit circles that people get hurt because they are performing above a level that is safe for them, or not listening to their bodies, or sacrificing form for speed, or lifting too heavy. And that’s great thing to say when you are not there, in class performing. Every WOD is a competition. Your competing with yourself and the rest of the group. So the “work to the level of your fitness” mantra that the community as a whole uses whenever they see someone get hurt just doesn’t fly. Like I said you are competing every time you work out. As a result you will push yourself harder and/or faster than you probably should. Also, you pay a lot more to Crossfit than a regular gym. My unlimited membership was $150 a month. So exactly how long is the average person going to hold themselves back, in a hyper competitive environment at that expense? Not long before they get sick of being last, or weakest, and do something beyond their physical capabilities. Then they are hurt.
Also, Crossfit comes with a lot of baggage. Every year Affiliates try and get everyone to sign up for the Crossfit Open. But if that’s not your thing, so be it. I can live without knowing that I am ranked 34, 657th in the U.S for males 40-43. I also don’t need the soul-crushing series of Open workouts to tell me that I am not going to the Crossfit games. And there is the endless series of paleo diet challenges, competitions and other Crossfit related stuff that you will get barraged with. If you like that then I can see where it can help keep you motivated. But for me it just seemed like the core group at my box was constantly doing something Crossfit related, when they weren’t spending 14+ hours a week at the box anyway. I guess I decided I Crossfit to make my life better and me healthier, not just to get better at Crossfit. As a result, I just don’t need the extras that go along with it.
What I like is the departure fro the norm. The willingness Crossfit has to make you find new and different ways to vary your training rather than back and biceps one day, chest and triceps the next Treadmill/elliptical for desert. It focuses on the ten core principles that I believe are the actual foundation of fitness. They have made fitness quantifiable in a way never before possible. And they have even designed a competition that truly does determine the fittest on earth. I have learned a lot from Crossfit and I plan to keep doing it to a certain extent.
I have found a new Gym that has a big room used for this type of training. So now I can get a good mix in my training of traditional Olympic weightlifting, strongman style training and traditional fitness (free weights, cardio, etc. And I plan to continue my fitness quest on my own.
Coming out of Strongman training, I weighed about 280. I know we aren’t supposed to focus on numbers (but that is too high). My body fat percentage has gotten too high, waist too big, and a few other things. So I have taken control of my programming and my nutrition. I have set new goals and am driving to where I want to be physically. More to come on that.