I am a pretty big critic of CrossFit. Often to the point of losing the ability to discuss it with reason. I’d like to thank/blame the military community for this, for taking an otherwise harmless workout concept and perverting it in many ways, and letting me see all the bad things that come with it. But lately I’ve found myself trying to not let these extremists mold my perceptions about the entire CrossFit community. I’ve tried to allow myself to view it for many of the benefits it can provide, when coached and programmed well.
But the bigger benefit it can provide is for the good of all of the United States. We are an obese nation. We even go so far as to have movements claiming that body mass is irrelevant, and one can be healthy at any shape or size, despite mountains of scholarly evidence suggesting otherwise. We eat horribly, many of us work sedentary jobs, and the bulk of most gym memberships are underutilized. This is one small piece that contributes to health care costs. Sure we also have a crooked system that is written by and for the benefit of the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. But hosting a nation of millions of people with preventable ailments ain’t cheap. And most of us are not doing our part.
This is where the saving graces of CrossFit can help us. Some may like to joke about CrossFit as a cult. I have been guilty of it numerous times, even on this site. Its popular, it creates a draw, its marketable. It is a successful business model, and that goes a long way in drawing people into the idea of fitness. But what most CrossFit gyms are, is a welcoming and encouraging community. Insecurity at a gym is a real thing for many people. Some folks feel too “out of shape” and like they don’t belong. Others might feel comfortable in themselves, but get lost in the massive maze of shiny equipment. Without someone to guide you through that first awkward phase, its easy to see why some let the exercise fall to the wayside.
While some gyms like to market themselves as “judgement free,” its really just a trap to steal the money of people and provide them no value. CrossFit gyms can create this environment of acceptance, as well as inspire people to actually EXERCISE instead of feeding them pizza and letting them sit in recliners in the lobby. They have coaches, they have group classes, they have workouts that are scaled for beginners. It is a great place to enter into fitness. For as much as I rag on CrossFit, I wish the brand even more commercial success as it pertains to bringing new people into the fold. Its good for America.
The second way it can sink its hooks into our blubbery flesh is with its variety. Some folks just can’t stand the repetitive and slow nature of some of the more traditional strength programs. They might go to the gym, they might feel in place, and they might even know what to do…. but then, its just boring. Doing the same thing, day in and day out. My wife is a prime example of this, where I love my boring powerlifting programs, she made it all of 2 weeks lifting with me before she asked if I could write her WOD-ish things to do at the gym.
“Some birds are not meant to be caged, that’s all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild.” – Stephen King
Some lifters are not meant to limit themselves to bench, squat and deadlift. Of course I just blame them (i.e. my wife) of having short attention spans, and then we argue for a while, then I sleep on the sofa. But any tactic that is needed to get people’s butts into the gym, I can endorse.
So get on it, CrossFit. Market the hell out of yourselves. And you, CrossFit cult members, feel GOOD about promoting the hell out of it. ITS FOR AMERICA, damnit.