My name is Chad Macomber.
I am a recovering CrossFit addict.
Two years ago I was introduced to CrossFit by a friend of mine who is now a partner in running CrossFit Conquest in Davie, Florida.
It was love at first WOD. The intensity, the competition, the sweat and even the audience sucked me in. For a full year I kipped, muscle-uped and Fran-ed my way to elite fitness. My numbers were respectable if not competitive against some of the top CrossFitters in the country. I was prepared to do anything just as Coach Glassman said; I thought I was an athlete.
With the 2011 Reebok CrossFit games on ESPN 2 tonight I thought it would be a good time to write a little on the aftermath of my CrossFit adventure.
Basically CrossFit is HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) on steroids. The WOD or workout of the day is a series of seemingly random movements to be performed in succession against the clock. Instead of recording loads and movements in your journal you are tracking WOD titles and times. CrossFit insists that a healthy, fit person requires proficiency in each of ten general physical skills:
The CrossFit community stands by the Paleo or caveman diet (if a caveman didn’t eat it then neither should you). The foundation of this diet involves plants, animals, nuts, fruits and seeds; no grains. Aside from jogging I can’t think of a fitness trend that has grown so fast and so big and actually hung around for a while. They have Reebok as a sponsor now! (Which is kind of silly since they have no true option for a minimalist shoe).
Look, CrossFit will get you shredded. There is no debating that statement. The diet and HIIT alone will get you there. With that being said us humans aren’t just aiming to look fantastic with our clothes off; we want to move well and continue to move well throughout old age, right? Okay okay I’m bullshitting… we actually want biceps that tear shirtsleeves, abs to scrub clothes on and an ass to crack a walnut, but you don’t want all this if the package comes with joint pain, inflammation and muscle imbalances. Ah yes… finally.. the point of the article…
CrossFit is fun. It’s exciting. It’s competitive and it’s even communal, but is it a complete fitness program? My answer is no partly in that NO fitness program is a complete program. The other part is the risk vs. reward factor. Sure squat cleans, pullups, kettlebell swings and handstand push ups are fantastic exercises, but put them together in a work out with no rest done at a high intensity and you are inviting your shoulders to murder you in your sleep. What CrossFit is missing is an intelligent programming. I’m sure you can find a coach that will put together a WOD that won’t lead to injuries or imbalances (and if you do hold on to them!), but for the most part it’s a rare beast.
Go to CrossFit Wicked in Middleton, MA and ask for Dennis Floyd
While CrossFit isn’t a fantastic exercise program it does translate well as a sport. Watching the games on TV got me thinking about it in this light. Football is a very physically demanding sport (Go Pats!), with the hits, the throwing, the running and the manwiches which eventually leads to broken down bodies riddled with injuries but people still play in spite of the danger.
Football players don’t train the same way they compete. They train the movements and the abilities you need to succeed on the field. This is how I view CrossFit. It is an awesome sport (or event) that provides intense competition and entertainment. I would even recommend a CrossFit class a few times a month to anyone in need of spicing up their boring workouts. So practice your muscle ups, practice your squat cleans and practice your sprints but if you tell me you are about to join CrossFit I’ll tell you, “Be Careful and you’ll love it.”
CrossFit as a sport is Awesome.
CrossFit as Fitness is far from elite.