CrossFit is a word you have probably heard quite frequently. If you are unaware of what this sport is, it is a combination of weightlifting, cardio, gymnastics, pure pain, and 100 percent fun. Now you might be wondering why people would subject themselves to this torture, but staying active for CrossFitters is not only part of their daily routines, it’s something they look forward to and enjoy. The reason for this is because CrossFit is not only a fast-paced, high intensity workout, but each box (the CrossFit term for a gym) is unique. This sport is not just a place where you get sweaty then go home; you form friendships and join a community that supports one another, pushes you to achieve your full potential, and provides people you can rely on whether it be in the box or out of the box. CrossFit not only fosters a community setting, but it comes equipped with its own lingo (WOD, PR, Kipping, Rx, etc.), meal plans (paleo diet), and stylish workout gear (Reebok cross trainers, Reebok spandex, Reebok anything really). It is not only a sport or a gym, it is a lifestyle.
Of course, if you have heard of CrossFit, then you have probably heard how “dangerous it is,” how it is “unhealthy,” and how all CrossFitters are obsessed. Well, the last myth is true, most CrossFitters are obsessed, but for good reason, I promise.
Debunking the myths:
- Myth: The coaches are unqualified.
Truth: It’s quite the opposite actually. Yes, it is correct that you only have to attend a two-day seminar where you take a test and they evaluate your skills in order to be a trainer. This seems like it is not enough of a barometer to determine whether a coach is qualified or not, but in fact, it is. It doesn’t quite matter how many certifications you have, but rather, how you put your knowledge into practice. The coaches that care about the sport also care about being qualified for it. These people are not given certifications just by showing up, they are tested and given rules and regulations to follow. This sport does not typically pay its coaches a ton of money, so they are not usually doing it for monetary reasons, rather they do it because they love it.
- Myth: The coaches yell at you, and push you too hard.
Truth: The coaches are not yelling at you, they’re encouraging you because they know you are stronger than you believe yourself to be. You only push yourself as hard as you deem appropriate. No reputable coach is going to do anything to make you feel uncomfortable, and everyone in the box is rooting for you. It is such an empowering feeling when you think you are going to fail at a workout, but 20 other people are cheering you on because they believe that you can reach your full potential. Nobody wants to push you ‘til you puke, although that is a common joke among CrossFitters (the mascot for CrossFit is called Pukie the Clown), they just want to ensure you succeed.
- Myth: You can get hurt.
Truth: Yes, you absolutely can hurt yourself, but who cares? What I mean by that is you can get hurt sitting on the couch, which can cause extreme back pain. You could get hurt running on the treadmill by twisting your ankle or getting stress fractures. You can get hurt attempting any workout, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. That is why each CrossFit affiliate requires foundation classes for beginners. These classes provide more one-on-one instruction typically, and the coach goes through all the movements you would be attempting in a regular CrossFit class. They ensure that you know what you are doing before you go head-first into a workout.
- Myth: It’s too hard.
Truth: Any workout is as hard as you make it, and CrossFit is no exception. If you cannot do the workout Rx (as prescribed), then you can always scale it! You are not shamed for doing some of the movements a little differently because it takes time to learn how to do pull ups, toes to bar, hand stand push-ups, and many other movements. The workouts and the people may seem daunting at first, but everyone is fully supportive. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, and no one is penalized for tailoring the work out to fit their abilities. There are always going to be competitors, but you do not have to be a professional CrossFitter to benefit from the sport. This is applicable even at a regular gym. If you see someone running faster and putting in more mileage than you, you are not going to speed up to keep up with them if you know your body cannot handle it. Instead, you naturally progress and run a little more and a little better each time until you can finally keep up with the nut on the treadmill next to you. It takes time to do a workout Rx, so don’t be deterred from trying the sport because it appears to be “too hard” or “too scary.” Everyone scales at one time or another, and it is nothing to be ashamed of, it is about getting the best and safest workout in as possible!
Still not sold? That’s alright, because it isn’t for everyone. Although you can scale the workouts, it does not mean it is going to appeal to everyone, and that is perfectly a-okay. Some people call CrossFit a cult, and even I, an avid CrossFitter, have made that joke time and time again. However, I have seen some people accomplish amazing feats because of this sport, and it is absolutely worth a try!
By Rachel Cathie