I have been asked my opinion on CrossFit so many times!! I have always kept my opinion relatively quiet (as in my experience, some cross fitters can be a sensitive / protective group) As a fitness lecturer and trainer with 17 years experience I feel it is time to finally share my opinion on the matter.
CrossFit is NOT stupid. When lecturing students I always tell them that there is no such thing as bad exercise, just badly prescribed exercise by trainers who call themselves ‘experts’. Bootcamps, P90X, CrossFit, Insanity etc have achieved almost a ‘cult’ status and brainwashed so many people its time to be honest and have a reality check. Like I said, I have nothing against these forms of exercise however, I have personally seen and helped rehabilitate many injuries suffered during the participation of these forms of exercise, and many of my friends both as physiotherapists and trainers both in the UK and here in Dubai have reported the same. Personally, I don’t think the fault lies with any of these programs. The problem is with the fitness community itself.
Unfortunately we have a very uneducated fitness field. Correct me if I am wrong, but the last time I checked, to open a CrossFit gym only requires 1000 dollars, two days of class work, pass the exam and apply for affiliation. I am NOT for one minute suggesting all cross fit boxes are like that, I know there are many great ones out there, there are however, many terrible ones. Even worse than that, (away from CrossFit) some personal ‘trainers’ spend 500 pounds, study online, take a short online multiple choice exam and a personal trainer certificate arrives in the post! next minute their on the gym floor! I believe that trainers should be held to a standard in education similar to a physical therapist. After all many therapists use tiny dumbbells and pink stretch bands, personal trainers utilise heavy loads and high skill level movements and most of our clients have some form of orthopaedic dysfunction or health problem as do theirs.
I was taught, and still stick by a ‘golden’ rule taught to me by a world renowned coach who states that Flexibility / Posture must first be established, Stability second, Strength third and finally Power. And this is where, in my mind, many CrossFit sessions unfortunately breaks this rule with the inclusion of power cleans, snatches, box jumps, etc., in the workout of the day. CrossFit also fails to respect the fact that the nervous system takes way longer than the muscular system to recover. Having said all of this CrossFit is here to stay and I am actually glad more people are starting to take interest in their health and fitness. However, there is an intelligent way to prepare. After all, isn’t the purpose of exercise to get “healthy?” So if you want to participate in something like CrossFit, ensure the coaches have adequate training and experience and get evaluated by a highly trained fitness professional and not someone who took a test on line! Once the “golden rule” of flexibility/posture, stability, strength and power has been addressed as well as nutrition and lifestyle factors, I say GO FOR IT! and become the next CrossFit Games champ!