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CrossFit – Myths and Misconceptions

Mitch Potterf Mitch Potterf CrossFit – Myths and Misconceptions
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It’s a new year, resolutions are being made and on top of the heap are health and fitness promises. Most gyms will be frantically busy for the next few months until things slow down and all the determination is replaced with excuses.

Chief among the fitness to-do lists is Crossfit. Crossfit is one of the fastest growing fitness programs to hit the industry in a long time and it is not without its myths and misconceptions. So before you make a decision on the subject check these out, then go try it for yourself (because thinking for yourself is good).

Mitch Potterf

Myth – You need to be “in” shape or athletic to do CrossFit.

Reality – Crossfit is constantly varied functional movement at intensity. Let’s break this down kindergarten style.

Constantly Varied = Always different. Sounds interesting, maybe if working out is always a little different and fun you will do it more and get “in” shape.

Functional Movement = Basic human movements that make you better at life. Running, jumping, lifting, climbing, squatting, pushing and pulling are all things that a fully functional human machine should be able to do. Humans who do them more often generally look like it and enjoy their lives more; they are also harder for Zombies to catch.

Intensity = trying your best. There are a lot of good exercise nerd definitions of intensity but they all really boil down to just doing your best. That doesn’t always mean redlining the engine, it just defines the work. There is a time and place for different intensity levels but the most important thing is that you know how hard you are supposed to go. Good Crossfit gyms provide comprehensive programming, coaching and community support to ensure results at all levels.

So… if always doing something fun so you can move like a competent human, and doing your best with cool people sounds like a good idea to you; get off your ass and try CrossFit. If you’re still worried that you aren’t ready just know that the only way to get ready for CrossFit is by doing CrossFit.

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Myth – I have seen it in TV, I can’t do that.

You’re right, you are not a professional athlete. I watched the Olympics and I cannot run that fast, so I will never run, not even if zombies are chasing me, I’m just not a runner, I give up, what can I do? In CrossFit we realize that statistically speaking most people are average (you’re still a unique and special snow flake, don’t worry) so we create a base work out and scale around people’s differences. At first, it is very normal to scale all your workouts because you aren’t strong enough, flexible enough, conditioned enough… the list goes on and on but the point is anyone with the desire to do it can and we’ll help you.

This is one of the coolest things about it, not just that we can scale a work out and have elite athletes and just-off-the-couchers in the same room but that everyone, for one hour of their day, gets to be engaged in an activity with other people that really want it. Think about it, how many other times in a gym or your daily life can you say everyone here is really motivated to get better, everyone here really wants it.

Myth – You have to eat Paleo.

Just shut up. I’m going to guess that about 80% of CrossFitters DO NOT eat Paleo. We do, however, have a high percentage of people who are concerned with eating healthy and for some that means they eat a lot of vegetables, lean meat and little processed food. But anyone can do CrossFit and make a lot of improvements while eating whatever they want — but they will probably end up eating a lot healthier because they are involved in a group that does, but it’s their choice. That being said; you should eat more vegetables and lean meat, just don’t make it a requisite to doing exercise.

Myth – It’s too serious.

Kinda true, we take fitness pretty seriously, we want everyone to do things safely and to the best of their abilities. But any group wearing neon knee socks, beards, board shorts, spandex short shorts and talking about snatch (it’s an exercise, what did you think I meant?) doesn’t really take itself too seriously. I am very proud to say that many a great friendship has started and developed in our gym and many like it. I doubt you can find any CrossFitter that would say other wise. But I guess you can always exercise in front of the TV with your cat — that sounds totally awesome and I’m sure you have all the friends you need already.

Myth- It’s a cult.

Yes, it is and we are coming for your girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband/children and pets. If you join us, you stand a better chance. You have been warned, the choice is yours, act or perish.

Myth – It’s so expensive.

As is the case with most things, you get what you pay for. A good CrossFit gym should offer professional coaching, comprehensive programming and a supportive environment. All of these things have value beyond the usual monthly rate of going to a gym with a lot of useless machines and no plan or qualified staff to help you. But hey, they have a great alarm that sounds when anyone works out too hard (it’s not about judgement, it’s about safety) and you already know what to do, so have at it, you are clearly reading this because you are an overwhelming success when it come to fitness.

Myth – I already do it at my gym/with my trainer.

Yeah, um… maybe but probably not. CrossFit is potent stuff. In the right hands, awesome stuff happens. In the wrong hands, YouTube videos happen. The truth is, there are a lot of good trainers and coaches out there, but there are way more that suck. Whether you are in a Crossfit gym or not. If you have one of the good ones they are probably already having you do a lot of different functional movements to the best of your abilities and you’re getting results. If they are really good at it, a lot of others are joining them. If on the other hand they are parading you from machine to machine with a clip board and 3 sets of 10, they probably suck. You shouldn’t pay for them with either your time or money, so go back to your TV and cat or go to someone that will be training people six months from now.

Myth – My trainer/therapist/doctor/mom says it’s random, I will get hurt.

First it’s varied, not random. Random leads to, well… who knows? It’d not random, but carefully planned variety and progression that leads to the planned goal. Few of CrossFit’s detractors have actually done anything more than a few CrossFit work outs, so they don’t really have anything to base their opinions on.

The truth is, you can get hurt doing just about anything. I have seen as many injuries in bodybuilding, power lifting, running, boot-camping and getting on and off the elliptical as I have in CrossFit. They all happen when some one does too much of a good thing and/or doesn’t pay attention to basic advice like progression, rest and safety first. Accidents happen in every type of program — CrossFit just gets a lot of sensational press because its very popular. Do you know how many exercisers get hurt every year following the Professor X program from BSU? Nope, neither do I, because zero people are doing it and it’s not awesome and nobody cares.

Fitness programs are a lot like food: you can read all the reviews you want, but you really have to taste it to know if you like it. Action yields results. If you like something, you will do it more often. So if CrossFit sounds like something you might like, get off the internet and try it. If not, find something else and take some action. Or, get another cat.

Mitch is the owner of Fit Club the CrossFit Affiliate of Downtown Columbus. For more information, visit www.ohiofitclub.com.


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