As a supplement to a paleo lifestyle, I also engage in Crossfit and I am sure that many of you do as well. A friend of mine has recently joined Crossfit and taken up a paleo lifestyle. I would love to know how to a) shut this guy up and b) provide a well formulated response so that no one else who sees his post is discouraged from joining a CF affiliate near them. I have a pretty good idea of some points I want to make but I wanted some extra input. Below is his post:
Crossfit is gut-checks and light on technique. You are having fun now but injury is in your future. My 2 cents.
CrossFit gets people off the couch, and that is great. But beyond that, it lacks in programming in one major significant way. The "WOD" format does nothing to address any one individual's specific needs, and that is my beef. Everyone's structure is different, and the WOD format doesn't address that Person A may lack proper hip mobility for overhead squats, and Person B may have poor scapular movement for overhead squats, yet this is ignored and both people do overhead squats in a timed "contest" because the WOD says so. It drives the responsibility for safety to the individual, and then undermines it by creating a competitive environment. Injuries rarely happen in one day, they are instead the result of many accumulated microtraumas over the span of months or even years.
As far as I can tell the WOD also lack any specific themes; kipping pull-ups one day, overhead squats the next, kettlebell swings, blah blah blah. It seems to lack focus on movement quality. The timed aspect of the workouts create a competitive environment, which almost always leads to form breakdown, and the movement quality never gets any more sophisticated. If you can do 100 push-ups today, then next week hopefully you can do 101. If you can do 100 push-ups today, why not evolve the movement with a progression so that someday you can do handstand push-ups? I don't see that happening.
CrossFit also has poor consistency. The quality of training varies greatly from one affiliate to the next. It grew too fast. So if your trainers are EDUCATED and CERTIFIED (i love how you capitalized these, as if it meant something), they're still part of CrossFit and I argue the methodology is flawed. CrossFit is out to make money, first and foremost. I've done the whole RKC certification thing, did the bootcamp, I'm not completely ignorant in the subject matter here. The RKC and the CrossFit methodologies are very similar, except one is focused on the kettlebell. They scream about quality, but do little to enforce it, evaluate it, and improve it beyond screaming "KEEP PROPER FORM.......30 SECONDS LEFT, PUSH YOURSELVES". When when your lungs are bleeding and your adrenal system has pushed you into overdrive, you are incapable of making conscious and rational decisions regarding form and safety.
So Natalie, when doing your CrossFit, seek to understand what it is, what it offers, and what it does not offer so you can eventually evolve your personal concept of fitness beyond it. It may suit your needs now, but it will most likely not lead to a life of sustainable, repeatable gains in your workout goals. It'll keep you skinny, unless of course you get injured, then you won't be able to work out at all.
On a side note, get involved in a serious Yoga program. I've never seen a woman who does serious Yoga that did not look just fabulous. My 2 cents.
I think his points are all right on. He doesn't strike me as a hater at all! In fact, it seems to me that he goes out of his way to provide a reasoned analysis of the flaws in the way CF is implemented in many affiliates. If you want haters, you can easily find them elsewhere.
CF is great if you program it intelligently. That's why many of the best affiliates are doing 5x5 or 3x5 strength work several days a week, in addition to met-cons. Most of the best affiliates have L2-certified trainers, or even better, people who have been training people for a long time. OPT, for example is only L1, I believe, but he knows more about training than almost anybody.
I know a fair number of L1-certified people (I have an L1 myself and used to work for a box). All very nice people, but I would not trust most of them to train anybody I care about. Now they've added a 50-question multiple-choice test (which I have not yet taken), but come on... that doesn't make you a knowledgeable trainer.
I love certain things about CF: the camaraderie, the community (where else can you find a room full of 50 people, most of whom exercise a lot AND eat Paleo daily?). I love how CF has brought Oly lifting to our attention. I REALLY appreciate how CF got me (and thousands of others) started on Paleo.
I very much dislike certain things about CF, and the guy that you would like to shut up has pointed out most of them. Pointed critiques have also surfaced elsewhere from the CF and the ex-CF community (Robb Wolf, to name one of many). Many of these critics love (or loved, I guess) CF and continue to incorporate certain aspects of CF in their own training.
I would not necessarily discourage people from joining a CF box. Some of them are excellent. I'd pay good money to train with OPT or Kstar/Boz at SFCF or any number of CF trainers.
But your critic is right: many boxes are full of newbie trainers who can't teach the air squat properly, much less a back squat, and don't even talk to me about the snatch. [Edit: take me, for example: I have no plans to teach the barbell snatch any time soon -- I absolutely lack the qualifications. But I see some other L1s "teaching" it after being exposed to it for 15 minutes at their L1....] Take a look at some of the affiliates' websites and you will see many, many examples of terrible programming.
Many newbies who walk through the door of a new CF box don't know what they are looking for, just like many people who jump into Paleo don't know which "experts" to trust at first. That said, CF done poorly is better than most things out there. CF done well is pretty amazing. [Edit: Just giving credit where it is due... I think Dutch Lowy once said something like this, and others probably have as well.]
I do think his yoga comment is gratuitous. =P Screw yoga. Lift heavy things and sprint hard. I'd rather women look like Tanya Wagner than Paris Hilton.
Just do intense yoga? Almost like shut up and go in the kitchen.
Those who can't, complain.
Just remember that.
Disclaimer: I never post in forums or engage in anything such as this but I just couldn't resist.
I just love how so many have opinions on this subject after just learning about it from this post or from an internet forum. Google search...wow look what I found! 1 gym out of thousands and 1 client out of even more...he got hurt and sued and probably put someone out of business and possibly destroyed a family's dream and/or income! Be realistic please...
Maybe he didn't take a break when he should have, maybe the trainer was that bad? I doubt they were trying to give him rabdo..maybe they were just trying to live the Xfit dream and get people fit and working hard...Who knows? Shit happens. Point is: Please don't make statements in general about things that you don't really understand or that you have very limited experience with. And that includes anyone in the industry...do your hands-on-real-life research before formulating a opinion. Then when you have that opinion..use it properly. Don't disparage what I do down in Florida because you had a bad experience or 5 up in new jersey or whereever...
You are affecting peoples lives, NO, perhaps 'infecting' is a better word. You are likely to 'infect' someones mind with an idea. That is powerful. Be careful with that. As America gets fatter and sicker and big pharma and processed food companies get richer and more powerful, CrossFit and the community behind it is saving lives. Not CrossFit.com. CrossFit.com is great and a great resource if used properly..Most people don't. The affiliates that live and breathe this lifestyle every single day are the reason this program, and others such as the Paleo community, are blowing up in popularity. All you here should be thanking and supporting us. Better for you and better for us.
Everyone in the world is a nutrition and fitness expert. I know that because I am one. And because people try to tell me how things are on a regular basis. The bittersweet struggle of being an affiliate owner. Love it to death!
The best CrossFit affiliates in the world are housing some of the best coaches in the world. Some of the worst CrossFit affiliate's probably have some of the worst/wanna-be coaches in the world.
CrossFit.com is not a franchisor and CrossFit boxes are not franchisees. It is an open source program and a small yearly affiliate fee is paid to the parent corporation in exchange for the name. JUST THE NAME! This leaves the interpenetration and implementation of the entire business up to the individual business owner. As a small business owner and a successful affiliate owner I can tell you that most people suck at business and even more suck at coaching. So you should EXPECT to hear about injuries from less than stellar affiliates.
Athletes get injured all the time. People in golds gym or lA fitness do as well. This isn't new and it will never change...it is just a part of life. But because CrossFit is the new kid on the block everyone feels the need to tear it down. That is the typical mass response to anything new or popular. Always the haters. As far as the injuries go, I can absolutely guarantee that a large percentage of the injuries are avoidable and happen because of laziness or irresponsibility (And not just the trainers either)
Check out Mr. Staretts post on this: http://mobilitywod.blogspot.com/2011/02/episode-185365-improving-jump-mechanism.html
In our gym we keep WOD's shorter most of the time, longer once a week, and in between sometimes. We do a 5/3/1 strength focus and a skill based NOT FOR TIME wod every class. As well as a 3-5 minute body temp warmup and a 5-10 minute dynamic stretching/movement warmup. WOD's last between 5-15 minutes on average...with goal being form first followed by intensity second.
I regularly have to tell my clients to take rest days or go slower or take it easy. People get over zealous when they get excited. New clients are given basic human functional movements. We don't follow the mainsite WOD but The Mainsite WOD is geared towards olympic athletes...everyone else SHOULD be scaled. There is also a learning curve to CrossFit and it's movements. It isn't as simple as showing up and doing a WOD rx and that is it. There is so much more to it. Come to my box and I will show you!
We have had ZERO injuries at our box. Why? How? Because we progress people properly and safely and slowly. Because we routinely tell people to take it easy and SAFETY first. And because we have great coaches and clients that love what they do.
There are typically 3-5 local affiliates everywhere you go in United States..it shouldn't be hard to find a few and to compare them. Try each one and choose what suits your needs. OR do Private training and get personalized and individual advice and scaling and programming.
I won't be engaging in any forum banter, I'm simply too busy. This reply was a indulgence I allowed myself.
BTW I am a 100% devote fan of Paleo/Primal and preach it to all of our clients. I also preach rest and recovery, sometimes to no avail! People always think MORE is BETTER.
As a CrossFit and RKC/Pavel aficionado, I think I see the problem here. A lot of folks who are new to CrossFit methodologies have a problem with the fact that everyone does the same thing - and there's no customization for the individual.
Greg Glassman, founder of CrossFit, says the fitness needs of our grandparents and elite military operators should differ by degree of intensity, not kind.
I wholeheartedly agree with this perspective. The problem is that people who are new to the community have a hard time understanding all the elements of intensity. Intensity can define range of motion, weight used, time taken, etc.. not simply reps completed.
If someone has a serious hip mobility issue, a good trainer's going to address that individually - thus affecting the intensity... also referred to as Power = Force x Distance / Time
I've personally worked with adapting CrossFit for wounded veterans with a tremendous amount of success - where everyone does nearly the exact same movement, tailored for the individual. It also has the effect of bringing about a sense of camaraderie that you won't find in any other type of gym outside a MMA/combative school.
I do tend to agree with Jae and the FB poster on one point in particular - CrossFit has grown very fast and sometimes that can bring down the overall quality of instruction. Saying that injury is eminent though is a joke. I was certified in Aug. of 2008 and have admittedly learned more after I was certified than I did through the process... but, you'd be hard pressed to find a group of trainers without a few relatively green folks compared to veterans.
To say that Yoga, which can have equally disastrous consequences under the care of a poor instructor, is more capable of improving an individual's life more than CrossFit is absurd in my opinion.
FORM, FORM, FORM!!! COSSFIT WANT YOU TO COMPLETE THE SET NO MATTER HOW YOU DO IT, THAT WILL GET YOU INJURED!!! I been a personal trainer for nearly 25 years. My specialty is pre & post rehab. To make this short and sweet, crossfit is by far the most dangerous exercise routine that I know of. We have 3 crossfit affiliates with in 5-7 miles from where I work in Northern Virginia. I get a phone call at least once sometimes three times per week about how someone hurt themselves doing crossfit workouts. To be fair to crossfit. I just want to mention that if you are between a male and between 17 and 25 years old who love to get great results fast and don’t care about being injured or not, then crossfit might be right for you. Injuries is by far the biggest problem with crossfit. To make money many crossfit affiliates have any where between 7-14 people in a class. I hope their members have insurance, because they will get injured. CROOSFIT IS DANGEROUS AND A VERY DANGEROUS WORKOUT ROUTINE!!!. I have 27 clients, so I am booked solid for next 8 months with clients and I am not here to bad mouth crossfit. Crossfit will kill your body and is it will you injure you, I can guaranteed that.
I have so much to say I can barely articulate it all so I’m going to just try to stick with the major points I’d like to make in your defense!
Could be the "box" or gym that this guy has gone to? Did he not speak up or ask questions? In my experience, CrossFit focuses on the needs of their particular “box” and varies the programming as such. Likewise, any and all workouts/WODS can be scaled OR modified for the INDIVIDUAL and their needs. (Heck, there is programming/scaling/MOD for Wounded Warriors, pregnant women, and children)
Daily in our box, we have a warm-up PLUS then we go over the movements that will be utilized that day and the coaches go around and work with individuals. Likewise, any injury or sticking point is known by each staff member so that modifications or scaling can be done. Sometimes you get to go all out and sometimes it is deemed that you don’t have the proper mechanics or skill so you are told to scale or MOD. And if you feel uncomfortable you are also able to make that choice for yourself.
What I'd like to say, with any workout, as a human with a brain you need to know your limits. No one knows better than you how far or fast or much you can push your body but YOU. Just because someone is saying "GO FASTER" doesn't mean you have to jump off the cliff with them, most of the time comments like that are the coaches trying to ENCOURAGE you to do your best not send you to the emergency room. If doing your best means slowing down and working on form - then do that! (That’s what I do!) Also, coaches may yell key words so you know what to work on, such as getting lower in a squat or fully extending your hips. Not sure about other boxes, but at ours if you’re doing something terribly wrong or dangerous the coach stops you right there and then so you DON’T get injured or injure anyone else!
The last point I wanted to make is that just because he’s seen ONE WOMAN who does “serious yoga…that just looks fabulous” makes me want to vomit. I tried Yoga myself before becoming a CrossFitter and I decided that Yoga wasn’t for me (just as CrossFit might not be for someone else…) I only lost 5 lbs and on top of that I injured my neck and shoulder. You can get injured doing anything! Honestly the yoga comment as well as the threatening “you ARE going to injure yourself” comments sounds really sexist to me. Sounds like he’s scared by your strength and wants to hold you back - rather than being honestly concerned for your well-being. But that’s just my 2 cents….
One of the major things that crossfit pushes is the scalability of the WODs. If a person is following the online postings every day on the commmts section they are likely to find resources on how to scale effectively. However this is definitely up to the individual.
The beef that person had with not representing individual needs is I believe just a part of how it's supposed to be. If a person has individual goals then are they really looking for the kind of all-around fotnessthat crossfit programming aims for? If you want to get heyuge or be a marathoner check out crossfitfootball or crossfitendurance. If you want to be in the crossfit games then you're probably going to have to do supplemental workouts or modify the posted routine to fit your specific needs.
The comment on how it's not progressive seems likely, but every time you go overhead you are building muscles that help you work towards those HDPUs.
I do agree that different boxes have different styles and levels of ability both in the trainers an the clients. Be on the lookout for things and hey, why not suggest improvements to the trainers themselves? Crossfit is supposed to be open source so I doubt they will mock a person for suggestions or questions.
Lastly, as has been discussed before, crossfit is not for everyone. I would suggest trying it but if you don't like it them go do something else.
I am a 28 year old woman from Alexandria Virginia. I joined a crossfit gym in old town Virginia in February of 2010 to lose about 40 lbs for my wedding. I was so psyched to start doing crossfit. I told my trainer that I hurt my shoulder when I slipped on ice when we had our last winter blizard. He said not worry about my shoulder, not only he will fix my shoulder he will also help me lose the 40 lbs weight. I went from a shoulder injury to a crippled body. So far I have spend well over $13000 in medical bills. These bastards ruined my life. Just found this http://www.healthcentral.com/diet-exercise/c/58426/46798/training
Why assume someone who is discouraged by his post is someone you think ought to do CrossFit anyway? Why shut him up? Discourse is GOOD, and will lead to improved quality. He asks good questions ... as should anybody attempting exercise of any form that they haven't tried before. It's good to look at and smell the Kool-Aid before drinking it. Your friend makes solid points about being cautious.
Even the Crossfit main site forums discuss this issue - it's always going to be problematic that the quality of trainers/coaches at each facility will vary quite widely. The better affiliates DO NOT follow the mainsite WOD, they do their own programming AND insist on an "on ramp" type of program to ensure that you know what you're doing before you join a group of very experienced exercisers. Wast that your experience? Even after on-ramp, you still need to audition to join in the regular group of exercisers. I'm guessing that your friend wasn't guided this way; it's a pity, and a huge risk for anybody who doesn't understand what they're getting into with gymnastics and Olympic weight lifting moves.
Further, your friend's question about themes. It appears the affiliate she joined didn't discuss that this is overall training, the point is to vary the workout and the workload so that your overall body conditioning improves. And, the affiliate did not spend enough time explaining why functional training is better than sport-specific or single muscle training (e.g. bicep curl).
If form matters, and I agree it does, this affiliate isn't doing their job by shouting out "form"! There should be specific pointers about form for every single exercise! And the coaches should be correcting form on every individual as needed.
The better affiliates will also say that just having CrossFit certification isn't enough. Only recently did they insist that coaches pass a test. Previously, just pay your money and you're certified. That's not good. The best affiliate coaches will have CSCS, ACSM, and other highly-regarded qualifications BEFORE they affiliate. These coaches will make sure you ramp up, will tell you that ramp up is at least 6 months, and the first month is always in a small group or individual session AWAY from the rest of the exercisers.
If I were you, and you really feel that strongly about doing CrossFit, is research other affiliates, check out the qualifications (and reject ANYBODY that only has CrossFit training), check out the 'box' and then see if you agree or disagree with your friend.
She means well, and has made a number of really valid points. Crossfit may be the best thing you've done, and it is possible your affiliate is one of those that lacks quality, perspective, solid credentialing, and a plan for what to do if you get hurt.
I agree with Steve, Just go on youtube and watch these shitty trainers and their injured clients to be. If you call you self a good or great trainer, then you will see al the bad forms these people perform. Most of these video are promoted by crossfit.com. My girlfriend's father broke hi leg doing crossfit. Ask any good instructor if crossfit is a good workout routine. Crossfit will be the next fin fin!!!