5 Reasons I've Never Tried CrossFit

By , SparkPeople Blogger
During the last few years, ultra-intense workouts have been gaining popularity—and not just among athletes or hardcore exercisers who are gluttons for self-punishment. Even the relatively unfit and overweight are jumping at the chance to push their bodies to their limits. Why? Some consider it fun. Others feel that is the best (or only) way to really get in shape. Whatever the reason, intense workout programs are attracting a wide variety of participants who have a variety of different goals (whether strength, speed, power, health, muscle tone, weight loss, or looking better naked).
By now you've probably heard of CrossFit (the "sport of fitness") or know someone who has tried it. I stumbled upon CrossFit videos on YouTube a few years ago and was immediately intrigued. I would spend hours a night watching people work out competitively and was in awe of their strength and capabilities—not to mention their physiques! I've learned a good deal about CrossFit since then, through my husband and sister-in-law (both of whom are certified CrossFit trainers), friends who do the workouts, and my own research and reading.

As a certified fitness professional with a traditional background (and without any firsthand experience in an actual CrossFit gym), I can certainly tell you that CrossFit is unlike most other workouts and workout programs out there. It strives to be the total fitness package—to help people achieve optimal health and fitness across all measures of strength, agility, speed, power and endurance. (Read CrossFit's full description here.) It combines Olympic powerlifting + gymnastics + plyometrics + speed work + weights + time + competition in a way that continuously challenges one's body in new ways. And although it has a reputation of being intense (which it certainly is, no doubt about it), proponents also claim that it's completely "scalable" to every individual's fitness level.  
Sounds great, right? Well, could it be too good to be true?
I get asked all the time, "Have you tried CrossFit yet?" "When are you going to come to CrossFit?" "What do you think about CrossFit?"
Although I am more than impressed at the results I've seen in countless people who have committed to CrossFit, I've never been compelled to try it myself. Do I think CrossFit could help me get fitter? Yes. Do I think that CrossFit could make me stronger? Of course. Do I think CrossFit would help me look better naked? Absolutely.  So why am I not doing it?
I hesitate for a few reasons.
  1. I already love my workouts. I love to run. I love Pilates. I love kettlebells. I love Spinning. I love hiking trails with my dog and trying new workout DVDs.  I don't dread these workouts or do them as a necessary evil. I’m already happy with my routine. I've been told by all my CrossFit friends that once I try CrossFit, I'll lose interest in all these other pursuits. And that might be true. But most of the people I know who have fallen in love with CrossFit never really enjoyed the other workouts they used to do in the first place—they simply suffered through them. Then they found CrossFit, which was new, less boring and totally different, and they became hooked. But I wonder: Would the same happen to a person who really likes their routine as it is? If it's not broken, should you try to fix it?

  1. The injury risk of CrossFit exercises is much higher than traditional forms of exercise. (Read this intriguing piece on CrossFit safety from TriFuel.com.) I know all the CrossFit trainers and enthusiasts are going to try to tell me this isn't true, that when you do the exercises properly and work underneath a good trainer, you are safe and not likely to injure yourself. I beg to differ.

    Lifting very heavy weights increases injury risk exponentially—it's simple the nature of it. Heavy weights can compromise your form at any time despite your best efforts and intentions to do it right. And when you add speed or competition to the mix—which is what CrossFit workouts tend to do—people are that much more likely to skimp on form in order to go faster or get one more rep done. I know countless people who have had both minor and major injuries (including debilitating back pain and even surgery) because of injuries sustained during CrossFit workouts or as the result of the overuse from CrossFit workouts. Sure, injuries can happen during any movement, even walking or even yoga, but for me, the risks seem to outweigh the benefits at this point. Safety is #1 in my book, and I'm unwilling to put myself in a position that could raise my injury risk whatsoever.  And I think that a lot of people downplay the risk involved in these types of exercises. They are not for everyone. While you can scale down, go slower or not push yourself as hard during CrossFit, it kind of makes you wonder:  Is that modified version even really "CrossFit" then?
  2. Third, to be completely honest, I'm pretty intimidated by CrossFit. I'm a generally fit person who is capable of doing a lot of physical pursuits relatively easily. But I can pretty much assume that I'd suck at CrossFit. I know a lot of people at the local CrossFit gyms, and I also know how welcoming and community-oriented CrossFitters tend to be. They want everyone feel at home. But I'll admit it: I am downright scared of some of the moves I've seen them do. And tearing my hands open doing pull-ups? That sounds about as appealing as...tearing my hands open during pull-ups. Ew.

  3. There are a lot of smart concepts and theories behind CrossFit  that I think make a lot of sense. CrossFit also has a lot of things going for it that other workouts lack. But I have to say that the way many (not all) CrossFit trainers and enthusiasts act—as if CrossFit is the one and only thing worth doing and is superior to everything else out there—is pretty off-putting. A lot of their own marketing materials essentially make fun of anyone who does traditional forms of exercise (like riding a bike or taking Zumba class or doing biceps curls). I mean, really? I find it all to be a little short-sighted and presumptuous to think that this one mode of exercise with a very short history and no long-term research behind it really is that amazing in every possible way.

    I don't believe that any single form of exercise is all a person needs to be optimally fit and healthy. And I also believe all intensity levels can help people achieve their desired results in health and fitness. Variety is the spice of life! No workout is necessarily "better" than another. Overall, I think the emphasis should be on doing something—anything really—to get moving, stay strong and be active throughout your life. If CrossFit does that for you, great! I'm thrilled. If yoga does it, I'm just as happy for you! If you love sweating in a Jazzercise class, who am I to say that you are wasting your time and should try something "better"? Overall, I'd say that the more different things you can do, the better off you will be.  Every intensity level creates positive adaptations within your body. We need low-, medium- and high-intensity workouts, just as we should lift light, medium and heavy weights, just as we benefit from short-, medium- and long-endurance workouts. In my opinion, CrossFit falls short on some of those areas by tending to emphasize so much intense, heavy and short workouts.

  4. I wonder: Aren't I already fit enough? Does the average person really need to be "optimally" fit like an athlete like CrossFit believes they should? Isn't it good enough for you and I to work out just enough that we're able to experience life, free of chronic disease, and independent and pain-free? Ultimately, I'm pretty happy with my current status of health and fitness. I have no health issues, no injuries, no musculoskeletal problems, and no hurdles standing in the way of living the life I want to live. I can fit exercise into my life in ways I enjoy. Maybe a different definition of fitness—being good enough and healthy enough—is what really matters.
My sixth "bonus" reason why I've never tried CrossFit is that it's so cost-prohibitive. I've never come across a CrossFit "box" (their word for gym) whose membership rate is lower than $150 per month. Some are upwards of $200/month or more--and you're not paying for fancy locker rooms or scented towels. CrossFit gyms are often dirty, bare-bone, and don't even have air conditioning or heat. I'm not sure any form of exercise is worth that cost to me or that CrossFit offers something above and beyond a traditional gym, which is a fraction of the cost. Ultimately, anything you find that you can stick with will give you results based on what you put into it.

But I'll never say never. In fact, there are a few reasons I think I may try CrossFit soon despite my hesitations (a lot of which, I realize, are me being kind of wussy).
  1. I could use the additional weight-training. I've been so bored with traditional strength training lately that I do a minimal amount of it, which I hate to admit. I have lifted very heavy weights in the past, but it's been a while since I've challenged my body that much. To me, one of the best things CrossFit has going for it is its emphasis on heavy lifting—for both men and women. Since I'm turning 30 this year, I'm getting more concerned about my muscle mass and bone strength, both of which will diminish without consistent, challenging strength training. Since I've been having a hard time motivating myself to do the strength moves that I find to be both boring and difficult, the CrossFit format could work well for me.

  2. Variety is key! Like I said above, a wide variety of activities, movements and intensity levels is ideal for optimal health and fitness. I've been doing a lot of the same things these last few years, mostly at a moderate to somewhat challenging level. I could use more intense workouts here and there. Plus, every few years, I take on a new fitness pursuit out of curiosity and simply for variety. CrossFit seems like it will fit the bill there.
  3. I'm ready for a challenge. I am naturally competitive. I played a lot of sports when I was younger and I'm a driven person who likes to reach goals. Even if I'm just competing with myself, I think I'd really get something out of pushing myself to a new goal, especially when it comes to getting stronger.
Without trying it for myself, I can only form an opinion based on what I know as an outsider. Sure, I'm using my fitness expertise and credentials to form my opinion, but I know that I could be wrong or that my thoughts on the subject might change with time and experience. But since I am an open-minded person, I think I'm finally ready to jump in and give it a try. I don't believe CrossFit will ever be the only thing I do for exercise. I don’t plan to stop all the other workouts I enjoy. And I definitely do plan to go at a pace and level that makes me feel secure and safe to avoid injury. So am I totally nuts? Time will tell!

If this blog has you curious about CrossFit, I encourage you to watch the CrossFit Games this weekend. (My sister-in-law will be competing with her amazing team from CrossFit Atlanta—WooHoo!) The Games start today (Friday, July 13) and you can watch online as the most elite CrossFit athletes from all over the world compete in days of back-to-back athletic competition unlike anything you have ever seen before—trust me on that one. It is worth seeing at least once, but I warn you: Watching these athletes will make you feel like a lazy lump on a log…which could be good or bad depending on whether that motivates you to get moving or drives you to the freezer for ice cream. Honestly, my own reaction is often a mix of both!

What are your thoughts on CrossFit? Have you tried it? Would you?
Would you be interested in reading more about my CrossFit journey in the coming weeks? Note: I welcome different perspectives and opinions than mine, but please keep your comments respectful and constructive.

Photos courtesy of CrossFit, Inc.

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CKEYES1 9/21/2019
A bit much for me Report
KHALIA2 8/12/2019
Never heard of this one before! Report
I tried it for a while, but the owners were so political/religious and it was really off putting. Also...I never felt like they were concerned with form. Report
CrossFit is too intense for me. From my point of view I've seen people who were close to height weight proportionate who decided to get lean and buff but for me someone who's a hundred fifty pounds + overweight it just seems like way too much and I am not going to risk an injury I'm currently losing well and I'm going to stick with that Report
I struggle with stretching, thank you Report
I trained dogs for years and always told my students opening day that all training systems work BUT they don't work with all dogs....same for cross fit (I read abook about it first actually and then saw it on TV). In simple terms some peeps need the challenge some don't. I would like to try it but my age and my heart conditions and the fact I live out in the country and don't drive LOL kinda make it difficult. Great article. Report
Functional fitness Report
Great info! Thanks, Coach! Report
I have never tried this one, but would be willing to give it a try. Report
I recently got into crossfit and absolutely love it! I'm a triathlete and wanted to find something to do in the off season so I don't burn out. Fit is amazing. My gym has their own fit studio within the overall gym and my membership for everything is maybe $105 a month. And I use it 6 days a week, so very worth it. There's a woman in her 60s or 70s (I'm a terrible judge of age) who does crossfit. She's amazing and what things she can't do, she does modify. A lot of folks come in with bad knees or mobility issues and they find ways to work around them and prevent injury. Everyone has been incredibly welcoming. And, despite being a triathlete, I am one of the slowest, weakest people in my classes, but I've only ever been encouraged by my teammates and coaches. Report
I'm sticking to HIIT Report
very inspiring Report
It looks intimidating to me. I had no idea about the cost! Report
I love the idea but not the reality of Cr 45yrs old having done a number of Report
I work in a physical therapy office across the street from a crossfit place. Over half of the people who go there have become our patients. Some of the members who sustain injury but also a lot of the trainers who acquire injury over time from these workouts. The risk of injury is very high and no PT here suggests it. Not for a long term routine anyway. Report
I love your points and that you're willing to note the positives you see along with the negatives. I do crossfit (and my gym is $115 a month. expensive yes! but not as high as you mention!). I have not lost interest in doing other things, I still bike and swim when I can, and do yoga too. I'm fortunate since my mom got a family membership to the Y that she pays for I actually get to 'double dip' on fitness items if I want. I use the pool at the Y more than anything else, though. What I like about crossfit is that it is super scale-able (I always cut things way down) and I don't have to think or plan what i'm going to do to wind up more fit. I just show up, follow the workout someone else planned, and i'm good to go! the coaches are incredibly helpful in making sure my form is good and i'm being helpful & kind to my body.

that said, i'm also super non-competitive with it. I don't join any of the events or get into the super high speed/high volume stuff.

I love all the stories i've seen about people who were incredibly unhealthy/overweight/unfit who have come to crossfit and been welcomed and encouraged by the folks at the local gym and had it change their lives. The best piece of crossfit is often the community and encouragement from others in your classes at the gyms.

I say if what you're doing works and you love it, keep at it! if you're looking for something different, give it a try. It might not be for you. or you might love it.

and boxergirl73, I have NEVER been humiliated nor seen anyone humiliated at my gym. a few folks will get into good-natured ribbing sessions with each other, but NEVER from the coaches in any way. people do not yell at me, and if anyone is the last to finish a given workout the others in the class will call encouragement and cheer or high-5 the individual when done. 'you got this! you can do it! just a couple more! .....' it depends on your particular gym what the culture is, but ours is incredibly encouraging, no matter who you are.

again, not for everyone. We all have different things that appeal. but it is so fun to suddenly find I can lift more, jump higher, or do more pushups than I even knew I could, because i just try to be a little better than the last time I did the same workout. :) Report
If I were younger, about 40 years, I would jump right on this stuff. I would have loved to give crossfire training a whirl! Great article Coach Nicole!! Report
My daughter ruined her back doing cross fit. She is a petite 5'2" girl and they had her doing heavy weights, squats and her back is ruined-they have an incredibly bad injury rate and their trainers are oriented toward "heavy weights" squats and typically male exercises. Once your back is ruined- its never is the same. She still loves to work out but does spin, pilates and btw- she looks better now doing those exercises than the bulky ones offered by cross fit. Think twice before joining cross fit. Report
Nice article. I agree with most everything you said and feel the same ways about why I haven't tried, but may one day try CrossFit. However - in reasons for not trying it #2 you said "While you can scale down, ..., it kind of makes you wonder: Is that modified version even really "CrossFit" then?" Since you are a coach - isn't intensity all about an individual's fitness level already. So if my jogging speed is your walking speed, can't I still call it jogging? That section I quoted is really discouraging to me and if I were a person w/lower self esteem, it may encourage me to never try to exercise again just because "is it really called exercise?" My answer to that is -yes, of course it's still exercise. Yes it is still CrossFit - modified for that individual's needs. If that is how you coach or your real thoughts... I can't finish the sentence because you asked us to be respectful... but I expect you to be respectful too! Report
It doesn't appeal to me - but I know there are some people who love ultra-challenges. I know there is a lot of benefit in any sort of HIIT in terms of weight loss. Also, of course, with any ST, the effects of doing it will fade very quickly if you stop doing it.

Just noticed this blog was first published in 2012! Did Coach Nicole do it? Report
I still a firm believer in "the best exercise is the one that you stick with" I would love to try cross fit, but I'm not spending ANY membership fees now, so I definitely can't swing that high of a fee. Ever. I also love my routines. However, I definitely do some "heavy" lifting at least for me. I have a good weight and ST routine and I enjoy it. I'm pretty fit, and though I'm still needing to lose weight, I'm doing great where I'm at.

PS, I did check out our local box online to check prices and things (I drive by it on my way home from work) and it is $130 for a month to month membership. $110 for a 12 month agreement per month. When a gym offers a membership of $10 a month, or working out at home doesn't really cost me anything (since I've already set up the costs) I think I will stick with what I've got. Report
Nice article. But many people are afraid of injuries that happen during crossfit exercises. so a pair of gloves is required to prevent injuries. know about the best cross fit gloves at .
Meh, if you like what you that good. But I dont know why people single out crossfit. No one writes articles about how ridiculous zumba looks. It isnt for everyone , and this post is a perfect example of why. Didn't even try it. I personally love CF and all it allows me to do. Report
Hi coach! I am a spinning instructor and live in the Adirondacks, so hiking and biking are things I love to do. Try crossfit! I am so happy I did. I am lucky the "box" here isn't too expensive ($100) but the combination of personal training and the gains are worth it. You don't have to rip your hands or perform at an elite level just because that's what hype articles say go on. Those types of things happen for a small majority of very competitive people, which is ok if that is what they personally want to get out of their workouts. The classes are also only an hour, plenty of time for a hike or run as well if you like and it doesn't take that long to get used to the workouts so they aren't the only thing you feel like doing that day. I found the people who hated their other workouts and hit this hard to feel elite are the injury prone over users. If you use this to build your strength and set your own personal goals, this is an excellent way to find out what you are capable of. The worst that will happen is you will find out it's not for you, the best is you will find value and improvement in all of the things you enjoy. Report
Thank you for a well-written article, Coach Nicole! Pretty much my exact take on CrossFit. Report
I am a crossfitter and yes I love the variety it gives because I like the excitement of going in the box and seeing what the WOD is. Yes, it is dangerous and I have been injured, however, it was my fault for trying a 30 inch box jump after an already lengthy workout that fatigued me. I only really disagree with us be close minded about other exercises. We enjoy what everyone can bring to it. We run, swim, do yoga, lots of cardio and yes weight lifting is a big part of it too. Report
I know two instructors and they do sound like they're in a cult. There's more to fitness than CrossFit. Report
This was a well written blog. It has given me alot to consider. Thanks Report
I bought a groupon for it, and I loved it. I was strong already from enjoying weight workouts, and worked out with a trainer at all times. Who was often distracted by his girlfriend, who worked out in the mirror directly in front of me no matter where we were in the gym. Not suprisingly, within a few sessions I had a herniated disk in my neck which will plague me for the rest of my life, and as I am relatively young, will eventually need surgery. So.... it was fun, but I regret ever doing it, because it is so easy to hurt yourself. The surgeon told me that between Crossfit,and the Extreme mud-runs, they have never seen injuries like they have seen, and to people in their prime of life. Report
Today I went to my first Crossfit session. I was horrible - lasted only 2 minutes, then I reached muscle failure. The trainers were awesome though, and told me I would work up to longer exercises. Luckily, my gym offers it for only $45/month for members so my total monthly membership is $88. I can go to any class (including spinning) included in that price. I don't know if this will necessarily be for me, but I'm definitely giving it a try for at least one month. The trainers said that everything is very individualized to the person's abilities. Hopefully I can do it. Report
Coach Nicole, I love the article. Amen sister! I feel the same way. Just because everyone else is jumping on the CrossFit bandwagon doesn't mean it is for everyone. I actually tried a class and at 40 years old and an ex-athlete and fitness professional myself did very well. But I was concerned with the amount of weight some of the women were lifting over their heads. These Olympic lifts can take up to one year to learn the proper technique for doing them. Not very safe to throw the general public into a class like this. Personally as a fitness instructor I would not want to be the one responsible for some of these people. Report
This is well written, however, I would certainly have preferred you to have tried a free on-ramp class before making some of the statements you did. It is easy for outsiders (your word, not mine) to see CrossFit the way you and many others do- but for those of us who leave it all in the box, who push ourselves to our limits (which could be equal to any one of your workouts depending on where the CrossFitter is at in their training) and create a community unlike any other seen in any other gym, CrossFit is a way of life, it saves lives, it is therapy, it is family, and it no more dangerous than anything else if you listen to your coaches and you use proper form (things that should be done in every sport and every gym). CrossFit is not for everyone, just like Pilates and yoga aren't for everyone, but CrossFit has been around since the 90's, started from nothing, it is the best underdog story ever. I ask those who think it is just a fad or people trying to get ripped to dig a little deeper, because yes, we lose weight, we build muscle, and we kick a$$, but it is so much more than that. My coaches are like big brothers to me, and when I moved away 6 months ago, I still call or FB with them when I have questions about WODs or new boxes to check out, the people I worked out with are family- we sweat together, we cry together, we cheer one another on, we push each other to be better each and every day, we hold one another accountable. A few months after starting CrossFit I became permanently disabled, I was no longer able to work, as I was diagnosed with PTSD (from being a Social Worker and getting assaulted) and the first place I went... My box, the day I found out I needed knee surgery (from running at over 300lbs, NOT from CrossFit) I went to my box and they modified a WOD for me and all of my WODs until the night before surgery, the six months I spent outside of the box recovering were brutal, but the day I walked back in, felt like like going home again. I celebrate my best and worst days in my box, with my CrossFit family, they don't judge, they don't care what kind of clothes I wear, the car I drive or don't, where I live, how much money I have (not all boxes are that expensive and many will work out deals with you), what I look like, if I have to scale a WOD or do it RX, all they care about is that I show up and give it my all. Report
Coach Nicole, this is a very well written article. I think many of us would definitely enjoy reading about your journey into CrossFit.

CrossFit, just like any other form of exercise, is not meant to fit all needs. But I agree that you can more accurately gauge your likeness for the sport once you've tried it. The same can be said for Yoga, a lot of people don't want to try it, but once they do the realize exactly how hard it can be!

Once again, thank you for voicing your opinion and remaining biased in the matter. Report
I also thought this was a balanced article, that reflects the different (and yes, sometimes contradictory) thought processes and factors that go into making choices. There are pros and cons and personal views and impulses and fears, all of which influence our behavior. Maybe what I like is the honest humanity of it - Coach Nicole isn't just jumping on or off a bandwagon, but demonstrating the way some of us might make a decision. Report
I like Crossfit. HOWEVER, I also have some serious reservations with it as well. Yes, I am one of those "certified trainers" that everyone seems to loathe on here and, yes, I have a lifetime of fitness experience and even managed a large commercial gym for several years. The good parts of Crossfit are 1: the variety of exercises is exactly what I've always preached to my clients. Crossfit's motto of "our specialty is not specializing" is extremely attractive to me. 2: the combining of strength training and endurance conditioning is wonderful and has been missing for far too long in the fitness industry. I think this is CF's greatest attribute. 3: the community that supports it is highly motivating and keeping people going who would have otherwise quit other fitness programs long ago. 4: their marketing is slick and motivating, even to non-Crossfitters like me. 5: their focus on compound movements and skill-based, balance, and speed movements is missing from most people's fitness routines. 6: it's probably finally the death of the "bodybuilding" mentality in gyms that has kept potential members and people who really need to exercise away from gyms. 7: it's tremendous preparation and maintenance for anyone either entering the military or actively serving. 8: most of the CF movements can be duplicated at home or in most any gym. The bad. 1: it's outrageously expensive. 2: it has cult-like leanings. 3: the "paleo" diet is ridiculous and can lead to rhabdomyolysis due to it's lack of carbohydrates when one over-exerts in a dehydrated state. Even the current CF champ, Rich Froning, follows his own eating plan and eschews the paleo crap. 4: their reliance on instructors and group training is annoying. 5: some of the olympic movements, like snatches, were never meant to be done in an exhausted state and in such rapid succession. 6: their complete avoidance of any isolation movements leaves out many benefits of such exercises that beginners and the injured could reap. 7: the "go until you collapse" attitude is a little silly in the least and very dangerous at the most. 8: those "kippering" pull-ups are absolutely something I would NEVER recommend anyone ever do.
ALL of the Crossfit protocol is nothing really new. Gymnastics, balance training, running, plyometrics, stretching, olympic lifting, and calisthenics have been around forever. Herschel Walker (the Heisman Trophy-winning NFL running back) advocated high-rep calisthenics and a wide variety of activities way back in early 80's when everyone in the NFL just lifted weights. The Navy SEAL's workouts have resembled a Crossfit "box" ever since their inception. USMC basic training has always been like Crossfit on steroids. These are but a few examples of combining different forms of athleticism into one workout and there are too many others to list here (anyone remember Nike's "just do it" ads from the late 80's?). I think Crossfit and all the buzz surrounding it are sheer genius but I do feel that people like me and others who are happy with our own wide-variety exercise programs would be better off just sticking to our plans. We can always explore and research on our own (Youtube is GREAT for this) and implement the positive aspects of Crossfit a la carte if we see something we like in it. Report
@MOTOTRIONIC- Click on my bio to see all of my fitness certifications and my educational background (a bachelor's of science in exercise). Report
ok...gotta also laugh. Every time someone starts by saying "as a certified trainer..." or "as a certified nutritionalist" - knock it off. It doesn't make you credible (unless you tell me there is at least a 4 year degree related to either discipline). It makes you follow a small program, pay a fee, then pretend like you have answers. you don't - just work and live and if others find benefit, do it with them. Report
I am also certified, and like how you said "variety." That said, the reason Crossfit does not work for you or this audience is a combination of the fact it is beyond your capability and you are not scaling correctly. Crossing modal domains, combining biologically-correct diet and exercise, and working slowly on technique without trying to compete or keep up with the fitter members of the gyms you briefly experienced is the key.

I crossfit, I am middle aged, and I am very in shape with minimal time spent and can literally perform very well in any activity I chose.

Injuries almost always happen because of lack of preparation or exceeding ones limitations because your ego tells you for some reason, even as a newbie, you need to try to keep up with stronger or more experienced members.

Cardio, stength, stamina, flexibility...nothing touches this approach.

I like the props to Kettlebells and honestly, any activity is better than nothing.

But hating on Crossfit is unfair for the uninitiated, the folks that only give it a month or so, or the pilates/yoga/running crowd that doesn't recognize that olympic lifts, established metabolic conditioning and gymnastics movements combined do not equal the fittest on earth. Report
I have just started crossfit at a local gym, we are spending three weeks building up weight lifting technique. Everything that we have done has been about proper form and almost everything has had modifications if you need them. I really like it because they do stress a combination of strength, flexibility, and stamina. In some ways it feels a little like training for high school sports, only with a way better coach. The nice thing about my gym is that they also offer other classes and don't preach at you. I will probably stick with it for a while. Other than the occasional sore muscle or bruise (the bruise was actually from hitfit), I feel great. Report
Great article!

I personally will probably never try CrossFit for some of the reasons you've outlined.

People at my gym who have tried it have seriously injured themselves; one ruptured her back and it's likely she'll need surgery.

It's far too evangelistic for me - I'm always nervous about these sorts of "movements"...essentially, all the followers refuse to believe there is any other way to get fit and look good, which is crap.

And I TOTALLY agree - why is everyone so obsessed these days with looking like an athlete? It's bonkers...

Health should be our only goal, unless we want to compete in something specific, for which we need to train specifically for.

I don't believe for one minute that most of the CrossFit people I know could perform in some of the endurance events I've done because they haven't trained for a specific event, other than the crazy CrossFit Games...!

They are over cocky and, in my experience, are only doing it to look great and show off to others...

One thing you didn't mention in your article was the ridiculous obsession they have with nutrition too - a friend of mine (who I've nicknamed CrossFit Guru) is totally convinced that the Paleo diet is the ONLY diet that works...VERY dangerous in my opinion...particularly for this guy who has two young children he subjects to the diet too.....!!! Report
I'm so glad I read this! My bf has been trying to get me to try crossfit for as long as I've known him (he's a level 1 instructor in Houston, TX). I'm a runner, I like Zumba, I like aerobic step classes, I like yoga, & I like bootcamp. Crossfit talks "ish" about all of these things! & like you said, it's a bit offputting. If your program is great it should speak for itself & not have to shoot down other forms of exercise to gain clout. I told my bf that his passion for and faith in crossfit as the "savior of the exercise world" is awesome, but I just don't think it's for me right now. A part of my reservation is also just because I'm stubborn & I don't like people telling me what's best for me, lol. I'm also very competitive, so the liklihood of me going into overdrive for the sake of competition is high, even though I know that I should only be competing with myself. I'm sure somewhere down the road I'll end up "drinking the crossfit Koolaid" to paraphrase Bob Harper, but it'll be on my own time. Report
I've seen people get hurt doing any sort of exercise I've ever been a part of. Just going to the gym, I've seen guys drop weights on their feet, tear muscles doing calf raises on a Smith machine, or screw up their backs doing squats wrong. Each Crossfit gym should be evaluated on a case by case basis just like any other gym or trainer. Go in, talk to the owner and ask lots of questions. Take a sample class. Do the essentials course if you like the sample class. Ask about focus on safety, always, Crossfit or not. If someone is encouraging members to focus on speed over form and safety, run. It should be stresed that you do as many as you can *safely.* As for the money, I don't know many places where you can go and 1) use the gym and 2) take advatage of coaching for a low price. If you want to go in, run on a treadmill, and follow some workout you found in a magazine, fine. But you can easily hurt yourself that way too. Report
There's things I love about Crossfit and things I'm not so sure about. Here's my take, you can read more on my blog here, fitisafeministissue.wordpress.com/2
re-about/ Report
I did Crossfit for a year. Far too expensive and it destroyed my shoulders and my neck. It took about a year for me to be able to lift weights without having any lingering pain in those areas. Don't do Crossfit! Report
I had the same reservations about Crossfit. My husband has done it for over a year & while I was pregnant & he kept saying I was going to do it to get back in shape after baby. I used to watch him all but vomit after a workout & thought, "Why in the world would I ever want to do that to myself?" After LOTS of pressure after baby, I did try it. I've actually been doing it for almost 9 months & it took me up until 2 weeks ago to REALLY love it. As my husband would say, "I drank the Kool-Aid." It's fun... it's different every day... and it has made me overcome a lot of fear. I used to literally have anxiety over having to do some of the workouts (i.e. the filthy fifty). Now I know it's just a workout & I will finish it... it may take me all day, but I'll finish it! Nothing to be afraid of.

I feel like you contradict yourself a lot in this post. For the reasons you don't/won't do crossfit, those are the same reasons you want to try it. Do it! And keep doing your other workouts... nobody is going to tell you you can't. My husband made one of those snide comments about the elliptical the other day & I put him right back in his place & told him that I liked the elliptical & if that's what I want to do on my rest day, I'm going to do it. Also, to save on costs, my husband and I just joined a regular gym at $20 a month that has all of the equipment you need & we use crossfit.com for our daily WODs. They do offer crossfit classes at a fraction of the cost of the actual boxes, but we figure we can do it ourselves and save the money. We don't have the benefit of a trainer, but my husband is going for his Level 1 Cert, so at least I'll have a trainer. haha.

And the number one reason I crossfit... Rich Froning! Talk about motivation! haha. j/k Report
Thanks Coach Nicole for your insight. For me the reasons not to do it is simple. At 63, semi-retired I have the time but not the $$$ and having worked physically all my life I would be too prone to injury. I have many issues to "work around" my physical shortcomings from overuse injuries, etc. It is easier to work around them doing more conventional workouts. Report
Thank you for the informative write up. You do a good job of weighing the pros and cons, and as someone with a limited income I think I'm going to skip Crossfit for now, no matter how much my cousin is pushing it Report
I've been into fitness my whole life and tried just about everything except Cross fit, in it's group setting or "box". I have done WODs at home and they are good workouts. At some point, I will try a workout in a "box", however, I find it small minded to think it is the "only" way to maximum fitness.

This was Coach Nicoles OPINION, of which she is entitled to, rather she has tried it or not. Just like it's YOUR opinion if you are a complete supporter of CF. There are A LOT of great programs out there, it's about finding what works for you and what you enjoy. If you give it your ALL there are a multitude of different workouts that can get you to that place of "ultimate" fit. Determination and motivation come from within not from a program name. I have a heavy martial arts background and I can promise you, IF you dedicated yourself to it, you would be in the best shape of your life. However, I'd also be a fool if I said that it was for EVERYONE, that everyone could do the work outs, that everyone would enjoy the work outs or that it was the ONLY way to achieve a higher level of fitness.

For the critics of Coach Nicole's blog, it's obvious that you are die hard CFers. Fantastic for you, but don't down others for their choice or method in getting fit. Sticking with a program is key. If you did a program called XYZ and you had great success with it, you would then sing the praises of XYZ. You're an advocate for success within yourself regardless of the name in program. There are many avenues to achieve ultimate fitness!

I find I like Insanity, some P90X when I can't get to the gym, kickboxing, tae kwon do, HIIT classes, boot camp, plyo, yoga, etc. Many of the programs out today, have the same movements Cross Fit has adopted. I laugh because box jumps are large in CF, guess what, people were doing box jumps and plyo long before CF borrowed and stamped it one of their exercises.

Cross fit, IN MY OPINION, is a combination of exercises put together in a format of name and program. That, ironically, is also FACT. Cross fit didn't invent deadlifts, (weight lifting) rope climbs, (conditioning) ring work, (gymnastics), box jumps, burpees, (Plyo), pull ups, sit ups, etc. They put those exercises together in a way that pushes for high intensity training. HIIT (high intensity interval training) classes focus on that same principle. Coach Nicole was dead on with this assessment. Just because it isn't labeled CF doesn't mean it isn't effective. Just because YOU might be a person that has the cash to dump into a "box" doesn't make your form of exercise any better or worse then someone else.

I personally think CF work outs are good and effective, but I have done hundreds of good effective workouts. So to elevate it above something that might work for someone else, just doesn't make sense.

Keep the blogs and opinions coming Coach Nicole! Report
If you are happy with your life and satisfied with your routine, then I don't think you need to try something new if you don't want to. I would personally LOVE to try CrossFit someday, but it is definitely cost- and time-prohibitive for me right now. And, like you, I am intimidated by some of the moves. It's the plyometrics that have me concerned because of tender joints, plus I am not in near the great shape as you are. Report