Stop Hating People

As much as I can, I’m going to try not to respond to the “CrossFit’s Dirty Little Secret.” Because that’s not what this is about for me. This is about misinformation and hatred.

It’s perfectly okay for you to hate CrossFit, and everyone who does CrossFit. I have no problem with posting and blogging about CrossFit’s flaws- the half reps, the pull ups, the poor Olympic form, the injuries, the cocky attitudes. I’m not even denying that it happens- it does. All of it. I’ve seen it.

What I don’t understand is WHY do you hate CrossFit?

You hate CrossFit because of the poor form?

We can walk into ANY gym and I can point out poor form on just about every exercise. Hey- Olympic athletes practice and train for hours on end… NO ONE has PERFECT form for EVERY rep. But whydo you hate someone who goes to CrossFit to MAKE THEMSELVES BETTER? To work on their form? That seems crazy to me.

Because of the half reps? The pull ups?

If you consider a strict pull up as “the only pull up,” not a problem. I’m sure you can beat some CrossFit athletes out there. But understand that we’re after a different physical stimulus- the reality is the same amount of work is done in a kipping pull up as in a strict pull up (basic physics), it’s simply done by different muscle groups. Just because it’s different doesn’t make it wrong.  No one is hating you for your ability to do strict pull ups, so why are you hating the other side?

The attitudes?

No complaint here. There are definitely people who CrossFit walking around with “holier than thou” attitudes… … but there are just as many meatheads walking around believing they are God’s gift to mankind. Why do you hate a group for the actions of a few? That’s like the rest of the world hating EVERYONE who works out  and does laundry because of the Jersey Shore.

The injuries?

Now for the elephant in the room. Yes, people get injured doing CrossFit. Just like people get injured working out at their gym. Just like people get injured running, doing yard work, and even doing their normal jobs. NOT like people get injured on the couch. And yes, a large portion of injuries are due to the athlete being stubborn, or doing something stupid (a good coach CAN prevent some of these injuries- mostly by correcting mechanics before allowing for high intensity). Ericka Andersen wrote an excellent article on personal responsibility here.

I’m okay with all of this… I don’t understand it, but I’m okay with it. What I’m NOT okay with is publishing your own biased, subjective opinion as some sort of “fact checked” educational piece.  A Google search doesn’t qualify as fact checking. For scientific data, you need to check scientific journals in which each article is peer reviewed by experts in the field. Check out this search for causes of exertion rhabdomyolysis in scientific journals. Surprised at the results? There are definitely some case studies where “functional fitness” and “strenuous exercise” are indicated as causes- but there are a LOT of compounding factors: heat, humidity, genetics, DEHYDRATION, drug abuse. You’re welcome to interpret these articles any way you’d like, but I can tell you that either side you take, there is not a dearth of concrete evidence to support your argument. To suggest that the CrossFit program is recklessly endangering people by exposing them to activities that will cause them to suffer rhabdo is simply a lie. On the other side of the coin, to deny that  high intensity physical exercise is a risk factor for rhabdo would be equally as reckless (luckily CrossFit educates their coaches on the risk and symptoms of rhabdo- check out their training manual if you don’t believe me.)

At this point I could go on and on- citing the statistics for marathon runners, cyclists, and swimmers at risk of rhabdo. Or we could talk about the risk of dying from heart disease due to a sedentary life and 40 years of eating fast food. My point is, if you want to have an educated, scientific discussion about the health benefits and risks of high intensity training, use the scientific journals, not Google.

Look I’m a scientist. And a veteran (I participated in the 8th study on that list while on active duty). And a CrossFit coach. It’s okay if you don’t like CrossFit and never want to give it a try. But don’t hate someone for trying to improve their fitness. I don’t care if it’s P90X, running a 5K, Pilates, 9 Round, CrossFit, or ANYTHING else- if someone is trying to improve their life and their health you should be encouraging them, not bashing them. And unless you’re an expert in the field and preparing to publish some earth-shattering data the demonstrates how proper CrossFit programming and execution causes rhabdo, stop feeding people your biased opinion as fact.