Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. This blog is a unique perspective of one persons journey into fitness. Not all clients and participants at Parsons Training undergo the same training, and each person makes his or her own decisions regarding dietary discretions.
By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
September 17, 2017
Okay, I will not lie. This is not going to be an easy blog post for me to write. Over the years, I have taken a lot of pot shots at boutique fitness movements, you know, the kind of stuff that makes you scratch your head and wonder what amount of drugs or alcohol were consumed to birth said idea. I go after some of this stuff the same way I go after people that must have silly little items that they don’t really need (like Fidget Spinners and Samsung Note 8s). I mean, being a minimalist and having little in my own life, adding stuff beyond the basic is strange to me. So here it goes. This is like having “the talk” with your kids or something. Let’s talk about Crossfit.
Okay, so first thing is first, I have a lot of beefs with the whole Crossfit methodology and I will definitely speak out about them. However, this does not mean the idea does not have any merits. It is kind of hard to really explain it, so I just go with the Wikipedia description. “Promoted as both a physical exercise philosophy and also as a competitive fitness sport, CrossFit workouts incorporate elements from high-intensity interval training, Olympic weightlifting, plyometrics, powerlifting, gymnastics, girevoy sport, calisthenics, strongman, and other exercises.” Crossfit is so many different things thrown into one, and usually it is always topped off with a lot of personality and burpies (kind of like my cooking on some days). The common joke about Crossfit is the same one I get about being vegan…Don’t worry, someone in Crossfit will preach to you about Crossfit (now just imagine the conundrum if you were vegan and into Crossfit…which do you start off with!!). Anyway, I have talked about plenty of exercise methodologies that are similar to Crossfit before, much like High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and German Volume Training (GVT). The only real difference between Crossfit and these other workouts is the variety of workouts that you can do each day as well as the lack of a set time limit. The one thing I will hand Crossfit is the fact you can get just about anything when you get hit with the “Workout of the Day” (WOD). Jon and the trainers at Parsons Training have adopted this mentality quite sincerely, making up their own workouts that are often times difficult and surprising to those that are not prepared. On Tuesday I found myself doing a challenging pyramid workout, and then Thursday I could have done a more leg based workout according to the WOD (I did my own thing on Thursday). The variety is key in this respect, for the biggest problem that many people run into with their workouts is stagnation. Doing the same darn thing every can be a boring and often times tedious expenditure. If you have a creative coach to help you along the way, turning a workout into a fun experience can make the whole thing more meaningful. I bag on Crossfit quite a bit but this part of the philosophy I do partake in from time to time. Doing my standard “Bro” workout where I do a lot of heavy weights can lead to a slow and often times boring workout. Will I get what I really need out of workout? Will I really lose weight in the process? Some days I feel like there is nothing that will help me get over the hump, but doing a Crossfit style workout can be a good break of pace. And that is where the best part of Crossfit centralizes from. It destroys calories, especially if you have a good WOD. Personally, this little article I found probably summed up the best of Crossfit. http://getbetterhealth.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-crossfit-a-physicians-perspective/2013.09.27
If anything, the most important part of fitness is knowing that you are not on that journey alone. Establishing a good support system is key to a good fitness regimen, and this sense of community is extremely prevalent in Crossfit. Not to mention that the workouts are not always centralized around heavy weight lifting, this can be appealing to people that are still early in their journeys toward better health and leaner body. Another good thing is Crossfit does promote a dietary ideology, which can be good or bad depending on who you talk to. Personally, Paleo is an okay diet methodology, but it is rife with inconsistency and hypocrisy, so I’m just gonna go ahead and throw that opinion out there. If anything, doing these types of workouts will not only challenge your body and your mental fortitude, they will also provide a good cardio workout for you. So far it seems okay, right? I mean, when any prospective workout regime is done properly, you can certainly lose a lot of weight and maintain a good physique. Crossfit on paper looks good to the naked eye, but harkening back to that original article I cited, be sure to really do your homework.
Crossfit “boxes” are basically free zones when it comes to working out, and by free I mean free from proper form, common sense and sometimes safety. Now I will admit, someday I will probably try Crossfit, but only after I get more training in regards to my Olympic weight lifting. You see, Crossfit really loves the snatch, deadlift and the clean and jerk. The problem is, they rarely promote proper form to do this, so be sure you are well versed in your Olympic training before getting into this or you will end up on a prestigious Fail Army compilation. https://youtu.be/6QIBoHeuS-0 Now, of course I’m going to point this. Injury is the occasional problem when you work out. That is why you learn at a proper pace and strengthen your body over time to lessen the probability. Please be careful and do your research on a good box, because the biggest issue in Crossfit is the amount of injuries that occur within the methodology. This mainly comes from overworking certain movements as well as doing too many reps of a certain workout. One thing that has kept me away from Crossfit is the fact it seems to praise the idea of getting injured, at one point having a mascot named “Uncle Rhabdo,” which was named after rhabdomyolysis. This condition hits you when you work out too much and exert your body o the point of actual kidney failure. Not only could you get extremely sick you will lose your “gains” in the process (rhabdomyolysis softens your muscles). So aside from the usage type of injuries that you may run into, be aware of the “effort” injuries that you may run into.
So yes, there is some good Crossfit if you do properly and at a pace that you can get into. Like with anything in life, it is always about the person that is in charge. I don’t have a problem with Jon’s WOD’s because they are challenging but also can be adjusted for people that have a better fitness base. But when you start seeing your WOD filled with 50 snatches and 50 clean and jerks, you might need to approach with caution. Either way, happy working out!
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Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.
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