Hi my name is Nichole, and I love CrossFit (CF). There I said it. As a personal trainer and someone who creates training programs for non Crossfitters, admitting you like CF is a little uncomfortable. Most trainers bash CF and its training style and not going to lie, all of that made me think CF was bad too. That’s all I knew really before I tried it. There were lots of well-meaning fit pros I looked up to hating on it the daily.
So before I get into my CF story, let’s talk about the history of CF and where it stands today.
History of CrossFit
“A gymnast and celebrity fitness trainer in California in the 1970s and 80s, Greg Glassman went on to train police officers in the 90s’. It was during this time that he used high intensity workouts which utilized a number of disciplines so that officers were generally prepared, rather than excelling solely in one area. His aim was to create “greater work capacity across broad time and modal domains.” After setting up his own gym, he created the CrossFit concept in 2000.” https://www.fitnessadvisory.org/2013/11/08/the-history-of-crossfit/
There are now more than 13,000 Crossfit Affiliate gyms worldwide. I currently train at the 36th CF affiliate.
Here’s why I say the Good:
“To be “CrossFit” is to possess a general physical capacity that lends itself generally well to any and all contingencies: to the likely, to the unlikely, to the known, to the unknown. The fitness of the CrossFit athlete provides a solid foundation from which to take on any sport or any task.”
The idea behind CF is that through its training you’ll be able to handle anything life throws at you. For me that means, running a Spartan race, holding a 4-year-old in one arm and a 6 year in another and running through Target, and knowing I can help my husband move something heavy and he doesn’t have to call a buddy. And true story here, the other morning he had me come outside to help move his ice fishing gear into the truck 😊
Here’s why I say the Bad:
“The CrossFit stimulus—constantly varied high-intensity functional movement coupled with meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar—prepares you for the demands of a healthy, functional, independent life and provide a hedge against chronic disease and incapacity. This stimulus is elegant in the mathematical sense of being marked by simplicity and efficacy. The proven elements of this broad, general, and inclusive fitness, in terms of both movement and nutrition, are what we term our CrossFit Essentials”. https://www.crossfit.com/essentials
I 100% don’t believe in the nutrition side of CF. That being said you don’t have to eat that way to be a Crossfitter. Some box’s will push it but most won’t. At the end of the day its up to you to choose what nutrition strategy works best for you.
As a nutrition coach and a Crossfitter, living off “little starch” is no Bueno, it’s not optimal for training or your quality of life. Eating lots of lean protein, veggies, fruit, and unprocessed carbs is most optimal but eating sugar and processed foods can absolutely be a part of your lifestyle.
When my husband joined a CF gym he was instantly hooked. He’d come home from a workout and I would jokingly say, “so how was your WOD at your Box?” in my best douchey voice of course. WOD by the way, stands for workout of the day and box is a CF gym. You see CF has its only language, its own competitions, its own community, basically it’s a fitness island.
It was a year into his CF journey that I decided to go my husband’s gym and do a couple of sessions with his coach. Personally, I was bored with my own training and looking to switch things up. After 10 training sessions I found myself really enjoying Olympic weight lifting and completely stepping out of my comfort zone.
“Olympic weight lifting, often simply referred to as weightlifting, is an athletic discipline in the modern Olympic programme in which the athlete attempts a maximum-weight single lift of a barbell loaded with weight plates. The two competition lifts in order are the snatch and the clean and jerk. The snatch is a wide-grip, one-move lift. The clean and jerk is a close-grip, two-move lift.”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympic_weightlifting
My main lifts before transitioning into CF were the bench press, deadlift, and squat. Learning to snatch and clean and jerk were completely foreign to me and very difficult, however, it was something new to work on which in of its self is very exciting.
I also learned my endurance level was not where it should be, yes, I was strong AF and looked the part but I got winded easily. Trying CF presented me with new challenges but as a personal trainer largely focused on body building, I went into with a cautious mindset.
Here’s why I say the Box:
The thing about CF is that it can get a bad rap, from trainers and from people who have tried it and gotten hurt, I had a friend once describe it as the “devils” workout, no joke. That’s when finding the right box comes in, BTW, I never say box, I just say gym but since this is a CF article, we’ll keep it real.
A lot of box’s get it wrong. They don’t make their new members go through fundamentals or immersion training, they let them jump right in. That is the biggest reason people get hurt, they don’t know what their doing or their over training.
CF workouts are hard and if you haven’t learned the basics, your going to get hurt and you’re going to likely over train. Moral of the story, if a CF gym lets you jump right into classes and you have no experience, run, run very fast right out that door.
The best part of CrossFit is really the community that gym has built and being a part of an even bigger worldwide community. At the end of the day, we are human beings who crave companionship, support and accountability, and enjoy being apart of team.
The other aspect to think about is cost. Right now, you can join a few different gyms in your area I bet, costs range from $10 to $80 per month. CrossFit gym members are usually $150 plus especially plus if you’re in a city like NYC and Boston. The financial commitment is a big one and not to be taken lightly. And like I mentioned before, a CF gym will have you taking some type of 1:1 training or group immersion classes to teach the basics before you can start regular classes, and that is a hefty price tag as well.
Do you need to be in shape to start CrossFit?
That’s a big HECK No, it doesn’t matter your current fitness level, a good CF gym can help you no matter what, and guess what, they want to! Helping someone go from out of shape and not working out to making their health a priority and joining a community where you have accountability and support is why people open CF gyms, its why trainers become coaches and why members become friends. Its not a workout routine, it’s a lifestyle!
If you answer yes to these questions, then CF is something you try:
1. Do you need accountability in your workouts?
2. Do you love to push yourself?
3. Do you like constructive feedback?
4. Do you enjoy being a part of a team?
5. Do you care about performance?
6. Do you have cash to spend (this shit aint cheap)
If you answered No to any of those questions, move on, CF likely isn’t for you.
I hope this article and if you every have any questions email me at Nichole at NerGfitness dot com!