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First things first, I’m not Old School CrossFit. I’m talking the real old school CrossFitters like Brian MacKenzie, Josh Evertt, Chris Spealler, Freddy Camacho, Mike Minium, Skip Chase, Lisbeth Darsh, etc… Yeah I left off a bunch of cool people, these guys just jumped off the top of my mind. I consider myself a second year kinda guy. I always check out these guy’s websites and blogs, seeking to dig out some kernels of gold or pearls of wisdom.
I didn’t start CrossFit when it was truly underground, but I did help build CrossFit Costa Mesa from my lowly garage to the 9,000 square foot gym we are expanding into, when it was the only CrossFit gym in my city and there was only one other CrossFit gym nearby. And I did get dirt in my lungs for cheering on the valiant heroes of CrossFit at the ranch in Aromas back in the day as well when the Games were there.
Like I said, I consider myself a Second Year CrossFitter and now as I sit back and watch one of the greatest passions in my life, CrossFit, launch into the stratosphere with the explosion that will be this year’s Reebok CrossFit Games, I both smile and cringe with thoughts of the future. I smile as more and more people are transformed by the community that is CrossFit and at the thought of more people taking ownership of their health and bodies. That’s why I started my affiliate and that’s why I do everything I can to make it the best place around.
But I also cringe. I cringe at the articles that come spewing out from the naysayers or the “haters” as we may as well call them. But I also cringe at the “CrossFitters” who are perpetrating the actions that justify the hate. That’s why I am writing this today, you see, as Second Year CrossFitters I’ve learned a few things.A while ago I wrote about “Diluting the Brand” a CrossFit dilemma we will always face with this growing and expanding entity. I mentioned how Greg Glassman’s view was dead on, how excellence and virtuosity based in a free market will cause the strong to survive and the weak to get better or leave the business. I’m seeing that happen on a daily basis.Well now I feel called to talk a little bit about CrossFit and common sense. I find it laughable this even needs to be addressed in regards to CrossFit, but hey, sometimes even I get surprised by other human’s actions.Let me share with you some examples I’ve recently come across in my normal day to day life.
July 19th’s Main site WOD “Manion”
Seven rounds for time of:
Run 400 meters
135 pound Back squat, 29 reps
This is a brutal WOD. I’ve done 30 bodyweight Back Squats at 180# for time after a WOD one day and couldn’t walk right for a week. Not that I’m some elite CrossFitter by any means, but I knew exactly what 203 back squats at 135# would have done to me.
So many people got pissed about this workout. The forums exploded with haters. Mainly because the day before had 30 overhead squats at 135#, two days before that we had Barbara (250 air squats), and the day before that was Front Squat 1-10-1-20-1-30 reps. So many squats everyone complained. People blamed the programming, blamed CrossFit staff, and cried to anyone who would listen.
Here’s the common sense part. If your legs are blasted so much that you realize this will push you over the edge, or Heaven forbid, could cause you to get injured, listen carefully now… scale the workout or simply don’t do it. How many times does Glassman have to say that main site workouts are just one aspect of CrossFit? If you don’t like it, don’t do it. That’s the common sense.
The Kipping Pull Up
Here’s another story. I listened to a new potential client at my gym talk about how CrossFit is dangerous and he is worried he is going to get hurt. He has friends, he says, who have shoulder and elbow injuries from doing too many kipping pull ups at another CrossFit gym. I smiled and nodded and talked about what we do that may be different, but inside I am thinking, “Is this guy’s friends total morons?”
I cringe all the time when I see hand tears, shoulder injuries, or elbow tendon issues. Where does CrossFit ask you to get hurt to achieve Elite Fitness for yourself? How does having ripped calluses help you get more fit when you can’t grab a barbell for days at a time?
Do injuries happen? Sometimes. Do calluses rip? Sometimes.
Should these things happen? Absolutely not. If you have to recover from an injury, be it from doing too many kipping pull ups or pulling too heavy on a dead lift and tweaking your back, then you are hurting your fitness. You now have to take time off from getting fit to heal and recover. For the sake of your own health, use some common sense. Listen to your body. Talk to your coaches. If they are competent and actually care about you achieving elite fitness they will do everything they can to keep you healthly and uninjured.
Speaking of ripped hands, are they not a rite of passage into CrossFit? Do I celebrate the first small tear on the hand of a female client who has finally got her first pull ups and completed her first WOD as prescribed? You’re damn right I do! Of course, right after that I start reminding her about the hand care we preached about in our On Boarding Program and how she needs to care for her calluses and hands at all times. I remind her how getting injured will not help her fitness, but I’m damn proud of her at the same time.
Look, this is my final comment about CrossFit and Common Sense.
You have a brain. Use it and make good decisions. If your CrossFit affiliate only programs MetCon WOD’s that last 45 minutes, run the hell away. If you notice fatigue or wear and tear on some part of your body, let it recover and take care of it. If your trainer is trying to push you in a way where you are going to get injured, talk with them about it or get the hell out of there. If you can’t do the main site WOD that day as prescribed, life will be OK.
In your pursuit of your own Elite Fitness remember it’s just that. It’s your own. Take accountability for it and for how you are achieving it and your world will be a much brighter, healthier, and fitter place.
See you in the gym.