CrossFit is accused of so many things, you probably have your own perception. I know I did before I started six years ago, I didn't think it was of benefit. CrossFit seemed to be just "another" form of exercise but my mind was opened once I actually tried it and took the Level 1 Certification. CrossFit is a methodology based on science. It was originated through solving a problem that a gymnast faced, "How could he improve his fitness for gymnastics?". He knew that his competitors were working with only bodyweight programs so he tried incorporating barbells and dumbbells. This gymnasts name is Gregg Glassman and he is the founder of CrossFit.
Based on Real Science
Glassman conducted experiments on himself and friends with different workouts and how they changed fitness. He read 1000's of scientific journal articles and began to form what is the foundation for CrossFit. There was no sensible definition of fitness before Glassman created his own definition in 2002. He states that your fitness is your work capacity across broad time and modal domains. It isn't based on how you look or how long you workout for. Your fitness is represented by a collection of workout data points. By tracking the difference in time between workout attempts you are looking at changes in power. He did not have to study this much longer to come to this understanding.
Furthermore, Glassman has not slowed down in his transformation of science. He has been at war with companies such as Coke and Pepsi and also the National Strength and Conditioning Association of America for their roles in "fake science" to make money. You can read more about this mission here https://www.crossfit.com/health
Specialization Equals Sacrifice
Because the CrossFit fitness definition includes broad time and modal domains, specialization is the enemy of fitness. Spend all your time becoming a great long-distance runner and you sacrifice your strength and power. Commit yourself to be an Olympic gymnast and you sacrifice aerobic capacity. These athletes are incredible in their specific domain but outside of that their work capacity has huge flaws.
Challenges that Increase Happiness
One of the greatest things I see occur in our gym is when members achieve something they never thought they could. All from a small challenge supported by appropriate coaching cues and modifications. It might be a pull-up, holding a handstand against a wall, running 3km or lifting their body weight. Thing is CrossFit is often accused of being "too hard" because it does challenge you to do things you may not like or have never done but that is where the beauty lies. Learning to do something new shows you that you are capable of learning outside of the gym too. Proving to yourself what you can achieve with consistent effort also increases your self-esteem and confidence. CrossFit is not too hard because you make it as hard as you want. If anyone ever tells you that it's too hard they don't like knowing what they are truly capable of or being challenged.
What other exercise methodology will demonstrate, teach and develop your running, handstands, pull-ups, deadlifts, back squats, bench press, rowing, swimming, skipping and any other functional exercise you can think of. That's another beautiful part of CrossFit, it doesn't limit it's boundaries because that would limit your fitness.
Why I Still Believe In CrossFit
At this point, it would be incredibly hard to change my mind, however, part of the CrossFit ideology is that we are committed to what works best and will change to that if enough science supports it. If you believe you have a better solution I will listen. For now, I see no other exercise methodology that would have taught me the skill of balancing on my hands, lifting my body above rings, back squat over double bodyweight and run a mile under 6 minutes without specializing. Let me give you some of my data as to why I really believe CrossFit has no equal.
Deadlift 1 rep max - 170kg (July 15th, 2014) / 220kg (June 7th, 2019)
5km Run - 28:04 (June 19th, 2015) / 21:58 (September 5th, 2018)
Max strict pull ups - 10 reps (August 31st, 2015) / 17 reps (January 3rd, 2018)
1 Mile Run - 7:27 (May 20th, 2016) / 5:43 (August 2nd, 2018)
Grace (Benchmark WOD) - 3:26 (February 17th, 2016) / 2:03 (October 9th, 2018)
Front Squat 3RM - 100kg (April 19th, 2014) / 150kg (November 17th, 2018)
CrossFit Games Open 15.5 - 11:02 (March 27th, 2015) / 8:22 (February 2nd, 2019)
I have decided to use data points that most people would understand. The goal in providing this data is to show improvement, the peak performances listed are not the focus (there are many people stronger, faster and fitter than I). Look at the difference in my first performance compared to the best ones. So if you try to tell me something like you can't get stronger doing CrossFit you must understand now that I won't believe you.
I am empathetic to your thought that you may not be able to do this because you have a physical limitation but don't use that as your excuse. I have achieved these improvements whilst I have always had to be mindful of after major damage to my right knee in my teen years. An orthopedic surgeon told me I had the cartilage of a 40-year-old when I was 15 (that was the extent of the damage). You can make modifications around your limitation just like I do and yes, you too can make the improvements that I have. You wouldn't know I have this by watching me work out and you certainly wouldn't know that nearly every single person in our gym has some sort of physical limitation but they do, just like you.
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