Top 7 Myths about CrossFit Training

Whilst CrossFit continues to gain popularity, there are lots of stories that exist that give it a bad name, and which are actually untrue. Here are the top 7 myths about CrossFit training.

Myth 1: CrossFit is only for Elite Athletes

This is the most common myth. When people think of CrossFit, they assume only super fit, elite athletes or ‘gym junkies’ can do CrossFit training, which is totally wrong.

In fact, one of the great benefits of CrossFit is that it can be adjusted to meet an individual’s capabilities and fitness… it can be performed by a professional athlete, or a 60 year old looking to maintain their health.

CrossFit exercises can be scaled to suit different levels of difficulty, and a person’s goals. For example, you can scale the weight according to your ability, or even substitute the exercise for something else. You can also modify the program to gain muscle mass or loss weight.

Myth 2: CrossFit is Expensive

Depending on the CrossFit Box you attend, the monthly fee will typically be $150 – $275 a month. When compared with standard gym fees, it might seem expensive.

However if you train with a personal trainer each week, then CrossFit is actually a lot cheaper. Most people who work with a personal trainer would pay approximately $150 a week for 2 sessions, or $600 a month, which is more than double the cost of CrossFit membership.

If you consider you can attend a CrossFit gym every day given how varied the workout of the day is, then CrossFit training provides amazing value for money.

Myth 3: CrossFit is a Cult

From the outside looking in, CrossFit might seem like a cult but it is definitely not. It’s simply a group of individuals who want to live a healthy and fit lifestyle.

No one is forced to attend. It’s completely up to participants how many sessions they do each week. And there are no weird rituals, just a group of people who love pushing themselves to be the strongest they can be.

However CrossFit is very addictive, and people who start CrossFit quickly find themselves going more often than they had imagined. The fact there are benchmark workouts means people train hard to improve their scores.

Myth 4: CrossFit Makes You Too Muscular

This is often the biggest concern for women considering CrossFit but it is untrue.

Firstly, women’s muscle development is much different to men, so it is much harder to get the same muscle mass. Secondly, CrossFit WODs typically combine weights and cardio to provide high intensity interval training, which improves muscle tone without getting too muscular.

There are some women who may like to put muscle on, and they can achieve this through reducing the cardio element and increasing the weight component.

However the bottom line is there are plenty of women CrossFit enthusiasts who have regular looking bodies, and are not overly muscular.

CrossFit Women

Myth 5: You Must Eat Specific Foods

Another common myth of CrossFit is you have to follow a specific diet and eat specific foods. They do suggest Paleo Diet or Zone Diet, however it is not mandatory and is entirely up to individuals. The main thing is that you maintain a healthy eating routine to support your training, and ensure you get results.

Myth 6: CrossFit is the ONLY Workout Allowed

Contrary to popular opinion, CrossFit can be combined with other sports and exercises. In fact, many people start CrossFit in order to supplement their training for other sports. For example, people who play football or soccer, do CrossFit to improve their overall fitness and ‘game day’ performance. Other common sports include swimming, running, athletics, basketball and tennis.

Myth 7: CrossFit Training Makes You Vomit

This is a funny one. CrossFit WODs are designed to push people but it’s certainly not encouraged to push you until you vomit. If you start feeling unwell, or the workout is too intense, you should always stop and speak with a trainer.

CrossFit: What is it and is it for me?

Many of you have probably heard of CrossFit, and you may be wondering exactly what it is, if it’s safe, and more importantly, if it’s for you. As a physical therapist as well as someone who trains with CrossFit, I’d thought I’d share my experience with this training program to help you decide if CrossFit is the workout program for your health and fitness needs.

CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program used by police academies, military units, and both elite and non-elite athletes. When I showed up at my first CrossFit class, I expected to see a group of 20- and 30-somethings, but there was actually a huge mix of people. Half of the people in this class were athletes looking to take fitness and competition to the next level, and the other half were regular Joes of all ages looking to get healthy. One of the great things about the CrossFit program is that it is designed for scalability, making it applicable for most individuals regardless of experience, age, or fitness level. It can be scaled for elderly and de-conditioned individuals all the way up to super elite athletes; if you have seen the CrossFit games you know what I am talking about.
First things first. The Importance of a Good Coach
Look for a coach with experience and advanced training. CrossFit gyms are run by coaches who have been certified in CrossFit movements, skills, and body mechanics. They also are trained in how to plan WODs, also known as Work Out of the Day. There are two levels of coaches. I would recommend looking for a level 2 coach if possible or a level 1 instructor with a strong background. The more education and training a coach or instructor has, hopefully the better they are at recognizing faulty mechanics and scaling workouts to your specific needs.

What are the Workouts Like?
Range of Motion and Flexibility
CrossFit incorporates so much into your hour workout. It is all about broad movements, strength, and agility. Range of motion and flexibility are an important part of CrossFit both for injury prevention, optimal movement, and mechanics. For example, full ankle, knee, and hip range of motion are required to perform a proper squat. A CrossFit squat is feet hip width apart and slightly turned out, butt dropped below knee height, knee behind toes, and lower leg parallel to floor.

If you aren’t strong going in, you will be coming out. Pull-ups, push-ups, box jumps, and squats are norm. Heavy weight lifting with kettle bells, bars, and medicine balls should be expected. Overall, the workout is full body. It works the core through incorporation of weight lifting and bodyweight lifting, but do not expect to do sit-ups for your six-pack abs. You will be too sore from toes to bar to even question the idea of no crunches.

Agility and Speed
In addition to strength and range of motion, agility and speed are a part of each workout. All workouts are done as a group and timed. This adds to the fun and camaraderie of CrossFit and why everyone wants to join. You are part of a team. There is competition, encouragement, and drive for each workout. After the workout is completed, times are posted, so you can keep track of your personal goals and who’s the person to beat. Not only does the timed workout lead to the team aspect, but it also improves endurance, speed, and agility. It challenges you to max out your muscle stores with quick repetition and minimal rest breaks.

In Conclusion…CrossFit is for everyone! It is an intense workout that can be scaled for your goals and personal limitations. As with any fitness program, it’s a good idea to speak with your doctor before starting a new exercise program and once you’ve begun the program–listen to your body! CrossFit is meant to be challenging and encourage you to meet your fitness goals. Give it a try, and have fun with a group of people looking for a healthy challenge.

Written by Athletico’s Rachel Kowalczyk