What are you not a fan of?
Sitting in a coffee shop recently, I overheard a conversation between two female gym goers. One of them had done CrossFit a few times and seemed to enjoy it but hadn’t really committed. The other however, said she was “not a fan.”
That statement struck me right away and made me wonder what the issue was. The first thing I wondered was, why that choice of words? The other thing I wondered about is what part of CrossFit was she not a fan of?
I am passionate about human performance, and as much as I know firsthand the effectiveness and utility of CrossFit, it is difficult for me to imagine how someone could not be “a fan.”
I fully expect everyone to recognize how awesome it is and embrace it and enjoy it like I do. I am always a little surprised when someone quits or doesn’t come back to the gym. I always wonder what precisely the cause was. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t lose sleep or pull my hair out over it, I know it’s going to happen, but I do often wonder.
So if you say you’re not a fan, I’d like to ask you: What are you not a fan of?
- · Work?
- · Facing your shortcomings?
- · Competition?
- · Weightlifting?
- · Gymnastics?
- · Running?
- · Achievement?
- · Summoning up the self-motivation and drive to push yourself beyond what you previously thought was possible in a workout?
- · Discomfort?
- · Heat?
- · Cold?
- · Camaraderie, community, and support?
- · Having people you just met or barely know cheering and encouraging you?
Seriously I want to know. What aspect of athletic strength and conditioning do you object to?
- · People expressing themselves enthusiastically during a workout?
- · Dropping weights?
- · Dirt?
- · Sweat?
- · Chalk?
- · Accountability?
- · Deep squats?
- · Deadlifts?
- · Intensity?
- · Not doing “cardio” in the conventional way?
- · Ditching your heart rate monitor?
Please share with me what turns you off about CrossFit. Maybe I can address your concern. Then again maybe not. Perhaps it’s a systemic problem with your attitude or belief system. I don’t know. What are you not a fan of?
Did someone tell you it’s dangerous? Did you meet a self proclaimed “CrossFitter” and he or she was obnoxious? Did your trainer (you know the one, who puts CrossFit down in public, but does the wods in private) tell you that anyone can be a CrossFit trainer, that no special schooling is required, and hey, he has a degree in exercise physiology… Did that cause you to be biased?
Did you go to a CrossFit gym where they didn’t know what they were doing? That could happen. There are bad coaches in any sport, though I have to say the majority are passionate, competent people.
Or maybe….just maybe, it’s that you’ve invested years of your time and effort in the conventional fitness routines, doing what the establishment has told you to do, and when something comes along that turns all that on its head, and says guess what, much of what you have been doing is a waste of time, that is a really bitter pill to swallow.
Anytime in history when someone has defied conventional wisdom, and forced people to accept a new paradigm, and throw out old ideas, that individual and his ideas have often been met with great resistance, and persecution. Change is uncomfortable.
Many people in the fitness industry have a vested interest in the status quo, in conventional wisdom. To these folks, we CrossFitters are heretics. According to Merriam-Webster, a heretic is “one who dissents from accepted belief or doctrine.” For example, Galileo was condemned as a heretic for supporting Copernicus's thesis that the earth revolves around the sun and not vice versa.
How silly it seems now to think otherwise.
When you challenge a person’s core beliefs, things can get vicious. Hence the controversy and strong opinions regarding CrossFit. My advice is relax, take a deep breath, and put it in perspective. Entertain the possibility that maybe there is a better way than the typical 3 sets of 10, fitness mag workouts, circuits of machines, isolating muscles on machines, and doing 20 minute stints on the elliptical or treadmill. You’re invited to come try it out on me. I’ll give you a 3 day pass, really. You might be surprised.