Throughout the course of history there have always been new things introduced into the world. Whether it is an idea such as Columbus believing the world to be round there will always be those who believe that your idea is not correct. Looking at the fitness community you will see that it is not any different. Cross Fit is this new idea and like all things either you love it or you hate it; however, unlike the rest of the fitness world Cross Fit brings something new to the table which is why many believe it to be a better way of working out and a better way of life.
Before explaining this tyle of training first we will look at its beginnings along with its founder Greg Glassman. Greg grew up in the San Fernando Valley of California in a family that with no exaggeration was a family of rocket scientist. (Murphy, 24) When he was a teenager he participated in gymnastics not Just for hobby, but as an athlete who’s favorite discipline was in the still rings. Though each routine only last a couple of minutes at most, it is very physically taxing. Because of this Glassman wanted to come up with a new way to train that did not require the use of a normal gym.
So with the help of his dad and the purchase of a few necessities they turned their garage into a home gym. At first he began with standard movements such as arm curls and the bench press, but because of his background in gymnastics, what would normally be a hard workout for most people he found to be far to easy. What he decided from that point on was that he needed to come up with something that would simulate the stress and exhaustion that one would feel during a gymnastics routine, so from there he came up with a set of numbers he would go by, which are 21-15-9.
In his garage he ubjected himself to a workout that in his mind was an equivalent to a rings routine which consisted of 21 thrusters, 21 pull-ups, 15 thrusters, 15 pull ups, 9 thrusters, 9 pull ups after which he covered the garage floor in vomit. (Murphy, 25) After his solo run through with this workout he was able to convince another teammate who lived on his street to run through it again, after which they both threw up once more! When Glassman was 18 he had his first Job as a trainer working as a coach for the gymnastics program at the Pasadena Y. W. C. A.. Cross Fit Virtuosity) As he got older he egan working at gyms as a personal trainer, but because his style of training was viewed as unorthodox he was never able to hold a Job at a single gym for a long period of time. Let me explain what I mean by unorthodox. Typically his clients would go through a series of workouts that were both high intensity and odd to say the least, at least to those who were unfamiliar with his style. Glassman would push his clients to their limits and Just keep them there until the workout was over; they used dumb bells in ways that you did not normally see by swinging them through the air.
Weighted balls known as medicine balls were thrust into the air bounced off the wall and caught only to be repeated over and over again, but what the biggest problem with most gyms was his use of Olympic style lifts. With these lifts like everything else he would have the clients repeat them over and over again, which was frowned upon by these gyms because a lot of times when the clients would fail at a lift they would aump tne welgnts wnen tney nlt tne polnt 0T Tallure. nat I mean Dy aumplng Is tnat they would Just let them go and when they hit the ground they would do it with such orce and noise that everyone in the gym knew what had happened. The very last time that this had happened was in the mid to late 90’s in Santa Cruz where the Glassman’s had moved from LA and once this happened both he and his wife, who was also a trainer were fired immediately. (Murphy, 21) When one thing ends another begins, and that is exactly what had happened here with the Glassman’s, and with the help of man named Jim Baker the first Cross Fit box was born.
Now that we have a bit of a background on Glassman we need to delve into what Cross Fit is. When Glassman was fired from his last corporate gym he had a vision of what was next already in his mind and told Jim Baker, “We’re going to change the way the world thinks about fitness”. (Murphy, 22) That is no stretch because he did Just that. Again though, what is Cross Fit? Well according to the Cross Fit website and under the title of “What is Cross Fit? ” it says this in the first paragraph, “Cross Fit is the principal strength and conditioning program for many police academies and tactical operations…
Our program delivers a fitness that is, by design broad, general, and inclusive. Our specialty is not specializing. “(Cross Fit, 1) As it says in the quote Cross Fit really was used as a training system for police and military in its beginnings because of it’s ability to offer a way of training that covers may different areas of the body and many styles. In fact it is still used to this day in the military and police academies through out the country. One thing that needs to be understood is that Cross Fit is not for one group of people in particular, in fact it is meant for everyone; however, many of its critics believe otherwise.
In researching my topic I came across any articles that spoke about its benefits, and when I say it I mean Cross Fits benefits and negatives. One that really caught my eye was written for Men’s Health and was posted on their website. Grant Stoddard is the name of the author of this article and in it he quotes Robb Wolf who at one time was a close associate of Glassman’s. In fact he helped open the first few boxes and later became the nutritionist for Cross Fit. After a falling out though he has since become a major critic of the program itself.
Wolf says this about Cross Fit, “If you’re strong and healthy, ou’ll probable do okay,”(Stoddard, 2) One thing that has always stumped me when it comes to research is why would you go to a source that is completely against it, especially when that person was at one point on the complete inside. Now let me introduce you to a man named Tony. Tony first walked into a Cross Fit box in 2007 after going through a cervical laminectomy only 9 months previous. A cervical laminectomy is used in the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis, and is very taxing on the body.
To give a better explanation of what MS is I will use a definition I found on the National MS Society website. Multiple sclerosis (or MS) is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system (CNS)… Symptoms may be mild, such as numbness in the limbs, or severe, such as paralysis or loss of is Multiple Sclerosis? ) Tony’s symptoms were not to the point of being blind, but he did suffer from loss of strength on his left side which over time turned into a sever limp. Remember how Wolf said that unless you are strong CrossFit wont work for you?
Well keep that in mind because Tony was definitely not strong at this point in his life and really struggled after with the recovery process from his surgery. At the beginning he oun tnat nls recovery time Trom workout to workout was mucn longer tnen most people, and because of this he thought of quieting at one point. Thankfully though his coach kept him going. (Boudreau, 2) As time progressed he grew stronger and found that his MS symptoms became easier to deal with. When he started CrossFit could hardly pick up a 451b bar, but now he can clean one with plates adding up to 2001bs.
He struggled to do even one push up from his knees, especially with the loss of strength he suffered from, but now he can do a wide assortment of different ushups. (Bourdeau, 3) Another symptom of MS that some suffer from are muscle spasms. Typically when Tony suffered from these it would drain his strength for a day or two, but after participating in CrossFit for a time, he found that he could get through these episodes in a few hours and was still able to function after each one. (Bourdeau, 2) There is another story that caught my eye the other day while I was on the CrossFit Facebook page.
The story that made me stop and look was called “120 pounds and counting” and it is written by Kate Rose. Obviously if one could not tell, his story is about a man who has already lost 120 lbs and is still losing the weight. For anyone to lose that much must signify that they are very over weight, which PJ was. When he first walked into V02Max, which was his local box he weighed in at 420 lbs.. When he started the program he could not do a squat and had to use a 24 inch box to squat onto. Now, he can do a complete squat and uses that old box to Jump onto when certain WODS require.
As of last June he weighed in at 300 lbs, and continues to lose weight. (Rose, 1) There are even more stories out there of other uccesses, and a majority of them are about those who started CrossFit in absolutely horrible shape! There is another “GREAT CONCERN” many of the critics of CrossFit seem to voice together. That is that the trainers do not go through a proper education process before they themselves are able to teach classes. Sure you could say that because of the fact that they do not have to gain an associates degree to teach, but they still must go through a class to even be certified as a Level 1 instructor.
All who are interested in teaching at the beginning level must go through the Level 1 multi day seminars. Within these classes they learn proper movements within the basics of CrossFit along with good teaching technics. Before they even begin this process they are strongly encouraged to already have a background in CrossFit by participating in the program itself. To shed a little more light on the matter I found out more information from a none CrossFit site called ACE. ACE stands for the American Council on Exercise, and is a leader in certifications for many fitness trainers.
Within this organization they look at different types of programs and really dissect them especially when it come to those that are newer such as Cross Fit. Again there was an article that I had found after searching the Internet for a while in regards to the negatives and positive of Cross Fit and I found one written by Fabio Comana. Now, in regards to what I originally began talking about with the critics stating that those who are Cross Fit trainers do not have enough experience to train safely, Comana actually said this about the matter. Cross Fit has devoted significant time and energy to educating their coaches. Their Cross Fit Level 1 certificate offers a basic introduction to the fundamentals of Cross Fit, and a cursory overview of ovement mechanics, while the Cross Fit Coaches Prep Course is an intermediate- level seminar building upon many of the foundational concepts and movements Introaucea In tne Level 1 course. It Is tne Level 2 Iralner cert T I Icate tnat goes Into great movement and programming detail, offering comprehensive overviews for teaching movement technique. (2) Along with proper training of the coaches many boxes have a mandatory beginners class. Within the class you practice movements with little to no weight at all so that you can get an understanding of the proper movement. You are not aloud to move into the intermediate class until you have proven that you can execute the basics first. So as you can see really it is about safety first then getting through the WOD’s second. Just to pull away from Just Cross Fit lets take a quick look at what are considered to be many of the health benefits of physical activity.
According to the Canadian Medical Journal in one of its most recent studies it says, “Both men and women who reported increased levels of physical activity and fitness were found to have reductions in relative risk of death. ” (Warburton, Nicol, and Bredin par. ) Of course there is risk when you participate in something as physically demanding as CrossFit, but there is risk in getting out of bed also, but unless you are confined to a bed I doubt most will stay in it day in and day out.
Why not change your life for the better, get out of your comfort zone and meet new people, sweat, gasp for air, hell maybe even puke because even though the pain is hard to deal with, the positive change is far easier to live with! Work Cited. -Murphy, T. J. Inside the Box. Colorado: Velo Press, 2012. Print. – Glassman, Greg. “What is Crossflt? ” Crossflt. com: Oct. 2002. Web. 27 Nov. 2012. Boudreau, Mary Conover. “Multiple Sclerosis and Crossflt-one man’s Journey. ” Crossfitkop. com: April 2009 Web. Dec. 2012 -Comana, Fabio. “Crossflt-ls the Gain Worth the Pain? ” Acefitness. org: n. d. Web. 7 Dec. 2012. – Warburton, Darren. Crystal Whitney Nicol, Shannon S. D. Dredin. “Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence. ” Canadian Medical Journal 174. 6 2006. -Greg Glassman Biography. Crossflt Virtuosity, Web. 8 Jan. 2013 -What is Multiple Sclerosis?. National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Web. 8 Jan. 2013 -Rose, Kate. “120 Pounds and Counting. ” Crossfit. com: Community, 7 Jan. 2013, web. 8 Jan 2013