Unless you live in a remote rural area or in a cultural vacuum, you have heard of the new workout craze, CrossFit. CrossFit is a company that has over 6,000 gyms around the world, and it continues to grow. Everyone loves it, but no one ever mentions the downsides.
|Randomness is one of the keys to CrossFit. This means it doesn’t train you for any particular skill.|
CrossFit is the latest craze in the fitness world. If you live in an urban or suburban area, you are probably within a stone’s throw away from its gym. The company was started by Greg Glassman and subsequently marketed to the rest of the world. These gyms have become more common than yoga studios and Starbucks coffee shops combined. As of July, 2013, there were over 5,000 gyms of this company in the United States and Canada alone, with many more in Europe, Australia, and around the world. However, it is not like aerobics or yoga but a proprietary workout, which is a combination of sprinting, rowing, weightlifting, climbing rope, bodyweight exercises, etc.
Every coin has two sides, and this case is no different. As quoted by certified trainers, this company does have its plus points for making one fit and muscular, but it has its downsides as well. A few of them are mentioned in the paragraphs below.
One of the fundamental ideas behind CrossFit is the notion that, if you surprise your body with a new kind of workout every day, the workouts will be more exciting; and you will be more fit overall, because you don’t develop lopsided strengths and weaknesses. So, there is no specific workout regimen that is followed here, and members have no idea what their workout will consist of on that day. They may be doing lots of pull-ups, endurance training, free weights, or most likely, a random combination of all of these. While this may suit some people, many could find difficulty with changing exercises every day. This is because everyone has a different body structure and constitution.
Variety and Fast Pace
Workouts here are varied and fast-paced. Usually, workouts involve intervals of high intensity work followed by lower intensity strength training or cool-down periods. But in this case, because the timing of the workout is important, you can’t just show up here at any time of the day or night and do the workout for that day. You have to go at a scheduled time, and do the workout along with all the other people present there. It follows a generalist strategy, i.e., it focuses a lot on group therapy, which may not suit people with certain temperaments. This kind of system suits people from military and sports backgrounds.
It is not for people who have any injuries or health conditions. While this is a case with most commercial gyms, the point cannot be overlooked here, because you have to be really fit to join this particular gym. The exercises are risky, and if you participate in them when you are tired, then you will just end up with an injury. One condition which has been associated with this gym is rhabdomyolysis (rapid deterioration of skeletal muscle). Even though it is rare, it is possible to get it if you follow the exercise regimen recommended here. This serious condition leads to dehydration, weakness, extreme stiffness, soreness, and even swelling of the affected muscle. Another symptom is dark red or brown urine.
A competitive culture is followed here. After working out, the teammates run around together. Your statistics for the day are recorded on the leader board, which can be viewed online. This sort of system sounds great in theory and does encourage people to work harder and be tough. However, it can also create a divide that is quite unnecessary. The members might start competing against each other, each wanting to outdo the other. This might result in the person pushing himself to the extreme. Cutthroat competition and high intensity characterize much of the corporate world, and exercise is supposed to help blow off that steam. So, it is certainly disturbing for people who come here just to unwind and take it easy.
The regime is way too expensive. A one-month trial package itself possibly costs $125. Only a person who is associated with this gym is allowed to drop in, that too with a drop in fee of $20. Personal training per half an hour is possibly charged $40. Regular members might be charged $200 or more per month. It is way beyond affordable for the common man.
As mentioned before, the generalist strategy may possibly give rise to a high-class atmosphere, and people who are not used to this kind of attitude may find it difficult to cope up. Being one of the largest companies to provide physical fitness organizations, some pride is certainly well earned. However, people come to the gym to exercise and keep fit, not to show off and flaunt. The atmosphere here may be such that even if you are not able to understand something, approaching the instructor for doubts can get awkward. The same goes with the members. You might be snubbed and reprimanded for not being able to keep up, or anything else. You may be expected to follow a certain protocol. This kind of a snobbish and egoistic atmosphere may not be liked by many.
All in all, CrossFit seems a great place to burn your excess fat and get back in shape. The points mentioned above may vary with different perspectives; however, it is better to consider the pros and cons before joining it.