ASK A TRAINER: Should I Try CrossFit?

Hi Fitbabe, My friends are trying to get me to join them in doing CrossFit! I am not in very good shape, and usually just do cardio on the elliptical for 30 minutes 3 times a week. I never lift weights, but they told me that it doesn’t matter and that I can just jump into the “workout of the day” and they will modify it for me! I am worried. Any advice? Thanks, from Samantha

Hi Samantha! I am so glad you are thinking about getting a little more aggressive with your fitness goals by incorporating some sort of strength workout into your fitness regime. However, I think you should run—not walk—away from ANY fitness facility that lets you jump into a workout without an assessment or screening process first. You could have any number of joint problems or muscle imbalances that might be worsened if you are not properly introduced to a strength training or metabolic conditioning program. CrossFit has many good points, but unfortunately, in my opinion the bad points outweigh them, for many reasons.

In fact, I have so much to say on this topic that I am working with FFG to produce a post for December 2nd, called “Cultures of CrossFit.” In it, I will provide more information about the fitness aspects of CrossFit, while FFG will consider its cultural relevance and potentially broader meanings in relation to current economic conditions, as well as shifting understandings of gender, among other things. 

Back to my briefer response to your question: Specific goals are best achieved with specific tools; there is no one best tool for everyone and everything. There is no one-size-fits-all. Everyone is an individual. The biggest mistake a personal trainer/gym can make is to assume that every client is a “blank slate” when he or she shows up for the first training session. For every goal, there is a different, most optimal approach to achieving it.

According to John Sifferman (Physical Living, NSCA-CPT): CrossFit advocates admit that they hope to prepare people for as wide a variety of activities as possible. Their goal is not specificity, but generalized training that helps participants get better at doing most things, instead of focusing on only one or two things. I think that CrossFit meets these goals, with clients getting fitter, feeling healthier, enjoying physical activity, and feeling mentally prepared to take on almost any challenge. However, there are many limitations to this approach. If you put a CrossFit athlete in virtually any competitive arena, his or her results will be shamefully lacking. No one will win bodybuilding competitions with CrossFit training! Likewise, a CrossFit athlete will likely not be the best powerlifter, olympic lifter, triathlete, or MMA fighter.

So Samantha, please consider your specific goals and do your research regarding this CrossFit gym! We all need to find a fitness plan that suits our lives!

Deanna Harder

Fitness Leadership Diploma, CSEP-CPT (Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology-Certified Personal Trainer), and Figure Competitor

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About fitbabe

Deanna Harder is a college-certified, highly knowledgeable personal trainer, with over 20 years of experience. In addition to running her own business in Edmonton, she has competed in 6 figure competitions, and is always ready for a new challenge. Fitness Leadership Diploma, CSEP-CPT (Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology-Certified Personal Trainer)

1 thought on “ASK A TRAINER: Should I Try CrossFit?

  1. Great advice. I am against CrossFit for the same reasons you listed above. I think it’s a much better investment to hire a personal trainer for at least the first month or so, to teach you about proper form and detect any muscle imbalances you may have.

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