The author of this text from the American Shape debunks the main fears and excuses about doing CrossFit. In turn, we provide a brief summary of the original article while answering the main question: “Is CrossFit bad for you?”
Is CrossFit Bad for You?
Myth #1: I will have to work out until I lose consciousness and die in training
Don’t be fooled by the fearsome workout plan names of the day. It’s just a title, guys! Although this opinion, in principle, can be understood.
“The CrossFit program is known for its high workloads. When people who have just come to CrossFit, not knowing how to correctly gauge the intensity of their workouts, feel tired and exhausted,” notes Yumi Lee, a Reebok athlete who has gained popularity as a trainer for celebrities such as Jessica Alba and Hugh Jackman.
You need to be careful with the intensity of your workouts. In a good CrossFit box, experienced trainers will help you lay the foundation for your form by introducing you to technique and proper load selection. Only then can you start working at high intensity. Without the right form, you will not be able to perform exercises and achieve your goals, but the risk of injury, on the contrary, increases.
If you’re unable to complete your entire WOD, stop and let your body rest and recover, Lee advises. “You have to understand the difference between the discomfort that everyone feels and the pain that needs to be avoided. This is a necessary phase to complete at the very beginning of your CrossFit program,” adds Noah Abbott, trainer at the CrossFit Gym in Brooklyn. “It’s okay to feel uncomfortable or tired, but if you’re holding your breath or feeling overly stressed, stop if you don’t want to get hurt.”
“Why CrossFit is bad” myth #2: I can get hurt
Any activity carries the risk of injury. However, do not blame any sport for injury, in particular CrossFit, as exercise helps build muscle and reduces the risk of injury. Problems only arise when you stop listening to your body. “If you feel something, the coach is unlikely to know about it until you tell them about it. They can’t get into your head and read your thoughts,” says Noah Abbott.
The same goes for too much weight. If you can’t get it up, don’t push yourself too hard, advises Christmas Abbott (not to be confused with Noah Abbott), a Reebok athlete who has drawn on all her CrossFit training and coaching experience at the Reebok Crossfit One gym in Canton, Massachusetts. winning the title with the Nascar team last year.
This is how she describes her post-workout routine, which is normal: “I drink plenty of water to keep my body hydrated and cool down to relieve muscle soreness and replenish omega-3s to reduce inflammation in the muscles ”.
Myth #3: I will meet uncle Rhabdo
Nobody needs such “relatives”. Rhabdomyolysis is a very rare and serious disorder caused by overworking muscles, causing fibers to break and enter the bloodstream, which can lead to kidney damage or worse, kidney failure. Many people think that CrossFit training can cause these complications, but today is the time to debunk this myth.
“A lot of people take risks, taking on huge loads, trying to achieve visible results as quickly as possible, but their bodies did not have time to adapt to such loads.” This is what causes health problems. You should not bench press more than your weight at the first workout.
Myth #4: I will gain muscle mass
This myth “scares” only women, but we hasten to please you: it is not so easy for women to build muscle mass. “Muscle gain is linked to testosterone levels, so most women are simply not genetically predisposed to gain muscle mass,” notes Noah Abbott. However, when you watch CrossFit Games on TV or see a CrossFit athlete in a magazine, you might be intimidated by these mountains of muscle.
“The CrossFit Games feature 50 of the world’s best athletes who have been in the business for years and have passed a series of qualifying tests that screen out a huge number of athletes,” notes Abbott, adding that most of the big athletes have a genetic predisposition to gain weight. However, the average woman is more likely to lose a few sizes and fit into that old dress, instead of gaining muscle mass from the CrossFit program. “People tend to get slimmer and stronger, not bigger,” adds Noah. Change rarely goes very far.
“Why CrossFit is bad” myth #5: I will have to compete with other athletes
You don’t need to make every workout a competition. You set tasks for yourself. This is your choice. Despite the fact that you may feel that you are constantly fighting with others, and every day it becomes more difficult to cope with the increasing competition, the only person you are fighting with is yourself.
“It’s great if you have buddies with whom you can compete in success, it gives you an incentive to work even harder, but you should not concentrate completely on the task of “putting on the shoulder blades” of your friend or some cocky guy in the gym,” says Abbott.
It is highly recommended to keep a training log. Pay attention to how you feel during your workout, how quickly you complete the WOD, and how quickly your body recovers. This will help you better measure your progress and better set goals. You need to focus on your problems, for example, improve the result even for a split second or have time to raise more balls before the timer rings.
You don’t have to constantly look at others and compare yourself to those around you. And if you start to suck in the atmosphere of competition prevailing in the gym, just take out a notebook with your notes. This will help you focus on your own goals.
“You can see that you have increased your squat weight by 35 kg over the past year. This will help you understand that you are moving forward, in order to go forward, you do not need to constantly run after someone.“
Myth #6: I’ll have to go on a diet
You can exercise until you blue in the face, but the result will not come if you do not change your eating habits, so a special diet is a right decision for many. The best diet, dating back to prehistoric times, is to eat high amounts of protein, lower carbohydrates, and eat only the right fats.
However, for some, such a diet is not suitable. Healthy food is often very expensive and it can take a huge amount of time to prepare the right meals. Therefore, it is best to only change certain eating habits. “Start with regular exercise and very soon your body will tell you what to eat to get the best results,” says Lee.
If you decide to use a special diet, it does not have to be a plant-based diet or something similar (especially since the myth of going paleo has already been debunked by scientists on the pages of The Lion Health). Talk to your trainer about their eating habits so that you may be able to share the information you need. Not everyone is a nutritional expert, so it is best to consult with a professional dietitian before determining your future eating habits.
Myth #7: It costs a lot of money
Yes, it might be cheaper to get a gym membership, but what if you don’t see any results?
“The gym is where you pay to access the equipment,” says Nate Forster, who owns the 5th Avenue CrossFit gym in New York and another CrossFit gym in Miami Beach.
“At CrossFit, you pay for high-quality coaching, we have an average of one coach per 10 people.” There is something to think about. CrossFit offers a workout program, personalized approach, and coach support to help you reach your goal faster. If you visit the gym 3 times a week, do everything that is required of you, the result will inevitably come.
If you are not ready to pay, think about the fact that you will most likely pay no less for a few hours of training with a personal trainer. Plus, you can follow Christmas Abbott’s advice and just spend a little less on entertainment. “Invest in health and lifespan,” she advises.
Myth #8: It takes too much time
Some spend 6 days in the gym for grueling workouts, leaving one day to recover. But you don’t need to overextend yourself. Three to four workouts a week will be enough to get good results, and two workouts a week will be enough to keep you in shape if you are doing any kind of sports.
The classes themselves do not last long. On average, a group lesson lasts about an hour, and completing WODs takes from 8 to 20 minutes. This is not very much, is it?
“There is a difference – to sprint 400 meters as fast as possible or to run 10 kilometers. You can be very exhausted by running 400 meters, so you won’t even be able to stand on your feet for some time after the race, but after a 10 km run, you can walk and chat with other participants in the race. So more doesn’t always mean better.
Myth #9: Only former athletes can do CrossFit
Perhaps the first time you enter the CrossFit gym, you will feel like a frail young man who is surrounded by adult strong guys. However, all these people did not necessarily have to be professional athletes or simply played sports at some time. Some, of course, may have been involved in sports in the past, but this does not mean that next to them you should feel like a second-class person.
“CrossFit is for everyone,” says Lee. “We have people in the gym who have never played sports before. We had one man who was 35 kg overweight and lost 22 kg in the first 7 months. I also know people who have suffered from serious back injuries, and today they are able to do exercises that were previously not available to them due to back problems.“
So there is no need to hesitate, drop everything and go to the gym.
Myth #10: You will have to understand incomprehensible terms
The terms accepted in the CrossFit environment may seem obscure to you at first, but after a while, you yourself will easily scatter these words over your speech.
“Every CrossFit gym has a kind of induction program that allows beginners to understand how it all works,” Lee says. If you are planning to start training on the CrossFit program and are looking for a gym – call and see if they have an introductory course. These introductory classes don’t have to be expensive.
Some gyms, such as the West Hollywood CrossFit LAB, offer 6 introductory sessions that break down all movements and are required before starting CrossFit. “If at the end of the introductory course you still have little understanding of how CrossFit works, we suggest taking the introductory course again,” says Lee.
Myth #11: This is only for “insiders”
Many gyms can resemble a sect in which the entrance to outsiders is closed. CrossFit, on the other hand, is a very open community, as noted by Christmas Abbott, who was passed by another athlete just seconds before, after which the two girls hugged and thanked each other. Even if you feel uncomfortable at first, Forster says, that feeling will definitely disappear when you see 10-15 people cheering you on during the WOD.
Myth #12: All boxes are the same
CrossFit is not McDonald’s. This means that you shouldn’t expect to go to two different places and see the same “kitchen”. All boxes are licensed (in the USA – editor’s note), but this does not mean that there are some general rules for all. But such freedom also carries certain risks, since not everyone can shoulder the burden of responsibility.
How to proceed: you need to find out everything thoroughly. “Visit at least three boxes nearby for the ambiance and setting,” advises Noah Abbott. First of all, you need to pay attention to how the coach works with the audience: “In a good gym, the coach walks around the place and makes sure that everything goes well.”
More about this topic:
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- Exercise-Induced Nausea: Why? How to Help It?
- Yanita Yancheva: Hot Fitness Trainer from Bulgaria
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