Thanks to Lisbeth Darsh for sharing a great article with the facebook world.

Now while I do think that CrossFit is the most effective strength and conditioning program out there, and while I do think that (when done safely) it is also the most effective training program to get and keep people physically and mentally sound, I try very hard not to bad-mouth other programs out there.

At the end of the day, here is my stance on fitness:
“Doing SOMETHING is better than doing nothing.”

So go ahead and grab that P90X DVD. Do you love dancing to Zumba? Go to Zumba class and dance, then! Do you prefer hot yoga? Go get your sweat on. Do you like doing ALLLL of these things? Even better! Switch it up and keep your body guessing.

My only request is that you try not to make false and insulting statements about “the other guys” along the way. Out there, another person is trying to get the same results as you are. They’re just trying to get there a different way.

This article below, written by Penny Love Hoff (Huffington Post health/ lifestyle/fitness coach), is probably one of the most condescending articles on CrossFit I’ve ever read. To each their own, and I respect her for having her own opinion… but I do not agree with her one bit. πŸ™‚

Here’s how she ends her full article:

“All I believe you need to do in order to live just about as long as the CrossFit cult members is 25-30 minutes of cardio exercise (meaning that you are sweating and you could talk but not sing) four times per week, fifty crunches and twenty push-ups, modified to your knees if needed. Do these most every day. And you will live just as long. Unless there’s a natural disaster and it’s survival of the fittest, then the CrossFit peeps will survive beyond most of the rest of us. But that’s okay with me. I’m not into sleeping on the ground and I’m not much of a survivalist anyway.”

I’ll say one thing more about this approach to CrossFit. Yes, I am aware that many people are “fanatical” about it, and I realize that it can be a turn-off to many. However, I still firmly believe that if someone were to come in and NOT be fanatical about it, they would still become “healthier” and “more fit” than someone who wouldn’t even walk through the door to give CrossFit a shot.

Ok, read on…

Is CrossFit Only For Maniacs?

by Penny Love Hoff (Huffington Post)

Just to keep me on my toes, I’m going to resist the urge to use the term “audacious radical fitness zealots” when referring to CrossFit, a strength and conditioning program for what I would call the “over-the-top” athlete.

On the CrossFit website, they summarize their program in 100 words:

“Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week. Mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports.”

Okay, I agree with a lot of that. But after looking at some YouTube videos of some of the main CrossFit workouts, I’ll bet that in ten years, they will have bad knees, torn rotator cuffs and more artificial joints than me. And the sad thing is that they won’t be able to keep doing what they love to do, which is continue to move with ease and speed. CrossFit is a fitness craze.
Virginia Heffernan wrote about it in The New York Times Magazine. She called it a “grueling online exercise regime that requires near-devotional commitment” and in my (sort of) humble fitness opinion, she is politely understating it.

Of course, nothing’s wrong with have a Goliath-style work(out) ethic and a lofty Olympic-like fitness threshold, but this workout is a joint-buster. It puts the “man” back in “maniac.” Although I did find myself lusting after their handstand pushups and their rope climbs, their hurling, snatching and dead-lifting with near impossible speed. After all, I’m still working on mastering one pull up, but I also imagined their knees exploding on the next ever-deeper squat or their shoulder dislocating as they balanced in a dangerously unnatural angle on the gymnastic rings.

My reaction could just be the mom in me. Or the CPR certified aerobics instructor. Or the non-idiot part of me. Then I had a horrifying thought. What if some of my readers who read my articles about working out look upon my fitness suggestions with an equal sense of disbelief or a similar feeling that I had while reading about CrossFit — that the exercises prescribed are equally impossible?

So the point I want to make is that nothing you have to do to be healthy is super-human –although on some rainy Mondays mornings, it may feel like it. All I believe you need to do in order to live just about as long as the CrossFit cult members is 25-30 minutes of cardio exercise (meaning that you are sweating and you could talk but not sing) four times per week, fifty crunches and twenty push-ups, modified to your knees if needed. Do these most every day. And you will live just as long. Unless there’s a natural disaster and it’s survival of the fittest, then the CrossFit peeps will survive beyond most of the rest of us. But that’s okay with me. I’m not into sleeping on the ground and I’m not much of a survivalist anyway.

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Comments
  1. Ben says:

    Don’t love it till you try it, Mrs. Hoff πŸ™‚

  2. Willy says:

    I think you said it quite elloquently, Mr. Ashby.

    I agree wholeheartedly that it’s all about what makes you excited to be active. Not everyone can lift 250 lbs over their head 10 times to compete in the crossfit games (exaggeration, I know). But also not everyone has the mental discipline to swim 400 laps at a time, or run for 2 hours straight (or if you’re an Ironman athlete, follow that up with another hour of biking). But that’s not to say everyone has to do that. Like you said, if you want to shake your booty at Zumba and have fun, then do it!

    And as with anything else, there is a difference between being “fanatical” about what you’re doing and being “passionate.” Fanatics (in my opinion at least) try to push their ways on to others as being “the way” or “the only way.” Passion is what inspires people to try what you do, and to be the best they can be. You (Smashby) are passionate. A lot of the people on the Crossfit Boards or some personal trainers at gyms, or even Penny Love Huff to an extent – are fanatical. So preach your message, Smashby! Let the Crossfit world know how to be more passionate, and I think many more will follow.

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