Why I Fell Out of Love With "CrossFit"

Wednesday, June 17, 2020 - 01:02

Before we get into this, I'm referring to the group class, everyone does the same "high intensity" working while trying to "forge elite fitness."

Oh and don't get me wrong. I "drank the kool-aid." I mean, I swam in it.

I was going to go to the games. I was going to build a gym of fire breathers that can all do muscle ups and snatch 200lbs.

I never stopped to ask whether or not this was what people wanted or - more importantly - needed. I was so consumed with the cool fitness modality, or "sport" if you will, that I was blinded to the fact that there are some pretty obvious flaws if you want to create a fitness journey that lasts a lifetime and can lead to a client having autonomy in their fitness.

The group aspect is fun, and doing the same high intensity workout with others around you will double up on hormone responses that your body gets hooked on. You convince yourself that this is where you need to be, because it just feels so good. 

But, does it? Does it really feel good?

Are your goals being addressed? Your specific goals? Or are you snatching because that's what's on the menu for the day?

Is your movement selection and load correct for your body and your lifestyle?

Are your workouts serving you, or consuming you?

After twelve years in the "CrossFit" scene I have seen too many people become consumed by having to prove themselves to others or to themselves and forget that they need to take care of their mind and body, first.

If you want to get a pull-up you should be working on that.

If you don't want a big back squat, there is no need for you to do heavy back squats. In fact the argument could be made that unless you're training for a sport that requires bilateral power production, you don't ever need back squats in your life. Blasphemy, I know.

It is not normal or correct to have an "always achey" joint. Your workouts should address this and work around it if necessary.

Group fitness is fun, I get that. Nobody is telling you not to workout with your friends. We're only saying that your friend might not need or want to snatch to be fit. You might not want to do handstand push-ups but your friend is all about it.

We also have to be leery of "keeping up with the joneses." Going into the gym and loading more weight to keep up with your buddy even though your knee is aching is a sign that we have a misaligned intent for fitness. At that point, our movement practice has become counterproductive.

Listen, I love the "constantly varied high intensity functional movement" idea for fitness. It changed my life and allowed me to open a gym to help change other lives.I also know that the early adopters were MMA fighters, special warfare operators, and olympic athletes. Resilient individuals who had spent years practicing the basics and practicing a personal program before just diving in.

There was no long term test for the masses. CrossFit took off like a bullet train and we all just tried to keep up.

So did our parents and grandparents. High volume high impact cyclical movements performed at high intensity for the sake of "forging elite fitness" was prescribed to the masses with little regard for training age, chronological age, specific goals, or movement limitations.

Asking someone to squat is not screening them for movement limitations. Come see me when you're screening each joint and testing for strength balance as well. These are the things that provide quality of life AND allow a professional coach to write a program to address those imbalances. Without looking at these physical markers and contributing lifestyle factors, it is a disservice to blindly prescribe movement to somebody.

Let's be real for a second. Most of us do not need "elite fitness" and even more people do not have the lifestyle pieces in place outside the gym to be able to safely and repeatedly express the high intensity movement inside the gym - even when "modified" or "scaled." Being in pain because of the gym is the opposite of why we should be doing fitness. Participating in an exercise program that causes discomfort is akin to insanity, of which the definition is "repeating the same task over and over expecting a different result."

This is why we are moving forward with our Thrive™ group class at Ardent Fitness. Our Thrive™ Class is unlike any that you’ve experienced. We combine a personal program with a fun hour with your friends. You get the best of both worlds via a half and half split. The first half of class is custom work for you, your body, and your specific goals. This is delivered to you from your own coach via an app and the coach running class will be there to make sure you are wholeheartedly setup for success. In the second half of class, everyone does the same fun conditioning workout together. Your coach has also armed you with the knowledge of what is the right modification for you, according to your movement screens and strength balance tests. This approach gives us the most effective AND most fun approach by combining a personal program with the opportunity to throw-down with your friends.

We are a personal coaching facility that helps individuals to find their most powerful self.

We are Ardent Fitness.



-Chase Tolleson

OPEX Coach

Chase Coach pic