I’m going to say no.
That said, there was an accident last month at a CrossFit competition. In an instant Kevin Ogar, a 28 year old CrossFitter extraordinaire, went from prepping for the CrossFit Games to being a paraplegic. This accident is sad and devastating and unfortunate. It’s also a wake up call. Lifting heavy weights overhead is dangerous. Pushing your body to the brink of exhaustion, and beyond, is a risk. There’s simply no disputing the facts.
Life is Dangerous
Why yes it is. There’s no arguing with that statement either. No matter what you do, death will come calling sooner or later. I guess you could say that living, in itself, is a risk. No push back here. Life is short. It’s difficult. It’s hard work. Above all else, it’s precious.
Does that mean we should live in a bubble? No way. I am not saying that. I never would. I hear everyone out there shouting, “you could die crossing the street!”
You are correct, friend.
I could go in my sleep. No warning whatsoever. Cancer could be in my DNA. No way around it. Car accidents happen every day. Check your blind spots.
Highway to Hell
Since we’re all going to die, why not be reckless as all get out? You know, go big or go home. All or nothing. If you’re not failing, you’re not trying and all that jazz.
Living that way would be as stupid as it sounds. Life is all about finding the sweet spot. Where hard work challenges you, but you can still enjoy the fruits of your labor. Risk and reward. Good and bad.
CrossFit is not interested in any of those things. Don’t get mad at me for saying it. If you have an issue call Greg Glassman. He is the one preaching the CrossFit gospel. He’s the evangelical shunning all non-believers.
It can kill you, he said. (Glassman referring to CrossFit) I’ve always been completely honest about that.
If you find the notion of falling off the rings and breaking your neck so foreign to you, then we don’t want you in our ranks – Greg Glassman
We have a therapy for injuries at CrossFit called Shut the F*ck up. – Guess who…Greg Glassman
So there’s that. And more here.
From the top down CrossFit has built its brand on being extreme. More is better. Start the clock. Back on the bar. PR or bust. Even if that means breaking your back in the process. Literally.
I’m a CrossFit coach. I used to own an affiliate . I don’t any more. I still coach. I never did drink the Kool-aide. I never bought into the all or nothing mentality. That part of it is not for me. It’s not for everyone.
But, fitness is for everyone. Not CrossFit’s definition of fitness, necessarily. Every individual is free to define fitness for themselves.
For me, that means making exercise a part of my life. It means moving more and eating well. Yes, I do burpees, double unders and kettlebell swings. I jump, throw, run, climb, and lift. I lift heavy. I’ll hit cleans and other Olympic moves. I might time my workouts, I might not. Am I doing CrossFit. I don’t know and I don’t care. I’m exercising.
The Battle of Good vs. Evil
This is where things get tricky. If someone isn’t capable of performing a clean and press with proper form they’re not doing “Grace” on my watch. They get pissed because they want to go for a PR. They feel left out because everyone else is doing it. But they’re not ready. Does this make me a good coach or a bad coach?
Common sense would say good coach. Glassman might think otherwise. Do you see the issue here? Critics of CrossFit say that it’s dangerous. Maybe even reckless. Proponents say that its up to the coach to create a safe environment. “It’s about personal responsibility,” they say.
But it’s kind of hard for me to create a safe environment in the gym when the main man at CrossFit is telling people that they should be willing to break their neck for the sake of results.
When I place safety ahead of results am I putting myself on CrossFit’s enemies list? You can’t have it both ways. You can’t be a WOD Killa who takes a day off because you tweaked your shoulder. We both know that you should, but you won’t because you have to keep training so you can knock a few seconds off of your Fran time.
The Truth is…
Look, CrossFit isn’t for everyone. It’s not my fault. That’s how CrossFit wants it to be. It’s the culture they have created. They want to be elitist. Which is great for them. Congratulations on your multi-million dollar business. Seriously. Here’s to you guys for building a badass brand. For advancing fitness. Keep doing your thing. Good luck. I wish you’d stop spewing venom at everyone who disagrees with you. But, it’s whatever.
If you do CrossFit and love it, that’s wonderful. I hope you set all sorts of PRs this year. Keep working hard. You look sexy, or you will. Try to have a life outside of the gym. Get a new hobby or something. But, above all else be smart. Be safe.
For everyone else who doesn’t want to try CrossFit. For everyone who tried it and hated it, you still have to exercise. Did you like anything about CrossFit? Do more of those things. Then mix in some other stuff. Lift some weights. Run. Go outside. Do some push-ups or squats or something.
You have to. Because here’s the truth, CrossFit is dangerous. So is obesity. Extremes always are. Know that when you choose an extreme, CrossFit or couch potato, you have to accept the consequences.
Stay fit my friends.
CrossFitter or not, Kevin Ogar could sure use our help. Go here to donate.
Joe is a writer, trainer and fitness entrepreneur who co-founded Hybrid Athlete LLC, Kettlebell Cardio™ and Race Day Domination. Currently building @fittinsider, a platform for founders, executives, & investors redefining fitness/wellness. Investing in health/fitness companies