No pain no game: The truth about CrossFit

When people hear, “CrossFit” they usually assume the conversation that follows will include talk about the Paleo diet, someone’s new LuLu Lemon outfit and a workout of the day (commonly referred to as WOD by crossfitters), all strung together with excessive use of the words “bro” or “brah.”  

With gyms, or “boxes,” popping up all over the country and posts of WOD’s popping up all over social media, Crossfit is the new workout craze people either love or love to hate.  

CrossFit is simply a combination cardio, weight lifting, gymnastics, core training and many other elements to create a full-body workout. 

A typical CrossFit class consists of a warm-up, stretching and mobility, a breakdown of certain lifts, the workout of the day and stretching and mobility again at the end. 

The WOD is where all the elements come into play in a cardio workout that combines strength and endurance.  

As a member of CrossFit Northgate in Santa Rosa, I have firsthand experience to people’s misconceptions and harsh opinions of CrossFit. To tell the truth, most of them are laughable.

When many people, who have never done CrossFit before, have any medical background or expertise in the field what-so-ever, talk about CrossFit, they are always very quick to say that it is terrible for the body and will lead to injuries. 

Before beginning CrossFit, I had torn my ACL, MCL and meniscus in both knees and had to get five knee surgeries. Since doing CrossFit, the constant pain I used to feel is gone. 

Both knees, and the surrounding muscles, are stronger than they were before any of my surgeries, and have honestly never felt better.  

Don’t get me wrong, CrossFit hurts. It hurts to do 100 push ups, it hurts to sprint 400 meters on exhausted legs and it definitely hurts to stretch sore muscles. 

At the end of a 20-minute workout, those muscles will be burning, and those legs and arms will feel like jello, basically it’s going to hurt. But it hurts in all the right ways. It’s the kind of hurt athlete’s crave. It’s the kind of hurt that makes a person stronger, physically and mentally. 

Another common misconception is that crossfitter’s do not care about form. First of all, walk into any gym in the country and there will be a handful of people using poor form. It just happens.  

With that being said, CrossFit coaches are practically Nazi’s about form. No one wants to get hurt, and the coaches, especially, do not want people to get hurt in their gym. It’s a liability. 

Before any workout, the group will spend as much time as needed to perfect the basics of the lifts before beginning the workout. 

There are even classes that focus on the basics of lifting for weeks before joining the rest of the gym in the regular WOD’s.

Something that is commonly said about CrossFit is it’s like joining a cult. A cult? If a cult is a group of people who like to be together, create friendships and network with each other that goes far beyond the gym, then sure, CrossFit is like a cult. 

With all the laughs, high fives and competitive trash-talk fighting to be heard over the blaring music, CrossFit is like going to a crazy family gathering multiple times a week.  

One of the funniest stereotypes, however, is everyone who does Crossfit walks around in either a sports bra or shirtless, with their six-packs and defined muscles out for everyone to see. 

Although that would be ideal, it, unfortunately, is not reality. I have actually yet to see anyone excessively flaunting their ridiculously toned bodies at the gym, although some definitely should.  

Even though some people have big muscles or are really toned, everyone is not like this. 

There are the typical meatheads, who wear bro-tanks and drink their protein religiously, yet there are also moms and grandmas who are just trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle despite busy schedules. There are all different types of people who participate in CrossFit, no matter age, gender or culture.

Despite viral videos that show some crossfitter’s using terrible form, while shirtless, holding their protein shakers and saying something to the extend of, “bro, I totally killed that WOD today. Do you even CrossFit?” 

Remember there are obnoxious, attention-seeking and ill-trained people at every gym, not just CrossFit. 

A few videos do not describe the typical population or atmosphere of a CrossFit class. 

CrossFit is not for everyone. But one does not need to spend a few hundred dollars on new LuLu Lemon gear, start drinking protein or go on the Paleo diet to fit in.

 As long as a person is willing to push themselves, work hard and be consistent, they could thrive at CrossFit.