In case you haven’t heard, the CrossFit Games are currently taking place from now through July 28th in Southern California, and the world is tuning in to watch this incredibly popular and growing sport.
And if you’ve never watched them before, I’d highly recommend tuning into the Games, which feature a test of some of the world’s fittest athletes over a week of incredibly rigorous athletic events competing for the title of Fittest on Earth.
The competition workouts involve everything from burpees to rope climbs to snatches to dog sled pushes (yes, really). And the strength, endurance, and pure grit these athletes have is seriously mind-blowing.
But before you get too inspired by the sport while watching the athletes compete on TV and decide to dedicate your life to it, you should know the good—and the bad—of CrossFit.
CrossFit can be awesome
There are a lot of really rad things about CrossFit, which involves a lot of sprinting, gymnastics, plyometrics and Olympic lifting (and is not all that different from 12 Minute Athlete workouts). For one, the sport isn’t sexist at all, and welcomes both men and women as equals, which is fairly unusual, and incredibly cool.
It also has an awesome community, with people supporting each other no matter what their experience level. It’s made people who never thought they were athletic at all into badass athletes.
What’s more, CrossFit is multi-directional and focused on functional fitness, so you can function better in real life. And there’s no question that it’ll make you strong, fast, and lean (as long as you eat right).
But despite all of the cool parts about CrossFit, there are some not-so-cool parts about as well, and reasons why it shouldn’t be advertised as the perfect, one-size-fits-all form of exercise.
I wrote about my own decision to stop doing CrossFit on a regular basis (I still go every once in a while with family for fun or to test my fitness level among other athletes since I normally work out alone) and why it wasn’t right for me.
And here’s why CrossFit may not be right for you either:
It’s too expensive.
CrossFit gyms can run upwards of $200 a month for an unlimited membership, and many don’t even have the option for less (such as a punch card or limited access membership).
For students or anyone on a budget, $200 a month just for a gym membership just isn’t realistic.
And if you’re a big traveler, that hefty price tag may not even get you access to other gyms. I’ve had to pay as much as $25 (!) to go to a single CrossFit class at a gym that wasn’t my home gym (I have had one particularly cool gym in Vancouver, WA let me train for free since I was already paying monthly dues at another CrossFit box, but they’re probably my favorite CrossFit gym ever and an exception to the rule).
For a sport that’s otherwise pretty welcoming, its high costs automatically rule out a lot of people that can’t even think about affording it.
It takes too much time.
Though most CrossFit workouts tend to last only about 10 to 20 minutes (the really brutal ones are 40 minutes or more), the whole class takes about an hour including the skill learning and warm up.
Plus, most gyms recommend you get there 10 to 15 minutes early to stretch and warm your muscles up, and highly suggest you stay after to foam roll and stretch post workout. All in all, the entire workout ends up taking about an hour and a half, and that doesn’t even include the time it takes to get there.
It can f&$@ up your shoulders.
You have no idea how many people I’ve talked to that end up with shoulder injuries from doing CrossFit.
Whether it’s a torn rotator cuff, a separated shoulder, a frozen shoulder, or some other painful condition, the Olympic lifting and shoulder-intensive workouts tend to lead to shoulder injuries even in the most experienced CrossFitters.
Now, this isn’t necessarily CrossFit’s fault—it’s most often due to bad form, overuse, or previous shoulder issues. If you want to keep your shoulders healthy for life, I’d highly recommend mobility expert Kelly Starlett’s book, Becoming a Supple Leopard.
But still, doing CrossFit regularly increases your chances of getting a shoulder injury by, well, a lot.
If you’re a woman, it can leave you looking a bit… unfeminine.
Yeah, yeah I know… looks aren’t everything. Being strong and fit is awesome. And there are certainly some sexy CrossFit women out there, I’ll be the first to admit it.
But for most of us? The constant heavy lifting in CrossFit tends to build wide, bulky shoulders and a square, curve-less midriff in those of us already with an athletic build (speaking from personal experience here).
And because of the natural female tendency to hold on to a little extra body fat, it can cause the appearance of having extra bulk (rather than looking extra lean) unless you’re really careful about what you eat and try to stick to sub 15% body fat levels (which isn’t easy or natural for most women, including me).
It’s really cliquey.
There’s something about the self-torturing, vomit-inducing nature of the workouts and the community they create that make CrossFit appear almost cult-like to those on the outside. As a result, many of its participants get fairly judgmental and even a bit rude about the fact that you don’t do CrossFit as well.
In fact, if you ever happen to meet a CrossFitter and tell them you don’t actually do CrossFit or dream about getting a PR (personal record) in your sleep, watch their face as they immediately classify you as a total wimp.
Even now, when I meet an avid CrossFitter I have a hard time admitting that I also don’t do CrossFit five days a week. And this is despite the fact that I know I’m (or at least try/pretend to be) a badass—I do HIIT workouts six days a week, and am stronger and fitter now than when I did CrossFit regularly (could be the increased energy and lack of injuries I have now).
I’m competitive, what can I say?
CrossFit isn’t for everybody
Whether or not you’re avidly watching the CrossFit Games this week, you have to admit that the athletes participating are insanely fit and incredibly inspiring. And it’s obvious they’ve found their niche.
But just because they’ve found a sport that makes them feel at home doesn’t mean CrossFit is right for you, or me, and that either of us are less of a badass because we’re not total CrossFit junkies.
We just have more time. And money. And our shoulders aren’t broken, that’s all.
Now go get ’em, tiger.
13 thoughts on “5 Reasons Why CrossFit Probably Isn’t Right For You”
I think the expensive gym and/or potential shoulder issues are reason enough to stick with home workouts (like the whole 12 minute thing [grin]).
Could be – that’s how I feel at least after doing CrossFit for over a year.
That’s not to deny that some people absolutely love it though! Just depends on your goals, priorities, and finances of course 🙂
Thanks for your views on cross fit, Krista. I really had no idea what it was until I saw You Tube video about it. I always like to get both sides of the coin before coming to an informed conclusion.
Good article. I think that for the average person their money would be better spent on a cheap gym.
Whole heartedly agree. I know MANY that have done the Crossfit route only to have dropped it due to injury. They loved it, they had results, but the injuries made it impossible to keep going. 12 minute Athlete Workouts Rock!! A great alternative and much easier on those poor old joints!
Crossfit is a trend among women these days. No woman wants to be thin anymore. They’d rather be flexible, fit, healthy, and athletic. Look at a lot of female celebs these days. They’re fit, flexible, and athletic rather than thin.
Doing Olympic lifts for any other reason than power is retarded. You people in cross fit that don’t do technique work requiring thousands of reps may drop the bar on your fucking head at the next of these wank session competitions that are cross fit. leave the heavy lifting to the dedicated rather than thinking high priced gym costs somehow make you a professional lifter. Lifting heavy weights is not trendy bullshit. Respect the barbell.
My guess is you’ve never been to a CrossFit class. Or at least not at the right CrossFit box, so here are some things to think about.
1. Where I go, you have to pass a mandatory fundamentals class just to begin going to the regular CrossFit classes. It is month long, one on one assessment of movement and strength with intense coaching. Once you pass out of fundamentals, there are 2 strict months where you can’t snatch or overhead squat. Once the two months are up, you start those movements by using a PVC pipe, then you move to to a bar, then a bar with faux wood plates to mimic weights, and then you start adding weight, but only if you’re ready. It can take people several years.
2. On average, here’s how an hour long session is broken out:
– 15 minute Warm-up. This is a prescribed warm-up with movement based on what you’ll be doing later in the workout.
– 20 minutes Strength Session. This is a chance to slowly go over whatever power lifting movement is prescribed that day and hit either your max, 8 rep max, 1- rep max etc. It is supervised by a coach and movements are practiced over and over and over and over. Lots of time to practice technique thousands of times. Sounds familiar, huh?
– 10 – 15 minute MetCon. This stands for metabolic conditioning and is the part that combines strength, speed and endurance. This is where CrossFit gets a bad rap. Sometimes there’s power lifting involved in MetCons, sometimes not. Either way, anybody doing power lifting in the MetCons should be VERY familiar with movement and go VERY light with weight when just beginning and any good box should promote that.
To wrap it up, I consider all of the CrossFit Games athletes heavy lifters. Their strength is impressive – especially for their body weight. They didn’t get there overnight, and they didn’t get there by not respecting the barbell. Injuries happen when people are irresponsible with their own bodies. With 415k people who entered the CrossFit Open in 2018, this style of workout is clearly works for a lot of people. To each their own!
The 1st time I saw a video of Crossfitters doing those silly kipping pullups my 1st thought was that all that jerking on the shoulders & elbows was just an injury waiting to happen.
I think, that’s right……crossfit is not for everyone. It needs overall support financial + all nutritional facilities. …which is not possible for anyone..especially for me
If you’re constantly lifting heavy then your coach is biased to strength which is contrary to the #1 idealolgoy they bout trhenslef upon, general physical preparedness.
Frozen shoulder is in no way a result of doing CrossFit or any other exercise regime.
If you’re a woman, it can leave you looking a bit… unfeminine???
There is nothing better looking on a woman than fitness. I suppose it all comes down to what one regards as “feminine”. I perceive most women in general to be “feminine” as opposed to assigning that quality to any particular level of soft curvature. Don’t buy this line of thought ladies…..fit is sexy. Femininity is a quality that comes from someplace other than your muscle tone.
Hi, nice article on CrossFit Games. I really enjoyed this article. Very helpful. Yes, you are right CrossFit is not for everyone. For beginner or people those how don’t do exercise regularly should not try this.