Getting fit has become a fad nowadays because many people are trying to live an active lifestyle for health reasons and aesthetic purposes. On the other hand, since we at the 21st century are always on the go, many fitness programs that promise endless gains have spurred out of nowhere, and included on the list is CrossFit.
For those who haven’t heard of it, CrossFit is basically a varied, high-intensity workout that is a combination of power-lifting, Olympic weightlifting, gymnastics, bodyweight exercises, plyometrics, and sprints, among others. Here’s the catch: it comes with task-oriented or time-oriented workouts. Compared to conventional workouts, CrossFit is less time-consuming. In fact, some workout sessions last for about 20 minutes.
Crossfit practitioners claim that the workouts focus towards making them proficient in strength, speed, stamina, power, coordination, flexibility, balance, cardiovascular endurance, etc. Because of the wide array of benefits that it promises, it has become the number one option of fitness aficionados who want to achieve a total body workout without taking much of their time—perfect—in today’s busy society.
Despite its acclaimed benefits, many health and wellness experts are skeptical of them. Below are some of the reasons why.
The tale of Rhabdomyolysis
Rhabdomyolysis is considered by many as CrossFit’s dirty little secret. It is a serious condition that develops because of indirect or direct muscle injury. It is usually caused by the death of muscle fibers; when these fibers die, their contents are released into the bloodstream. When left uncontrolled, it may lead to complications such as kidney failure, which takes place when the kidneys cannot disperse body wastes and concentrated urine. If left untreated, rhabdomyolysis can cause death.
It should be noted that rhabdomyolysis is a condition that is usually encountered by elite military trainees and ultra-endurance athletes. It’s quite uncommon, but it has somewhat become a fixture in CrossFit. According to Gleg Glassman, the founder of the said training method, about six participants of the mentioned fitness method have encountered the mentioned condition since 1996.
Power lifts and Olympic lifts
There’s a clear-cut reason why power lifts as well as Olympic lifts are not supposed to be done in sets of 30 repetitions or for time. Yes, the mentioned workouts, particularly Olympic lifts can help build muscle, but it should be noted that they are technique-oriented and are specifically designed to be explosive and powerful over short periods, but with plenty of rest.
Subjecting the muscles to power lifts and Olympic lift movements on a regular basis for repetition sets or for time is like setting up one’s muscles for injury.
The “no pain, no gain” mentality
CrossFit is pretty much defined by its “no pain, no gain” mindset to the point that participants, in general, are so used to burning sensations in their muscles during intense workouts. This should not be the case because sometimes, pain is the body’s way to tell us to stop.
Furthermore, some CrossFit workouts are meant to be performed in moderation, but those who indulge in the said activities preaches pushing the body to the limit—to the point—where there’s nothing left in the tank. If it is continually neglected, it can lead to serious health risks like muscle strains, sprains, muscular dystrophy, etc.
After all that’s been said about CrossFit, it’s probably about time to ask the question: “Is it really worth the risk?” On one hand, it’s less time consuming and is proven to deliver aesthetic improvements in a jiffy; on the other hand, it’s painful, strenuous, and a bit dangerous. Such factors should be taken into consideration when doing CrossFit. Otherwise, one’s overall health will be compromised instead of improved.