Photo by Robert Gonda

CrossFit is Not Your Average Sport

In CrossFit, there is not just one single skill you are working on or just one objective to the sport. For Instance, in basketball the objective is to shoot the ball in the basket. You have all these sports with one particular objective, and then you have CrossFit. Being titled the fittest on earth can be one objective, others may find that bettering themselves and living a healthy lifestyle is just as important.

When it comes to the CrossFit Games, there are so many variables that the athletes have to endure. Some people believe that the Games has become more of a circus, where they feel the need to entertain the audience instead of testing basic skills and fitness. Has the programming really been lost? Or has it just been expanding and becoming more diverse? In all reality, this type of programming is to weeding out the weak. These athletes willingly go to the Games expecting the worst to come. At the end of the day, there will always be athletes that finish all the workouts, and those athletes will come out on top. It was unfortunate to see the health of some athletes be put in danger, but I guarantee you those athletes will be back for more next year.

Now, I am no expert in the world of sports but as a spectator I see and continue to watch people call CrossFit a cult and bag on the sport as a whole. Is CrossFit a cult? YES! Is football a cult? YES! Is hockey a cult? YES! People call CrossFit a cult like it’s a terrible thing. Correct me if I am wrong, but the word cult means: devotion directed towards a particular figure or object. Now would you say that pretty much sums up every sport? In fact, that pretty much sums up life! We are all devoted to something or devoted to a goal or dream!

I had gone around asking people who have never done or just started CrossFit, “What comes to mind when you hear the term CrossFit?” The majority of their answers had to do with lifting heavy weights, lifting a lot of weight, or just plain weightlifting. I think that is the problem with the hatred with CrossFit. This sport is a lot more than that. You have gymnastics, endurance such as rowing, running half marathons, strongman, and many other variables that people do not realize. However, that also can be the reason why CrossFit has yet to earn the respect of the masses. “There is too much going on and the safety of the athletes are at risk every second”, said a person in this year’s CrossFit Games audience. Is there a lot going on? Yes, that is how we determine the fittest on earth! Each event can have up to 5-6 different movements that are not all weightlifting.

Every sport has injuries and each sport brings concern to the way it is ran per their athletes. So why has CrossFit been picked on for so long and the critics continue to worsen each year? Many people believe that there are not enough expert medical providers but rather more volunteers than anything. CrossFit is a community sport,  whether it be on or off season. There are indeed a lot of volunteers from judges, moving equipment, setting up, and of course medical attention. However, there are plenty of expert medical advisors as well. Each year the medical staff becomes more aware of certain things that can happen because of the prior year and each year are more ready than the last! Did concussions from football/hockey stop the sport from being played? Or how about fractured spinal cords from gymnastics? Every sport has their injuries and not one is greater than the other.  Just like any other sport, CrossFit does everything they can to prevent these injuries from happening, but they can only go so far. Its also up to the athletes to know how far they can push their bodies and to practice safe form. They train in the harshest of weathers and test their bodies throughout the year in order to prepare them for what is to come at the Games.

Being a CrossFitter for three years, I have definitely seen my fair share of horrible form, injuries, and terrible coaching. Sadly, some people don’t venture out to find better coaching because that is all they have come to know. You will find bad coaches and athletes who choose to move faster than their bodies are ready to in every sport out there. That definitely is unfortunate, but that is also why every person is encouraged to find a gym with adequate attention and encouraged to scale workouts until they are physically prepared to do move up.

Aside from Crossfit as a sport, the community aspect of the sport is truly amazing. From Barbells for Boobs to Hero WODs, CrossFit has found a way to bring people as close as becoming family! Barbells for Boobs has provided 26,089 procedures, detected 150 cases of breast cancer, and helped serve 14,022 woman all through fundraisers being held annually in the CrossFit community. Every memorial day, you will find most gyms performing a workout together throughout the world called Murph, a Hero WOD dedicated to a Navy Lieutenant named Michael Murphy who was killed in Afghanistan in 2005. If you have ever watched the Games or have been part of any CrossFit gym, you will know that the loudest cheers are not for the first to cross the finish line, but rather the last. Everyone comes together to make sure each and every person finishes and does not give up. Out of CrossFit has come bonding and community for people all around the world. After joining CrossFit, you do not stay for the workouts; you stay for the family atmosphere, the push, the support, and the positive perspective it brings to your life.

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Catherine Desmond

Catherine has been training and competing in CrossFit for about 3 years and her favorite thing about it is the community! She is currently working with Raw Fitness Combine and assists with their events, competitions and social media. She also works and is a member at Garden Grove CrossFit in California.

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