Crossfit worth the cost?

  • sfboy987

    Posts: 209

    Dec 10, 2014 5:00 AM GMT
    New "crossfitter" here, and I just finished a workout today today doing power lifts. I felt like crap doing the workout though. I felt uncomfortable doing olympic lifts at high intensity, and I kept feeling anxious about getting hurt. I told the instructor my concerns, and he suggested doing some personal training with him. As if Crossfit isn't expensive enough, PT at crossfit classes mean even more $$$$.

    I would say my fitness level is about average, and fitness is a high priority for me. I want to make a commitment to improve and get stronger. However, I'm starting to wonder if crossfit is worth the money. What do people here think? Should I just join another program or find a more qualified Personal Trainer?
  • NoFLFitGuy

    Posts: 44

    Dec 10, 2014 12:35 PM GMT
    First - no matter what kind of trainer you have, make sure that they are qualified and knowledgeable. And that means more than just having a cert. Certs are EASY to get. Some certs you can get without ever moving from your couch nor ever having set foot in a gym. There are just a few quality certs out there. Even then, having experience and knowledge and the ability to apply that to YOUR goals - well, that is a different story entirely. (Hany Rambod and Neil Hill may have trained the last 3 Mr. Olympias, but I seriously doubt they would make good crossfit trainers.) And - as for the comment about buying personal training from the individual - sounds like a red flag to me of someone out to get money. You look like you are in good shape now, and state as much. In my experience, Crossfit-certified instructors RARELY cross back over into traditional PT and vice-versa.

    As for Crossfit itself, you will get huge ranging opinions in the fitness world. A lot of people love it, a lot of people HATE it.

    I will tell you what my physical therapist and massage therapist told me. "We love Crossfit. It almost single-handedly keeps us in business." Meaning, new crossfitters often wind up injured because they lack the experience and training to do the system properly.

    Personally, I am not a fan of the Crossfit methodology as a fitness program. It's better to think of Crossfit as a competitive sport (like triathlons), not a fitness program. And like any competitive sport, you must start slow, learn technique, be coached, etc. AND you have a gym training program for that sport. Where it fails and fails HARD, is if you are not ready to do it - like trying to do an Ironman when the most you have ever done is a 10k run and lap swim. You must be thoroughly trained beforehand in proper form and technique for the compound lifts, and experienced enough for it to come almost from muscle memory. You must have solid cardio-endurance. You have to have your body prepared for the impact of it, like any other sport.

    It sounds like you were not prepared for it, and your concerns were entirely justified to be concerned about injury. If you were uncomfortable, you body was telling you something and you should listen to it. You can certainly train up to "play" Crossfit, but that prep and solid coaching needs to be there beforehand. IMO, I would find a traditional personal trainer, tell them your goal is to work your lifts toward Crossfit competition. A good one should be able to get your compounds to the point where you can "hand off" to Crossfit training.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 10, 2014 2:50 PM GMT
    Here's my bias - I love going to CrossFit for the people, and the workouts that actually push me.

    I think it ultimately is a personal preference - have you tried other local crossfit boxes? When I started, I did bootcamps - I think around 6-7 of them in a row (each of them 4 weeks) - which were supposed to be an onramp but there are a number of people who just do bootcamps. (For bootcamps, they used really light weights, if any / though there were body weight exercises which can be tough no matter how good a shape you're in)

    The feel in the bootcamps is significantly different than the regular classes I go to now but I really enjoyed both. I think one of the biggest problems in getting in shape is keeping at it... and I think the community element and accountability is something that's missing for a lot of training programs - which CrossFit, just by nature of its small(er) classes and knowing people, fills well for some people. Being in that environment is a lot easier to push yourself - and for some people - too easy to the point they get hurt (so know your limit, stay within it ;) )

    I've never been injured - and I've been doing this relatively consistently for about 2 and a half years now. I've known a few people who have - though in many cases there were pre-existing injuries or mobility issues. I pay about $220 CAD/month but given the classes I tend to go to, there usually average about 5-6 people per class and the trainers are fantastic so it's practically like personal training anyway.

    Two relatively recent articles I'd recommend:

    1. http://breakingmuscle.com/crossfit/a-physical-therapists-viewpoint-on-the-safety-of-crossfit

    and 2. http://www.catalystathletics.com/article/1867/Are-You-an-Athlete-or-an-Exerciser/

    I'm not training to be an athlete and I'm way too lazy and not motivated enough to actually compete even in the local competitions (though I happily volunteer). I go with the bf - and have done so for pretty much 2 years which is also nice - a way to spend time together consistently, but with common friends and to be a bit competitive haha. I've seen some very substantial improvements in the last few years and feel (and look) a lot better as a result.

    Oh and not to be underestimated, it can be nice to show off or watch others - as it's socially acceptable to work out shirtless - the guys that do work out shirtless are often the ones you actually want to be going through the wods shirtless. That's gotta be worth something? icon_wink.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 10, 2014 4:23 PM GMT
    I'm not into CrossFit but a couple of observations. I am heavily into screening and assessments of movements. I do know many people and most athletes have movement compensation issues, e.g. not performing movements optimally such as left-right asymmetries, one joint with insufficient mobility impacting another, etc.

    Depending on the severity of issues, often not obvious without specific screening, it is often best to correct these issues prior to going heavy with complex movements. Benefits include a reduced likelihood of injury.

    From my observation, this screening is insufficient in commercial gyms even with individual personal trainers. I think the situation is compounded when doing intense group activities. I know many people are quite happy with group classes, including CrossFit. I would just say to be careful.

    I'm biased, but I think the best option would be to find a personal trainer who focuses on training athletes and is familiar with movement compensation issues common in athletes. Even if you don't consider yourself an athlete, many believe good training for athletes is good training period.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 11, 2014 2:34 AM GMT
    I am vehemently against cross fit. My brother is a sponsored CrossFit athlete. Family events are a little more heated than they used to be.
    CrossFit can be "okay" if you have specific goals. If you need that "pack" mentality to keep you going and to push you then the CrossFit group is what you need. But if you have even an ounce of self-control and motivation then you can do that on your own.
    As for the workouts, if you are trying to build muscle and get stronger then CrossFit is completely the wrong way to go. It is the slow time under tension movements that build muscle. CrossFit is all about high-intensity quick paced work outs and that is not how you build muscle. So if you are just trying to get in a workout for the sake of.. Oh I don't know, pulling a muscle and giving you a good story to brag about to all of your friends, then do CrossFit.
    But if you are trying to reach your goals and actually see changes in your life then CrossFit is not for you.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 11, 2014 3:17 AM GMT
    The money you're spending on Crossfit would be better spent on a personal trainer. Learn, learn, learn; then get to work. Crossfit won't help you achieve your goals unless you're looking for a reason to stop due to injury. I'm telling you, it's just a matter of time. I mean, even you can see that, with the activities you're being asked to engage in.
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    Dec 11, 2014 4:05 AM GMT
    I think there are good and bad crossfit gyms, just like there are good and bad personal trainers. Personally, I think it's a very risky environment for injury, particularly if the trainers running it are inexperienced or inattentive. I don't recommend it to my friends for that reason and also because I've had a great experience working with a personal trainer (and having been one myself).

    I think it also depends on your body goals. I bodybuild, so a crossfit-style workout is not going to give me the same isolation movements and detail work that a typical bodybuilding split would. Crossfit will definitely make one stronger, but I care less about that than I do looking good in posing trunks.

    I say get a great trainer instead.
  • vj2004t

    Posts: 203

    Dec 11, 2014 7:35 AM GMT
    Find something else they are 3 times the cost of a regular gym and charge you for extras. Val
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Dec 11, 2014 4:12 PM GMT
    I find crossfit to be absolutely intriguing. We are going to cover it through an interview with "Old Towne Crossfitters" in Wichita next season on my weekly recorded webradio fitness program ... and then do a follow up with an interview with (hopefully) a participant who starts crossfit, then interview him again after 3 months and talk about the changes. It will be a part of our 3rd (2015-16) season. I think it's great and may opt to take it up myself.
  • arch2be

    Posts: 1

    Dec 12, 2014 2:21 AM GMT
    I have been doing crossfit now for 3 years and I love the results and the environment. I have recently competed in 5 local competitions. Is crossfit for everyone? No. Everyone has something that they find enjoyable and that is key with any exercise program. If you don't like it, you aren't going to stick with it.

    My first experiences with crossfit, however, was very frustrating. I am came from a collegiate sport background. I was very fit but I felt like someone had to scrape me off the floor after every WOD. Olympic lifts felt foreign to me and a lot of my lifting backgrounds was sport specific which does not necessarily translate to crossfit. What was the "fix". My Olympic form was crap when I started. Until I was comfortable with a movement, I kept the weight light and cut the reps. Sometimes I modified the movement. For example, overhead squats were just not working for me. And what gay man is a fan of something called a snatch. I spent the first 6 months in the box doing all overhead movements with a pvc pipe till I felt comfortable working with a bar. Only after I was comfortable working with a bar did I move on to other Olympic movements. This was all done under the supportive guidance of a trainer during a WOD. If your trainer isn't going to train you and help you during a WOD, time to search out a new box.

    Most people don't walk into a box and know how to do most Olympic or gymnastic movements. Every movement requires practice and patience. I would not bend to pear pressure and go heavy or do a massive amount of reps right off the bat. My gym limits novices right at the start to lower weights and reps. Not until you prove your proficiency in a workout can you start increasing weights. Ask your trainer what the goal of each WOD should be and modify accordingly. Your first couple months should not be about intensity but about form. Get the basics down and be comfortable. For my first year I did WODs three days a week and made sure I went to workouts focused on movements I knew I needed work. The rest of the week I went to a regular gym.

    Recommendation - start of light and slow. Practice practice practice.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 12, 2014 1:35 PM GMT
    arch2be saidI have been doing crossfit now for 3 years and I love the results and the environment. I have recently competed in 5 local competitions. Is crossfit for everyone? No. Everyone has something that they find enjoyable and that is key with any exercise program. If you don't like it, you aren't going to stick with it.

    My first experiences with crossfit, however, was very frustrating. I am came from a collegiate sport background. I was very fit but I felt like someone had to scrape me off the floor after every WOD. Olympic lifts felt foreign to me and a lot of my lifting backgrounds was sport specific which does not necessarily translate to crossfit. What was the "fix". My Olympic form was crap when I started. Until I was comfortable with a movement, I kept the weight light and cut the reps. Sometimes I modified the movement. For example, overhead squats were just not working for me. And what gay man is a fan of something called a snatch. I spent the first 6 months in the box doing all overhead movements with a pvc pipe till I felt comfortable working with a bar. Only after I was comfortable working with a bar did I move on to other Olympic movements. This was all done under the supportive guidance of a trainer during a WOD. If your trainer isn't going to train you and help you during a WOD, time to search out a new box.

    Most people don't walk into a box and know how to do most Olympic or gymnastic movements. Every movement requires practice and patience. I would not bend to pear pressure and go heavy or do a massive amount of reps right off the bat. My gym limits novices right at the start to lower weights and reps. Not until you prove your proficiency in a workout can you start increasing weights. Ask your trainer what the goal of each WOD should be and modify accordingly. Your first couple months should not be about intensity but about form. Get the basics down and be comfortable. For my first year I did WODs three days a week and made sure I went to workouts focused on movements I knew I needed work. The rest of the week I went to a regular gym.

    Recommendation - start of light and slow. Practice practice practice.


    Amen, brother!