Crossfit - Fitness Fad or here to stay?
IS it a trend? Or is it going to be practiced by eager gym goers in 50 years’ time in the pursuit of total body fitness?
It's important at this point in time that everyone calms their emotions - such is the nature of CrossFit and it's culture that it rouses a deeply instilled passion in both the for and against crowd unlike any other fitness trend in recent memory. This is what leads us to the purpose of this article in fact.
It's incredibly important to stress at this point in time that the concept of CrossFit is wholly innocent in its nature. No fitness concept can ever be "bad" as the very essence of every new fitness regime is to create a POSITIVE difference to the human body; that in itself can never be a negative thing. What's incredibly important to take on board is that INDIVIDUALS can make a process negatively charged via their own actions, but the regime or program that forms the basis of their actions is never to blame. CrossFit draws heavily from Olympic lifting (we all have our own opinions on rep ranges, exercises etc. but the Olympic lifts are without any doubt the cornerstones of all resistance training exercise and incredibly potent for delivering strength and mass when used correctly), an art so disciplined and intricately difficult to execute with perfect poise that no one could ever label these movements as "incorrect" or "uncontrolled." When they are being performed SAFELY and effectively.
Plyometric exercise, strong man, gymnastics and calisthenics also play an enormous part, amongst other fitness avenues in forming the very foundation that CrossFit is built on. These disciplines are once again, very advanced and difficult to master and are certainly not only beneficial, but absolutely incredible for the body when performed in a safe and effective manner within sensible context.
With these elements in mind, and disregarding any pre-formed opinion - one simply cannot argue with CrossFits goal to become adept in all forms of physical fitness. This is an amicable and incredibly desirable goal that truly deserves praise. But the question is, does this actually work as a concept when executed as a reality? And is it an engaging, dynamic and effective enough fitness format to stand the test of time?
The truth is, it COULD be - but this is where the issues with its longevity begin to arise. A fundamentally ineffective fitness instructor will always do two things wrong. Firstly, they will ALWAYS associate pain of any kind with development, and secondly, they will have little awareness of the individual needs of others. Sadly, CrossFit’s hardcore nature appeals to the ego of these character types - as such, you will see many of them delivering CrossFit classes around the world. In turn, you will see a great many injuries. It's this "hardcore" culture that has really damaged the concept of the movement, as the movement itself has somewhat separated from the ideals it was founded on.
This is where we refer back to the base principles of Crossfit, with its integration of so many advanced disciplines at once -"Advanced" is truly the word to focus on, and beginners should never delve into advanced territory before they are ready to safely perform the physical feats required within said niche. There is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to adapt to advanced exercise with a "young" training age, but the issues lie with people being required to perform these activities before they are within even one thousand leagues of being ready for them. This is a fundamental flaw, and a large responsibility lies with the instructors who adhere to this code of recklessness.
For this reason, CrossFit has received a great deal of criticism alongside an absolutely enormous amount of praise for its principally well-rounded approach to self-betterment. In terms of how long the CrossFit craze will last - I would bank on it being several years more. Even now though, the controversy surrounding the movement means that its popularity MAY be on the decline. Others would say completely differently, but in truth, it depends on your perspective within the fitness universe and how much you are truly able to observe growing and declining trends. It would be safe to say the word CrossFit is currently being used negatively on the gym floor more than it is positively. That doesn't mean much though – many gym goers are blinkered at best when it comes to knowledge of the various fitness avenues they can pursue and often form opinions based on very little research or experience.
Looking to the Future
Yoga and Pilates have been deeply instilled into our conscious fitness minds for decades, as has the concept of marathon running, and unarmed combat based exercise amongst many others. It's too early to say if CrossFit will join the ranks of this elite group, but one important element to point out is this - CrossFit has always been here. Cross training, Olympic lifting and gymnastics are not new disciplines. They will always be here. Whether or not the world needs a combined approach to them in the long term is uncertain, but it's important to note that the accessibility, adaptability and scalable approach of arts like Yoga, Pilates and Olympic lifting as individual practices is a large reason for their success. This same accessibility cannot be said for the way at LARGE CrossFit is currently being practiced and preached. There is a very real possibility that, for this reason – the wind beneath the wings of this large but still very niche movement may well be removed before it can sustain itself in flight.
Only time will tell.