My old roommate refused to use the microwave. Instead, he made popcorn on the stove—like a cowboy. I thought maybe the buttons confused him, so one night I showed him the one that said “popcorn”. He shot me a very serious look, and explained that microwaves cause cancer. I blinked a few times. Mostly as an alternative to laughing. A few minutes later, he stepped outside to have a cigarette.
He actually did me a favor, though. Because until that moment, I had no way of dealing with the overwhelming number of illogical CrossFit haters. Now, I just blink.
I just blink at 24hour fitness guy who claims he’d rather play real sports. Like, calf raises? I stare blankly at the yogi who calls CrossFit a cult, after chanting with a group of people wearing the same clothes in a 100 degree room. It’s a similar reaction for the keyboard warrior, who points to an increased risk of injury associated with high volume repetitions; opposed to apparently avoiding any repetitions of anything. And my favorite; the female bikini competitor who ‘doesn’t want to look like a dude’. Opting of course, for the bi-annual orangutan in heels look. I just blink.
I just blink and stare when I hear ex-athletes accuse CrossFit of not being a sport. As if it changes anything. As if there were a sub committee tasked with revoking positive memories and fitness results on account of their active “sport” status. Can you imagine golf hearing the bad news? “Sorry Tiger, a few guys on Facebook don’t think this is violent enough, you’ll have to decide whether it’s even worth pursuing”. Sport or not, people obviously love CrossFit, and it’s changing their lives. Nobody is returning their new body or increased motivation because a few of you are strung out on pitchers and catchers.
But I get it. Americans are annoyed by the sudden popularity of anything. People hated Lebron at first. Then they realized he wasn’t going anywhere, and he was pretty damn effective. Both Reebok and Nike recently made that same conclusion about CrossFit. So it might feel like a cult, we might be stuck with WOD and BOX on our news feeds. But if it’s any consolation, you’ll probably see ‘savasana’ and ‘namaste’ as well, while you’re scrolling past all the Marilyn Monroe quotes.
Like many of you, I spent a lot of years at a global gym, fighting the monotony of staying fit with no competitive excuse to do so. I shared weights with lobster man who hates leg day. I spotted Monday chest guy, who could file his taxes between sets. I observed the Barbie Doll with her Red Bull/lunch on the elliptical. I also saw people who knew exactly what they were doing, and they did it well. So I don’t spot someone humping a BOSU ball at LA Fitness and assume that defines each of their members. Some CrossFitters have bad form. Most of them do not.
Of course, the most popular argument against CrossFit relates to injuries. And on the surface, it appears to be a very logical concern. Elite athletes do get hurt. But the average CrossFitter has less to worry about than the noon basketball player. In fact, if basketball were as new as CrossFit, you’d hear the ladies in accounting whispering about its dangers after Bill from finance blew his achilles last week. And if you played Fantasy CrossFit, you’d have far fewer athletes with blown knees and twisted ankles than you do in your other leagues. Yet, enrolling youngsters in CrossFit kids feels like child abuse, while denying their involvement in Pop Warner feels downright un-Amercan. I imagine the bumps and bruises will never leave CrossFit, but that their long term prognosis will remain better than diabetes and heart disease.
I do understand the logical concerns about CrossFit. After all, the sport is still pretty new, and – like a metal box that magically heats up your Spaghetti Os, 21 consecutive deadlifts is a strange concept. But the worldwide love for CrossFit is not being challenged by a resistance movement rooted in logic or genuine concern, it’s being attacked by people who still pop their corn on the stove.