CrossFit: Health Miracle or Dangerous Fad?

CrossFit: Health Miracle or Dangerous Fad?

Since its founding in the early 2000s, CrossFit has grown into a $4 billion business, with 11,000 CrossFit competitions hosted across the globe each year. A quick perusal of CrossFit videos makes it clear, though, that these games are anything but fun for some participants. From sprained ankles to broken spines, injuries are common. CrossFit devotees insist that these injuries are the inevitable result of pushing the human body to its limits, and many practitioners insist that the program was a life-saver. But many doctors and trainers aren't so sure. CrossFit can be dangerous if you listen to everything a CrossFit trainer tells you. If you choose to pursue this popular fitness program, proceed with caution and listen to your body.

The CrossFit Mentality

CrossFit encourages practitioners to work through the pain, ignoring injuries and resistance to get better and better results. Pain exists for a reason. It's the body's way of letting you know you've hit your limit. Ignore it, and you could suffer a catastrophic injury.

Ignorance of Common Health Issues

CrossFit promises to deliver faster and more impressive results than most other fitness programs. For many participants, it does. The program, though, ignores the fact that many novice participants may have health problems. For these people, participation can be life-threatening, particularly if they ignore their bodies' cues. Pregnancy, morbid obesity, cardiovascular conditions, and even some mental health issues can make CrossFit dangerous. If you're considering this program, talk to your doctor first.

Association With Unhealthy Diets

CrossFit encourages practitioners to embrace healthy living across all domains, and that's a good thing. But all too often, it endorses extreme diets: gluten-free, Paleo, and other diets that make extreme promises. While these diets may work for some people, this one-size-fits-all approach is anything but ideal. A Paleo diet could be disastrous for a vegetarian, and branded diets such as the Whole 30—popular among CrossFitters—are anything but ideal for diabetics and pregnant women, particularly when they have other dietary restrictions.

Remember, you don't have to make CrossFit your entire life, and there's absolutely no reason to adopt a diet solely because your CrossFit coach said you should.

Repetitions Instead of Correct Form

One of the most significant issues associated with CrossFit is that the program encourages practitioners to lift as much weight as they can, for as long as possible. This prioritization of weight and repetitions over correct form subjects practitioners to a significant injury risk. Some have even suffered paralysis and other permanent disabilities. Novice fitness buffs should prioritize mastering perfect form before they attempt to up their reps. And you should never work out to the point of true exhaustion. After all, if you hit your limit when the weight is still in the air, you're infinitely more likely to drop it on yourself or someone else.

Listen to your body. CrossFit can be an excellent program, but pushing yourself past your breaking point has never been, and will never be, a sustainable fitness strategy.

CATEGORIES: Health, Exercise, Health Risks, Side-effects, CrossFit, Health Fads