Speaking to the point that several of you have made regarding CrossFit’s level of danger/lack of safety.What most of you are saying is CrossFit provides the same level of results or strength or fitness as other, much safer means of training
My response: bullsh$t. Either you are not as strong and fit as you think you are, or you are hugely underestimating the level of fitness a competitive CrossFit athlete has.
We can do everything you do, just as good as you. You cant do anything we do.
My response is that in a narrow sense, Jay is absolutely correct. Competitive CrossFit athletes of today are in better shape than I ever will be. However, it is too easy to draw false conclusions by looking at the extremely successful, especially when your definition of success is different than mine.
I am not a fitness professional. I’m just a fitness enthusiast with a background in finance. How I approach the goal of getting stronger is based on risk versus reward. I think many of the extreme fitness protocols of today, including CrossFit, understate the risk and overstate the reward. Discounting or minimizing the risk of injury doesn’t make it go away.
CrossFit is a sport and like any sport, certain people will rise to the top. Besides drive, they also tend to have good genetics and excellent recoverability skills. They also tend to be younger. As long as the business of CrossFit can keep adding survivors as the business expands, it will continue to attract new members. That is not proof of its efficacy. It is just proof of marketing.
The fitness industry thrives on making us feel insecure about ourselves by pointing to extreme examples of success as evidence that with enough ambition, we too can be super athletes. In finance, countless value investors believe that with enough time and discipline that they can be the next Warren Buffet. In a competitive environment, some people will win. That victory may or may not happen from things within our control.
What is the fair comparison when measuring strength protocols? Do you measure just the most successful or everyone? I believe you should count everyone, not just the young and genetically gifted. That includes everyone that quit or got sidelined with injuries. Also, fitness isn’t just a moment in time. How I treat my body today will impact the body I have when I get older. We tend to only imagine the benefits and not the costs. A benefit might be increased muscle mass. A cost might be a torn pectoral muscle from pushing yourself to do one too many reps.
Photo by Lóránt Dankaházi
In finance, there is a term called alpha. It perfectly describes my approach to fitness. All movement has a risk versus reward profile. The risk is either the movement yields no results or results in injury. The reward is positive benefits derived from the exercise.
Alpha is the return in excess of the compensation for the risk borne.
When I engage in a SuperSlow leg press, it is not because I have firmly held beliefs that it is superior to Olympic lifts. It is because the movement has a much higher alpha. Performing a SuperSlow leg press on a well-designed machine will provide full muscle fiber activation in a manner that honors bio-mechanics all while putting minimal stress on my joints. In my opinion, a CrossFit squat clean has a lower alpha, because it places much greater stress on the joints and uses momentum to work around weak points. An excellent technique may provide the illusion of strength. A less than excellent technique will have you reaching for Vicodin and an ice pack.
Not For Me
What I do know is that CrossFit’s bravado masochistic mentality to exercise holds no appeal to me. My goal is to be strong and fit well into old age. Beating up my joints with ballistic movements to impress my “bros” isn’t for me. Even if my bias towards safety doesn’t bring me to my full potential, I’m cool with that. I don’t need to out-compete 20-year-olds. They tend to destroy themselves.