CrossFit: It’s For Every Body, But Not For Everyone

In Move well |

On December 7, 2017

Given my position as a sports chiropractor and CrossFit athlete, I am often asked by patients who have never tried CrossFit if it would be “good” for them.

I truly believe CrossFit and functional fitness is an exceptional way to combat modern society’s assault on our bodies. Because honestly, I spend most of my day trying to help adults unwind the damage they’ve done growing up in a bio-mechanically incongruent world.

We sit to “learn” for the first 20 years of our lives and then a lot of us sit for our careers for the next 30+ years. This leads to a predictable set of movement faults, pain and dysfunction.

If you understand how humans are supposed to engage with their environment, you quickly realize CrossFit is a great option, next to moving to a remote part of Utah and living off the land as a recluse hunter-gatherer.

We are designed to move at low levels of intensity for the majority of our day, with brief periods of high intensity output through a wide variety of movements. We should be able to move through those movements with a full, pain-free range of motion. We should be able to squat to parallel and not rely on chairs to relax.

So YES – CrossFit is good and healthy and appropriate for every body.

But it’s not for everyone.

This question from my patients highlights their inherent beliefs about CrossFit. That’s it’s too intense, too dangerous, and only for the young and healthy. Maybe this is the image they get from seeing the Reebok CrossFit Games on ESPN. Maybe it’s a reputation that’s been unfortunately earned from too many poorly run boxes opening up too soon. Maybe it’s a lack of onboarding, or coaches not scaling, modifying or limiting athletes with significant movement faults.

But at the boxes I’ve called home (Brazen Athletics, CrossFit Golden Gate), there’s no better place for someone to recover their fitness and reclaim their true health potential.

Coaches are trained to recognize when someone needs a movement modification. Workouts and movements are scaled and modified accordingly. Athletes have readily available access to movement professionals like myself, a nutritionists, a physical therapist and even an orthopedic physician (who are all athletes/members).

This is the new and true model of health care. If our society is to ever pull itself out of this self-induced health crisis, it starts here. We must recognize that the current model of health care is actually symptom suppression sick-care and that we need a new model. One that is congruent with our genetics. One that helps members eat well, move well and think well.

I realize not every CrossFit affiliate is like this. I’ve traveled a lot and seen some pretty badly run boxes that I wouldn’t trust sending patients to. But, for the most part, CrossFit communities are some of the most supportive and mentally and physically restorative places I’ve ever seen.

We have members of every shape and size and ability and age. In the recent past, I had the pleasure of cheering on 15 of our master’s level athletes at a competition in Connecticut. There I saw what aging can look like.

Strong. Determined. Able. Robust. Empowered.

But one of the other reasons I say CrossFit is not for everyone is that many people are simply not willing to mentally and physically push themselves out of their comfort zone in order to progress toward a healthier existence. If they’re being honest, they like their lives.

Fine.

But if you ask me if CrossFit would be “good” for you – you’d better believe I’ll definitively say yes.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Scott

(Postscript) One note that should be obvious is that if you’re struggling with adrenal fatigue or other metabolic issues that result in High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) like CrossFit completely wrecking you for a week after one training session, make sure you’re working with a functional medicine provider to sort that out. Don’t just bang your head against the HIIT wall.

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Last modified: December 9, 2017

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