No, I am not doing Crossfit!

Ok people let’s clear this up.  Crossfit did not invent high intensity intervals, circuit training, or kettle bell swings. Crossfit did invent a highly successful brand and franchise.  So successful in fact, that the last two times Brian and I have done circuit training someone has asked if we are doing Crossfit.

Wednesday I put Brian through the circuit I’ve been using which we repeated five times.  When one of Brian’s friends asked “is that Crossfit?” He said, “Yea,  I think that’s where she got it from.”  I was livid.   I would prefer for people to assume that I know how to use a variety of training tools rather than assume that I’m just printed out some workout I got off a website along with thousands of other gym goers.

Yes, it hurts my pride as a training professional.  But that’s not the entire reason I’m aggravated by Crossfit questions.

I am an athlete.  I am NOT a fitness enthusiast.  I am training with a specific purpose in mind.  Every phase of my programming points to peak performance in ultimate in October.

This is the opposite of what Crossfit is about.

Crossfit’s stated philosophy from their “What is Fitness” issue of the Crossfit journal states:

The essence of this model is the view that fitness is about performing well at any and every task imaginable.  Picture a hopper loaded with an infinite number of physical challenges where no selective mechanism is operative, and being asked to perform fetes randomly drawn from the hopper.  This model suggests that your fitness can be measured by your capacity to perform well at these tasks
in relation to other individuals.

I have no problems with the Crossfit definition of fitness.  I think they have really great ideas about fitness.  What Crossfit advocates is orders of magnitude better than what most people currently do at the gym.  My issue is not with Crossfit and it’s stated goals.

My issue is that many people, and even some ultimate players view Crossfit as a training program.  It is not.  Crossfit is a truly excellent general prep program.  Players who are new to the whole training thing will, in fact, benefits a lot from Crossfit workouts.  In the end however, Crossfit states very clearly that they are not about specialization.

As an athlete, however, I AM about specialization.  There is only one thing in my hopper.

The Crossfit journal goes on to state,

“Develop the capacity of a novice 800-meter track athlete, gymnast, and weightlifter and you’ll be fitter than any world-class runner, gymnast, or weightlifter.”

This statement is a bit of a stretch, but possibly true in some cases.  We could also say,

“Develop the capacity of a novice 800-meter track athlete, gymnast, and weightlifter and you will be a novice at everything and elite at nothing.

Specialization in anything involves sacrifice.  This is true both in life and in training.

Some people will choose to be generalists and that is fine.  Do you want to be a generalist or do you want to be among the top tier athletes in your chosen sport?

PS.  I have no personal experience with Crossfit.  I am only going by what I have read from their website and by what I’ve heard from people who do Crossfit.  If you feel that I’ve taken any of the stated philosophy out of context or have misrepresented Crossfit, feel free to rant away comment below.

Related Posts:

Circuit Training with Brian

Circuit Training as an Indoor Workout

7 comments to No, I am not doing Crossfit!

  • You haven’t taken anything out of context and you haven’t misrepresented CrossFit in any way. This is spot on.

  • Eric

    “Develop the capacity of a novice 800-meter track athlete, gymnast, and weightlifter and you’ll be fitter than any world-class runner, gymnast, or weightlifter.”


    “Develop the capacity of a novice 800-meter track athlete, gymnast, and weightlifter and you will be a novice at everything and elite at nothing.“

    I have very little experience with crossfit, as matter of fact I am starting my first proffesional class today. I have been training for several years now, and personal training others for a little over a couple. I believe the point they are trying to make is that if you can become diverse in your atheletic abilitys then you achieve overall greater performance…and 800 meter runner, does not have the capacities of a gymnast, a gymnast does not have the capacities of a competitive weightlifter…but to be able to touch on all three and improve on them each over truely a greater level of fitness. If a pro football player played pro hockey in his off seasons, most would agree he was a greater athlete then those who only specialize in one sport…it is the same concept.

    • Hey Eric. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said.

      The basic concept here is generalization vs. specialization. If you want to get to the elite level in any sport, you need to specialize. A gymnast is not going to help her performance by getting better at the 800m. Her training should all be relevant to her sport, (and yes that will certainly still include some general work like strength training, especially in the off season.)

      You could argue that this might mean she has less overall fitness than a serious crossfitter. And that’s fine.

      My goal here is to help ultimate players to think of themselves as serious athletes and train more like professional athletes do– with a yearlong plan that is specific to their sport.

      I do think crossfit is a great general fitness program (I have no personal experience with it). It is not a bad place to start. Good luck in your training and keep us posted on how it goes!

  • Tony

    This is another good article on the topic.

    I like the Crossfit (also SealFit) training styles but what I think it really requires a skilled trainer to program or an individual who has goals and can think for themselves.

  • Karl Hungus

    If your a serious athlete, powerlifter or bodybuilder, you’ll know that crossfit is garbage. Its probably good for a novice. I say probably, only because I’ve seen some crossfit groups and they are poorly instructed. People are using very bad form and are going to injure themselves. Nothing like good old free weights for body mass and muscle. Cardio/ aerobic exercises can take many forms, but the concept is the same in all, elevate your heart rate for an extended period of time.

  • […] In the same line of thinking about checkout Melissa Witmer’s article on specific training for Ultimate vs general fitness. […]

  • Jen

    Melissa is a strong, intelligent, hard-working, caring, gracious, powerful, and selfless woman who does not deserve your 5-years-too-late ignorant and offensive comment.

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