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“Crossfit Can Be Dangerous?!?” Further Evidence People Can Be Really Fucking Clueless

Posted by on Sep 24, 2013 | 8 Comments

Over the last few days, this article has popped up several times on my Facebook news feed. A quick synopsis for lazy folks: The extreme nature of some Crossfit workouts coupled with a culture of pushing the body to the extreme can put people at danger of rhabdomyolysis (a potentially fatal condition where destroyed muscle cells clog the kidneys.)

After reading lots of comments, I couldn’t help but come to the realization that the general population is clueless regarding exercise physiology. I don’t expect everyone to have a degree in exercise science, but is it really a revelation that extreme exercise is dangerous?

Some exercise is good. More exercise is better… until you get to a point where the exercise stresses our body’s physical limits. That’s exactly what occurs in pretty much any ultramarathon. No ultrarunner is going to claim ultras are healthy… they absolutely destroy your body. But we do them anyway. Health isn’t the motivator, which is exceedingly hard to explain to those that don’t get it.

Crossft’s the same. It’s entirely possible to do Crossfit without pushing past that danger zone, but many CF practitioners choose to push themselves past hat danger zone. It’s not about health. There are other motivators at work, which are not understood by people like the author of the linked article. Quite frankly, that annoys me. If you’re not into extreme exercise, stick to your Tae Bo, yoga, and color runs.

So people will say new practitioners get sucked in without understanding the risk… which was probably the point of the linked article. My answer- are you fucking stupid? Who doesn’t understand the body has limits? Who doesn’t at least research the negative impact of potential exercise?

I really want to hear from my readers, especially since  have a lot of ultrarunner and Crossfitter readers. Do you get annoyed at people that point out the obvious dangers of our sports?

Share your thoughts n the comments!

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8 Comments

  1. John
    September 30, 2013

    I still do CrossFit, but I tend to…um…”Program” my own workouts as I’m a poor slob that can’t afford the shiny Rogue equipment, high socks, and all of the CF branded attire and gear…plus I think I’d look rather silly wrapped in kinesio-tape that sticks to my board shorts and tangles in my high socks and just does not look too manly in dayglo pink…

    Seriously, walking out to get the paper could be fatal. Every time I hop on my motorcycle to go to work could end up bad. I could get too ballsy and try to clean and jerk 155 lbs for 30 reps for time…and just end up pissing blood the next day. I could go on a run and end up getting mauled to death by a gaggle of chubby babies that think it would be a Great Idea to bat the old bald guy with their pudgy forearms…thus subjecting me to severe blunt force trauma…or make me listen to James Blunt on Repeat (again, Blunt force trauma…)

  2. Aaron
    September 25, 2013

    I do get annoyed with the common myths and with those who presume that a person’s strength and skill level have no bearing on their risk of actual physical harm.

    But, I have problems with Crossfit. I think new and young gyms run by inexperienced yahoos are a bad idea. Most of them are. I’m also old school in my belief that strength is best built by never going to failure and always leaving something in the tank. Finally, racing an ultra on Crossfit Endurance training is a brilliant way to inflict severe muscle damage on a person.

  3. g
    September 25, 2013

    I get it. I get where you’re coming from in your response to the Rhabdo article, Jason. I’ve been doing “CrossFit” type workouts for years (from before CrossFit was popular, thanks to Ross Enamait).

    But, what rubs me about the CrossFit culture is all the “in your face” “motivation” to do it! do it! do it! …or go put on your pink laced panties. All that chest-beating macho crap to “push it!” landed me in the hospital and physical therapy with a bunch of injuries (one permanent).

    So, I workout alone, mostly. It’s like you (Jason) teach in your book: listen to your body, it’s the best teacher and coach you have. When I can do more, I push. When I hurt, I stop. When I need another day off, I take it. When I need a two-a-day, I do it.

    Anyway, that’s my two pennies on the whole issue. I did all that hollering and slobbering crap in the Marine Corps. I don’t need it, nor do I want it anymore. I don’t need someone yelling at me to “man up” to make me “push the extra mile.” And that kinda crap is probably partly responsible for the injuries people get like the one described in the CrossFit article. I mean, come on… If your body says, “Stop,” well… duh. Stop.

    g

  4. Ran
    September 25, 2013

    Jason,

    Sharp as usual.
    I agree with your bottom line, but this article comes to outline exactly that, not in a “cry baby” way, like the “Why I quit Crossfit” article.

    People jump from Diet to Diet, Vegan to Paleo, to Atkins, to Frutairian, after years of eating Donuts, and they don’t understand why they feel sick & dizzy. Its a cultural thing, where extremes became the main-stream, just like Ultra is the new Marathon, and people go into that, without understanding the risks.

    End of the day, take responsibility of your body, knowledge is power, and the more you know the more you can (relatively) objectively make decisions on what is good / bad for you & what to do about it.

    Ran

  5. Missy
    September 24, 2013

    I agree with all of the above. I have seen the article about crossfit and rhabdo circulating around and yes, the lectures about the dangers of crossfit annoy me. When I was a runner, I used to also get the lectures about how my knees were going to be ruined by all that pounding. After 27 year of running and 3 years of crossfit, my knees are fine. The people who think ultras or crossfit are dangerous should just avoid doing either one. I keep my mouth shut when hearing about how long someone spent on the elliptical trainer and I expect the same courtesy in return.

  6. Kenneth D
    September 24, 2013

    I will admit that I am biased, as I do both CrossFit and Ultrarunning, but I do find it really annoying when people make comments about the dangers of either one.

    Really? CrossFit is dangerous? So is crossing the street. I don’t have any statistics to back this up, but I would be willing to bet that my chances of getting hit by a car are higher than my chances of getting Rhabdo.

    The number one rule in any physical endeavor is to “listen to your body”. When I am doing CrossFit, I slow down when my body tells me to. When running an ultra, I have no problem walking if my body tells me it needs a break.

    I will gladly add the 0.06% chance of getting Rhabdo from doing CrossFit if it reduces the 25% chance(http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm)that I will die from cardiovascular disease.

  7. Felipe
    September 24, 2013

    I completely agree with Bryan. I’m not an ultra-runner, but I do get the weird looks when I tell people I run every day . . . in FiveFingers.

    I tried CrossFit, I LIKED CrossFit. But I pulled something when I got lazy and had to stop for a while. I’ll be doing it again, but I’ll be more aware of when to stop if I have to.

  8. Bryan
    September 24, 2013

    I don’t do either one, but I imagine it’s the same feeling I get when I tell someone I run and that person (normally quite out of shape) tells me that I’ll kill my knees or something of that nature.