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Is Crossfit Helping Or Hurting The Bodybuilding Industry? (article)

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~Dr Juice~

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IS CROSSFIT HELPING OR HURTING THE BODYBUILDING INDUSTRY?
By Matt Weik, November 16th, 2020



There is so much back and forth about CrossFit even to this day on whether it is good or bad, that I wanted to take a few minutes and discuss what CrossFit is doing to not only the fitness industry, but also the bodybuilding. Is CrossFit helping or hurting these industries? My take might surprise you.


A Little Background
CrossFit was founded back in 1996 by Greg Glassman and Lauren Jenai (Lauren is no longer a part of the company after her divorce and buy-out from Greg), but really didn’t grow legs until 2000. Greg, still to this day, retains complete control over the business in which he built from the ground up.

So, what is CrossFit? CrossFit incorporates various high-intensity workouts which combine many different disciplines – powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, gymnastics, and calisthenics. Today, CrossFit is considered a sport and is practiced globally by those who want to complete “workouts of the day” or known better known as “WODs.”

Due to the competitive nature of CrossFit, athletes from across the globe have the ability to compete against each other by posting their times online and even a video as evidence. This makes the workouts more challenging by trying to beat people’s scores, along with being more fun by adding an element of competition versus a “you versus you” workout alone in the gym – similar to a bodybuilding-style workout.

As the brand grew, so did the number of locations across the United States. CrossFit also began their own certification to allow business owners the ability to own and operate their own CrossFit box (if you don’t know, that’s what they call a CrossFit “gym”).

CrossFit grew so large that they created the CrossFit Games in 2007. Athletes would compete against each other by completing various workouts that are timed. After the competition was completed with scores, a winner would be announced and awarded a monetary prize along with accolades.


The Ugly Side of CrossFit
As with all parts of our various industries, there’s an ugly side. The ugly side when it comes to CrossFit would be all of the injuries due to participants not fully understanding how to complete the movement, as well as veterans of CrossFit who are getting injured due to the repetitive motions they go through during their workouts (overuse injuries). In addition, there is a lot of moving and jerking going on to complete various exercises in boxes (that sounds kind of dirty).


The Positives?
Yes, I said it… the positives. If you’ve followed my work, you’d know I’m not a huge CrossFit fan. It’s personal preference and I just feel like there’s too much risk compared to reward when it comes to CrossFit. To each his or her own, it’s just not for me. My body doesn’t like the constant pounding it takes by trying to complete WODs. But, that’s not to say that it doesn’t suit someone else’s wants and needs and help get them into great shape.

The biggest positive that I see with CrossFit is that it’s bringing more people into the fitness industry. The same way that all of these races (Tough Mudder, Spartan, etc.) are getting people active, CrossFit is creating its own niche in the industry – which is pretty cool. Anything that gets more people active and changing their behaviors to benefit their health gets a thumbs up in my book.

Another positive to CrossFit is the attention it is getting on a national stage. You don’t see bodybuilding competitions being televised, yet, you’ll see a ton of CrossFit coverage on channels like ESPN and ESPN2. Why is this important you ask? Because CrossFit is like watching that American Ninja show. It makes people get excited and wanting to try the different stages. It’s a great way to introduce people to fitness in a unique way. Not everyone thinks like a bodybuilder where they are fine with going to the gym and going through a fairly boring workout of simply picking things up and putting them down. Many people like the movement and competitive aspect of CrossFit.

Introducing people to CrossFit also helps the bodybuilding industry, as odd as that may sound. I know plenty of people who started doing CrossFit, began seeing results, and either got injured or burned out. They then transitioned to simply going to the gym to complete “bro-workouts” similar to a bodybuilder consisting of weight training along with some sort of cardiovascular workout to follow.

This sets the stage for individuals to start training for mass and aesthetics (in addition to the health and cardiovascular benefits). I guess you could call CrossFit the gateway drug for bodybuilding. Now, not everyone follows this path, but for those who simply can’t take the constant grinding in a box location, they generally move towards a normal gym or fitness center.

So, rather than trying to tear our disciplines apart and segregate, maybe we should all come together for the greater good of health and fitness and help show people the way to a better lifestyle that promotes longevity?
 

60022947

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Although I do not consider myself a fan of crossfit I have found myself watching the MURPH on ESPN the last few years.

At the end of the day (simpler to the author) I support anything that will encourage people to get active whether that be crossfit, weight lifting or something simpler like biking and hiking.

And I have to agree with the author that the attention it is getting on a national/world stage is definitely a positive (introducing people to fitness)

As for the original question, is crossfit helping or hurting the fitness industry and bodybuilding I definitely don't see how its hurting them.

Great post.
 

Daway

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My take away from crossfit is they've created their own terminology for existing exercises and workouts. When I was a speed skater I incorporated weight training and agility exercises into my program. "Crossfit" has been around long before anyone coined the phrase. I suppose you could call it "the decathlon." and/or the training that would go into a sport like that. The only difference between cross-training "back in the day" and crossfit today is crossfit is about doing your training in a competitive way whereas cross training back in the day was to improve a specific sport.

A coworker of mine took kind of the opposite path from what @~Dr Juice~ describes. He went from olympic weightlifting to crossfit. His take is that crossfit is only as good or bad as the people who practice it. He described crossfit as a way to stay active and fit without feeling like "my body is going to fall apart at any moment" as he described how he felt with oly lifting trying to stay at peak performance. I feel he's in the minority though of people who do crossfit as he's competing against himself and not others.

Personally im a bit leery of people who try to apply new terminology to existing things (e.g. "box" vs "gym") or take a "tryhard" approach to reinventing the wheel (e.g. pullups). To me it reeks of a money grabbing cult. To each their own I guess.
 

Old RhynoS

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Ugh CrossFit.
If you want to be a good exerciser then have I got what you need.
Don't get me wrong, I think the competitive side is ok, better than the local gyms, I've seen many startups with coaches having no knowledge of what they are doing. And that only leads to injury.
 

66Chevy

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I did Crossfit for about a year and a half around 2010. A couple of the guys I work with owned the gym and gave us a deal on the membership.... I liked it because it got me doing different things that I would never normally do. But the negatives outweighed the positives which became much more apparent the longer I went. I found because the programming was fairly random I was never able to progress in any of the strength workouts. Many of the movements were basterdized ( kipping pullup, etc) and form was often sacrificed and sloppy in an effort to get a better 'time'. When I ruptured my tricep tendon in 2011 that was it for me with Crossfit....never looked back. lol
 

Zbignew

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Matt Weik is about ten years late to the party. "Crossfit" became phenomenally successful in a very short period of time, and love them or hate them it's undeniable it had a huge impact on the fitness industry. They were marketing geniuses.

But they're over the curve now and the brand is in decline. Total number of affiliates goes down every year, and now there's me-too substitutes like F45 popping up all over.
 

Rocket Fueled Ape

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I did Crossfit for about a year and a half around 2010. A couple of the guys I work with owned the gym and gave us a deal on the membership.... I liked it because it got me doing different things that I would never normally do. But the negatives outweighed the positives which became much more apparent the longer I went. I found because the programming was fairly random I was never able to progress in any of the strength workouts. Many of the movements were basterdized ( kipping pullup, etc) and form was often sacrificed and sloppy in an effort to get a better 'time'. When I ruptured my tricep tendon in 2011 that was it for me with Crossfit....never looked back. lol
Very similar experience here. In the earlier days of working out I thought you had to go till you were near dead. As time went on I learned that just leads to injury. I progress way better with virtually any other normal weight lifting program. They all seem to say the same thing - leave a rep or two in the tank and save the pr's for the platform (competition).

I really miss the social atmosphere tho. In my clean modern commercial gym no one talks and everyone just stares at the floor wearing headphones. Cell phones eh - what a world changer.
 
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