The CrossFit Box vs. The Local Gym.
WHY WE USE CROSSFIT.
It’s precisely because we’re a CrossFit Affiliate that we’re different from the local Sports and Fitness…Centers. The following Blog Post offers our perspective on the differences between the two, and why we’ve elected to focus on CrossFit as our primary training methodology.
In addition to:
- The scientific evidence validating CrossFit’s endocrine response;
- It’s proven success in preparing both athletes and those who’s lives depend on their ability to prepare for and tackle difficult physical challenges;
- Our own experiences (and successes) practicing and coaching the methodology;
There are four philosophical reasons why we’ve chosen to use CrossFit as the exercise methodology of choice for our facility, and as the focal point for much of our programming.
You don’t need a ton of equipment. You need a ton of direction. Olympic lifts, plyometrics, and gymnastic exercises which recruit muscles and motor skills in ways which mirror those used in sports or everyday life are incredibly effective conditioning tools. Unfortunately, most gyms no longer promote, enable, or in extreme cases – allow such exercises. These movements and lifts require a lot of instruction to be performed safely and effectively. Because such instruction is neither cheap, nor easy – it requires a knowledgeable, well-educated staff, and a commitment to providing on-going education to clients and instructors alike most gyms either aren’t equipped or willing to provide or teach outside of costly personal training sessions. Instead they employ expensive, complex machines that can safely be used with little education beyond that provided on the animated placard pasted to it’s side.
Although simple enough to operate, such machines are marginally effective at best. Because they isolate individual muscle groups, restrict movements to a fixed path-of-motion, and don’t require users to stabilize the spine or midsection as they perform the prescribed exercise, strength and conditioning machines poorly replicate the physical activities they’re designed to emulate, affording negligible strength gains in environments outside of those created by the machine. Even worse, the strength imbalances and midline instability they foster dramatically increases the propensity for overuse and/or spine-related injuries.
CrossFit is different. Our community recognizes the important role functional movements play in an individuals’ fitness or athletic development. We feel that the effective, efficient movements shouldn’t be compromised by what’s convenient for the facility owner/operator. Additionally, we feel that all athletes, regardless of their background or ability level, can benefit from learning, practicing, and mastering these movements. Most important, we don’t feel that such instruction should be an extra upcharge. Anyone willing to make the financial, emotional, and physical commitment to improving their fitness deserves to be properly taught.
It’s because CrossFit prioritizes the development and mastery of these skills for all of its athletes, regardless of ability level (we’ll speak more to how they’re scaled to those with weaknesses or physicial limitations in a moment) that our facilities are Spartan. Rather than investing in superfluous, ‘easy-to-use’, expensive machines which take up a lot of space, the huge facilities necessary to house them, and well-appointed designer lobby areas, we invest in the capability to both successfully educate, and drive results for each and every individual willing to give us a try.
We Sell Results. Not Shortcuts. Often, ideas or proposals for success that promise to be easy are just as sellable as proven guarantees for success that promise to be challenging. In fact in the fitness industry, they’re more sellable. Disagree? Try the following exercise:
1.) Name as many health and fitness activities, devices, or ‘crazes’ as you can remember in 30 seconds or less. We’ll start you off with 10:
- Dance Aerobics
- Tae Bo
- Kick Boxing
- ANY fitness video craze (8 minute abs, The Firm, Sweatin’ to the Oldies, Jane Fonda – etc.)
- Shake Weight
- ANY product with the word AB in it (ABS of Steel, ABdominizer, etc.)
2.) Count how many of these activities or products you’ve used, seen in use, or even heard of being used in the last 6 months to a year. Take as much time as you need for this one. It’s a lot harder.
Why the sudden swings in popularity and participation? We prefer the following summation by Lorna Gillespie; “Physical activity, fitness, and exercise are now packaged and repackaged in many different ways (for the purpose of) making money…NOT generating results.” Fitness, health, and athletic performance are all an easy-sell that’s made even easier with the allure of little-to-no effort, and abandoned and forgotten about when it’s seen to not work. Few have embraced this concept better than traditional fitness facilities. New classes, new programs, new features, and new machines are constantly cycled to drive revenue and membership. Again, the emphasis is on sales – not results. Conversly, CrossFit Affiliates prescribe a methodology that is equally challenging to all who try it, but which is proven to generate results. This isn’t to say that we’re not fun, dynamic, or even exhilarating – as you’ll soon read, CrossFit is ALL of these things. Rather, it’s to re-enforce the idea that we’re not in the business of selling anything other than desired outcomes…and to communicate that CrossFit – in a scientific, safe, and responsible manner – does challenge. If you want effortless…well…we can honestly say that we may not be your cup-of-tea. Either way, we’d be happy to speak with you about your goals, or even help you find a facility or program that better suits your preference. After all, any activity is still better than no activity.
Your time is precious. It’s time your realize it. It doesn’t matter how ambitious or modest your fitness goals are – if you’re going to commit to a training program, then the training you commit to better be worth your time. When your training schedule has to compete against family, school, professional, personal commitments, or even a general disdain for structured exercise, the training you do needs to be effective, efficient…and fun. Even those of us without time conflicts have such needs. Although they may have more time to train, Elite athletes can’t afford to waste any of it. Programs that fit into their carefully constructed routines must not only be proven to achieve a desired result, but also ensure that they won’t compromise future workouts.
CrossFit programming accommodates the need for effective workouts that make good use of the participants time. Because they’re short (strict CrossFit workouts never exceed 30 minutes), CrossFit workouts can accommodate even the most demanding schedule. Because they expose athletes to such a broad range of fitness activities, CrossFit participants constantly find themselves addressing weaknesses or developing new skills. Such diversity not only keeps the workouts fresh, fun, and engaging, but also has been scientifically proven to elicit a superior result from virtually any other traditional exercise ‘routine’ (click here to find read one such abstract). Best of all, Because CrossFit calls for highly functional movements and exercises, the fitness and strength gained through CrossFit is readily translated to virtually any form or activity. We give you the strength and conditioning you need to make you both better at, and better enjoy your favorite sport or activity. When combined with CrossFit TT’s unique programming methodology, and sport-specific programs, these characteristics ensure that any time-spent training with at our Box will be time-well spent. Click here to learn what makes CrossFit TT’s Programming Unique from other affiliates.
“The fitness needs of an Olympic hopeful and an 80-year old grandmother vary by degree – not by kind.” Because their principal aim is to attract new customers, most exercise routines, programs, or training methodologies are willing to compromise the integrity of their training in order to appeal to a more broad audience. Even personal trainers or private, sport-specific coaches will cater to the desires of the client or their own personal preferences or knowledge base instead of providing the client with what’s needed most. Ironically, the exercises or program elements most regularly omitted are those that would yield the greatest benefits to it’s participants; Just as traditional gyms employ machines instead of coaches, traditional fitness programs avoid using complex, functional, or strenuous movements for fear that they might intimidate potential customers.
Proponents of such programs contend that these compromises benefit both the fitness industry, and the populations they service by attracting people previously disinterested in fitness to new activities. Unfortunately, these proponents fail to consider the long-term ramifications of these half-baked programs. Because they’re not results-oriented, people who practice these programs rarely see sustainable benefits, or get the results they want. Not only does this disenfranchise fitness newcomers, but also it further reinforces the misconceptions serious athletes have about training in a group setting. Instead of being viewed as viable training resources, group fitness activities are – at best – perceived as occasional, fun diversions from ‘real’ training that don’t offer realistic performance benefits. More often, they’re dismissed altogether as fitness ‘fads’, along with any potentially beneficial ideas or concepts they might bring to the table.
Unlike other group training programs, CrossFit refuses to compromise the integrity of it’s programming in order to attract a larger audience. This isn’t a marketing gimmick, so much as it is a function of what CrossFit was initially designed to do – help first responders, law enforcement, and armed service personnel achieve world-class fitness. Because it was developed for people who’s lives literally depended on their fitness, and the efficacy of their training routine, CrossFit couldn’t (and doesn’t) entertain any methodology that didn’t yield results, or create different requirements or definitions for fitness or health based on what’s convenient. The resulting protocol maintains that all athletes – regardless of their age, ambitions, or athletic background – should aim to be proficient across 10 domains of fitness. Instead of eliminating activities based on what’s convenient or marketable, CrossFit instead scales each activity performed across these domains according to the capabilities of the athlete performing them. Not only does such uniformity yield exceptional results for elite athletes and fitness novices alike, but also it fosters an incredible sense of community. Because all participants are performing the same exercises scaled to their ability level, they’re all sharing the same experience, and thus recognize, respect, and support one another in their accomplishments. Having trouble visualizing it? We understand. It’s hard to visualize a setting where a 62 year-old grandmother’s athletic prowess can regularly impress and motivate a Elite 19 year old Collegiate Hockey player until you see it in action.
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