How Fit is Fit?

Posted on Jun 11 2013 - 6:31pm by Isaac Chipps
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In today’s society, we strive for the ultimate form of perfection in everything we do. Whether it’s creating the perfect cell phone, finding the perfect athlete, or writing the perfect novel, perfection is something society aspires now more than ever before.

It seems that this is no more apparent then in the sports world, where athletes are doing everything they can to build and compete with the perfect body, perfect skills, and perfect game to become the best at their sport.

In the wake of the new steroid scandal in baseball, the topic of perfection seems never more relevant than now.

Last weekend, the Central East Regional CrossFit Games were held in Columbus, Ohio. The top three men, women, and teams earned a spot into the world competition called the Reebok CrossFit Games, which will be aired live on ESPN2 in late July.

For those of you who are extremely confused by the term CrossFit, you won’t be for long. CrossFit is arguably the fastest growing sports sensation in this country and around the world.

If you have a friend or two that keeps telling you about these crazy workouts he or she has been partaking in, than they’re most likely talking about CrossFit.

According to crossfit.com, CrossFit is defined as “constantly varied functional movements performed at relatively high intensity.” Still confused? I’ll keep explaining.

CrossFit was founded by Greg Glassman in 2000, and over the last ten years it has exploded all over the country and world.

In 2007, the CrossFit Games were started to find the “fittest on Earth.” The Games test athletes’ skills in almost every aspect of fitness. They require competitors to be proficient in everything from rope climbing, to squat-cleaning, to pull-ups, handstand push-ups, to even swimming. Anything and everything must be attainable if one wishes to compete in the CrossFit Games.

A hand-stand push-up, seen above, is one of the many movements popularized by CrossFit

A hand-stand push-up, seen above, is one of the many movements popularized by CrossFit

The sport is growing at a dramatic pace, and with the help of lead sponsor Reebok and other sports based companies, CrossFit will continue to become an increasing presence on-air and around your community.

Although CrossFit is growing in popularity so rapidly, many people have concerns about the new found sport and the effects it may have on the body.

In 2005, Makimba Mimms was a member of a CrossFit gym in Virginia when he injured himself during a CrossFit workout. When the injury occurred, Mimms was under the supervision of an uncertified trainer. He sued the trainer and the gym and successfully won $300,000 in court, citing that CrossFit increases the risk of getting Rhabdomyolysis.

Rhabdomyoysis is a serious medical condition. It is the breakdown of muscle fibers that leads to the release of muscle fiber contents (myoglobin) into the bloodstream. It can be deadly and can lead to kidney failure.

I had the opportunity to witness a CrossFit workout first hand and see for myself just how intense these workouts can get. Comprised of rounds of pull-ups, single-arm dumbbell snatches, and medicine ball squats, I saw normal people working at very intense levels while being properly guided by certified trainers.

When I went out to watch the CrossFit Games last weekend, I was curious as to what type of crowd would be on hand. I met people from all over the Midwest; people who are in love with CrossFit so much that they drove all the way from Tennessee to support the two-time defending CrossFit Games champion, Rich Froning.

I must admit, I was skeptical of CrossFit at first. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the idea, the format of the workouts, or the people who competed in the games. I just didn’t know enough, and had only heard little bits about this newly formed sport. I made an assumption about CrossFit, and I was dearly wrong.

Critics may argue that there are risks that come with CrossFit. Doing high intensity movements with a lot of weight and a lot of reps may indeed lead to injury or other problems, but doing any type of exercise incorrectly may lead to injury or serious health problems.

They may argue that some trainers may be unqualified or don’t have proper certification, but just like any situation, there will always be people in any business who are unqualified, yet are still somehow squeezing through the system. It’s up to the individual to figure out what suits them best and separate themselves from illegitimate gyms.

A sold out crowd was on hand to watch the world's best crossfitters compete in the Central East Regional

A sold out crowd was on hand to watch the world’s best crossfitters compete in the Central East Regional

CrossFit is still very new to the world. With the rapid growth and popularity, there will be growing pains that come along with the glory of being televised on ESPN.

For me personally, it is not the way I choose to workout, but I have great respect for those who wish to workout that way and attempt to compete with those premier athletes (yes, that’s exactly what they are).

For a long time, I didn’t understand what CrossFit was about. Why would a 50-year-old man want to take part in a workout that is meant to be challenging for a man half is age? But than I realized, CrossFit has no boundaries, and it certainly has no age limit attached to it.

I now see the gravitation towards CrossFit. People may only come across very fit men and women who are crazy about their high intensity workouts, but the community that CrossFit has built is what has gotten it to the place it currently sits at. The first thing any crossfitter will tell you is that anyone can do the workouts. It’s just about committing yourself to the program and to living a healthy lifestyle. Like anything else in life, if you’re willing to put the work into it, you’ll find the answers you’re looking for.

I may never fully understand CrossFit, but I have all the respect in the world for anyone who is willing to commit to it, work at it, and help grow it. Whether or not you personally agree with the philosophy, the atmosphere, or the actual workouts, no one can deny that the future of CrossFit is getting brighter each and every day.

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