THE BLOG
09/25/2013 10:40 am ET Updated Nov 25, 2013

CrossFit Doesn't Have a Dirty Little Secret -- You're Just Irresponsible

I saw multiple people sharing this article -- "CrossFit's Dirty Little Secret" -- over the weekend. As soon as I saw, I clicked over to see what the latest CrossFit hater-ade was.

I keep running into articles designed to dis CrossFit -- but I don't get why there is so much more bitterness for CrossFit over any other sport. The authors of these pieces always have some kind of personal problem with people who do CrossFit, but the core of it is a mystery.

CrossFit doesn't have a dirty little secret -- what you see is what you get.

This article discusses a rare condition called "Rhabdomyolysis" -- where one's muscles basically "explode" from extreme overworking. Simply put -- you push push push when you shouldn't and cause potentially permanent damage.

The way the author frames this article, though, you'd think people were dying from CrossFit on a regular basis.

I'm not going to summarize the whole article -- read it for yourself. But here's why it makes me mad...

Making Me Mad

Rhabdomyolysis -- an extreme condition thwarted upon oneself -- is not the fault of CrossFit. It's not the sport, the organization or even the coaches. It's your own fault.

People like to talk about CrossFit like it's literally Navy SEAL training with drill sergeants screaming in your face.

Not at all. It's actually more like people encouraging you do to do your best and yes, push yourself, because isn't it great to have that extra motivation? It's a positive space for you to work hard and feel good about yourself.

But use your common sense! Don't do something that will hurt yourself. Listen to your body. Go slowly when you start. Learn correct form. Don't lift too heavy. Scale down if you need to. Take it seriously -- weightlifting isn't a joke

Any good CrossFit coach will tell you these things. Of course, there are bad coaches! There are bad gyms. There are people who will tell you to do things that may be harmful. Be smart.

This is when you use your brain. Hey, maybe working out until I vomit is not a good idea! Personally, I've never worked out until I vomited (almost after a marathon once but hey...)

My Experience

I've been doing CrossFit for nearly two years and have no problem stopping to take a few breaths when I need to, switching to knee push ups if real ones get too hard, going to grab a drink of water mid-workout. A couple of times, I've felt fatigued and sat down for a moment -- and GASP! -- no one told me I was weak or ridiculed me for doing what I needed to do for me.

Another part of this article that irritated me: He talks about women peeing during double unders and says, "No, peeing during a workout is not alright. Ever."

First of all, marathoners and triathletes do this regularly. Secondly, if you know anything about double unders, you DO have to empty your bladder out completely before you do them! Bouncing up and down like that does somethin' to ya and guess what? It's not "extreme exercise." The author calls it "stress-induced urinary incontinence." Nope, definitely not stressful to do double unders. I love double unders -- I just make sure I pee before I do them. Ain't no thang.

What It Comes Down To

CrossFit haters like to blame CrossFit as a whole -- call it a cult, label people as "weird" or "obsessed." Folks will say CrossFit causes injury and is irresponsible. Newsflash: CrossFit does not cause injury -- individuals do things that cause themselves injury.

This is what it comes down to: personal responsibility. I don't expect my CrossFit coaches to do everything for me. I have to take the responsibility to learn moves correctly and take things slowly. I have to listen to my body and not cave to some kind of "zombie pressure" to keep going when I shouldn't.

My back is hurt right now, and why? Because I did something incorrectly, and that's my fault. I went too big on a weight and that's my fault. I wasn't careful -- that's MY fault. That could have happened to me working out in Gold's Gym by myself.

Anyway, haters, stop blaming CrossFit for your problems and take some responsibility for your bad decisions.

This post originally appeared on The Sweet Life.

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