I think there’s something called the “Gym Wars” going on right now. I’ve been noticing a proliferation of articles and blog posts, as well as overhearing and engaging in conversations with people, on how to work out. Everyone has an opinion on the best way to get in shape, and everyone believes that they are right. That shouldn’t be a problem; we’re all entitled to our preferences. Except that it is a problem…
There’s the CrossFit crowd (of which I’m part) that posts online detailed accounts of masochistic workouts in jargon that’s indecipherable to the uninitiated. They love their motivational posters and pictures splattered with messages that others (i.e. non-CrossFitters) find at the very least condescending, if not offensive:
Then there’s the rest of the fitness world that caters to people who don’t want to puke while exercising, who don’t want to do pull-ups to the point of not being able to extend their arms for a week, who don’t like feeling utterly ravaged by a workout. And there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, I don’t blame them.
What I’m getting fed up with is the dichotomy that exists between different approaches to fitness. Here we are, all of us people trying to get in shape and be our healthiest selves, and all the while we’re spitting and snarling at each other like angry cats, as if someone else’s personal workout style is actually offensive to us. That makes no sense at all.
I’ve been known to sing the praises of CrossFit on this blog, since it has been fantastic for me, but I’m becoming increasingly aware of not wanting it to take over my life. I purposely don’t buy the unlimited monthly pass to the local gym, but restrict myself to the ‘pay-per-class’ system, which helps keep me at home on those additional days when my body feels guilty and wants to work out again, but my head is saying, “No, Katherine, go do something else.”
Admittedly, I get irritated by how often non-CrossFitters criticize CrossFit, writing it off with surprisingly bitter vehemence. I tell myself that they just don’t understand how effective it is, but then I reassess: their distaste for it is fully understandable! CrossFitters don’t do much to endear themselves to the rest of the world. Inherent narcissism goes along with CrossFit’s focus on personal records (“PRs” in ‘box’ lingo) and physical feats. Thanks to social media, it’s now in everyone’s faces, and — big surprise! – posting WOD details doesn’t serve so much to inspire as to make everyone else feel bad about what they’re doing (or not doing), while further entrenching the dichotomy and making CrossFit seem even more inaccessible and arrogant to others.
Please don’t get me wrong. I really love CrossFit, but I just want everyone to get along. I want the non-CrossFitters to stop hating us so much, and I want the CrossFitters to stop thinking they’re perfect and amazing and have got it all figured out. Competition within the chronometrical confines of a WOD is healthy and fun, but keeping it there is also a good idea. Let’s strive instead to respect each other’s individual style and celebrate the fact that so many people want to get in shape.