CrossFit: It’s for every body, but not for everyone

drscottcrossfitGiven my position as a sports chiropractor and CrossFit athlete, I am often asked by patients who have never tried CrossFit if it would be “good” for them.

I truly believe CrossFit and functional fitness is an exceptional way to combat modern society’s assault on our bodies. Because honestly, I spend most of my day trying to help adults unwind the damage they’ve done growing up in a bio-mechanically incongruent world.

We sit to “learn” for the first 20 years of our lives and then a lot of us sit for our careers for the next 30+ years. This leads to a predictable set of movement faults, pain and dysfunction.

If you understand how humans are suppose to engage with their environment, you quickly realize CrossFit is the best option, next to moving to a remote part of Utah and living off the land as a recluse hunter-gatherer.

We are designed to move at low levels of intensity for the majority of our day, with brief periods of high intensity output through a wide variety of movements. We should be able to move through those movements with a full, pain-free range of motion. We should be able to squat below parallel and not rely on chairs to relax.

So YES – CrossFit is good and healthy and appropriate for every body.

But it’s not for everyone.

This question from my patients highlights their inherent beliefs about CrossFit. That’s it’s too intense, too dangerous, and only for the young and healthy. Maybe this is the image they get from seeing the Reebok CrossFit Games on ESPN. Maybe it’s a reputation that’s been unfortunately earned from too many poorly run boxes opening up too soon.

But at my gym, there’s no better place for someone to recover their fitness and health potential.

Our coaches are rigorously trained to recognize when someone needs a movement modification. Workouts and movements are scaled and modified accordingly. Our athletes have readily available access to myself, a nutrition specialist, a massage therapist, a physical therapist and an orthopedic physician (all of whom are MEMBERS and ATHLETES).

This is the new and true model of health care. If our society is to ever pull itself out of this self-induced health crisis, it starts here. Recognizing that the current model of health care is actually symptom suppression sick-care and that we need a new model. One that is congruent with our genetics. One that helps members eat well, move well and think well.

I realize not every CrossFit affiliate is like this. I’ve traveled a lot and seen some pretty badly run boxes that I wouldn’t trust sending patients to. But, for the most part, CrossFit communities are some of the most supportive and mentally and physically restorative places I’ve ever seen.

We have members of every shape and size and ability and age. Recently, I had the pleasure of cheering on 15 of our master’s level athletes at a competition in Connecticut. There I saw what aging can look like.

Strong. Determined. Able. Robust. Empowered.

But one of the other reasons I say CrossFit is not for everyone is that many people are simply not willing to mentally and physically push themselves out of their comfort zone in order to progress toward a healthier existence. If they’re being honest, they like their lives.

Fine.

But if you ask me if CrossFit would be “good” for you – you’d better believe I’ll definitively say yes.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Scott


I’d love for you to take advantage of special launch pricing and a subscriber only coupon for my video rehab program –  The Full Body Fix.



16 thoughts on “CrossFit: It’s for every body, but not for everyone

  1. Sinclair

    Great article! I agree totally!
    Unfortunately, for women (young and old) the idea of lifting heavy things and putting them back down is a man’s job and they can’t possibly understand why any woman would even want to do that. It’s very frustrating! As a health coach, I get a lot of women wanting to lose weight (fat) and I tell them that the best way to do that is by incorporating strength into their workout with a trained professional to ensure correct form and prevent injury (like my Box!), which to them means using 5-7 lb dumbbells and only going through half the range of motion in these boutique workout classes. If you and your lady 🙂 are ever in the Atlanta/ north atlanta area and are looking for a box to drop in that emphasis proper movement, Crossfit Johns Creek, is one of those boxes!

    Reply
  2. Paula Gurak

    Thanks for a great article. I’ve been on the fence as I have osteopenia in thoracic area and stenosis C5-7 with a bone spur pushing on my spinal cord at C5 and bulging disk at C7. At L3-5 stenosis due to previous discectomy. All injury related! I need core strength that was lost due to injuries, but am nervous to hit it hard because of my neck issues. I’m paleo and nutritionally in the best internal health in a long time.

    Reply
    • Steph

      Me too, Paula – I’ve had knee pain off and on since junior high that finally derailed me a couple years ago. After some PT for that, once I got back into things, my (long-brewing) neck problem showed up (3 bulging disks). The neck injury affects everything, even squats!

      I have really struggled to get back to where I was before, even with plenty of PT, chiropractic, and massage to complement things like Pilates and TRX. I feel like I have lost SO much core strength in the last year, and that just makes all the other problems prone to re-aggravation! Help!!

      Reply
  3. jenn osgood

    Good article… unfortunaly im one of the former cf’ers that left with my first injury ever, a largely hurniated L5S1. I’ve been active and super fit my whole life. I stretched and foam rolled after every WOD and asked for help improving my form constantly. I was also competitive and increased my PRs at rate that i obviously want ready for. It’s been a year now and i feel like through physical therapy and my own strength and conditioning is gotten a lot better, although i can still feel the hurniated disk slightly. Im considering going back to CF on a walk in basis as im not going to be able to do some of the WODs w my back injury. I would also be seeking better guidance on form obviously. I miss it so much!

    Reply
    • scottamillsdc Post author

      Sorry to hear about the injury Jenn. I had a similar injury as the result of a snowboarding accident and know the long road to recovery all to well. When athletes progress toward the competitive level, it’s a whole different ball of wax. In my opinion, CrossFit the sport and CrossFit the fitness methodology are separate entities. As you know, in order to be at a competitive level one must push the body to the very edge of capacity. You could say the same for Professional athletes of all sports. The injury risk at these levels goes way up. But most folks should NOT have the goal of being at that top/competitive/sport level. I’d like to see their goal be to regain the functional ability to engage in activities of daily living, thereby lowering their risk for injuries due to dis-use.
      Again – my opinion.

      -Dr. Mills

      Reply
  4. Courtney Kirchoff

    CrossFit is for every body, that’s for sure. You’re right when you say it’s not for everyone, and sometimes people have to take the slow and painful route to learn their “fine” life is below average. We only get one life and one body, why not make it the best we can? Sadly a lot of people would rather have instant pleasure than lifelong results. As for me and my body, I’ll clean and jerk for as long as I’m able.

    Reply
  5. David Jones

    The title alone explains everything. The article just puts meat on the bones. I have friends who are happy enough to pound roads, i have friends who are happy in front of a tv and I have friends who get withdrawal symptoms if they miss one WoD. I am one of those who like talking WoDs with other crossfitters, can talk about my 10k times with my running friends and can chat about last nights episode of Elementary with the couch potatoes. We are all happy in our own little worlds.

    Reply
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  8. Emily

    This was a great article! I have been debating for a while on whether or not to start Cross Fit and this was just what I needed to hear. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Reply
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