One of my hobbies, turned part-time profession is being a Level 1 Crossfit Trainer at a local Crossfit gym. I was introduced to Crossfit by my husband a little over 5 years ago and it changed my life. For the first time, I found a consistent fitness regime that was tailorable, motivating, and provided me with results. I haven't yo-yo dieted, I am strong and healthy, and I've smashed some goals that I thought I never would.
My full-time job has lended me the opportunity to have travelled around our country quite a bit. One of the things I loved about travelling was it provided me the opportunity to try out several new gyms, talk with other (more experienced) trainers and coaches, and meet some like-minded folks. It's truly been a wonderful journey and provided me some insight into this slice of the fitness world.
Being pretty vocal about my love for Crossfit has provided an opportunity for lots of folks to contact me with questions about Crossfit or to share a story with me about their experiences. Like most things in life, this has provided some very positive and negative feedback.
I've noticed a theme as I've heard people talk about their exposure to Crossfit and have witnessed enough times myself. One of those themes is a lack of concern for the individual doing Crossfit. As with most things in my life, I have high standards and little patience for incompetence. I have even less patience when it's incompetence laced with ego. It's unfortunate how many times I've witnessed bullshit, plain and simple, as a direct result of the latter.
I feel lucky to have landed myself with an affiliate that values both their customer, their employees, and their business. I want to take some time to share some of the things that have made Crossfit as rewarding for me as it has. And, for what it's worth, I encourage you to consider these things if you decide to give Crossfit a whirl.
Your trainer and your business owner should care about your feelings. Always. Period.
How you are feeling is going to dictate a lot of things that matter to me as your trainer and how much I care should matter to you. How you feel is going to influence what your goals are, how you are showing up to your workout, and also give me some insight into how I can help you elevate yourself and your overall experience. That is my goal. I personally think that should be every trainer's goal. I've yet to see a Crossfit gym that charges less than $100/month for a membership. $100+ people. If I want your business, I should care about you above all else.
As your trainer, I am there to guide you through the standard for movements that follow Crossfit's doctrine. That means that I should care about whether you are doing a movement correctly BEFORE you proceed. I was lucky enough to have the founder of Crossfit step in on my seminar when I was getting certified and I asked a question that was prodding at me the entire weekend. My question was "what do you do when you have a member who is not able to get the correct position or technique but wants to do a heavier load?" They looked at me with almost a surprise and informed me that you advise them not to go heavier. Always. Every single time. The collective audience of gym members, owners, and Crossfit staff all agreed that should be the standard rule of practice. They advised me to ask that they work on that movement until they get it correct before they proceed. This one really stuck out to me because I had seen people not only allow but ENCOURAGE people to go heavier when they weren't comfortable or were clearly not able to get the correct positioning/technique. I had seen people applaud those lifts and those attempts with such a comraderie that I had sincerely thought it is part of the journey. I have been part of that very thing before. I was wrong. They are wrong. If you are doing this, you are wrong. How can I say this? Because our training tells us so.
The thing is, I have run into several people who had a bad experience with Crossfit for this exact reason. They were told they couldn't/shouldn't scale, they should "man up" or they are sandbagging a workout if they aren't going prescribed. I've seen people get hurt under the close eye of their trainer because it was that trainer cheering them on when they so clearly shouldn't have been progressing. I've seen someone get rhabdo (medically diagnosed) because she was being yelled at to just keep going. That kind of thing pisses me off because it goes against what we are taught and it is so far outside of what Crossfit's intentions are.
Yes, as an individual you are responsible for your own actions but I can clearly see how the allure of being apart of something, and under the guidance of a professional, can chip away at personal boundaries. I encourage you not to let it.
Above all, listen to your body and explore your options. Find a gym that values you and wants to help elevate you and you won't be disappointed.
Your friendly local trainer.