I signed up for CrossFit in early 2011, a few months after graduating from college. I had spent the better part of a decade destroying my physical health and appearance through nonstop binge drinking, drug use, and consumption of every tobacco product known to man, and didn’t want to die of a massive heart attack in my late twenties, so I figured it was time to get my shit together.
An older coworker actually talked me into it; his sales pitch being that if we worked out on our own we’d never actually get in shape, but the CrossFit coaches and system would hold us accountable. The two of us signed up for a yearlong membership, opting for three sessions per week, costing an outrageous $165 per month.
I learned a lot over the course of that grueling year.
First, no amount of structure, or coaching, or community support will ever be able to hold me accountable to staying in shape. I’m just not wired that way. The coworker I joined with still jokes that my average attendance was 1.4 classes per week, and that’s a generous estimate. To be fair, I was writing a book at the time, and my chaotic schedule wasn’t exactly fitness regimen friendly.
Second, CrossFit is a cult.
Here are 10 terrible things about CrossFit and everything that goes with the cultural phenomenon:
1. People who post Facebook statuses about CrossFit.
Facebook asks, “What’s on your mind?” Facebook does not ask, “How was CrossFit today, you yolked badass?” Nobody gives a single fuck that you completed the WOD (workout of the day) in 3 minutes and 34 seconds, or that you finished in sixth place out of the fifteen people in your class. Stop uploading videos of yourself executing the perfect hang clean, or photos of you in the pushup position. You’re scaring us.
2. Getting destroyed by girls.
You roll into the gym on your first day and notice that there are three small members of the female sex in your class. These chicks can’t weigh more than 120-pounds on a bad day. You’re thinking, “I’m going to destroy these little girls and show them how big my dick is.”
The whole thing is set up as a unisexual even playing field. You’ll be powering through 150-pound thruster reps while one of those little girls next to you is doing nothing but the bar and absolutely wrecking your workout time. Either that, or the chick working out next to you will be a freak beast who warms up with more weight than you can lift, which is totally emasculating.
Speaking of which, ladies, CrossFit will not make you sexy. It will make you frightening.
3. Everyone is cheering you on.
You’ll never feel more insecure about yourself than while you’re pathetically finishing up a workout in last place, hacking up tar and puking up alcohol from last night’s happy hour, as the rest of the class cheers you on.
I remember one specific morning where I yacked up bile outside the gym after a lap around the building, and then ran inside to finish my final round of Kipping pull-ups. The rest of the class surrounded me, clapping and cheering, urging me on to personal victory. Their enthusiasm caused me to truly hate every single person on earth and everything about myself at the same time.
4. You only care about beach muscles.
If your goal is chiseling out a six-pack and some gnarly biceps to impress bitches at the pool, you’re in the wrong place. These people want to turn you into a fucking monster, not a precisely toned piece of man candy. They’ll have you training to play offensive guard for the New England Patriots, not doing crunches until you look like that Eskimo kid from the Twilight series.
5. There is nothing worse than a CrossFit couple.
Developing a sexual relationship at the gym is just weird. You’re in there getting all sweaty, smelling like ass, and breathing like James Gandolfini, working up hormones to convince yourself that your sex drive hasn’t prematurely faded to that of a 65-year-old retiree, and then in the midst of your post-workout high you spit game to the blonde doing abs in the corner? Yeah, that’s not creepy.
This phenomenon is far worse in a CrossFit gym, because you’re in small groups with the same people day after day. There were at least four couples at my location that I’m positive were making zoo noises on top of each other on a nightly basis. They tried to keep it professional in the presence of the other cult members, but masking the fact that they did naked burpees with each other in bed proved impossible.
I’m guessing the divorce rate for CrossFit couples has to be over ninety percent. Oh, you met in the middle of a WOD when you tripped over each other between stations? That’ll be a cute story for your freakishly muscular offspring.
“Daddy used to creepily stare into the depths of mommy’s ass while she did squats at CF.”
6. It’s not a fun hobby, or something that you look forward to.
Getting off work and knowing that I still had to go to CrossFit was the most miserable feeling I have encountered post grad.
You might be asking, “Why didn’t you switch to morning workouts, you lazy jackass?”
Going to sleep and knowing that I had to wake up and go straight to CrossFit was the second most miserable feeling I have encountered post grad.
7. The guy who has zero chance of actually getting in shape.
He’s overweight, he’s not athletic, and he probably has a drinking problem. It’s admirable that he’s joined CrossFit in an attempt to turn his life around, but everyone there can see it in his eyes. He’s just not cut out for this. Some people have the inner-drive necessary for success, others don’t.
He halfheartedly laughs about how he fell off the wagon again last night and smoked a few cigs after one too many gin-and-tonics at Chili’s. Then he apathetically goes through the motions during the WOD, impressing no one, including himself. Afterwards, he fakes inspired conversation with the coaches and diehards before heading home to jerk off on his living room couch and fall asleep without showering.
You might hate it there, but at least you know you could be giving 110% if you needed to. This guy’s 110% is your 50%. He’s genetically inferior.
8. Eating paleo is fucking impossible.
I’m a skinny guy, and I have a mean pair of chicken legs. I’m talking total lack of calf definition. It’s a genetic trait that I inherited from my father, and it’s never going away. I could do leg workouts with Adrian Peterson, and I would still have limbs like a stork. This is never going to change, and I have made peace with that fact.
However, one of the CrossFit coaches was constantly urging me to drink an entire gallon of milk a day in order to bulk up. Are you fucking high, sir? This is Texas. It’s 110 degrees outside during the dark of winter, but I digress.
Paleo, also known as “the caveman diet,” is impossible to maintain. We live in a country where there is delicious fast food available on every corner. How in the name of God am I supposed to eat like a hunter-gatherer?
9. It’s dangerous in there.
Any trainer will tell you that working out with improper form is incredibly unsafe. For this reason, proper form is stressed to no end in a CrossFit gym. This is because you’re doing an absurd amount of different lifts and motions on a totally sporadic basis.
The problem is, nobody actually uses proper fucking form. People were dropping like flies in there. Once a week, which was exactly how many times I actually showed up, someone would stroll into the gym with a heating pad wrapped around a part of their body, and sit in the corner with a massive rubber band, rehabbing their injured muscle.
Most of these people will have zero cartilage left in their body by the age of fifty.
10. It is a cult.
I’m not saying all CrossFitters are sociopathic health nuts whose lives revolve around the prospect of daily self-improvement via unnecessarily intense exercise in a military environment, who have nothing else to live for outside work other than the one hour a day where they become master of their domain by throwing kettlebells around. I’m saying most CrossFitters are sociopathic health nuts whose lives revolve around the prospect of daily self-improvement via unnecessarily intense exercise in a military environment, who have nothing else to live for outside work other than the one hour a day where they become master of their domain by throwing kettlebells around.