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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.

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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.

What are you one of those fitness freaks? Huh? Go fuck yourself. #StopCrossFit

Listen to W. R. Bolen talk CrossFit on ESPN Radio by clicking here.

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  1. 351

    Not only do I “crossfit” but my husband and I are your reason #5 picture (we took during our engagement shoot at our box) ! And I thought this article was sooooo funnnny and pretty true! We were cracking up reading it last night and flattered we made the article!! Haha!

    Nice workMehLog in or sign up to reply. • 3 years ago
  2. 256

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for writing this post. CrossFit was a MAJOR catalyst for my marriage ending. My ex tried and tried to get me to go so I finally agreed to go with her and told her I would go for a month solid. I went once, almost puked at the end, and never went back. She was so mad at me and told me how unsupportive of a husband I was. She would actually text me pictures of her hands torn after a work out and have me post them to her Facebook page. I would have to save the picture to my phone, email it to myself, log out of my account, log in to hers, and post the picture, all while trying to get ready for work and not be late because, at this time, she did the workouts in the morning. And if I didn’t do it, then I would get yelled at. As for the paleo diet, I told her I didn’t want to do that with her because I like food, and again, got the unsupportive husband comment. I told her it was fine if she wanted to do it, but that I didn’t really want to do that diet. I was happy with how I looked and felt, but that wasn’t good enough and she got pissed until I gave in. She diet hopped depending on what diet her “trainer” told her to be on. She got such a great feeling telling people how she was eating Paleo and would spend absurd amounts of money on food she’d cook based off paleo recipes she found online. She would swear up and down they were delicious, but most nights, when I got home from work, she’d be waking up from a nap on the couch, and as soon as I walked in the door, she’d ask me to go back out to the store and get her a bag of Tostitos and a jar of Pace Green Salsa. If I didn’t go back out, I’d get yelled at. She’d eat the entire bag and jar in one sitting. I would actually fill tupperware containers with the food she made to bring for lunch and throw the food out at work, just to get it out of the house and not have to eat it later. She wondered why she was constantly gaining weight and assumed it must be muscle, but, it definitely wasn’t. She wanted me to look at her “man muscles”, what she called her trap muscles. They never grew, but she was proud of them. She had torn her ACL and MCL when she was in high school playing soccer so she already had a bad knee. I can’t even count how many times she came home from a work out and said “I dislocated my knee a few times during the workout, but it’s ok now. Going to be swollen tomorrow though, but I should be able to work out again!” Both of her parents are in the medical field and they both told her it was a terrible workout and diet program and that she was doing more and more damage to her knee, but she didn’t listen and just kept going and going. By the end of everything, she actually told me “If you can’t accept CrossFit, then you can’t accept me.” An ultimatum where she was willing to choose a work out program that reduced us seeing each other to about 20 minutes a day rather than to reduce the amounts of workouts she did from 6 days a week to 3 or 4 and actually spend some time together. Either way, she chose CrossFit over me and, at this point, I couldn’t be happier. After the marriage ended, I got a new job and moved from Atlanta to Las Vegas.

    Nice workMehLog in or sign up to reply. • 3 years ago
  3. 106

    Pretty funny, especially the part about relationships, hit that on the head.
    Got a question, though. How can you expect to get better/see results from anything that you only do once a week?

    Nice workMehLog in or sign up to reply. • 3 years ago
    • 60
      W R Bolen

      Oh I’m not saying CrossFit can’t be effective. It obviously is for those who dedicate themselves to it, but some of those people tend to overdo it which makes for hilarious social commentary, which was the point of this column.

      Nice workMehLog in or sign up to reply. • 3 years ago
  4. 94

    The reality is when you take yourself THAT seriously in anything in life, you’re going to get made fun of. CrossFitters just need to learn that. I am lucky to have found a very unique CF box that will laugh you out or kick you out of the box for taking it too seriously. The gym owner is a 20+ year veteran of the Navy SEALs, so he has some perspective on life. (A) you’re not saving the world by preaching paleo to everyone, and (B) you’re going to need to do more than a 1-legged squat to impress him. It makes for a light hearted environment that is actually enjoyable for people. The goal is to make people feel good about themselves, not inadequate or insecure.
    I will disagree with you on one point though. CrossFit women ARE sexy. I would so much rather date the strong girl who will challenge me to a pull up competition than the skinny girl who only eats 800 calories a day and can’t keep up with me on a simple hike. That strong girl is also usually more confident with less emotional baggage than the 95 pound model on the magazine cover.
    Great article, though! I think #3 is my favorite. I got my ass kicked in one WOD at a competition recently and got to experience that.

    Nice workMehLog in or sign up to reply. • 3 years ago
  5. 84

    Here’s my take on this. If you wanna workout great. Go ahead and keep at it. Never been overweight a day in my life, honestly its hard for me to gain weight. I run but I don’t have to work that hard. Some people have it like that. Now if you wanna do crossfit more power to ya. I wont knock you for wanting to better yourself but if its costing your body in the long run then I disagree with it. I’m not going to tell you what to do, just like nobody should bitch out the author of this for expressing his opinions on the issue at hand. Now, if you cannot see that this article was all in good fun then throw a bitchfit and cry behind the safety of your computer. Sounds like a grownup, mature, 21st century type of thing to do don’t ya think? Look I could care less if you are a trainer and you do make a difference in people’s live if you don’t learn to laugh and enjoy life some then you will have high blood pressure from stressing out about being in the best possible shape ever bruh! Get Swole, Fuck Yeah. But look learn to enjoy the funny things in life even if you do not agree with them. I will say though if your life revolves around working out every single day of your life then you have some issues because family comes first no matter what. Bitching about a guy who writes satirical articles is doing nothing. Instead go do what you want and get off the internet and crying because somebody in this country didn’t have the same opinions as you. Who cares about getting huge and all. As long as you are healthy and you exercise about 3 times a week then who cares what some author thinks? Why get on and bitch when it falls on deaf ears? How about this you’re making a big deal about being in shape and all that but not one of you has made the point that the United States is lacking in the education department in this world of ours. Instead of working out(whichever form of it you do) how about every once in awhile you pick up a book or take your children to the museum. Yes, people in this country are more unhealthy than in any other country but our education should be a little higher on people’s list than bitching about being in the best shape or doing crossfit. My point proven is that people would actually get on here and bitch about a satirical article that in its meaning says that it pokes fun at something in society to have it changed for the better. Please people learn to laugh so tomorrow on your way to work out you don’t get road rage and kill somebody. Thanks and watch family guy. You’ll figure out what a satire is. Thanks. #PeopleWhoWorkOutNeedToLearnToLaughAndLiveLifeMore.

    Nice workMehLog in or sign up to reply. • 3 years ago
  6. 75

    I’m a crossfitter and LOVE crossfit… But this is freakin HILARIOUS HAHA… It’s good to see other peoples perspective being in our cult.

    Great write up bro… Can’t hate on the bacon tho

    Nice workMehLog in or sign up to reply. • 3 years ago
  7. 49

    Been doing crossfit for 2 months now. I have never laughed so flippen hard in my life reading your column because every word is true!! I could especially relate to being the last one to finish the WOD! 20 people standing around watching me do what was the farthest thing from a burpee was thee lowest most humiliating moment of my life! When I finished, and was semi-conscious laying on the floor gasping for my last breath I could hear everyone cheering! In my head I was thinking, “are you freaking kidding me?!!! I’m sure a freak show was exactly what it was! Congratulations! YOU SUCK!!! Yeah. Not for everyone!

    Nice workMehLog in or sign up to reply. • 3 years ago

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