CrossFit, changing lives daily

Last updated 05:00 21/05/2014
darren ellis
Fairfax NZ
DARREN ELLIS: The author demonstrates some core strength.

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Do you Crossfit? Tell us your story

Crossfit has transformed our whole family Crossfit are my new family Crossfit helped me with my pregnancy Fitter at 40 than at 20 Kipping pull-ups? Yeaah I thought I was fit. Then I tried Crossfit CrossFit turned my life around Crossfit isn't the problem Crossfit lets us train like Olympians Crossfit has changed my life

I've worked in the fitness industry for going on 20 years, and six years ago, disillusioned and ready to quit, I discovered CrossFit. Exactly 3 months after that, I opened New Zealand's first CrossFit gym, and we are now recognised around the country and the world for our excellence in coaching and training.

Everything I learned in my five years of undergrad and post grad studies, and then the majority of information available to me as ongoing education was aimed at dumbing down and finding ways to make exercise easier for the masses. But the fact is that exercise and eating healthy is HARD, so there's no point in sugarcoating it.

Gyms I worked for spent more money/time on marketing than they did on training their staff, or trying to care for/retain existing members.

The fact that most gyms prefer their clients don't even show up is actually one of the reasons why CrossFit even exists. Founder Greg Glassman set up his own gym (the first CrossFit affiliate) in disgust at the tactics of the gyms he worked for.

I was already training people with hard, functional exercise in parks across Auckland when I discovered CrossFit on the net, and realised that Greg had made a complicated process very simple - find a good coach, exercise properly, work hard, eat right. Money that is normally spent on exercise machines, personal trainers and low-fat smoothies, instead is spent on well-educated coaches who teach their members how to train properly, and teach them the why as well; they actually CARE about their clients. Lives are being changed on a daily basis inside CrossFit gyms.

The fitness industry as a whole is not well regulated, and this means anyone can start training people without a lot of experience. But CrossFit is like the BandAid of sticking plaster. They are so successful that it is now synonymous with hard exercise. The FEW people who do get injured, tell their physio that they got injured at "CrossFit" whereas before that, they would have said, "I got injured at the gym....."

Yes there are probably a few cowboys in the CrossFit world, but I am more worried about the people who are imitating with out understanding. I have talked to multiple people who belong to commercial gyms, or attend bootcamps, who have been injured by gungho instructors.

The question is not whether CrossFit is dangerous, the question is whether people working in an industry they are not correctly educated in are dangerous.

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