About a year ago, I lost a dear friend because of CrossFit. Before I mislead you entirely, I should mention that she’s completely fine and healthy; it’s just that our relationship went south after I refused (on several occasions) to join her gym.
While I love staying in shape and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, I’m not competitive about it. I don’t boast about my workouts online or compare myself to my peers. Quite honestly, I work out just to keep up my energy levels, so I can better function around my kids.
My friend insisted that this new workout regime would change my life. “You’ll feel better about yourself and look good in a bikini,” she would say.
A few months into the program, she would eat, breathe, and sleep CrossFit, posting her workouts on Facebook, talking nonstop about her Paleo diet and sending me awkward pictures of her doing one-handed handstands in her sports bra.
As the months went by, things got very weird between us only because she was “in the box” (CrossFit talk), while I was out of it. I dreaded going on mom’s nights out with her gym friends, only because they would look at me as if I had three heads when I told them that I run and do yoga.
Even if they didn’t mean to, I couldn’t help but feel judged by them and their exclusionary attitude about CrossFit — I wasn’t “one of them.”
My reasons for not joining their gym were plain and simple. First and foremost, I’m a mom with a budget, not an aspiring athlete looking to join the Olympic team in 2032. However, my biggest problem with CrossFit is their “Holier Than Thou” approach to working out.
I’m totally on board with people being healthy, but I just don’t appreciate being constantly told how to be healthy and that I’m doing it the wrong way if I’m not doing it their way.
But, despite my personal feelings about the matter, it doesn’t look like CrossFit is going away anytime soon. There are over 10,000 “boxes” in the United States and the program is now expanding to include CrossFit Kids classes for preschoolers, too.
According to The New York Times, the new program isn’t designed to have toddlers flex their muscles and lift weights, but instead focus on light, physical activities. Does that make it’s a good idea? Not necessarily.
Some pediatricians have expressed concerns about the general environment that the program fosters. Dr. Lee Beers of the Children’s National Health System in Washington warns that if children see their parents exhibiting certain behaviors in their gym, such as comparing their muscles or looking distressed when being weighed, it could lead to negative body images for their kids later on.
As we all know, our little ones do mimic almost everything we do and say, often without us even realizing it.
“You want to make sure it’s teaching lifelong healthy behaviors for the sake of being healthy and not focused on body image or weight,” said Beers. “Kids this age are sponges, and they pick up on everything around them.”
Simply put, this is my biggest concern: I’m not convinced CrossFit Kids can separate themselves from the CrossFit gyms that carry fraternity-like mentalities of “being in the club” and boasting about their high achievements on social media. And I don’t want that for my kids.
I understand the program has good intentions. It’s aimed to promote physical fitness at a time when our country is battling rising childhood obesity rates, and I have no problem with my kids being fit and healthy. I just don’t want them to adopt the attitude that has been associated with CrossFit.
With all the different sports and athletes in the world, never have I seen a culture of people talk more about themselves than die-hard and dedicated CrossFitters. There is so much competition, so much vain Facebook braggery.
Maybe CrossFit works for some people, but it’s not right for me and it’s certainly not for my kids. They don’t need a $260 gym membership to teach them that they’re not good enough if they aren’t “in the box.” They can get the same low-intensity workout on the playground for free – and maybe even have some fun in the process.More On