crossfit mythbusters

crossfit gym - seattle The Lab in Seattle

True or False? CrossFit is for meatheads who yell, grunt and assign first names to their biceps. False. Members of our digital team recently took to our local CrossFit gym for an eye-opening, myth-busting workout. As it turns out, CrossFit isn’t actually a breeding ground for men who can sum up their lives with the three-part acronym GTL.

what is crossfit?

CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program that uses functional movement executed at a high intensity for a short period of time. The routine is determined at the start of each day and all athletes participate in the same WOD (workout of the day) scaled to meet their individual ability. The workout we did involved 10 reps of throwing a medicine ball to meet a target on the wall and then catching it back into a full squat, followed by 10 burpees. We repeated this for seven minutes trying to complete as many sets as we could. I realize that in written format, the workout seems harmless but I can assure you it was challenging, tiring and very, very sweaty.

four crossfit myths - busted

crossfit is a cult
False. It is an incredibly fun and addictive workout with a strong sense of community. When you go through the gruelling workouts together, you can’t help but get close with people around you. It’s the support from others that pushes you to try things you never thought were possible and overcome perceived limits.

crossfit is dangerous because you can get injured
As with most sports, injury can always happen and is usually the result of bad coaching. As long as you have been properly trained and coached through CrossFit your chance of injury is no greater than if you were doing anything else. A good coach can identify and correct bad form and recognize when someone is pushing themselves too hard.

crossfitters have egos bigger than their biceps (if that’s even possible)
The one thing that really sets apart a CrossFit facility to a standard gym is the fact that there are actually no mirrors. In CrossFit, the movements you are doing are so technical, that trying to catch a glimpse of yourself would throw you off and jeopardize your form. Egos are checked at the door and while the atmosphere can feel competitive, you are only ever measured up against your own records to document progress.

you will be yelled at
A huge part of the CrossFit experience is that supportive team and community aspect. I wouldn’t necessarily call it yelling as much as I would call it “encouraged, loudly”. The “yelling” is good-natured and meant to help you push your limits and find your edge. So yes, you will probably get “yelled” at but it won’t be the same as your mother sending you to your room.

After our first class, some of us were bitten by the CrossFit bug and couldn’t wait to go back, for others, once was more than enough. We could all agree that we had created stories about what CrossFit was and, in most cases, had been proven wrong. Are you a CrossFit junkie? What other myths need busting when it comes to the CrossFit world?

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Sounds fun. I want to try. (:

Comment by bernadette — October 27, 2011 @ 4:07 pm

A big myth that needs to be busted is that it’s NOT all weightlifting. My boyfriend seems to think it’s all hardcore weightlifting and no cardio which is not true at all! Also, you will not get bulky and look like a guy!

Great post, I’m glad someone spoke out!

Comment by Shelle — October 27, 2011 @ 5:28 pm

Crossfit is definitely fun and you do become part of a community which keeps you going. I am a 41 year old petite woman who has been going to Crossfit three times a week for over 3 years. It’s the first time I’ve ever stuck to something for this long and I plan to do it for years to come. I am stronger than I’ve ever been and in the best shape of my life. I have made some great friends through Crossfit and I highly recommend it!

Comment by Melissa — October 27, 2011 @ 7:14 pm

LOVE THIS POST!!! Thanks so much for these mythbusters! Such a cool idea for the blog. Any spreading of the CrossFit word is good stuff :-) CrossFit changed my life 4 years ago. And is really how I found lululemon.

Comment by Holly — October 27, 2011 @ 8:29 pm

I’m just a guy… Who loves Crossfit, Bikram Yoga, and… lululemon! Great workout gear, but you gotta make more stuff for us guys.


Comment by luke — October 27, 2011 @ 9:15 pm

Great post! I’m a part of a small CrossFit gym in Lincoln, NE and CrossFit has changed my life and so many around me! It is definitely a challenging workout but the results are undeniable. I love seeing people achieve things they never thought they would!

And I love me some lulu! :)

Comment by Brandi — October 28, 2011 @ 8:02 am

Good article! I’ve been thinking for so long that Lululemon should sponsor Crossfit athletes, since they all wear the brand!

Comment by Julie — October 28, 2011 @ 8:22 am

Crossfit is amazing, and LOTS of crossfitters wear and love lulu gear, myself included!!! you should try it!!!

Comment by sv — October 28, 2011 @ 8:23 am

another thing I consider a myth about crossfit is that it’s TOO intense. I think it’s the perfect blend of movements to complete kick your body into shape. as a former cardio crazed person, crossfit kicked my butt and still does, but in the most awesome way possible. I tried a complimentary class at my local Lululemon, and was so sore after, but it left me wanting more. It’s addictive. I’ve done weights, and I’ve done cardio, but crossfit is my favorite and I actually see results. And the community is amazing. You will do things you never thought you could and it’s fantastic!

Comment by Libbi — October 28, 2011 @ 8:24 am

LOVE CrossFit, thanks for posting this!!!

Comment by Syl — October 28, 2011 @ 8:26 am

Happy to finally see some love for CrossFit given that so many of us (especially the ladies) wear Lululemon to workouts. (Compression + wicking are your friend!) Highly recommend incorporating these workouts into your overall fitness regimen. It’s made me stronger, healthier and introduced me to some great people. Lastly, I would echo Shelle that it’s not all weight lifting — these workouts are constantly varied using running, rowing, climbing and body weight movements as well.

Comment by MMF — October 28, 2011 @ 8:30 am

Great Article! I wish people who ‘think’ they know what it’s like would read this. It could open up their eyes. Thanks for sharing!

Comment by Alicia — October 28, 2011 @ 8:32 am

great post! the hefty proportion of my salary previously allocated for partying has been reallocated to crossfit and lululemon gear – my body thanks me.

Comment by sarahp — October 28, 2011 @ 8:32 am

I love Crossfit! It has changed my life!

One myth I would also love to be busted is that as a women doing Crossfit you will bulk up. I have been regularly going for over 6 months and I might have more muscles but over all I am two clothing sizes smaller :)

Comment by Shanna — October 28, 2011 @ 8:34 am

great post! please don’t tell anyone… but i have named my biceps… JK!

Comment by sarah roe — October 28, 2011 @ 8:35 am

Funny… the gym pictured is actually my Crossfit gym. I absolutely love Crossfit. I was skeptical at first, but after seeing four people close to me (two of whom had injuries as severe as broken backs, paralysis, two strokes, and muscle atrophe) do Crossfit and have it scaled to their needs/abilities, I figured I would give it a try.

I haven’t looked back since. It’s been an amazing influence in my life. Everyone involved (all my previous xfit friends were from other gyms around the city, and concur on the truth behind this statement) in the Crossfit community is very supportive. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself, and I’m ever grateful that I took the initial leap.

Comment by Michelle F — October 28, 2011 @ 8:47 am

Just to add some thoughts, I noticed a great Crossfit article in the last Men’s Heath.

It has always seemed intriguing to me.

Comment by Chris — October 28, 2011 @ 8:49 am

I am addicted to CrossFit!! Strong is the new skinny :) Biggest myth is that you will bulk up…I have gotten so much leaner because muscle burns more calories at rest than fat so your body is burning even when you aren’t. The goal is to make you as strong as possible while carrying the least amount of weight; it makes the most efficient use of your lean muscle. You still get cardio because of the speed of the movements – trust me, you’ll be sweating – without the repetitive strain because every class is different.

Biggest benefit – pain control believe it or not. As a massage therapist, I see a lot of pain as the result of weak muscles. CrossFit ensures that your body is strong enough to carry your weight all day, so your muscles are less likely to be overworked and strained. Looking awesome is just a nice bonus ;)

Comment by Justine — October 28, 2011 @ 8:54 am

I crossfit with my mom. We both love it and are in the best shape of our lives.

Comment by Bobby Gill — October 28, 2011 @ 8:57 am

I do crossfit a few days a week with my troops. Its great because everyone can work at their own ability and everyone reaps the benefits of the workout

Comment by alli — October 28, 2011 @ 9:29 am

One of the myths that was not really addressed here and is a big issue, is the matter of credentials and training behind the CrossFit “trainers”. In the US, especially, not much education and training is necessary to run a CrossFit program. There is a lot to understand about human physiology and the proper way to train clients that can not be learned in one or two weekends. The problem and concern over CrossFit comes a lot from the fact that there are relatively uneducated “trainers” putting people through challenging routines that do pose a higher risk of injury in many forms. I am sure that there are some trainers that have further and greater education, but be aware, it is not required. I am sure the workout is great, but it is not very tailored and there are huge controversies over the safety factor. These workouts are not meant for beginners or “weekend warriors”, your body should already be a certain level fitness. But that said, if it gets people out the door and moving I can not complain, but maybe collectively people should be demanding better education for the people responsible for your safety. Just a thought.

Comment by Christina Berkeley — October 28, 2011 @ 9:44 am

Love CrossFit and love my lululemon gear, and I know I’m not the only one!!!!!

Comment by Beth — October 28, 2011 @ 9:59 am

Awesome post! There are currently 6 pregnant women at my crossfit gym, and we are all working out through our pregnancies. Crossfit is universally scalable to ALL conditions and types.

Comment by Whitney — October 28, 2011 @ 10:04 am

Thanks for posting this! I know from experience that CrossFit can be life-changing. I also know it’s common for people to be into CrossFit and yoga (myself included). CrossFit is intense, and not everyone is into intense. But when I’m at any kind of CrossFit event or just working out a CrossFit gym, I see more and more people sporting lululemon gear! It’s not just for yoga anymore! I swear by the speed shorts for all my wod’s. ;)

Comment by Jenny — October 28, 2011 @ 10:55 am

Crossfit’s even better when you wear your lulus!

Comment by liisa — October 28, 2011 @ 11:13 am

I fell in love with Crossfit last January. I love it for what it has given me mentally and physically. One great advantage is that it is a full body workout in a short amount of time. Great for working moms. I am 37 years old and in the best shape of my life. I’m addicted.

Comment by Lainie — October 28, 2011 @ 11:37 am

So they won’t push me till I puke?! Have wanted to go but been too chicken s@$t to do it bc of it!

Comment by Chrissy — October 28, 2011 @ 2:05 pm

@ Chrissy! You should invite some friends to try it out with you to help ease the intimidation factor. As for the puking, it shouldn’t be an issue! Our trainer said he’s never seen anyone puke in his gym before.

Comment by Allessia — October 28, 2011 @ 2:25 pm

I have been doing CF for 4 years and LOVE IT!!! Wouldn’t go back to the bi’s and tri’s regime for anything. I am in the best shape of my life, have a HUGE female CF community that is super supportive… and although they push me I haven’t puked on them yet. There were some close calls but no puking yet. Thanks for getting the word out that it isn’t all meatheads and weightlifting or many of the other myths out there. And Chrissy and everyone else out there too chicken s@$t to try it: Just GO!!! They will push you to find out how far you can go. And the workouts are 100% scalable so if you aren’t ready to do the full workout just go and start somewhere. :) -m

Comment by MIssy — October 28, 2011 @ 2:29 pm

i’ve been crossfitting for 2 years and LOVE it. i was reluctant at first b/c of my CF friends, who were pretty pushy about me going. it was off-putting. eventually, curiosity got the best of me and i’m so grateful it did. love the always-changing workouts, the fears i face and overcome with every workout, the quick results i see in my body, and the community.

another myth to de-bunk is that people who lift weights “bulk up.” we don’t! we’re fit and strong and look like real people – not like greased up bodybuilders.

i often tell my friends that if people, when they are considering what type of gym to join, actually went to the gyms and looked at the gym members (basing their decision solely on how the people look… because we all workout to look “better,” right?), people would choose crossfit. CF turns out quick results, and the people get leaner, stronger and more toned. you won’t find overly skinny, jewelry-wearing made-up women here.

i suggest anyone interested in CF go give it one try. it’s not for everyone, so decide for yourself.

Comment by jennifer — October 28, 2011 @ 5:11 pm

I’m a 37 year old mom that’s been doing crossfit for 1 year and I LOVE IT! Always changing, always challenging and always awesome! I’ve grown so much stronger both physicaly and mentally and I can now do things that I never thought I would do and wear things that after having 2 kids never thought I would wear again. What’s even better is my kids love crossfit! They are both turning into little crossfit junkies and not only challenging each other but challenging me to do the same “tricks” they do in their kids class. Nothing like taking crossfit to the playground and being able to play on the monkey bars with your kids.

Comment by Sam — October 28, 2011 @ 9:31 pm

Get this! My girlfriend got me into lulu lemon whileni worked out at 24hrfitness. I got my daughters into lulu lemon. My eldest got me into Crossfit 4 months ago, and it is awesome. I am 58 and in the best shape of my life doing the prescribed workouts at a level steepen the weights Rx’d for men and women. Go for it!

Comment by Old Mike from San Ramon — October 28, 2011 @ 11:12 pm

I disagree; people CAN be injured, I guess you can say it’s the same potential for injury as any other very high-risk sport. There are a lot of people who are perfectly okay with having surgery from their crossfit injuries in order to keep crossfitting. It works for some people, but it’s not for everyone. You only need to have a weekend course to be considered a “coach” in a lot of these gyms. Don’t count on them to keep you safe.

Comment by julia — October 29, 2011 @ 5:29 pm

One of the most beautiful things I’ve seen about Crossfit is how it empowers women to do things they never thought they could do, how it has made STRENGTH BEAUTIFUL after hearing so many other messages for so long. Its also amazing to see such a spectrum of people from housewives to collegiate athletes to grandparents striving to push the limits of their personal best and achieving amazing things with sound intelligent coaching…..and believe me it carries through to our lives outside the walls of our gym. I consider myself lucky to go in everyday and be inspired by the people around me….how many of us get to say that these days.

P.S. It’s nice to get some love from LuLuLemon…..crossfitters have been loving them for so long ;-)

Comment by Priscilla — October 30, 2011 @ 10:05 am

crossfit can be bad for you.
so can hockey, football, soccer, baseball, ballet, wrestling, karate, judo etc…

you can get injuries that require surgery to continue doing what you enjoy whether that is crossfit, rugby, soccer, hockey, lacrosse etc…

you can encounter poorly trained coaches in every physical activity out there. how many ‘personal trainers’ are under qualified? how many dance teachers ‘force a stretch’? football coaches get an athlete back out on the field after a head injury?

check it out, ask questions, start slowly and make sure your needs are accounted for. if it feels unsafe, it probably is. do your research. ask around. sit in on a class/watch from the sidelines.
it isn’t for everyone, but for those that enjoy it, it can be a great thing.

Comment by timma — October 30, 2011 @ 1:00 pm

Crossfit is the best choice of your life. At age 15 through crossfit I backsquatted 320# had a sub minute 400m, a 220# clean and jerk, and could do over 40 pullups unbroken. I have done crossfit for a little over a year, and I have had no injuries or troubles with crossfit

Comment by Owen Sheppard — October 30, 2011 @ 4:45 pm

As a yoga instructor I am also an avid crossfitter. I constantly have to convince fellow yogis of the crossfit benefits. My yoga has improved immensely from the strength I build and Crossfit and my Crossfit skills are much greater thanks to my flexibility from yoga. A perfect fitness partnership! Also, my Crossfit gym (shout out to CrossFit Long Beach, CA!) puts great emphasis on warming up the body and mobility so there’s no more cause for injury than any other sport.

Comment by Ryn — November 10, 2011 @ 11:47 am

I’m from the town where Crossfit originated, and so happy to see you all lovin’ it too! I’m also a bodybuilder (figure)… for some reason my Crossfit friends look down on bodybuilding and vice versa, but it’s all good! I kind of like it… it’s fun being the renegade.

I haven’t named my biceps, but do sometimes call my abs My Situation. CRBs and Speeds or Run Inspires are my uniform.

Hey Lulu! Speaking on behalf of the ladies with these hard-earned biceps/shoulders/back musclees… how about making your long sleeve tops and jackets just a little bit roomier in the upper arm area and across the back? Without sacrificing the fitted waist. Thank you!

Comment by Debbie from Santa Cruz — November 16, 2011 @ 1:36 pm


i met a crossfit trainer who suggested that we do 100 burpees as a fun weekend activity. i very naively went along with it, thinking that he knew what he was doing (i.e. that it was safe), and thinking that i would be able to hack it because i was reasonably athletically able from a childhood of gymnastics, skating, running, and rugby.

but the 100 burpees really did me in. i got rhabdomyolysis and DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), where my arm got so swollen that i couldn’t bend my elbow past 90 degrees. rhabdo is really dangerous and, in very severe cases, can lead to renal failure. i think it happens to lots of people in crossfit (google rhabdo and crossfit). i had to go to the hospital and spend $1000 USD to stay overnight. i was hooked up to an IV. and my arm has been mildly swollen ever sense.

it was damn foolish of me to have done something as intense as 100 burpees without ever having done more than ten before. i wish i’d never done them!

but hopefully yall can learn from my sob story. if you’re going to do things intensely, then do it GRADUALLY. don’t be cavalier about your body and its abilities!

Comment by gemstone — November 18, 2011 @ 8:44 pm

Thanks for the article. Never heard of crossfit before. pretty cool workout. is it something you can switch off and do for a change of pace to a regular workout

Comment by Best Agility Drills — December 2, 2011 @ 9:20 am

Thanks for adding your story, gemstone. I have only gone to one Crossfit class so I am not qualified to make any sweeping generalizations, but as a yoga practitioner and teacher, I was surprised by the lack of detailed instruction and attention. Everybody was really nice and welcoming, but I could easily see people getting injured and not taking care of their bodies by stopping because they want to “keep up.” I am wary of any fitness program that doesn’t account for all the different body types and abilities out there. The balls-out DO THIS! attitude can be really motivating, but it should only be one segment of the picture.

I think it’s a great program for a lot of people; I’m trying to get my boyfriend to check out a class. Above all, though, I would caution anybody to listen to their bodies, whether in Crossfit or any other physical activity.

Comment by Meredith — March 20, 2012 @ 8:42 pm

Unfortunatley not all crossfit gyms are equal. I belong to a fabulous one in Bradford, ON Canada. Safety and scaling are always priority. Don’t get me wrong, we push to some pretty impressive limits. But after experiencing other CF gyms I could see how some might think its dangerous. Listen to your body people. Some days we are stronger than others. Try another gym or even a couple if you had a bad taste. I’m addicted :)

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Comment by crossfit Equipment cudahy — November 3, 2012 @ 5:45 pm

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