Crossfit dropout

Friday, February 28, 2014

So I quit CrossFit.  I'm not sure if this is a temporary thing or if I am just "taking a break", but for now I am done.  I just can't handle it anymore.  There are a few things that have led to this decision and I am going to discuss them in this post.  I have done lots of Google searching on the topic and I have not found that many articles on the topic.  If you have stumbled upon this post while looking for information regarding the combination of topics including: CrossFit, motherhood, young children, working, cults, and divorce, please look no further.  Hopefully I can help you out.

Why I quit CrossFit

Just a little background on my CrossFit experience for those of you who have not been following along from the beginning.  My husband started doing CrossFit back in September of 2012 after getting a Groupon deal for the Foundations* level class.  At the time that he started CrossFit, I was about 8 weeks pregnant and under fairly strict orders not to exercise.  I figured that since the membership was a steep $180 a month, that it would be a try it out and then go back to working out at our regular gym type of thing.  Well, it wasn't.  He ended up sticking with it and even competing not long after "graduating" from the Foundations* level class.  

CrossFit became the source of lots of tension in our marriage, right from the beginning.  He started spending hours upon hours at his box* every night while I sat at home on my lonely, hormonal, pregnant arse.  Of course, I was jealous.  I wasn't just jealous of the time that he was spending there, but I was jealous of the people that he was spending time with...lots of early to mid 20-something girls.  Justified or not, CrossFit was driving me crazy.

After I had the baby, I figured that he would back off of the CrossFit for a while, and he did, but not for long enough.  Soon he was back at full-throttle, once again, only now he was at a different box* that his friend opened and he was a key-holding/investing member.  To my surprise I became even more jealous and resentful because of his new-found friends, new diet, and physique.  We had several ugly fights on the topic.  It wasn't pretty.  I can't you how many times I Googled "Does CrossFit cause divorce?" because I was seriously worried that this stupid "sport" was going to ruin our relationship.  My husband transformed into a different person who's life revolved around the CrossFit schedule, people, way of eating, way of thinking, etc.  Is this common?  I'm not sure, but I think that if both people in a relationship are immersed in the cult-like attitude of CrossFit then it is less of an issue.

Once I got back into shape, he suggested I try our CrossFit...just to see if I might like it.  He was so enthusiastic about it that I signed up for the Foundations* level class.  He even bought me some fancy CrossFit clothes and shoes so that I "fit in" with everyone else.  I liked it a lot and yet hated it with a passion all at the same time.  Here is why I quit.

1.  The class schedule is too rigid.  There is a reason why most of the members are single people in their early to mid-20s.  It is very difficult for the full-time working, breastfeeding, mommy of a 10 month old to get to the gym several days a week at the SAME EXACT TIME.  It was either go right after work at 5 PM and only see the baby for 30 minutes a day or drag my exhausted butt there at 7 PM for a crazy and intense workout when I have to get up at 4:30 AM the next morning.  Not to mention I have a CrossFit crazed husband who also has to make it to one of the workouts.  Sometimes I only have time for a 30 minute workout and sometimes that workout is at 5:30 PM and sometimes it is at 6:30 PM.  I just never know what my son's schedule is going to be or what WOD* my husband is going to be attending..  Oh and there is one class on Saturday and one on Sunday, that's it, so if you can't make it because you have baby swim lessons you are SOL.

2.  It is way too expensive.  I understand that "you get what you pay for" and if I were to hire a personal trainer, I would be spending a whole heck of a lot more than $180 a month, but this is not personal training that I am getting.  There are up to 20 people in one class and so you get occasional feedback on your technique, performance, scaling measure, etc.  It is not always consistent and definitely not 1-on-1.

3.  The gym is really, really, dirty.  I know that all gyms are a little bit gross.  You always hear about MRSA or staph infections being contracted from the local Gold's Gym.  At least those places are getting cleaned on a nightly basis.  The same cannot be said for the box* that I was attending.  The members joke about not wearing black because you will be able to see all of the dirt, dust, and hair that is sticking to you every time that you hit the deck for a burpee*.  They don't have the place professionally cleaned and when it is cleaned, it is one of the coaches doing it after working a full day.  So yeah, it basically is never cleaned.  One girl even contracted ring worm...gross.

4.  I have a YMCA membership.  I am paying close to $100 a month for a YMCA membership so that my sister can work out and so that B can attend weekly swimming lessons.  I haven't been to that gym to work out in quite a while so I am basically paying for nothing.  I would really like to get back to swimming once a week myself, which brings me to my next reason...

5.  No time for any other cross-training.  Besides the swimming, I also really like yoga and I wasn't able to practice it for a while because of my c-section and then my diastasis recti.  I really want to get back into it, but with CrossFit and running there just wasn't any time (or money) for that.

6.  I am much more concerned with running PRs than squat snatching* ones.  At least 90% of the people that I met through CrossFit used it at their only form of exercise and thus were very interested in lifting continually heavier weights.  The RX* weights at the CrossFit box* that I was attending are, in my humble opinion, very high for most people, women especially.  I don't ever want to be able to do 15 reps of a 95# squat snatch*, it just isn't a part of my life goals or interests.  Just lift lighter weight then, you might be thinking.  Well, if you lift lighter weights you get "harassed" (they don't publicly ridicule you or anything, I just can't think of a better term) for not working hard enough.  I just want to shout at the coaches, "I could kick your asses at a 5k!!"

7.  Every workout is a competition.  I am a very competitive person which is why I love running races.  I am type A so I am always concerned about doing a better job than the person next to me.  I don't like competing during every workout: for time, for reps, for weight.  You do the workout and then you have to write your "score" on the white board for everyone to see.  It is quite stressful.  Once in a while a little competition is good, but I don't think that EVERY workout should be a contest.

8.  Every workout is a community* event.  Ick.  I hate the word community,* when referenced by CrossFit.  To me it sounds like a religion or a cult.  I mentioned that each there are up to 20 people in a class, which means that some workouts are done in heats (you have to watch other people before or after you do your workout).  The workouts that are done for a certain amount of reps can take one person 5 minutes and another 20 minutes, but you have to wait for EVERYONE to finish before you can leave.  I actually got scolded once for starting to dismantle my barbell before someone was done with their pull-ups.  I have a baby, people.  He needs to be put to bed on a schedule!

9.  Rhabdo*.  Yes, it is a taboo word in the CrossFit world and most CrossFitters will tell you that they have only heard stories about friends of friends getting it.  Well, in just the last month, TWO people at the CrossFit box* that I was going to got Rhabdo* and ended up in the hospital for days with CK levels in the thousands.  Ummmm no thanks.  

10.  (Most) people that do CrossFit, live CrossFit.  Not love, live.  Yes, their lives revolve around CrossFit.  They blog about it.  They post on FB and Instagram about it.  They eat Paleo and talk about eating Paleo.  They talk about how their lives have been forever changed by CrossFit.  They only associate with other CrossFit members.  They want to explain the WOD* to you, talk about how they kicked that "girl's"* ass, or how great their thrusters*, snatches*, and jerks* are (yes, for some reason lots of CrossFit terms have a sexual slang associated with them...hmmm).  YUUUUCK!!

11.  The CrossFit Open.  For those athletes that are very serious and train for competitions, I don't have an issue with this.  For the rest of the average Joes out there, doing the CrossFit Open workouts doesn't make sense to me.  My super in-shape CrossFit competing husband can't get through all of those crazy workouts so how can a person fresh out of the Foundations* level class do them?  Why should they try and risk injury and frustration because there are no scaling options?  The coaches where I was were seriously pushing EVERYONE to sign up.  I had to hear about it every day when we were warming up and it started getting on my nerves.  I think that only people who have all of the movements down and with proper form, should be allowed/encouraged to sign up for this yearly event

12.  You need to purchase a new wardrobe to fit in.  If you don't have the Nanos*, the bright colored knee socks, the skimpy spandex shorts, and loose tank top then you stick out like a sore thumb.

13.  If you don't CrossFit, don't bother working out.  CrossFit members think that CrossFit is the only form of exercise that is worth doing and they make fun of people that go to "regular" gyms.  They laugh at runners or bikers because they really do think that CrossFit is the only way that you can get in a good workout.  I found this out the hard way when my husband told me that running distance was bad for me.  Never mind the 75 year old nun that does IronMan triathlons.

14.  You need a CrossFit dictionary to know what they are talking about.

Foundations- "Training" that you must take before you can be released into the CrossFit wild.
Box- The CrossFit facility.
WOD- Workout of the day.  There is one workout a day and everyone does it.
Burpee- A common CrossFit move where you hit the deck (chest to floor) then bounce up on your feet and clap.  You do this multiple times.
Community- The CrossFit members.
RX- The prescribed weight for an exercise to be done.
Rhabdo- The CrossFit mascot.  Short for Rhabdomyolysis which is caused by overexertion of muscles which results in the breakdown of muscle fibers and releases their contents into the bloodstream.  This can overload the kidneys and cause death.
Thrusters- See this YouTube video.
Snatches- See this YouTube video.
Jerks- See this YouTube video.
Nanos- Reebok's CrossFit shoe that every CrossFit member MUST have.

So after listing out these 13 reasons why I quit CrossFit you would think that there is nothing in life that I hate more than CrossFit.  Even though my husband would like to think that this is true, it isn't.  I think that the concept behind CrossFit is a really great one.  Having people get together to exercise is better than a lot of other things that you could be doing.  CrossFit (or at least the box* that I was going to) encourages warming-up properly before each workout, dynamic workouts, and then the WOD*, which is always thoroughly explained and demonstrated.  I think that I would be more likely to go back if they did the following:

1.  Split up the classes so that the competitive athletes are working out together and those that are just in it for the cross-training are working out together.  That way there is no peer pressure to lift weights that are too heavy or sacrifice your form so that you go to fast and end up hurting yourself.

2.  More weekend classes.  Not everyone can go mid-morning on a weekend.  

3.  Invest in a professional cleaning service.

4.  Most importantly- stop with the elitist attitude toward all other people that choose other forms of exercise.  We are all in it to look good and feel good.  We do it for stress release and to feel good about ourselves.  Trash-talking other forms of exercise and pushing the CrossFit mentality down anyone's throat who will listen isn't good.

That's all for now.  Wow.  I had a lot to say, I guess.

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15 Responses to “Crossfit dropout”

  1. Thank you for this! Every time a friend joins the crossfit craze I get sad because it means they'll slowly (or quickly for some!) lose themselves. I'm all for fitness and health but the self-righteousness of most crossfitters has completely turned me off from it. Good for you for seeing through the bullshit and doing what works for you!

  2. Thank you for this. In my experience, crossfit has pretty much destroyed my life. My wife is so addicted to it and her friends that she gave up our marriage, our home, and our family in order to pursue crossfit. We did have issues before and this change in our lives has made me aware of my flaws as well as what I need to do as a husband and leader of my family. Unfortunately, it seems to late. I sought after God and she says she gets fullfillment from Crossfit. This leads me to believe that in her eyes crossfit is as important or more important than God.

    Another thing that I don't like about crossfit is the fact that it puts together married people with single people. It increases the temptation to stray away from your partner. My wife found other men that were fullfilling her emotional needs. This is what made things very dangerous and ultimately caused a stain in our marriage. I regret the day I recommended crossfit to my wife.

  3. Found this blog after googling "quitting crossfit" because that's just what I'm doing. #2 and #10 are pretty much bang on for me. While everyone at my box was nice, and supportive, I never once felt like I belonged, and didn't really socialize with anyone. Don't need to pay $140 not to talk to anyone. I can do that for $40 at a Globo-Gym. In any event, I still learned a lot from the experience (best thing was learning mobility work), and will be able to put a lot of it to good use when I go back to Globo-Gym.

  4. This is so true. I am living proof of the devastation caused by CF. My ex husband opened a local gym with another couple and has since spent every waking moment with the wife - his "business partner." He has completely changed his entire belief system. Everything in his life revolves around CF….now that we are divorced, he spends his visitation time with our children AT HIS GYM…..making the kids do the workouts. CF is a perfect storm for marriages to fail and problems to arise. I could write and entire article on how CF destroyed our family and has made my ex husband a shell of a man.

    Interestingly enough, the CF community bullies and bashes anybody and everybody who criticizes or disagrees with the lifestyle - thus there are not many articles out about the major negative issues with CF.

    Thank you for sharing.

  5. This was a great post. Thank you for sharing. My (soon-to-be-ex) husband owns a local box and is completely obsessed. I don't blame CF for our marriage failing- I blame him - but I do have a hatred for it now. I'm one of those people who doesn't fall into cults - I like to stand on my own two feet. I hate being told what to do and "peer-pressured" to do it. My knee-jerk reaction is to reject anything that's being pressured on me or that "everyone is doing". So I never actually did CF which may be surprising since he owns a box. I did however suppport him in opening it (financially and emotionally), learn EVERYTHING I needed to know about the sport (I always joked I know the most about CF for a person who doesn't actually do it), make "friends" with all his CF friends, and just in general support him. In the end, like I said, it wasn't CF that killed our marriage. It was. I will say that he ended up cheating with one of the "20-somethings" and I was naive to believe he would never do that. AND he developed a serious pain med addiction because "without the pills, he couldn't WOD every day" Yeah, so there's that too.

    So I agree with your post that the idea behind CF is a great one - being healthy, making friends, etc. - but their elitist approach that their way is the only way and you have to do it and why aren't you doing CF...etc. is just such a turn-off! Now that I'll be single again, I can tell you that if someone I am considering dating does CF..I'm out!

    One brother has been doing CF for 5 years and his box is great. He's not obsessed with it - just does it for exercise. No longer hangs out with them like a cult. Just works out. And from what he tells me the mentality and approach there is a healthy one. They don't party like crazy (why do some boxes do that? my husband was involved in that) and generally have a healthy attitude around the lifestyle component. I'll never understand why some CF people drink like fishes but then tout that they're "so healthy" with their exercise and paleo diets.

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Couldn't agree more with article & comments. This is a rapidly growing problem, & needs to be addressed.

  7. Thank you for your article. My easy going husband and I just had the worst fight of a 16 year relationship over--wait for it-- crossfit. This after a weekend cross fit regional and expo. I'm a crossfit dropout too! It is an insanely elitist box here. I hope our relationship survives this cult!

  8. It's good to see that this type of thing is happening to other people. My wife has been in for three months and it has been the only thing we have fought about since she started. Thus far my concerns can be easily dismissed as nothing actually bad has happened and she is in much better shape. She fails to see the she's displaying all the classic characteristics of the addict rationalizing, putting the addiction before almost anything else, only hanging out with other addicts, pushing the drug of choice on anyone who will sit still for 5 minutes. She is spend hundreds of dollars on a brand new wardrobe changed almost everything about her life down to what she eats and when, and can't seem to understand why I would have any issue with this.

  9. I used to do Crossfit. But when I worked out in "the box" it wasn't as much as competition as it is now or maybe I was too blind to see it then. It was fun and I liked the workouts. I have since stop attending Crossfit due to past and present injuries. Also money had a lot to do with it. I couldn't see myself paying $150 a month for a membership. It was just too much money for me. But my sister on the other hand has continued to Crossfit. She's been a member for 5yrs. She has become a coach in the last year. Also in the past 2yrs has become a different person. A person I do not know anymore. Someone who has become so obsessed with Crossfit that it is destroying relationships with family, friends and her children. She's at "the box" from her first class to the last class of the day. She is so unhappy at home that "Crossfit is where she finds happiness." "She is only happy when she is there helping people achieve their goals." That's great! But what about your family? She doesn't believe she is doing anything wrong at all. We have tried to talk to her multiple times. She always places the blame on us saying "well you can call me to hang out." But when I/we call she doesn't answer and it takes her two days to respond to a text (TWO DAYS!). Now for a person who always has her phone in her hands why would it take two days? Well its plain and simple I'm not associated with Crossfit that's why. I have become so un-important to my own sister it makes me sad. Reading the comment above "displaying characteristics of an addict rationalizing" it's so true. Crossfit and everyone associated with it comes first. After reading this article and comments I'm glad that I can share this with my family and say we aren't crazy for feeling the way we do.

    Thank you!

  10. I've done CF since 2009 (so almost 7 years) and today I was googling for "life after Cf" because I no longer enjoy it... I could't figure out why because I loved it for so long. And this blog post helped me understand why. So thank you for that. You are 100% correct. It is OK to want a clean gym, it is OK to not wanna "crush" it every time or ever, it is OK to use other ways to workout, it is OK to not do Paleo. I was never the CF fanatic all these years. I didn't even have the CF shoes for all 7 years and just bought them this year.. Probably because I felt like something is missing and I don't like it as much. I feel sad and a little lost. Because for 7 years that is all I did. And I really enjoyed it. I did give myself rhabdo this past summer 0.0 lol
    So that was when I decided to not "crush" it every time and take it easy. I have no idea what to do now. I hate regular gyms, I hate running. Sigh... I am going to start exploring other ways to stay active and hope something will bring me the joy that CF once did. :) Thank you again for the post. Lana from Alexandria, VA

  11. My wife and I are divorcing, and it is due in very large part to Crossfit. She went from doting mother and supportive wife to OBSESSED with her new hyper-supportive "family." The woman I married is GONE. She's oblivious to the fact that Crossfit is any sort of issue. It's sad that the cult has her now. She has my kids going there now, too.

  12. I hate crossfit, it has ruined our marriage as my wife was obsessed. She built that much muscle she looked like a man!I gave her an ultimatum, our family or crossfit, we are now divorced! Beware if a loved one displays an interest in this cult sport, if you aren't as devoted to the lifestyle as your friend/family/partner it wont end well.

  13. Maybe your spouse wants to be healthier and stronger. And wants you to follow along so that you both can enjoy life more. Can’t stop thinking you are too jealous too competitive and that’s the real issue. Not everyone does crossfit the way your husband does it. I don’t know about this rigid schedule you are talking about? And as far as eating better isn’t that better for you too?

  14. I loathe this CF crap. My boyfriend is obsessed with it, it’s all I hear about and he’s never interested in anyone or anything else. I find it so boring, who cares if you beat everyone’s times or lifted the heaviest weights. It’s tedious. I keep being told I’d enjoy it which might be true but I’ll never try it because I don’t want to turn into one of them. He thinks he’s superior to everyone and looks down on any other form of exercise including mine. The biggest gain I’ve noticed is in ego.