The Dangers of CrossFit are Real
In the past three years since joining CrossFit, I’ve experienced more injuries than ever before. While my list doesn’t include paralysis or other traumatic injuries, it’s been a tough journey. Constant neck and back pain. Strained rotator cuff. Sprained LCL. Altitude sickness. Wait. Altitude sickness? From CrossFit? Well, kind of. Last summer, my wife decided it would be a good idea for us to climb the tallest free standing mountain in the world, Mt. Kilimanjaro. From its starting point to summit at 19,341 ft, Kilimanjaro is a challenging six or seven day climb with summit success rates between 44-64% according to statistics from the Kilimanjaro National Park. Brutal odds, right? Unfortunately for me, my wife doesn’t do anything the easy way, so rather than opting for one of these challenging treks she instead decided we should complete the trek in 5 days. A 27% success rate. The trip came and went with us beating the odds and standing on the top for a few brief moments before I was violently overcome by altitude sickness, leaving my pre-summit breakfast and energy boosting skittles at various points on the mountain as we descended.
You see, CrossFit had nothing and everything to do with my altitude sickness. I did not get altitude sickness from CrossFit, but I did climb one of the Seven Summits because of my newly developed functional fitness honed through my four day a week training regime at CrossFit Malibu. CrossFit has opened a door of possibilities for this former gym rat. Long gone are the days of bicep curls in the mirror. The quest now is for a well lived life, using my body to accomplish things of which I was either fearful or felt were previously impossible.
What about that strained rotator cuff? Tough WOD on the rings? Or maybe the technical olympic lifting performed with poor technique for time? Pretty dangerous, right? Nope. It happened at a Spartan Race. What about the sprained LCL? Box jumps? Shuttle run? Nope. A little pull and a pop happened in the midst of a grappling session at the jiu jitsu club of which I’m a part. Neck and back pain? Must be the deadlifts and ridiculous handstand pushups, right? Wrong again. Those are courtesy of a newly found love for rucking, i.e., carrying a weighted backpack for no other reason than to make life a bit more interesting. A couple GoRuck Challenges, trekking across Iceland, and regular pushes up our local mountains barely allow my neck and back time to recover from one rough workout before I’m back out on the trail. CrossFit has unlocked a wealth of opportunities and experiences for me to push my body and test my fitness. It’s true. CrossFit is incredibly dangerous. But not for the reason you may think. It’s dangerous because of the way it alters the mind regarding what you think your body can do. Freedom of mind is perhaps the most dangerous thing one experiences during the pursuit of functional fitness.