This has been a banner year in the fitness world thanks to the emergence of CrossFit on the national stage. The partnership with Reebok that's pumping money into the games and getting commercials on TV. Bob Harper of Biggest Loser fame going CrossFit crazy, introducing CrossFit to his teams and recently getting his CrossFit Level 1. The CrossFit Games on ESPN2, all polished and edited and served out to the country.
Then this morning, I wake up to find this video from 2008 lighting up the Facebook CrossFit world. Go ahead and watch it, we'll wait. If you need to yell and stomp around in angry circles, go ahead and do that too. We'll be right here.
Where to begin. How about we start with the good things this video brings up. First, we learned to not take advice from celebrities. Second, we've discovered that there is apparently such a thing in the world as a three pound weight. Third… yeah, I was kinda stretching to come up with two things already.
Normally, we try to keep at least a semi-open mind about other fitness methods. We may giggle and make jokes about Zumba or poledancing for fitness, but we usually add “at least they're moving and exercising.” In today's climate of obesity and celebrity/reality culture, this video is just dangerous and irresponsible. The stars buy into this sh…tuff because they have more money than God and no one around them who's willing to sack up and tell them how full of it they are. We don't have either of those things going for us. We need to spend our money on what works and what's actually going to help us in the real world. And really, do you want to be taking health advice from someone who's been driving themselves into early osteoporosis?
Don't get me wrong – I think Gwyneth Paltrow is beautiful. If she's wearing a big bulky sweater and baggy pants. Or maybe if she's only shot from the neck up with a lot of makeup. Take a look at her in that video again – she looks like she has a grandmother's body and at the time that was shot, she was THIRTY-FIVE YEARS OLD. A common CrossFitter's goal is to look better naked. Honestly, is that someone you'd want to see naked?
The most damning and insane statement of the video is the thing that a lot of CrossFitters are fixating on: “No woman should lift more than three pounds.”
I think the best proof that this fitness expert is completely right and should be listened to religiously is Gwyneth's follow-up statement, where she talks about holding her thirty pound child. Apparently Gwyneth doesn't listen to her trainer's advice, otherwise she wouldn't be picking up her kids. Or the groceries. Or pets. Or her purse. Or scripts. Or closing car doors. Or putting on heavy boots.
This is what makes CrossFit so great: functional fitness. We understand that in our lives, we have to lift weights every day, whether it's our kids, our pets, or that stranger we're pulling out of the burning car. Hey, you never know. And that's the point. If you know you're going to be lugging around a thirty pound child, maybe it would be a good idea to get used to carrying around thirty pounds. Even better, if you carry around forty pounds, they'll feel even lighter.
And then they throw out the dreaded B word: bulky. Being the On-Ramp coach, it's something I hear a lot. That feminine fear of getting bulky. That's what these fitness parasites feed off of. Here's the deal: bulkiness primarily requires testosterone. Women you see who are “bulky” either already have higher-than-normal testosterone levels or are supplementing them. Not only that, but those body building women that everyone pictures when someone talks about women lifting weights? That takes YEARS of hard work and effort to specifically look like that. And again, supplementation.
I could rant and rant for quite awhile about all of this (much easier to change muscle structure if you train in the heat?) but other people have done it in much more detail. Let's close this discussion out with a little photographic example of fitness. One of these women does CrossFit and the other follows Tracy Anderson's program. See if you can guess who is who.
OMG, she practically has a penis!