Crossfit, come in! Your time is up. - Encore

Crossfit, come in! Your time is up.

Crossfit: You’ve probably heard of it. Okay, we all know you’ve heard of it, becasue it’s pretty popular these days. especially around Brighton and Hove. In fact there’s a good chance that you might even be doing it.

However before we get to the nitty gritty thought, the scientist in me needs to lay out some definitions about Crossfit:

Here is what Crossfit is:

  • A business.
  • A brand.

What it isn’t:

  • A style of workout.
  • A non-stop run, lift, run style workout (that’s a met con, and crossfitters do do them.
  • It isn’t obsessed with the correct way to do incorrect pull ups either (well- maybe)

Good stuff it has created:

  • A sport of fitness
  • A way for people to get out from behind their desk and train hard
  • A team spirit so strong that it appears like a cult from the outside.

But let me bring you up to speed on a few of the greyer areas…

Anyone can do a Crossfit instructor’s course.

There are no prerequisites required. They teach you the fundamentals of what they’re about, the styles of workout, their logic, their approach, their heritage.

2 days, a £1000 investment and 50 multiple guess questions. In fact I even did one back in 2009.

You can then buy a Crossfit Affiliation. £2000 a year just to use the word Crossfit before or after your name.

The rest is up to you.

Pretty sweet huh?

You then put on whatever classes you want.

You run things called WODs (Workout Of the Day), and you log your times and your progress.

All sounds pretty sensible.

Obviously it has reputation for pushing

If you’re always trying to beat your previous lifts or record then you going to have to push it, and this is all good. . .

In theory.

So where does it fall down?

Anyone can buy the right to be a Crossfit gym.

Which obviously has good and bad connotations.

You may get an Olympic Coach (note I didn’t say athlete) opening up in your town.

But you may get the local tattoo artist come into some cash and think it’s a great
idea too.

Coaching ability is not a prerequisite.

Neither is the ability to plan workouts, mesocycles, macrocycles and general common sense.

One of Crossfit’s slogans is this:

Constantly varied functional movement at high intensity.

Sounds great doesn’t it?

But is that what really what we need?

Let’s break it down…

“Constantly varied.” So you don’t stagnate of course!

(what a great word – stagnate!)

But we do need to get better at something if we’re going to adapt.

And we get better at it by doing it more than ‘every now and then’. “Functional Movement”

Yep. Pretty solid foundation right there.

We should all do lots of functional movement.

But there are plenty of ‘non-functional movements’ that bring a wealth of benefits
with them.

And you could argue that the function of a bicep curl is to build bigger biceps.

So does that make a bicep curl a functional movement? Let’s hope so!

“High Intensity”

Don’t get me wrong. I love high intensity.

Tasting blood, training till you puke, ears popping mid-workout.

All great.

But not all the time.

And not if you’re not ready for it.

And I’m going to counter the following counter-argument before it’s even thrown in
my face…

“Crossfit Athletes are some of the fittest people alive.”

They’ve got strength, skill, speed, cardio.

Yep. Undeniable.

But they train like real athletes.

With periodised blocks, strength or skill focuses, endurance focus, thorough planning, and most importantly with recovery and nutrition all meticulously taken care of.

They didn’t get to be the fittest people in the world by doing random shit every day.

They planned it all out and worked damned hard at it.

So I’ll see you constant variation at high intensity, and raise you this:

  • Progressive overload
  • Workouts specific to the goals
  • Exercises tailored to a person’s needs, injuries, conditions.


Some people, however, are built with the genetic and testicular fortitude to withstand such a beasting, and will get great results.

Their bodies were put together perfectly with no imbalances, they’ve got great recovery and they thrive on low carb.

They’ve also got a propensity for pushing themselves to the limit. These guys would smash it, no matter which gym they joined.

However, if you don’t tick all those boxes, and you beast yourself into a sweaty heap on too regular a basis, you’re going to break.

On that bombshell dude,

I’m out.
Alex “live and let die” Backhouse


Being in the fitness industry for over 12 years, I've seen it all. The fads, the hype and the stuff that really works. I've seen my own body and training have to adapt to family life as my kids have come along and turned my world upside down in the best possible way, and I've done my best to stay at the top of my game throughout.

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