I wish I had taken notes or recorded Barbara Hoots' presentation from WSSC last weekend.  Barbara's session was entitled, " Studio Design: Creating Emporiums to Increase Profits."  The room was filled with eager fitness entrepreneurs looking to open a new studio or remodel an existing one.   What Barbara said in her introduction was priceless.

I'm paraphrasing her here:

Can we all quit bashing SoulCycle now? Without the excitement they've created, most of you wouldn't be sitting here, energized by the prospect of opening and running your own Indoor Cycling studio.

Now I don't have any firsthand experience with CrossFit, but I do understand that they have been similarly disparaged by various  "fitness experts", for a multitude of supposed sins toward their members. I came across this article CrossFit Bashers, Can You Be More Constructive? written by Eva M. Selhub, M.D. in the Huffington post today. As I read it, it became clear to me how you could easily interchange CrossFit with SoulCycle.

It opens with...

Apparently people like Erin Simmons, who hate CrossFit didn't read my article on how CrossFit saved my health, nor have they considered the broader implications of how this fitness program may be helping tens of thousands (and maybe more) of people get healthy and happy.

Erin is just one among many who have made headway bashing CrossFit as being a sport that causes too many injuries, is overwhelmed by poor coaching or thoughtless programming, and, oh yes, for being a cult. And though there is some validity to some of what I have read, and I am happy to stand corrected on any point, it seems to me that these opinions are personal, ego-based vendettas written by people who feel the need to shout out warnings on subjects that are not completely substantiated by research or fact.

It's really incredible to me. Really. I've been practicing medicine for close to 20 years and none of us have figured out a way not only to get people motivated to exercise and get fit, but to stick to it. CrossFit is not the problem folks, obesity is. We have an epidemic of obesity that is not only propelling the rising costs of healthcare, but also morbid problems like metabolic syndrome, heart disease, cancer and diabetes. The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008 U.S. dollars. The medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.

Dr. Selhub goes on...

Let's start with bashing factor number one: CrossFit (CF) is dangerous because of the injuries:

This seems to be the most popular, though there is no current literature that validates that CF causes more injuries than any other sport. You can get injured skiing, running marathons, playing football and yes, the new research is pointing to injuries from yoga.

I personally am more worried about the broad health implications of the increased morbidity and mortality associated with poor fitness and not being able to get up from sitting on the floor.

Perhaps it is more important to shine a light on the notion that injuries are occurring because people are actually exercising and talking about it? I don't know about you, but in my clinic, I hear more complaints of injuries people are sustaining from walking up the stairs because their knees can't handle carrying the heavy weight of their body.

If people actually like to run, do gymnastics, play basketball or become active in any sport, you are going to see more widespread injuries because being active and inactive come with risks, risks which can be avoided with proper education and learning to be mindful of one's abilities and the body's needs, instead of allowing the ego to run the show.

So if I were to pull out the value of this argument, I would surmise that the real concern is that novices and people who don't know their fitness levels are pushing too hard, too fast and getting injured. It seems to me that the solution is asking people to be more mindful and educated, to put their egos aside and understand their fitness level and set appropriate goals, and take into account that the fitness program also involves days of rest and recovery, appropriate sports and life nutrition, and self-care.

Oh wait a minute, CF already advocates that.

Read the rest here 🙂


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