A recent Facebook conversation between trainers

Recently, I posted something on Facebook by a nationally recognized fitness educator and trainer named Nick Tumminello. I didn’t feel like elaborating on it, and hadn’t planned on making it a personal blog post.

He posted the following picture with a link to a piece he wrote on his blog about why most people and even most athletes should stick to basic exercises but do them as intensely as possible:

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This Facebook post led to a Facebook debate between a coworker and I, which I have copy and pasted for your entertainment. The coworkers name has been removed to protect my safety (he’s much larger than me! Haha).

Just to be clear, I fully endorse cross training, and circuit training when done intelligently, with forethought about the goals of the trainee in mind. Those methods of training can provide dramatic and full range fitness and health benefits. That is not what CrossFit, P90X, and their various offspring will do for you.

CrossFit’s own website no longer touts it as an exercise regimen, but instead calls itself a “sport” and competition. However, since it uses exercises as its modus operandi, it has been and will continue to be, misused and misunderstood by the general public and seasoned “professionals” alike. You or I following or attempting CrossFit or ultimate cross whatever would be akin to watching an Olympic gymnast and then attempting to perform those same maneuvers the very next day.

The dialogue:
Coworker: Gotta love haters of extreme training. since most people do the basics in every gym, why hate on cross training?

Me: I love cross training. Cross fit and its brethren are not cross training. They are athletic training, sometimes “extreme” and sometimes not.
And if you think those pictures represent the “basics” you have a very different understanding of physical fitness than I do and we will leave it at that.

Coworker: Are you serious? Those pics are of Arnold doing massive weights. The whole point of this post is to say “stick with the bread and butter of power training cause doing “extreme” is bad. And since the squat and deadlift is in crossfit and are STAPLES of the sport, what are you getting at?

Me: Massive weights like that are the definition of “extreme”. As is the mental focus to push your lifts that hard. Since I’m heading to bed, I’ll leave it at this. Cross-fit type exercises simulate athletic style training camps mixed with powerlifting movements where certain skills are assumed. And none of the people in those videos developed their physiques doing cross fit. They came to cf already in extreme condition. Either young athletes or with years of intense training behind them. How many of your uxf’ers are already in extreme condition? How many are 18-24 and have the recovery ability of youth? How many have years of intense training behind them? None? How many will get there doing that kind of routine exclusively? None? Some of us are happy to be camp councilors. Me, I’m a fitness expert.

Coworker: way to be full of yourself. and alot of trainers here have extensive fitness backgrounds and certifications to back them up. everyone already knows that Cross-fit athletes come from different backgrounds. the whole point of the sport is to see which of those athletes are the fittest on earth. Also many others wasnt in extreme condition and got there by crossfit or other boot camp classes. There are several UXF trainers that ARE IN EXTREME CONDITION because some of them are current athletes. and nobody’s a “camp counselor”. we accept the fact that successful trends are needed for business to compete. Fitness is no different.

Me: Full of myself? Perhaps. But the Uxf trainers who are in extreme condition were in extreme condition before Uxf was even invented. Now they are skipping the steps to get in extreme conditioning with their clients in pursuit of entertainment and profit. Clients who will likely never achieve extreme condition because unlike those trainers and a few other exceptions, they will never adopt the extreme “lifestyle” necessary to achieve those ends.

And in case you were wondering:

The USMC recently funded a study into cross fit type exercise to replace traditional methods of strength and conditioning during basic training and concluded that it offered no increase in fitness over the duration of basic training compared to traditional methods, while at the same time increased the number of recruits unable to complete basic training DUE TO PHYSICAL INJURY 18% over the traditional methods. After 1 year of trials comparing units, the USMC has recommended that cross fit type exercises be banned from basic training. This was reported in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning special supplement on Tactical Strength and Conditioning.

Perhaps all those experts are full of themselves too.

The coworker did not respond after that.

We really do live and die this kind of stuff. Hope you got some insight into our “profession”.