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:

20130202-191428.jpg

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”.

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3 thoughts on “A recent Facebook conversation between trainers

  1. I want to add one more point about the USMC study. Recruits participating in the CrossFit training “perceived” they were working harder than they really were, and believed they were getting the superior workout. However, at the end of basic training, the un-injured recruits performed no better on the final fitness evaluation than those in traditional training.

    1. The military has done a number of interesting studies in the areas of physical activity. I guess that when your life depends on the results, you tend to want to see the proof first. But while I don’t understand the CrossFit program completely, the emphasis on complex exercises do seem to be valid. Would you agree?

      T

      1. There is no issue with complex movements in general. But complex movements require a complex skill set to be developed first, if one wants to avoid a very high risk of injury.

        Likewise, what everyone seems to be forgetting amid the constant marketing barrages is that one of the points of physical fitness is to prepare the individual for grueling activity, not be the end result in and of itself. if someone wanted to participate in cross fit (https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=6&ved=0CEoQtwIwBQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DtzD9BkXGJ1M&ei=FvMPUYraLMnr0QGT_oDQAQ&usg=AFQjCNECi1J_1LeubeE1gDlHxkQWGiDRZw&sig2=NHYeb38l7qPAmc6jendVIQ) type classes, one should dedicate a significant amount of hours to getting in shape for it first. Look at the YouTube video. It’s impressive. As are the 19-26 year olds doing it. But they didn’t get that way doing CrossFit, regardless of the media hype. They got that fit, learned the skill sets for those exercises (though some of the kettle bell lifts and pulll ups were performed horribly) and then decided to challenge themselves doing CrossFit.

        Using this for marketing would be like me videoing a spin class full of runway models and playboy centerfolds and making a commercial targeting women, implying spin will make them look like the people in the video. An old technique, that we still fall for continuously. With age should come a certain wisdom. In our gym, I don’t always see that happen.

        When I see out of shape and middle aged people doing these kinds of workouts without the prerequisite skill set and high physical fitness, I “see” someone like you or me watch a professional boxing match and then go into a ring and fight a pro the next day. Reckless and ridiculous thinking.

        Exercise should always been done in a controlled way, even when circuit training or doing other forms of hybrid training so that you don’t get hurt during the main event, whatever that happens to be.

        Going back to the boxing analogy, when the #1 heavy contender is in training camp he lifts weight, jumps rope, does hand speed drills, and spars with another lesser pro. While sparing, the fighters don’t go all out, do they? Of course not. That would risk injuring yourself before the main event!

        When NFL teams go into training camp and the offense and defense scrimmage against each other, does the defensive coordinator tell the linemen and linebackers to hit the QB as hard as possible on every pass play? You know, to get him ready for the regular season? Of course not. The point is to practice the skill sets and drill, make your musculoskeletal system as strong and resilient as possible for the upcoming uncontrolled challenges, and get your mind and body ready; not to simulate the real thing and risk injury before the game even begins!

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