CrossFit is waging war against the world’s most vexing problem: chronic disease. CrossFit is not a means by which to manage the symptoms of chronic disease, it is the cure! The CrossFit prescription for wellness is as follows:
“Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports.” – World Class Fitness in 100 Words, CrossFit Level 1 Training Guide
Simple, yet effective, right? Eat real, nutrient-dense foods, and train constantly-varied, functional movements at high intensities; or as Greg Glassman would say, “off the couch, off the carbs.”
However, there is a problem. The majority of medical professionals focus on treating symptoms, rather than curing disease. In most circumstances, patients never receive guidance or recommendations in eliminating the primary risk factors associated with chronic disease: poor nutrition and sedentary behavior. Instead, physicians and other medical professionals prescribe medications and treatments to manage symptoms. Of the approximate one million physicians in the United States, approximately two percent engage in CrossFit. Assuming the remaining 98% of physicians are uneducated or ignorant of the CrossFit methodology, that means only 20,000 doctors in the U.S. understand the benefits of CrossFit, and likely recommend it to their patients.
Below is an email I recently received from a member following a visit to an orthopedic specialist:
I went to see Dr. XYZ (Ortho doc, Tri-State) this morning and he advised me to stop CrossFit immediately. He described that for individuals in their 40s, 50s, 60s, CrossFit is not the ideal choice of fitness, and that it will continue to cause other injuries due to the force exerted on the body by the explosive movements. He said CrossFit is great for those who are in really good shape, normally 20-somethings that can consistently keep the form throughout the lifting, exercises, etc. I am really bummed, because I really liked CrossFit, but did feel other joints in my body starting to hurt me (knees, feet, etc.).
Right now I cannot come back until the elbow heals (not sure how long this will be), and after it heals, I am really not sure what my next move is. I am just trying to absorb all the information I am getting from several different sources.
Any feedback is much appreciated.
After reading the email, two things are obvious:
- The Doctor has never stepped foot inside a CrossFit affiliate.
- The Doctor would rather manage symptoms than cure the root cause of the problem.
If this physician was well-educated on physical fitness and exercise, he would understand that CrossFit is universally scalable. He would understand that the needs of the elite and the needs of the elderly differ by degree, not kind. The purpose of CrossFit is to enhance functionality and improve longevity; it is preparation for the demands of daily living and sport. CrossFit is the cure.
In order to defeat chronic disease, war must be waged on all fronts. Fitness and medical professionals must learn to collaborate and create comprehensive prescriptions that cure the problem. This requires a new perspective: focusing on the micro, not the macro. Public Health should not be our primary concern, rather, “personal health” should be the center of attention. We need to focus on one person at a time. It is only once we have positively and significantly impacted one person’s life that we can attempt to improve another. This strategy requires immense amounts of time and energy, patience, and compassion; the process cannot be accelerated. It is, and must be, doing the right things for the right people for the right reasons.