5 CrossFit Myths: Fact vs. Fiction

Updated September 9, 2023

The popularity of CrossFit has soared, leading to some misconceptions and doubts among those unfamiliar with it or who have yet to try it themselves. This article will address and clarify five popular myths surrounding CrossFit.

Myth #1: CrossFit causes Rhabdo.

Fact: Rhabdomyolysis, a condition resulting from muscle breakdown, is often associated with CrossFit. However, it can be triggered by various factors such as extreme overheating, viral infections, drug use, electric shocks, or excessive muscle strain. Most individuals exercising in CrossFit will stop or reduce intensity before reaching the point where Rhabdo becomes a risk. To prevent any injury or condition, it is crucial to listen to your body. Symptoms indicating Rhabdo include losing control of arms or legs and dark-colored urine. If you experience these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

Myth #2: You have to “prepare” before starting CrossFit.

Fact: The most effective way to improve in CrossFit is by simply doing CrossFit. Many people who believe in the need to “prepare first” often hesitate to try out their local CrossFit gym. They may say things like, “I’ll start running for a few months before joining CrossFit,” or “I need to get in shape before joining.” While any exercise is beneficial, starting a CrossFit program will quickly improve your physical fitness. CrossFit is a supportive environment where everyone works together, regardless of individual ability. Workouts can always be adjusted to suit each individual’s capabilities, which leads us to myth #3

Myth #3: Scaling means always scaling down.

Fact: Workouts in CrossFit are highly flexible. Scaling refers to modifying a workout to meet your needs. Initially, you may adjust the load, followed by altering the movement. Lighten the load if you can perform the prescribed exercise safely but struggle with the weight. Conversely, if the weight is too light, scale up and make it heavier. If a movement cannot be safely executed or performed for the prescribed number of reps, modify it to achieve a similar result. Upscaling workouts can also be beneficial. For instance, substituting muscle ups for rings, dips, or pistols for air squats. Share your upscaled workouts in the community section.

Myth #4: CrossFit primarily focuses on cardio and bodyweight movements.

Fact: CrossFit incorporates a wide range of exercises, including Olympic weightlifting (snatch and clean and jerk), compound weightlifting movements (squats, presses, deadlifts, etc.), basic gymnastics (burpees, pull-ups, dips, muscle ups), and endurance activities (running, rowing, biking, swimming). This variety creates a constantly varied program that enhances overall physical preparedness in individuals. CrossFit goes beyond bodyweight movements and includes lifting heavy weights, pushing one’s physical limits, and improving race times for avid runners.

Myth #5 (for the ladies): CrossFit will make me too big or masculine-looking.

Fact: Unless women take testosterone boosters or steroids, their bodies are biologically incapable of developing massive muscles like males due to hormonal differences. CrossFit helps build lean muscle, which has various health and physical benefits. Lean muscle aids in burning more calories, achieving a toned appearance and boosting metabolism. Embracing strength and becoming the healthiest version of oneself should be celebrated, as it has no downsides.

Say goodbye to these debunked myths and dive into your local CrossFit box, ready to challenge yourself physically and achieve the strongest, healthiest version of YOU.


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