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114 | My opinion on CrossFit, the importance of your personal experience in fitness, what makes a good coach, and do certifications matter?
Today’s episode is going to be somewhat of a mash up, I have nothing more than my personal opinion on things. So please do not take this as biblical or objective truth. You can take or leave whatever you like from this episode. Because again, these are simply my opinions. And each opinion is formed through the lens of an individual, their beliefs system, their experiences and perspectives
I chose these topics based on what I’ve been asked by my audience over the years. And these are some of the most popular topics.
You are free to disagree or hold a different perspective. Please remember this is a free podcast and you are choosing to listen to it. You are a grown adult, and you exit at anytime you feel the need.
I know that sounds dramatic for discussing things such as fitness modalities and what makes a good coach, but I figure we can’t be too careful. And it’s just a good reminder for all of us.
So let’s go ahead and dive in to topic number one which is my opinion on CrossFit
For those of you that don’t know, I actually partook in a CrossFit for about a six month period of time while I was in college, and shortly after college.
So, this opinion is not coming from a space that has no experience using this form of exercise.
Whether or not that holds weight, I don’t know but I thought it was worth mentioning.
I think, completely subjectively, that CrossFit as a whole has improved hugely over the last decade. And that is how long I have been following the sport for.
I think that CrossFit does a fantastic job of building community, and welcoming people into practicing fitness. In fact, I think it might do that better than any other comparable modality of fitness.
I would say, my issues with CrossFit are around the programming, and the possible lack of building a solid foundation of both strength and movement patterns before jumping into more advanced exercises.
And I want to make it very clear that this is going to be over generalized. Because someone’s experience at one CrossFit box with one coach can be completely different from even another coach with in that box or another CrossFit box as a whole.
So yes, I am going to be making generalizations about this motive fitness.
I’m not a huge fan of oversimplifying, or overgeneralizing things. But it’s kind of a must with a topic as large as CrossFit.
I certainly don’t think that only Olympians should perform Olympic lifts. That’s silly to me. Well Olympic lifts and some of the gymnastics moves performed in CrossFit or advanced movements, I don’t see any reason for a normal GEN pop person to not progress their way through these movements.
As with any form of fitness, there are going to be shit trainers, and shit programming, that likely puts the client at a higher risk of injury. And I’m not for that no matter what modality a fitness is being used.
That’s not specific to CrossFit though I do think that just given the movements practiced, at the intensity they are performed, there may be a higher risk for injury in comparison to some other forms of fitness and weightlifting.
Truly, that comes down to the coaching and the regulation within a box. That leads me to another issue that I have with CrossFit. Which is the fact that a coach can be certified from a weekend seminar. And just like with your normal personal training, I do not think that this is adequate for someone to become a coach.
With that, any certification is only as effective as the experience and application of the coach.
Other things that I am not a fan of when it comes to CrossFit are the lack of tempo and balanced movements.
So overall we have a lack of time spent in the eccentric phase of movement, we have a lack of lateral and rotational movements, and we have a lack of focus on unilateral work.
I also don’t think that for most individuals they need to be performing high intensity exercise every workout. There is more to fitness, and more to be gained from fitness, then going balls to the wall every workout.
Before you get your panties in a bunch, remember that I am making over arching generalized statements about the whole of CrossFit. And simply sharing my opinion. Maybe your box does an amazing job of including lateral movement, and strength work, and writing in tempo. But from what I have seen, that is not the majority of the way CrossFit is performed. I could be completely wrong
So, if CrossFit is your choice of exercise, more power to you. I hope that you have a awesome coach, and solid programming.
YOUR TRAINING EXPERIENCE AS A COACH
This can cover things like how strong you are as a coach, what modes of training you have done, and how important your current fitness practices are as a coach.
I have been asked all of these things. And I have an opinion about all of them, so let’s get into it.
I definitely am of the belief that you should practice what you preach. But that does not mean that you need to be fitter and/or stronger than your clients. I do think that it can be beneficial as a coach to have experienced certain things that you program or ask your clients to do. That also doesn’t mean that you need to have tried or experienced every program or movement that you give to your clients.
Fact of the matter is, at some point you may choose to practice a different form of fitness, or maybe you take a break from fitness completely. That should not have an effect on your ability to program and or coach your clients.
With that, you also don’t need to change up your client programming based on what you are doing in your personal fitness journey. I often see coaches do this. And it’s not bad to implement things you’re trying and learning in your own training, to that of your clients. But it’s also not required.
Your personal fitness is yours. And you can choose to share that with your audience or not. I think, often times coaches feel guilty if they aren’t sharing every workout, or every training update.
And while I think it can be helpful for your audience to see you practice what you preach, I also think you can be a very successful coach without sharing every piece of your personal training.
There is a level of credibility when people can see that you move well, put in the work, or whatever it may be. It feels like you are in it with them.
Those are my thoughts on that. You don’t owe anyone your personal fitness goals or approaches. But there can be benefits to sharing them as well.
That leads rather perfectly into our second to last subject.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD COACH?
In short, for me, it’s someone who has experience, is always seeking to learn, practices what they preach, and uses a human first approach. That sums it up for me.
I think that a “good coach” is the relative statement. Because, a good coach for me might not be the same as a good coach for you. I would not be a good coach for a lot of people. But I am a great coach for other people.
I do think, no matter what, a good coach needs to know when to push and went to have a grace period and needs to work on understanding human beings. I also think a good coach knows how to apply knowledge. A knowledgeable coach is nothing if they don’t know how to put the puzzle pieces together for their client.
And I do think experience in a field or working with people in the field does matter. Experience paired with a growth mindset. Because there are very very very experienced coaches whose experience has not shown growth.
That’s where I’ll leave that one.
DO CERTS MATTER?
I love this discussion. Because people get very passionate about it, and I keep it pretty simple.
Yes, certifications matter, and so does experience, and the ability to apply knowledge, to work with people, and to communicate that knowledge.
I suggest getting certifications that you are legitimately interested in, or that you hold in high regard, and then use them wisely. Paired with experience and other education.
They are one piece of the puzzle, but it would be silly to say they don’t matter at all.
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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.
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