“I have an old shoulder injury, I can’t do CrossFit.”
“I’m too old for all that—throwin’ around the weights…I couldn’t keep up.”
“I can’t even touch my toes! There’s no way I could squat or do push-ups.”
If I had a dollar for every time someone gave me one of these excuses reasons, I’d buy some lifters, knee wraps, wrist wraps, and a barbell.
I hate excuses—if you don’t want to be stronger, faster, more flexible, that’s fine. If you’re scared, that’s fine too. CrossFit is scary. But don’t say you can’t.
I digress. I hesitate to even call these reasons “excuses” because many people think these statements are truths—that they’re limited by their age, current physical abilities, or injuries.
But they’re wrong.
There are so many instances where a person is capable of starting CrossFit, of getting on track to a healthier, more functional body—but they don’t think they are. They think they’re too old, too stiff, too fat, too weak—etc., etc., etc.
And I want to shake them and say, “Nooooo! You can DO THIS!”
But that’s not really appropriate. Instead, I’ve listed the most common excuses reasons people give for being unable to CrossFit—and the reasons they’re usually wrong.
Excuse #1: “I’m too out of shape”
Do you know how many people walk through our doors on the first day and can’t even do an air-squat?
Most of them.
And push-ups? Forget about it.
These are basic movements, but many individuals aren’t physically capable of performing them properly—yet.
But we know that. We’re ready for that.
That’s why we start each new client in our On-Ramp class, where newcomers learn proper form for basic movements and get used to the style of our classes. We never give anyone more weight than they can handle—in fact, when you start the On-Ramp class, you’ll learn all the Olympic Lifts with a PVC pipe.
In addition to modified weight, every movement we do is scalable—even after you “graduate” from On-Ramp. In any given CrossFit class, there are several athletes doing “scaled” versions of the workout, and others doing the “RX” (as prescribed) version. Before every class, our coaches explain and demonstrate the movements and help members decide which “version” to do.
So if your major excuse is “I’m too out of shape,” then, sorry. We all start somewhere, and CrossFit 405 is prepared to work with you.
Excuse #2: “I’m too old for this sh**”
(See above paragraph)
Aside from general concerns about being “too out-of-shape,” if you feel old, that’s probably a sign you need to get moving. Our muscles support our bones and joints, so as you age, it’s especially important to stay active. What do you think ages your body more, lifting weights or sitting in a recliner? I’ll give you a hint: Jacinto Bonilla isn’t a beast because he eats bran* and watches Jeopardy all day. *(He may eat bran, I’m not sure.)*
So if you want to slow the natural deterioration of your body…I suggest you give CrossFit a shot. Not only will getting active give you more energy, but lifting weights builds new bone tissue, which makes your bones stronger. So instead of worrying about the “instability” that comes with aging—falling or injuring yourself doing a simple task—you can do something about it! You can make your body stronger and be prepared for life.
We’ve got members from 15 to 50+, so if you think your years of life experience is an excuse to keep you from the gym… it isn’t. We’ll work with you.
Excuse #3: The strip turned pink!
First of all, congratulations! And you read that right—if you know you’ll be carrying some extra weight from another life form growing inside you and not from cheese fries and ice cream, you can most likely still CrossFit. We’ve had multiple women at both South and Midtown locations who have done CrossFit throughout their pregnancies—and were grateful they did.
Most doctors will encourage pregnant women to stick with the fitness routine they already have in place, so for our members with babies on the way, this was a no-brainer. Several of our moms attribute their uncomplicated pregnancies and short labor to the healthy, strong bodies they earned doing CrossFit. (Some even attribute a new skill like butterfly pull-ups to the big belly they had while CrossFitting.)
Most of our moms opt (or are advised by a coach) to swap movements like box-jumps for step-ups to eliminate the risk of falling, or stay away from GHD sit-ups because of the strain it can put on the abdominal muscles (not to mention motion sickness). But for the most part, our pregnant power-houses are able to do much of the same movements while carrying a baby as they could before—and their bodies are healthier for it.
But as always, there are exceptions. Your body may not be able to handle the strain of an intense workout while you’re pregnant—everyone is different. There are an infinite number of things that change in your body when you’re pregnant that could affect your ability to do CrossFit. That’s why it’s important to know and listen to your own body. Talk with your doctor. Find out what works for you. Because carrying another person inside you can definitely be a legitimate excuse to take a break from the weights. Your baby and your safety take priority.
But don’t be afraid to try. As with everyone who walks through our doors—out-of-shape, “old,” sick—we’ll advise you one step at a time, and you never know how CrossFit might help!
Excuse #4: “I don’t want to get hurt.”
I’ll start this portion of my excuse-squashing with a story. Coach David Taylor had been CrossFitting for a couple years when he approached a 1000lb personal record in the CrossFit Total (a combination of your back squat, strict press, and deadlift 1-rep max weights). He was pumped. He was in the best shape of his life, and he was loving CrossFit.
He wanted to reach that 1000lb goal. He wanted to keep improving. But when other coaches warned him about his bad form on some movements that were putting strain on his lower back, he ignored them, eager to push harder.
He remembers the workout that drove him to the doctor—a combination of deadlifts and box-jumps. On one rep, he felt a “pop,” in his back, but he kept pushing. (Not advisable by any means, and he later said, “I was stubborn. And we all know the psychological drive to ‘muscle through it.’”) Long story short, his combination of sacrificing form for speed, ignoring instruction and his body’s signals, led David to a herniated disc at his S1/L5 spinal node. He feared back surgery and the inability to ever do another “girl” workout.
Another story: A year or so ago, I was visiting my fiancé in Stillwater. It was one of those rare evenings in Oklahoma where the weather is enjoyable, and we went for a walk around town. On our way back to his apartment, I stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and sneezed. A sharp pain shot across my back. I was almost in tears. Afterwards, I could barely breathe. For the next few days, I took shallow breaths and avoided intense workouts because, somehow, I had managed to pull a muscle (or dislocate a rib, I’m not sure)—sneezing.
My point is this: Yes, people injure themselves doing CrossFit. But people also injure themselves playing football, swimming, walking in the park, and in some cases, sneezing. It happens. And the possibility of injury is very small (in CrossFit or any sport) when you listen to the voices of wisdom, your coaches. They will never advise you to do something dangerous. They will, conversely, frequently caution you against doing anything that could hurt you.
Excuse #5: “I have a bad…” (shoulder, knee, back, etc.)
Allow me to continue Coach David’s story. After his visit to several chiropractors, he feared he would never be able to CrossFit again. But after his neurosurgeon saw his MRI, he told David, “You’re really active and fit. I want you to try physical therapy.” And he did. And through careful training, David got back in the CrossFit game. He didn’t put extra strain on his injury—he let it heal, then carefully added movements as his body recovered.
One of our newest members came to us with a longtime foot injury that caused frustrating situations in bootcamp-style classes she’d attended. She was sick of “sitting on the sidelines” when it came time for a movement like burpees that hurt her foot because the instructor didn’t have an alternate plan of action for her. Luckily, when she came to CrossFit 405 South, we told her we could work with her.
It’s a rare instance that a weak knee, shoulder, etc. completely debilitates someone from starting or continuing CrossFit. In fact, if you strengthen the muscle around a weak joint, you’ll likely improve your pain, or lessen your risk of further injury.
Let the coaches know what the issue is, and we’ll find a way to work with you. Whether that means doing lighter weight or altering the movements altogether, we’ll find a place for you. We are aware that there are times you need to take a break and heal. Major surgeries and illnesses warrant some time off. But please, don’t use every tweak and twinge as an excuse to stay home! Find out what the problem is, discover what you are capable of, rather than using an old injury as an excuse that dictates your life.
As I hope I’ve made clear, we’ll work with just about anyone, as long as you’re willing and ready. We know exercising is not a one-size-fits all, so we consult with each of our clients before signing them up for classes. All you have to do is tell us where you are—what injuries you’ve had, what your goals are, what excuses you’ve used in the past, what scares you…and we’ll find out what works best for you.
If you think you can’t try CrossFit because of an old injury, talk to us. Your limitations may not be as great as you think. If you’re nervous about the people, come watch a class! It never hurts to ask, and you never know until you try. Shoot us an email, give us a call, or comment on our blog or Facebook! We’d love to talk to you and turn your excuses into motivators!