Essential Pittsburgh
4:45 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Talking CrossFit: Are the Workouts Too Intense?

CrossFit is a fitness trend that's become increasingly popular over the past few years, but can it be too intense?
CrossFit is a fitness trend that's become increasingly popular over the past few years, but can it be too intense?
Credit Tony Felgueiras / Flickr

Combining cardiovascular and weight training, CrossFit is one of the biggest fitness trends in recent years.  Known for their intensity, CrossFit workouts, if taken to extremes, have resulted in serious injury for some participants.

Jim Crowell is an elite CrossFit athlete and trainer. He's also a former owner of a CrossFit facility. Crowell thinks the workout is excellent, if done safely and the right way. The biggest factor for Crowell is finding the right coach. This is especially important when a CrossFit class might have participants with varying levels of athleticism.

“It's really up to the coach to understand what their limitations are  before the workout starts, and their work is not overly aggressive,” he said.

Another concern about CrossFit is the ease in obtaining a coaching certification and opening a "box," as CrossFit gyms are known. 

“I think where the criticism is coming in is you are having these coaches who have no athletic, training or coaching background opening gyms, and then just trying to line up the most difficult and fun workout that may not have any interest in safety,” Crowell said.

Joe Vennare, co-founder of Fittsburgh, said people should familiarize themselves with the gym before trying a workout.

“They have to go in and they have to feel the atmosphere," he said. "They have to see, ‘Is this a competition based thing?’ or is this an environment where in they can, with the help of a coach, work towards achieving their own personal goals and not the goals of maybe the CrossFit classes at large.”