Not drinking the CrossFit Kool-Aid

In her inimitable wry style, Sara Hastings ‘reveals all’  about CrossFit, the rambunctious upstart of the Princeton fitness scene, in the January edition of Princeton Echo. 

I concur with the founder of Cross Fit who characterized the average gym as “predicated on a low to minimum wage, skill-less staff supervising hapless members. “ He concluded that “clients enjoyed a better workout environment, and he made more money, by training them in groups small enough that each athlete could get plenty of individual attention — rather than one-on-one. The shared suffering and shared satisfaction of completing a workout together transcends individual levels of fitness and forms the basis of the so-called CrossFit community.”

But Hastings failed to convince me that I — old enough to be her grandmother, with arthritic knees, a gimpy shoulder, and a back-that-sometimes talks-to-me — should join the CrossFit cult.

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Anthony Rabara trains a client in the Joseph Pilates method. (I am not that client.)

I’ll stick to  Pilates at the Anthony Rabara studio where  I’ve been lucky enough to take lessons for more than two decades. Despite arthritis I’m sure not to get injured. When I walk into the studio I can say “my knee is tender today” or “my shoulder is out today” and the trainers adapt the equipment and the workout. Though I athletes and dancers train here, some clients are even more decrepit than I.

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Anthony Rabara with Moshe Budmor

Ninety-two-year-old Moshe Budmor, for instance, worked out at the studio until just before he died.

I also value my “take it slow and easy” anti-aging yoga class taught by the amazing  Germaine Tartacoff . at Forrestal Village Fitness.  (Tartacoff has her own studio and also teaches a “rank beginner” class at Princeton Adult School. Anyone leary of joining a class with folks who already know the difference between Downward Dog and Tree — this is the class for you.)

In her enticement, Hastings touts the group experience. Plenty of people who have observed Crossfitters with a mix of what’s-the-point and never-in-a-million-years have tried it out and realized that not only does it work, it’s also pretty fun.

But at my age I cast a jaundiced eye at any training that has even a whiff of competitiveness. If I try to keep up I’m likely to injure myself. But — never say never. Maybe when I turn 80.

PS: Hastings suggests examples of CrossFitters who are more my speed — here and here

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