CrossFit Is A Cult By Joe Rogan
I have been a fan of fitness since I was little. My first gym membership was at age 10 when I discovered bodybuilding. At 14 years old, I started training seriously with weights and began competing in local contests. After graduating high school, I moved to San Diego where I competed regularly in California’s largest bodybuilding competition called Mr. Olympia (MMO).
After winning the title of “Mr. Muscle” in 2004, I went on to win several other titles including “Mr. Physique,” “Mr. Fitness,” and even “The World’s Strongest Man.” I am one of only two men ever to hold all three titles simultaneously!
In 2006, I left the world of competitive bodybuilding behind and decided it was time to pursue something new: fitness! Since then, I’ve trained hard and become very fit. But despite my success, I still had a few nagging concerns about what I’d do if I stopped competing.
Would my physique stay the same? Would my mind remain sharp? Could I keep up with life without the pressures of competition?
These are questions that many people ask themselves after they stop competing or lose their passion for fitness. Unfortunately, these concerns aren’t unfounded; there is no way around them. You will age and your body will change. The good news is, you have complete control over the process—especially if you follow a healthy lifestyle and stay fit.
This hit me really hard when I came across an incident that happened to a member of our military in Iraq. His Humvee had been blown to pieces and his body lay lifeless in the street. He was barely recognizable as a human being, but one thing was certain: he was in fantastic physical condition!
As covered extensively in the news, this soldier had been ripped. You could count his six-pack abdominals despite being soaked with blood. His veins practically popped through his skin. Even his face was chiseled and sharp. The man looked great and was an excellent physical specimen.
However, despite all of his hard work in the gym, he died from a tragic explosive attack. The news portrayed him as a hero who sacrificed his life for our country.
But was it really worth it? Is any amount of time on this planet worth risking your life?
I can only imagine the horrors he faced before death took him away.
This got me thinking: is traditional fitness worth the risk of explosive attacks, heart disease, and even broken necks?
I don’t think so. I believe there is a better alternative to getting fit and healthy. The secret is called functional fitness.
What Is Functional Fitness?
Let’s start with the word “functional.” This word indicates that a certain training or method can be transferred to everyday use. In other words, it is directly applicable to your life. For instance, traditional weightlifting is not functional since you will rarely, if ever, lift a heavy object above your head using only your hands!
The word “functional” also implies that a certain exercise is safe and efficient. With this in mind, let’s examine the next word: “fitness.” If you’re physically fit, then your body is healthy and capable of doing what you want it to do. This includes anything from running fast to lifting heavy objects. In other words, you’re ready for anything!
So now that we’ve defined these terms, we can see how functional fitness uses everyday movements to achieve a fit body. It is safe and keeps you ready for action.
The Benefits of a Functional Body
You might be thinking, “What good is being in good physical condition if you can’t show it off?”
While this is a fair concern, you’re missing out on the greater benefits of a functional body. Here are some of the main advantages:
Your body will be healthier and able to sustain more damage than an unfit person’s.
Your muscles and joints will be more flexible and durable.
You will have an easier time avoiding injury.
You will be able to perform everyday tasks easier.
You will not be weak, even if you don’t look ripped.
You will feel more confident about how you look and move.
The last point is very important. As a teenager, I felt weak and insecure about my body’s appearance. I wanted big biceps and a ripped chest, but I could never achieve this goal no matter how hard I tried. In fact, I felt so weak that I kept away from group sports in fear of ridicule and embarrassment.
As I got older, my perspective on fitness changed. While I still wanted to look good, it was no longer a primary concern. Instead, I tried to focus on physical abilities and the less superficial qualities of fitness.
The more I trained, the more confident I felt in my abilities. And once I got over the superficial insecurities that plagued my youth, other benefits became apparent. The positive effects of functional fitness were unmistakable. My energy increased, my mind was sharper, and any nagging pain I had completely vanished.
The Advantages of Bodyweight Training
During this time of confidence building and discovery, I stumbled upon an online article about bodyweight training. In it were pictures of people performing amazing feats of strength such as one-handed pull-ups and push-ups. They weren’t huge, but they were muscular and their fitness was definitely functional.
This new discovery quickly caught my interest. I wanted to change my training and see if this was the key to confidence and improved fitness. With this goal in mind, I began to incorporate some bodyweight exercises into my routine.
The first thing I noticed was that my muscles had to work harder in order to complete the exercises. They grew stronger at a faster rate than before, and this translated into better performance in everyday tasks. I felt more capable of dealing with difficulties because my strength was no longer restricted to just lifting weights.
In addition to increasing overall strength, bodyweight training improved the other benefits listed above. My flexibility improved, along with balance and coordination. These were welcome side effects to an already successful experiment.
I had found the key to a better physique and more confidence!
The Downside of Bodyweight Training
While I enjoyed my time bodyweight training, I did not completely abandon weights. I’m a strong believer in using both types of training, but combining them proved to be more difficult than I expected. The problem is that bodyweight exercises can’t provide the same resistance as weights can. This makes them less effective for building size and strength, which I realized was still a priority for me.
Due to this, I would alternate between the two types of training. Doing all bodyweight training for a month, then weights for a month, and so on. This worked out fine for a while, but as time went on I started to get bored with my routine.
I would still get the benefits of functional fitness and improved confidence, but I wanted something more.
The Birth of Convict Conditioning
After reading an article about how exercise influences the brain, the idea for this book came to me.
Convicts are some of the most feared people in society. Within prisons they command respect because of their aggression and unwillingness to back down from a fight.
Sources & references used in this article:
CrossFit: Remember What You Have Learned; Apply What You Know. by N Mullins – Journal of Exercise Physiology Online, 2015 – researchgate.net
CrossFit: Remember What You Have Learned; Apply What You Know by T Astorino, J Baker, S Brock, L Dalleck, E Goulet… – Journal of Exercise …, 2015 – asep.org
Let’s work on your weaknesses’: Australian CrossFit coaching, masculinity and neoliberal framings of ‘health’and ‘fitness by M Nash – Sport in Society, 2018 – Taylor & Francis