Combating Those CrossFit Stereotypes

It's important to address CrossFit stereotypes in your Box.

CrossFit certainly has its own stereotypes, and most aren’t flattering — then again, usually stereotypes aren’t.

It’s a cult. It’s dangerous. It’s downright wrong. It’s stereotypes like these that can be a hindrance to your business when your business is CrossFit.

“People injure themselves. Women get bulky. Those are the main two,” said Adam Sturm, co-owner of CrossFit Outbreak in Brooklyn, New York, when asked about what stereotypes are most prominent.

So, how do Sturm and CrossFit Outbreak counter these beliefs? When it comes to the first, Sturm is honest with people. “We tell people that are deconditioned, are not in shape, that we scale everything,” he said. “We’ll scale reps, rounds, weight. We’re not invested in them not being able to walk the next day. We want them to come back.”

He said they instruct their members to roll out and do yoga, as well as take a hot bath and ibuprofen in order to prevent injury — especially when first starting out.

Preparation is also a large part of preventing injuries. If you go running five miles without training, of course you’re going to get hurt, said Sturm. “When you go to CrossFit, you don’t start Murph on your first day,” he said.

As for women becoming bulky, Sturm says about 10 to 15 percent of women who come to Outbreak voice this fear. However, he explained what he often tells them. “It’s so hard for women to bulk up,” said Sturm. “It’s just a big misconception. It’s not something that comes easy to most women. I would say most of our members aren’t concerned about that and we don’t’ see most of our female members getting big at all. They get toned before anything else.”

However, sometimes explaining can only go so far. In order to combat those fears that linger despite Sturm’s explanation, Outbreak offers an unloaded program — basically, CrossFit without barbells. The classes use kettlebells, bodyweight, rowing and box jump, just not the truly heavy stuff.

Since Outbreak opened, Sturm said neither stereotype has proven true and most don’t seem hindered by the misconceptions. “Our members aren’t concerned about it,” he said. “In the month that we’ve been open, we’ve had classes seven days a week, straight through. Nobody’s hurt themselves, we haven’t had any injuries. Nobody is looking any bulkier.”

However, both education and supervision come into play when proving these stereotypes wrong. By instructing his members, having his Coaches protecting people from getting hurt and just simply knowing the real facts, Outbreak is combating these misconceptions. “I think the biggest thing that can be done to educate people is just read up on the data,” said Sturm.

Heather Hartmann
Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at heather@peakemedia.com.