The appeal of extreme exercise is stronger than ever! The allure of achieving an extraordinary feat can be exciting. Insanity, CrossFit, Boot Camps, and the like, offer an opportunity to experience a new self-discovery of potential, but at what cost? Yes, you will get results, but again ask yourself at what potential cost?
Having been in the fitness industry for over three decades, I have taught many formats and thousands of classes and training sessions which included the same elements of extreme exercise, but without the more recent marketing names we have become so familiar with. By my mid 30’s I started to experience discomfort in both hips. By 40, the pain was crippling. Tests revealed that I sustained Labral micro-tears, which is an induced injury resulting from excessive forces to the hip joint.
All the jumping and pounding and dynamic moves that shaped my physique were destroying my body in the process! Not a good trade off. Yes, I looked super fit, but that wasn’t going to do me much good if I couldn’t walk without limping, now just in my early 40’s. So, then the question I asked myself is although the results are indisputable, are extreme workouts worth the potential risk? And are other fitness professionals and their clients being exposed to the same unnecessary risk?
The answer is yes. As I began my research I was astounded to find out how many veteran fitness instructors and fitness enthusiasts were enduring shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle injuries after long term participation in these exercise formats. But more troubling is that more recent studies reveal alarmingly high injury rates for fitness enthusiasts who have only been participating in these formats short term.
If you are wavering on including a CrossFit program, Insanity workout, or Boot Camp type class into your exercise regimen, first consider what Greg Glassman, the founder of CrossFit said during an interview with the New York Times. “if you find the notion of falling of the rings and breaking your neck so foreign to you, then we don’t want you in our ranks”. I find this very statement very troubling.
Damaged bones, tissue, and dangerous metabolic consequences including some deaths have prompted formal government panels to discuss issuing restrictions on some of these types of workouts. Our bodies are not designed to endure the heavy pounding of extreme workouts. One study (The Journal of Strength & Conditioning) found that for every 100 Cross Fit students an alarming 73.5% sustain injuries.
Though intense scrutiny and through scouring the results of recent research, I realized it was time to adjust my training philosophy for myself and my clients. In addition to the adverse effects of some elements included in these training formats, for the most part extreme workouts do not provide critical components of fitness such as balance, stability, agility, flexibility and posture.
That is why I went non-impact! That is why I chose Barre. The results are fabulous, my clients are happy, and now at 48 I’m pain free and stronger than ever.
By Joni Hyde
President, Workouts For Women, Inc.