Oh Jillian

Nobody puts baby in a corner!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a lover, not a hater. I don’t hate anyone. But I’ve never been a fan of Jillian Michaels. And that’s OK. We don’t have to like or be liked by everyone. So I’ll try to be as positive as I can.

People from the outside see CrossFit and only think of the CrossFit Games or of some random YouTube video that an individual posted about CrossFit. The latter may include a beginner with not-so-perfect form while doing high reps of a movement. But if you really dive deeper, there’s so much more to it for the open-minded.

Jillian mentioned that there are only 20 or 30 movements and that combinations of those movements are limited. This is so far from the truth. First, let me mention Olympic weightlifting. If you study what Olympic weightlifters do in training, it would amaze you. This sport only has two movements: the snatch and the clean & jerk. And at first glance, its just taking a barbell from the floor to overhead. Really, that’s all it is. There’s not even that many rules. But if you hear Strength coaches talk about Olympic weightlifting, many college and pro football and athletic programs will stay away from these movements. In its simplest form, its the most basic thing you can do. But you cannot discount how explosive and powerful these exercises are. However, they are also very technical. Strength coaches don’t have the time (or sometimes the ability) to grasp the nuances of techniques and then teach those to a professional athlete. There isn’t enough time to do that. They need to get their players strong without getting them hurt in the process. Only two exercises? There’s more than meets the eye.

In the Bulgarian system, lifters only do the snatch, clean & jerk, and the squat. And they do that 3-6 hours a day, 6 days a week, usually in two sessions a day. That’s a lot of commitment to the lifts. However, other approaches break them down into all the phases of the lift. The set-up, the first pull, the 2nd pull, the 3rd pull, and the finish. But you can change everything in endless combinations and permutations of the lifts. You can do static holds, multiple reps, hangs, powers, pauses, deficits, and a multitude of accessory movements. Its endless. And that’s just to get better at two lifts!!

Now overlay this with CrossFit. Its "CROSS"-"FIT"!! That means cross-training. Nothing needs to be excluded. You could do endless variations with just Olympic weightlifting in CrossFit. But then add gymnastics, powerlifting, strongman, kettlebells, maces, ropes, bodybuilding, and any sport you can think of. It can be sprints, hurdles, box jumps, rowing, running, and ski erging. And not only that, you can change this to max weight, max reps, and singles or hundreds of reps. The possibilities are endless.

So for Jillian and the uninformed among us, its better to keep an open mind about everything. Why close off a system that’s been tried and true for so long? CrossFit isn’t unique. When I did high school wrestling, the type of training we did is identical to CrossFit. Then, when in the Army, all the obstacle courses, sprints, and crazy exercises we did to failure…yeah, you guessed it…CrossFit! Its been done forever! Its just that CrossFit made a sport out of all these other things.

Stay positive in life. I give Jillian credit for what she’s accomplished in life. She has a voice and a story to tell. I just wish her insecurity and income being drained from something she is against can change. She could embrace CrossFit as another method to get fit. Instead, she chooses to find the negative. Find the positive in everything friends. In every culture, music, fashion style, language, and exercise. Find what’s good in the world and enjoy its goodness. Never close your mind to possibilities to grow.

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