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Crossfit vs. Gym Jones

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I've been strength training for the past 4-5 years. I like my gym and vary up my routine, but I have been doing more and more research about Crossfit. I like the concept, a lot of functional movements and high intensity exercises. However, I worry about whether these exercises are possibly too intense and could gradually wear down your body. For instance, doing some exercises like deadlifts to muscle failure appears to be dangerous as it becomes very difficult to keep your form.


These concerns and research next led me to Gym Jones. Similar concept, but they don't have a "one size fits all" approach, and I don't have to find a box to workout in. Instead, they provide the workout routine and I find the time and location to do it. They also have dozens of customized workouts depending on your fitness goals. This seems to make more sense to me, but it's quite a commitment ($500 commitment for the year) to gain access to Gym Jones workout routines.


Is anyone familiar with these two approaches and how they differ? Any thoughts, comments and concerns are appreciated.


Also, FYI - I'm starting to really focus on a Spartan race in September, so I would probably adopt one of these two approaches after the race. Right now, I'm all about race training.


Thanks for the help.



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It sounds like you are choosing between two gimmicks. I would spend some time learning about proper nutrition and hypertrophy and do it yourself...you will save a lot of money and disappointment. I fell into the crossfit money trap for a few months because i thought it would give me an invincible metabolism but boy was i wrong. i went back to my trainer and a bodybuilding split with cardio and proper diet and the results have been amazing.

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Hi Kenny,


I would have't to agree with Lauren's comments...


I've never set foot in a crossfit or gym jones set-up, watched some videos though, i feel the term "functional training" is very miss leading these days. That said, i do have many years of experience in High Intensity Training, am a advocate of training to failure, however as i get older (now 35) i'm now becoming more concerned with the damage / wear and tear element associated with exercise, there are ways and means of developing strength and size in the body, while at the same time, minimizing the potential for of damage.


Am not just talking about using bad form or overtraining here (which are negative factors in themselves), am talking about years of moving through positions of disadvantaged leverage, and high impact training. These are elements i see with Crossfit and other such protocols, their effective protocols no doubt, however there are HUGE wear and tear issues associated with such protocol's, issues that will return to bite the practitioner on the ass in years to come.

A great example was when a cardiologist by the Name of Dr Cooper published a best selling book called "Aerobic's" back in the 60's, he advocated that we should engage in lots of steady state activities such as running etc. Low and behold, in the years to come, physiotherapists were inundated like never before with thousands upon thousands of people that had taken the advice of that book. Cooper did not become known as the man who saved America's hearts, but rather, daubed - the man that destroyed America's knee's.


To learn more about this i strongly recommend you listen to some John Littles work, John is the owner of Nautilus North Training facility in Canada, were he has overseen 60,000+ H.I.T workouts and has also conducted some very interesting independent research of his own. He is the founder of Max Contraction Training, the Max Pyramid Protocol, and co-author of the world wide best selling book body by science (as well as 30 other books). He work and was close friends with pioneers of H.I.T Mike Mentzer and Arthur Jones. The interview's below are two of the best i've heard in the last 22 years.

In these interview's, John also talks about the fraud that goes on in exercise today, he talks about why he left a well paid job as an editor at flex magazine due to the corruption in what they were selling....makes for very interesting listening.






Best Wishes


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There are obviously both right, and wrong ways to train. I think the biggest problem with Crossfit/bootcamp style training is that, more often than not, the person actually conducting the sessions has little to no knowledge of what might be good or bad for the individual "student." Here is a perfect example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8up6A4QesU.


If you've been training for any amount of time, you probably know what works best for you. My trainer likes to add functional movements, but always takes note of the proper amount of resistance/load to combine with certain moves. HIT Rob gives some great advice regarding functional training and wear/tear on the body. I remember something I saw about a golfer's swing being one of the most unnatural, and consequently damaging, movements a body could make. I seem to recall that the golf swing, over time, takes its toll on nearly all major parts of the body (shoulders, hips, knees, elbows). Maybe the best advice is to pay attention to your body?


The problem with Crossfit, really, is the "cult" factor. My neighbor, who is an avid runner/tri-athelete, bought a few Crossfit sessions. When asking about her experience, she said that the 'instructor' was very forceful in his demeanor (i.e. right in her face, getting her to push beyond her boundaries, likely to the point of injury). Further, she said they were very pushy with her regarding her involvement; apparently they really wanted her to compete in the Crossfit Games. Being a professional cynic, I can only surmise that this was another way for the company to market their particular Crossfit gym.


So, in short, I think that some elements of Crossfit can be great add-ons to a training program - especially to stave off boredom. Would I trade one for the other? No way. I don't think there is any benefit in a Crossfit style program that cannot be achieved through a more traditional approach; especially one where you pay close attention to minimizing damage.

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A training program should be designed with your goal(s) in mind. What is it you are training for? A race? Bodybuilding? Powerlifting? Olympic lifting? Martial Arts? Etc.


Once you have a goal defined, specificity always rules. If it is a sport, sport practice is more important, strength training and conditioning is general preparation at that point.


If your goal is to do the Spartan race I'd say first get your running and energy systems work (aerobic, anaerobic-lactic and anaerobic-alactic) in check, make sure you develop the specific skills needed for whatever obstacles are included in the race, then fill in the gaps with any strength / stretching / mobility / etc. You need to determine what your weaknesses and strengths are, current level of prep, etc. in order to design the right program for YOU. Cookie cutter programs won't cut it. If you aren't confident in program design, then look to the best people in the sport or discipline you plan to compete in, find commonalities in their preparation programs and do the best you can building your own.


Good luck!

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Hi Kenny.


I like Crossfit and join for a month here and there when I have a few extra bucks.. it is expensive. I like it because there is a bit of a competitive feel there... so I definitely push harder than I do on my own. I feel I get a better workout particularly when it comes to cardio intensity.


That being said.. yes you do have to be careful not to push too hard or you will get injured. Pick a weight that is a little bit less than what you think you can do. It might feel like you are cheating a bit.. but I figure better safe than sorry.


I haven't heard of gym jones... but if it is a do it on your own approach, I know myself, and I know I just wouldn't be motivated on my own. Not everyone is like me tho.. and you may not need the push that I need.


You can always just try it for a month and see if you like it. Also you can just go to the main crossfit site and get the daily workouts for free... but again, that would only work if you are self-motivated to do them.

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Thanks everyone for the very helpful advice. You all seem to share my concerns regarding Cross Fit. For me, motivation isn't the issue - I work out on my own and workout 5-6 times a week. The main thing for me is getting results, and mixing up my routine. I love using dumbbells (easier on my shoulders than a barbell), kettlebells, pullups, sandbags, etc. to create a hybrid between functional and traditional weight training. While this is great, I still need to mix up my routine every 6 weeks - which I never do - I really suck at mixing up my routine. For some reason it seems to take me forever to come up with a new workout routine that I feel leaves me adequately gassed at the end, or that I feel comfortable doing by myself without risking injury (i.e. barbell olympic lifts). So I have been using a trainer (who happens to use Gym Jones as a guide) that has been helping out here and there and providing good recommendations.


Based on all of your advice, I'm going to keep educating myself regarding fitness. Any other books, or websites that you guys can recommend would be greatly appreciated.

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