As a fitness writer / trainer, I enjoy receiving emails from people asking for help with achieving their goals. In fact, many of the emails I receive each week give me great ideas to develop into articles, APPs, eBooks, and occasionally a published book. The primary goal of a fitness writer should be to provide insight and safe methods to assist readers with a path to better themselves physically. This is a very powerful responsibility to hold, because it is often experienced that through increased physical fitness levels people improve their capabilities in many other areas in their professional and personal lives. Also in my genre of fitness writing, your fitness will one day save your life or the life of someone you are trying to help.
This week’s email had me researching recent blogs as well as mainstream articles concerning different fitness programs. Here is the question: Stew, I have been adding your workouts to my fitness programming for a long time now. I have had the fitness journey you talk about, going from a lazy college grad, doing living room video workouts like P90x, Insanity, even bought a few infomercial pieces of equipment through the years. Fast forward five years and at 30, I am as more fit now than I ever was. I started doing CrossFit workouts too, I but see there is a lot of negative information about them. You may have already answered this one, but what do you think of CrossFit?
It is true, I have written about CrossFit in the past as it relates to preparing for military fitness testing, special ops training, but to be honest, I have nothing against CrossFit or the other fitness programs that led you on your fitness journey. I also think it is great that a video series got you off the couch and moving again and that evolved into more challenging workouts, races, and events. This is what fitness is supposed to be about! Finding results. Not bashing other programs because they are not your own. If you are achieving the desired results, limiting injury (because we all get injured doing what we love - whether it is running, swimming, weight training, calisthenics, sports, etc), who am I to say it is wrong for you?
Back to the Title: With that being said, many writers / bloggers / trainers bash other fitness programs that are not their personal routines. For instance, I do not do marathons, but I do not bash those who run 50 miles a week by saying something stupid like, “The human body was not designed to run more than 10 miles”. I also do not do CrossFit, TaeBo, Richard Simmon’s workouts, P90x, bodybuilding workouts, or the thousands of other programs that are available. But to bash those who are achieving their fitness goals, getting up off the couch, bettering themselves in multiple domains is irresponsible and completely misses the reason why you should be writing about fitness in the first place. Face it, if I would have put CrossFit in the title of this article, it would likely be seen by tens of thousands more people – half praising and half disapproving - I am sure.
It seems that many people in the business just like to make a spectacle of themselves and create train wrecks in writing to get more rubber-necking readers. Add CrossFit in the title of your article and you are well on your way because it is simply the most popular workout program out there.
Reminder - I do not do CrossFit but as an observer I see: CrossFit has done more good for the fitness industry than harm. CrossFit is a world-wide fitness program creating millions of fit people across the globe. In a time when there are more unhealthy, overweight / obese people in the country, you would think people would applaud a program that has reached so many. You may not like the methods, but you cannot argue with results.
Many of my friends love it, see great results both aesthetically and in performance by adding it to their workouts. In fact, we often “warmup with the Murph workout” just to show people that their bodies are capable of doing more. We usually add more running, rucking, and swimming. You need that mentality if you are dreaming about serving your country in the military or special ops professions. If you browse Youtube and Facebook, you will see people doing Olympic and Power Lifts that obviously need more instruction in technique. BUT, if you were to dissect my swim instructional videos I post on YouTube of students learning the Combat Swimmer Stroke for the first time, you could make a swim instruction fail compilation of my work too. Some of these swim videos that I try to correct look like I did when I first tried to swim or power lift in my teens. Form sucks, but over time, you learn the skills and the technique and a person who can barely swim 100yds without stopping will pass a 500yd swim test in under 8 minutes and achieve a goal of attending / graduating SEAL training.
The fitness industry is a multi-billion dollar business and there is room enough for everyone to play and help people achieve their goals. As a writer, give your readers options and be creative with your workouts and even pull from the ideas that work best. Find a niche in the fitness market and stay there. For instance, Richard Simmons has dominated a segment in the fitness market for decades that most of us ignore – the unmotivated, unhealthy, and overweight population. He has changed lives and made a difference. If you can say that about your fitness programming and share it with as many people as you can, you are on the right track as a trainer and writer.
Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the StewSmithFitness.com for more information about his military, police, special ops, and fire-fighting fitness programming. To contact Stew with your comments and questions, just e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org