A Letter to Jillian Michaels, from a Fellow CPT

My response to what Jillian Michaels said about CrossFit.

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Oh, hey friends, surprise! If you don’t follow me on Instagram, then you’re probably not aware of the fact that I started doing CrossFit a month ago! Truthfully, I was going to write my first post about CrossFit about my initial impressions, how my first month went, and things like that… but then Jillian Michael’s ruined that for me.

Dear Jillian Michaels,

It is so easy to pass a test, isn’t it? Especially a multiple choice test. I would know, I did the same exact thing as you, except I am a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and you are a NESTA Certified Personal Trainer. To be totally honest, I have never even heard of NESTA until I started doing some research because I was curious about your certifications. Thankfully NESTA is NCAA accredited, so I won’t be giving you any flack for that.

I used to watch The Biggest Loser with my mom. We thought the stories were so inspiring. Then I grew up and became more educated, especially in the realm of fitness and nutrition. I earned my CPT and then other certifications on top of that. I began working in a gym, and with mainly weight loss clients. My clients certainly did not lose weight as fast as The Biggest Loser contestants, but at least they have maintained their weight loss.

I am wondering something… why do you care so much about CrossFit to the point where you have to bad mouth it? Are you even educated when it comes to CrossFit to be able to bad mouth it? Have you tried CrossFit?

I used to talk some real smack about CrossFit, because I knew some CrossFitters who gave it a bad name. I swore up and down that I would never, ever try it. A month ago, I stepped into a box for the first time (“box” is CrossFit lingo for gym, in case you didn’t know) and I haven’t looked back.

Let me first tell you about things I LOVE about CrossFit:

  1. The community. The community and coaches are so supportive. They want us to do our best, but they also want us to be safe. When my knee started aching a bit, as it tends to do from too many years of wearing awful shoes and running all the time, my coach explicitly told me that I needed to lighten up the weight or find another movement to do. This is the same thing us trainers would tell our own clients, right? Ooooooh wait, you’re the one who would force obese individuals to workout at such an intense level and you would encourage them to throw up. Is that safe to do, Jillian? Is that okay to do to other human beings, especially people who have not exercised in a very, very long time? Anyways, back to the community… everyone encourages each other, gives advice, and cheers each other on. This first month of CrossFit for me has definitely been challenging but the reason why I keep pushing is because there are so many people who have told me that they’ve been in my shoes and I will get the hang of some of the movements.
  2. Functional training. CrossFit involves a lot of functional movements, which I love. Most people workout to get or stay healthy, stay mobile, increase their strength, and tons of other reasons. For people who don’t do fitness for a living, functional exercises are great because they help us with mobility and moving the way people do in everyday life. How is doing dumbbell goblet squats while balancing on two medicine balls a functional and useful movement? Answer: it’s not. It’s flat out stupid and dangerous. AND YOU ENCOURAGED YOUR FOLLOWERS TO TRY IT. That is irresponsible.
  3. Self myofascial release and warming up. A lot of people don’t do it. The coaches I have make us do some form of warm up and highly encourage foam rolling. I have even started foam rolling at home!
  4. Endurance, speed, agility, and quickness. Girl, I was a bro. I picked things up and put them back down. I was slow. CrossFit does, in fact, train all of this, too. I have run more during my month in CrossFit than I did in all of 2018. I have also done more burpees in my month with CrossFit than I have in my entire life. In our WODs (workout of the day), the goal is typically to do them as quickly as you can – but you still have to do it right. I ran a mile during my first week and my time was 8:20. The next time I run a mile, I’ll let you know how it improves 😉

Your claims…

You claim in the video posted by SHAPE that we only have 20-25 movements in CrossFit and that since we are doing them repeatedly, that we aren’t challenging ourselves. This is coming from the woman who does some of the WEIRDEST exercises I have personally ever seen. Have you ever heard the term “if it isn’t broken, then don’t fix it”? If something stops being challenging in CrossFit then we probably are sleeping through our workout or we are using too light of weights.

I know I am only a month in, but I have been told by the people who go to the same class as me that you are always challenging yourself because you always want to add more weight, go faster, do the prescribed workout instead of the scaled one, beat your personal record, and things like that. Also, for the record, there are more than 20-25 movements in CrossFit.

I am a firm believer that it is not necessary to do stupidly complicated exercises in order to keep workouts challenging. In fact, I often roll my eyes at girls who position themselves in weird ways or who do very exotic variations of burpees (like we’d find on your Instagram account). It is simply not necessary.

But I get it; you need to stay relevant. Your glory days of telling people to keep going and to suck it up when they told you they couldn’t breathe are over and you need to find a way to keep people talking about you. You succeeded for sure! You even made ME of all people talk about you! Even though you made yourself look incredibly unintelligent.

You are simply a television trainer who is trying to stay in the spotlight. Stop speaking out against things that you don’t make a profit off of.

If you were a good personal trainer who genuinely cared about the health and wellbeing of others, you would know that as long as someone is up, moving, and active, it doesn’t matter how they are doing it.

You’d also know that The Biggest Loser is/was extremely unsafe and any personal trainer with a conscience would not choose to participate in such a mentally and physically abusive environment. However, you were the one who said things like, “it’s fun watching other people suffer like that” and “I’m proud that I made him vomit.”

So there’s that.

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