Is CrossFit a cult and do I have to eat that?
The Caveman Diet, aka Paleo diet, is a high-protein, high-fiber eating plan. It is also very popular with CrossFitters. In abundance you will find vegetables, lean meats, nuts and seeds on this diet. Not allowed are refined carbohydrates, dairy, legumes and processed foods. Studies have shown that eating this way will also help prevent an inordinate insulin response. Acute, chronic elevation of insulin causes hyperinsulinism, which is associated with obesity, elevated cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and mood dysfunction.
Why do CrossFitters swear by it? Because it works. A real Paleo diet produces a lean body, which naturally leads to improved performance in fitness and in daily living. “It’s kind of a self-fulfilling diet,” explains Loren Cordain, PhD, co-author of The Paleo Diet for Athletes. “You feel better and perform better.” On a Paleo diet, you essentially eliminate grains and simply eat more meat, so you’re getting more muscle-building protein.
It’s not hard to understand why CrossFitters love the Paleo diet – they want to lift heavier, do more reps, run faster and build a body they are proud of. Does that mean you have to eat Paleo if you do CrossFit? In a word, no. This balanced methodology to eating, combined with CrossFit’s high-intensity workouts are a winning duo, but it’s definitely not mandatory.
But is it a cult? CrossFit is a community not a cult.
“CrossFit provides a rare place of community and holistic transformation. It may not be religious institutionally, but CrossFit does a better job than many religious communities in transforming people’s lives. It may seem strange for what is essentially a fitness program, but CrossFit involves an identity shift that carries over into life well beyond the gym. “CrossFit starts with an identity shift off the bat: You become an athlete,” Herz says. “Not just a lady who doesn’t like her thighs or a guy trying to lose the spare tire but an athlete.”
When people start CrossFit, Hertz says, they start thinking about what their bodies can achieve and stop focusing on their perceived physical flaws. “They start eating for performance, which is about getting the nutrients that you need versus the passion play of self-denial,” Herz says.
“The cult of CrossFit: How the workout can bring out the best (and worst) of faith” by Ragan Sutterfield published March 24, 2015 in The Washington Post Online
Communities form at CrossFit gyms in the most random ways. People from all walks of life end up in a class together, they sweat, suffer and overcome weaknesses together. You will always find a wealth of support in every class. The importance of social support is that it provides motivation. When you are tired and struggling to finish the W.O.D. you begin to doubt your ability to finish, having people cheer you on gives you the confidence that you can do it!
Research at Oxford University found that working out in a group resulted in a greater release of endorphins than when working out alone, even when the same amount of work was done. The sense of community, sometimes known as a ‘cult’ to outsiders, is one of the finest features of CrossFit.