Hi Hayley, 

I'm not sure how to express this, but maybe I just need someone to tell me to change my mentality and perhaps that's all I need!
Here goes: Lately I've been getting a lot more back injuries and shoulder pains from doing my CrossFit workouts. I've been doing CrossFit for four years now and I feel that my body hasn't had this many aches in a long time. Sometimes, I think it's clear from the number of prescribed reps, that it may be the source of injury, sometimes I feel that my body is just wearing down.

However, because CrossFit has such an elusive feeling and propels this superiority complex versus other exercises (in my mind at least), that I'm AFRAID that if I leave CrossFit and get into other sports, it means that I'm not "manning up", that I'm giving up and moving to "lesser sports" i.e.. Anything that's not as an intense as CrossFit is.

For someone who has been in to this world for so long, how do I get rid of this line of thinking...I know you can't tell me what is the best sport to do, but I'm hoping some sports mentality thinking will also help. Thinking so negatively about myself and my abilities doesn't help either!

Thanks for any advice that can be shared.


Anytime you do an activity consistently and respectively for an extended amount of time, you are going to feel aches and pains.  Whether you are a professional athlete, a recreational runner, a weekend cyclist, a downhill skier, a practicing yogi, or CrossFit athlete, your body will pay a price, which is where the term cross training comes into play.

Sports and athletics have patterns to their movements and these patterns can create muscular imbalances resulting in unwanted tensions in our bodies and on our skeletons.  Our bones end up being pulled by the tight muscles and unsupported by the weak muscles.  Due to pre-existing biomechanical issues that you may be unaware of, such as a longer limb, a curved spine, doing repetitive movements over and over and over again can make tighter muscles tighter and weaker muscles weaker.

What you need to do is add an activity into your routine that is different from CrossFit and will help to strengthen your body in ways that CrossFit can’t.  There are five main components of fitness, which are strength, endurance, cardiovascular fitness, body composition and flexibility.  Your strength and endurance, I am sure, are at peak levels but your body’s flexibility could use some TLC.  I would suggest you see a physiotherapist before you self-diagnose yourself then work on improving your flexibility.  Add in one or two Hatha yoga classes each week, or work with a trained Pilates coach, which will help improve your flexibility and joint range of motion as well prevent future injuries.

The idea of not “manning up” and just dealing with the pain you are suffering with is a ridiculous ideology that needs to be eliminated from the sport of CrossFit.  Pushing through pain is the last thing you should be doing because it can cause serious, life altering damage such as nerve impingements and ligament tears.  Most successful CrossFit athletes who I know spend many hours each week stretching, meditating and participating in other ways of moving so that their CrossFit game stays at its peak.  Many also focus on anti-inflammatory diets to ensure their bodies are staying as strong as possible from the inside to the outside.  I work with many CrossFit athletes in my Pilates studio to keep their spines strong and flexible and their cores functioning.

You only become stronger in your recovery so if you are not recovering then you will never get stronger.  If your body is constantly becoming injured then what is the point of doing CrossFit?  Take a step, or two, back and relearn the fundamentals of the CrossFit movements.  Lower your weights and reps and make sure you do each movement correctly and with control.  Build yourself back up slowly, like any athlete would do after coming out of an injury.  And if anyone gives you shit about it or tells you that yoga, or Pilates, is a “lesser sport” then send them my way because I will prove them wrong in a big way.

Attached - Anne Hathaway leaving the gym in LA the other day.