Muscles v. Crutches



Learning to balance muscle development exercises with overall health is critical to wellbeing.

When it comes to exercise it may seem that we live a world of extremes. We are barraged with images of 30-something actors and athletes with “perfect” physique that distort what we consider “normal” to be. These individuals, whose job is it to spend 60-hours a week working out, pampering their physical appearance, redefine what society views as the desirable physic.  The reality is something quite different …

1 in every 3 Americans are overweight or obese.

Significant numbers of Department employees have embraced CrossFit as a means of achieving that Greek-God(ess), sculpted physique. Within limits, CrossFit and similar exercise programs can help build muscle, decrease body fat and improve your overall health. Overdo it however and there are costs to pay.



CrossFit effectively combines strength training, polymetrics (jump training) and speed training.  Training can be done on your own without expensive equipment or at a CrossFit affiliate.  Workouts are intense and take a relatively brief amount of time.  Athletes who endorse CrossFit based on their own experience report achieving excellent results in their fitness goals and peak performance in their chosen sport.  It can be an attractive work-out option for law enforcement due to the competitive nature of the group workouts.  The Workout of the Day (WODs) is a specific exercise named after military or law enforcement heroes.  In fact, there are WODs named after Officers Randy Simmons and RJ Cottle.  It is clear that elite athletes like SWAT officers may be able to perform these intense workouts effectively and achieve excellent results.  For those who are already fit, have excellent core strength and adhere to good form, CrossFit may not be problematic.  For others, intense workouts of this nature can be harmful.



Sometimes good form takes a back seat when there’s a competitive environment.  The competitive nature of the exercises can lead to deterioration of good form as the athlete attempts to complete the reps as their friends cheer them on.  Traumatic injury to joints is also a real possibility.  CrossFit has also garnered its share of concern from medical experts.  Because it is a high intensity Olympic-style workout, injury can occur.  Sometimes these injuries are severe.

Effective muscle building programs have to be vigorous enough to repetitively break down and rebuild muscle tissue.  However, it is possible to rupture muscle cells from over doing it.  There is a relatively rare condition, known as rhabdomyolysis, in which muscle tissue becomes seriously damaged and individuals can even develop kidney failure from exercise trauma.  This condition, which has occurred among Department employees, results from over-exertion and requires life-saving measures, hospitalization and long recovery times.  Furthermore, there are no solid long-term research studies regarding the consequences of high intensity workouts such as CrossFit.  Like NFL players, achieving extreme fitness during the wonder years may be tempting.  But is it worth it if you spend your golden years paying for your exercise enthusiasm?


CrossFit Reviewclick here


The Other Extreme of the Workout Continuum

If you feel challenged by bench-pressing a rolling pin or just the thought of a five-mile jog gives you chest pains, the post linked below is for you! It reviews some simple steps to begin and maintain a sensible exercise routine that will prove beneficial for your physical and mental wellbeing. When it comes to exercise – moderation, consistency, variety and good form are the best guiding principles.


Start a Workout Programclick here


These strategies will increase your success.

  • Focus on Your Feet. Focus on what you are actually doing – establish specific action-oriented strategies, then do it (versus just thinking about doing it).
  • Set Realistic Achievable Goals. Committing to a ten-minute walk three times a week is a good place to start if you’re doing very little physical activity right now. You can increase your activity over time.
  • Use the Premack Principle. High-frequency behavior can be used to reinforce low-frequency behavior. If exercise is a low-frequency behavior, think of a naturally occurring high-frequency behavior (watching TV or surfing the internet) and use that as a reward for exercise. We don’t recommend using food as reinforcement for exercise. As an example, allocating a certain time for kids to play video games to doing their homework can work really well.