Apparently This Matters: CrossFit for toddlers

Story highlights

  • A gym in Long Island City is now offering CrossFit for toddlers
  • Some people think it's too expensive and snobbish
  • Two classes a week for a month costs $280

I go to the gym. It's an excellent place to watch SportsCenter while occupying a bench press that somebody else might otherwise use for actual exercise.

"You done with this?"

"Define done."

My other favorite part of an early workout is when the gym staff finally plops the morning newspapers on the media table, where thumbing through USA Today for 20 minutes seems to be another great way to not improve my personal well being.

Then I hit the sauna. Because, clearly, I've earned it.

"Apparently This Matters" Is Jarrett Bellini's weekly (and somewhat random) look at social-media trends.

So, my daily routine isn't exactly CrossFit. In fact, it just barely even qualifies as being awake.

Which is a little pathetic when you consider that, now, even toddlers are taking on CrossFit. Yes, one of the most controversial and interesting fitness crazes around -- one that some people (with incredibly loose standards) even label as a "cult" -- is actually offering age-modified classes to children.

That's the larger story that people were talking about this week online. But, before diving deeper into that, I think it's important, first, to understand what CrossFit actually is. You know ... as explained by someone who's never done it.

As best I comprehend the phenomenon, CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program that focuses on highly functional real-world movements that are constantly varied and performed at amazingly high intensity. Participants work out in groups and meet not in a gym, but an industrial-looking "box" that is void of all the things I love most -- you know, SportsCenter and USA Today.

Making CrossFit even more unique is the fact that you don't decide your own routine. Instead, there is a posted daily exercise that everyone does together. It's called the workout of the day -- or the WOD.

On some days it might include nothing but front squats, and on another day you might find yourself lifting weights. But whatever it is, you'll do it as a group, it's going to be intense, and there's a decent chance you might barf all over your Nikes.

My gym franchise would be slightly different.

"Yesterday we napped. Today we're going to stare at our hands. Be champions."

People who do CrossFit absolutely swear by it. Others simply see it as snobbish, especially considering that it's far more expensive than just joining an ordinary gym.

For example, the "box" nearest me in Atlanta -- BTB Fitness -- charges $250/month. My current gym is $360 for the year.

So, it's definitely a lot of money. But, that doesn't mean it's snobbish.

As someone who doesn't really care one way or the other, I just see a lot of really fit men and women working incredibly hard. And that's more than I can say for myself. Thus, if you want to have your own lingo and dress a certain way, I say go for it.


Really, I harbor no judgement in support of or in opposition to CrossFit. I'm not a health expert, and I'm literally sitting here writing with a Super Big Gulp. Which is just like a normal Big Gulp, but with slightly more type-2 diabetes.

So, in general, I just applaud anyone who exercises. And I wish I could look as good as the people I see doing CrossFit.

Which is why, at first glance, CrossFit for toddlers seems completely fine. It's not like the kids are deadlifting kettle bells or hauling giant bags of dirt around the neighborhood.

If that was the case, I'd let the neighborhood kids pay me to clean my backyard.

"Billy, here's a Kroger bag. Now give me 10 more dog poop lifts. And 50 bucks."

Instead, at CrossFit Gantry in Long Island City Queens -- the affiliate that made news this week -- children starting at 3 years old will focus on traditional CrossFit movements but without any weight. The classes will also incorporate counting and colors, as well as bear crawls and crab walking.

Basically, it's just a bunch of fun kid stuff. But with a price tag.

If your son or daughter attends two classes a week, the fee for the month is $280. And, that, some argue, makes it all completely unnecessary. Especially when playgrounds are free. And outside.

But, come on. We're simply talking about a fun, organized group activity for kids. It's just like karate or ballet. People shouldn't let their contempt for the word "CrossFit" overshadow that it's just something active and interesting for children to do. And people are certainly free to spend their money however they please.

But don't listen to me. My kid is a dog. And Mikey's primary workout routine is dropping giant turds on my lawn.

"Billy, grab another Kroger bag."

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