CrossFit for Toddlers: Do Tots Really Need Toned Bodies?
by Lisa Fogarty
The next time someone tells you your little one lacks muscle definition and stamina -- because that is so often a concern we associate with toddlers -- tell them not to fear. You can just enroll him in a CrossFit class!
Yep, a CrossFit gym in New York is offering classes for children as young as 3, where your littlest bodybuilder will perfect his or her ability to perform overhead presses -- without weights, thank goodness -- and squat, squat, squat to work that adorably chubby gluteus maximus into tip-top shape. Is this a wonderful idea that will only help our children increase their strength? Or a horrendous one that will make our toddlers the most body conscious tots on earth?
CrossFit has been in the news a lot lately, mainly because of a photo one woman posted on Facebook in which she is hoisting a heavy weight over her eight month pregnant belly while in the midst of her strenuous CrossFit workout. But other opinions of the workout have surfaced as well, including one that reminds folks that CrossFit actually markets itself as "The Sport of Fitness." Which is all well and good if you are into physically challenging yourself and setting goals for how many squats you can perform, how far you can fling a tire, and whether or not you can complete a Spartan Race.
But I worry that toddlers and little ones won't gain much from this way of thinking. They should be allowed to focus on achieving goals that are fun and competitive, but that won't place all their attention on specific body parts. Simply allowing them to run around like maniacs in the grass, throw and catch balls, and make it across the monkey bars at the playground seems far healthier to me than bringing them to a CrossFit and introducing them to the no pain, no gain mentality of adult workouts.
I'm open to being really wrong about this. I have friends who swear by CrossFit and I have a good friend who regularly brings her daughters to her gym with her. They use some of the safer equipment while mom works out. Their entire family's attitude toward health and fitness is exemplary. So I get that side of the argument. I just question the sanity of starting them so young and hope it doesn't lead to a preoccupation with appearance and body issues later on in their lives.
Would you enroll your toddler or young child in CrossFit or other fitness classes?