So @PhDinParenting on Twitter shared a post their personal trainer wrote about CrossFit.
And I have to say whoa, that is not my CrossFit gym at all! Thankfully!
"Everybody does the same exercise, with the same load, for the same reps with absolutely no respect to form and technique. Get it up with any means necessary."
This is so opposite of my gym, CrossFit Seattle! My gym won't even let you join the group classes until you've done three 1:1 sessions with a trainer to focus exclusively on form, because they don't want you to just jump into classes, not know what you're doing, push yourself too hard, and hurt yourself.
Then, once you're in the group classes, each individual is lifting different weights, depending on ability. And the trainers absolutely modify exercises for newbies or people with medical conditions. Because I'm a weak newbie myself (everybody's gotta start somewhere), the trainers have lowered my weights, reps, or changed the exercise entirely to something more appropriate for where I'm at as an individual. The other members are equally supportive of starting at where you're at, which is great.
I've also seen no evidence of other cult-like aspects I've heard ascribed to CrossFit. Namely, I've seen no one encouraged to "work until they puke"(!), pressured into adopting toe-shoes, or converted to a Paleo diet. Everyone looks like they're working with high intensity, but in a sustainable manner, not a crazed manner. People wear a variety of things, and no one seems judgmental or even caring about what you're wearing. I've overheard two members talking after a workout about how they eat, but it seems like a normal conversation about health, not anything evangelical.
In short, I'm thankful that I chose my CrossFit gym based on coworkers' specific recommendations of it as a "non-cult-ish" CrossFit place. I think I'm getting a challenging yet safe workout from CrossFit Seattle.