Top 5 Questions on CrossFit

The Top 5 Questions on CrossFit

Hey group, I’m Joe Marcavage owner of CrossFit Vertex. I’d like to share with you the answers to the most common asked CrossFit related questions. Enjoy.


What is CrossFit?

I’m not going to give you the formal definition (but I’ll link to it because I love it. What is CrossFit?). One of our morning coaches, Makenna, explained it like this, “CrossFit is a guided exercise class that includes weight lifting, aerobic fitness, and body weight training with a focus on movements that mimic everyday activities.” I love this definition because it really focuses in on how we operate during classes. There are three main themes. First, all classes are staffed with a coach whose responsibility is to keep you moving safely. Do they motivate you? Sure. But their main purpose is to “spot the flaw” in a movement so it can be corrected. This guards against injury. Second, we like to mix it up. 🙂 We use a barbell, your own body weight, and we run/bike/row. We vary up the movements to confuse the muscles, but we do so in a structured way. And we take rest days! Letting the body recover is part of our process. Lastly, you’ll practice movements that you actually do every day. More on this below.

Do I have to be fit to start CrossFit?

Absolutely not.  Check out this video: Mom and Pat.  This is a video of my Mom and her friend Pat. They are in 70 years of age.  They do CrossFit.
Both ladies had been relatively sedentary, and for lack of a better term, deconditioned. At the time of this writing, they are five months into their CrossFit journey and loving it!

Mom and Pat are coached every session, and the workout movements are modified to fit their ability level. They get a great workout in a safe way. They do things that will translate to their daily lives:  box squats mimic getting out of a chair, shoulder presses mirror reaching up and putting a stack of plates in the top cabinet, and deadlifts imitate picking up grocery bags from the floor.


Is CrossFit dangerous?

While any physical activity does have some inherent risk, I think the answer is a resounding “no”! With proper coaching, CrossFit is no more dangerous than climbing a set of steps or going for a drive. The movements we do in classes are “functional”. They are found in your everyday life. Said another way, we mirror movement patterns like walking, standing up from a seated position, and picking something off the floor. And our expert coaching and genuine care keep our members safe. And motivated. And healthy.

On the contrary, sitting on the couch and being sedentary for long periods of time are actually very dangerous. “Physical inactivity” is on the short list of risky behaviors that are the main causes of Chronic Disease. A sedentary lifestyle coupled with poor nutrition are the main contributors to Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Obesity. I always say #JustMove. I don’t care what it is – just get off the couch!


Is CrossFit too intense for me?

I love the questions about intensity because I feel like that word deters a lot of people. I don’t describe intensity like a lever you pull or a dial you set to a number. It’s a concept for me. I apply intensity in a workout because I know it’s the thing that creates the greatest results. It’s the X-factor. It’s the reason CrossFit works so well. But the concept is “I do hard things in the gym because I know life is going to challenge me”. And I want to be prepared for life’s challenges. Ratcheting up the intensity in workout is going to make it harder. And it’ll make you fitter. We’ll dive deeper into intensity in another article.

So to the question!! Intensity is really up to you. Some folks want to use CrossFit as their sport. It’s their Sunday night softball, their pickleball match, or their golf league. Some athletes also compete at the Pro-level (a very, very small fraction of a percent). Folks who do CrossFit-sport apply a lot of intensity during their workouts. That’s how they compete. Other folks (like me :)), just want to move. I’ll apply a high degree of intensity one workout per week. Beyond that I’m elevating my heart rate, getting a great workout in, and enjoying the company of my friends in the CrossFit Vertex community.


Will CrossFit make me bulky?

If by “bulky” you mean “lean muscle” then I have to answer with a “yes”. If you practice CrossFit long enough, you’ll increase your lean muscle mass. Increasing lean muscle is a product of getting stronger and fitter. As a 40-something year-old male who spent 75% of his life weight training (literally, I started at age 12), I can tell you that it takes years to build muscle. CrossFit isn’t a magic pill and it’s certainly not a magic trick – Poof!! I’m “bulky”. It takes years of consistent hard work, discipline, and good nutrition to build muscle. Male or female.

Here’s my general experience with a lot of folks who walk through the doors at CrossFit Vertex. They come in wanting to look a certain way. “I want abs” or “I want bigger arms” or my personal favorite, “I want to look good naked”. A year later, I have the same conversation with those same folks. Instead of a look, now it’s “I want to get stronger”, “I want to run a 5K faster”, “I want to learn how to jump rope”, or “I want to learn to handstand walk”. They pivot from wanting to look a certain way to wanting to increase the capability of what their bodies can do. Along the way, they get abs, their arms get bigger, and I’m betting they look good naked. 🙂


As of the publish date on this article, I’ve been practicing CrossFit for thirteen years. I’ve owned this gym since it opened in 2012. I’ve been asked hundreds of questions.
If you have a CrossFit or Nutrition related question you’d like me to answer, shoot me a text at (570)-236-4770 or fill out the form here: Change Your Life.


Joe Marcavage
Owner, CrossFit Vertex

Is CrossFit right for my youth if they do not play sports?

As gym owners and coaches, we are often asked by parents and legal guardians, “Is CrossFit right for my youth if they do not participate in any other sports?”

It’s a great question.  Even more so nowadays because of busy schedules, tons of different youth activities, and the rising cost of everything.


Let’s examine some definitions:

General Physical Preparedness:  General conditioning to improve strength, coordination, speed, endurance, flexibility, structure and skill.

In CrossFit, we refer to General Physical Preparedness as GPP.  Our members use GPP everyday:  lifting grocery bags, climbing stairs, cutting the grass, playing with their children, etc.  Basically, as humans, we need to physically prepare ourselves for general life.

Sport:  An activity of physical exertion and skill in which an individual (or team) competes against another (or others).

Organized sports are great for kids – they instill discipline, keep the kids active, and promote skill and social growth. And team sports teach our kids to function as a unit – they implant a “whole is greater than the sum of its parts” mindset.

But we all know that kid who can’t find an organized sport they enjoy or connect with.  Maybe “that kid” was even you when you were an adolescent.  And for most youths, enjoyment has to be a part of any activity to get any true, worthwhile, participation.  Enjoyment is paramount.

We regularly advertise that CrossFit will improve skill and coordination in your youth’s sport of choice (soccer, basketball, volleyball, etc.).  But the program is so much more than that.

At its base level, CrossFit is an assured and battle tested pathway to achieving General Physical Preparedness (GPP).


Exercising doesn’t always need to be a means to an end – for purposes of applying to another activity.  Very simply, but also most importantly, CrossFit and GPP are tools to achieve an overall state of excellent physical health.

In short…   sport playing and non-sport playing youths alike are WELCOMED and ENCOURAGED to benefit from our CrossFit Vertex Youths and Teens Program.  Together we can ensure they feel energized and confident in everyday tasks.


If you’re interested in learning more, check out our CrossFit Youths and Teens Program.  A core mission of CrossFit Vertex is to promote the health and wellness of all members of the Northeastern PA community.