Burn with Kearns: To Cross Fit or Not to Cross Fit – that’s the question for the 40+ guy – Kevin Kearns

By Kevin Kearns, contributing writer

I have to hand it to cross fit – they are great getting people off their asses and in the gym. There’s one on just about every corner, or at least there used to be. I want to say one thing before we go any further – no exercise is bad, it’s usually the coaching or client expectations. Many a 40 plus and younger guy has gone into a cross fit gym to try it out. The question is how are they when they come out the other side?

At almost 54 years old, I have seen this system take hold of people. They were, and are, geniuses at using social media to their advantage. But like always what is popular does not always mean that it is healthy long term. I personally know an orthopedic surgeon north of Boston that does 1 to 2 cross fit surgeries per week! I personally know the great fighter, BJ Penn, burned out his nervous system when he tried it. Not to mention countless other stories and videos you can find on YouTube of people going to extreme failure or using “bad form” with the purpose of handling more weight. From my understanding this is a cross fit mentality. More weight is good. I go back to my bodybuilding roots with the likes of Mr. USA, Joe Grossi, who taught me “If you can’t lift it with good form, you shouldn’t be lifting it.”  The chances of injury are just too high and at 40-plus my joints and muscles don’t recover like they used to. Don’t get me wrong I love to push myself and my clients, but not every day. You simply can’t train to momentary muscular failure every workout.

Who am I to be talking like this? I have been in the business of fitness for 28 years now. I have  personally worked with 15 UFC fighters  NFL, NBA and PRO point karate fighters. I went to school for exercise physiology. I won’t call myself an expert, but I have been around the block, and then some. Let’s take a favorite move from cross fit. I have to confess I don’t think they use it anymore. That move was the “kip up” or the cheat chin up. This movement is completely bad for the shoulders and many a person has hurt their shoulders cheating on a chin up. This was followed by a “ muscle up’ which I also  think has been removed and no one uses it anymore. This move was on the Olympic rings and basically to get up to a locked out position any way you can.

Olympic lifts, now, I love Olympic lifts. They are great exercises and develop power and athleticism. Things like snatches, cleans, squats and alike should be in everyone’s program to some degree. We can all benefit from these movements. The problem I have is trying to teach Olympic lifts in a group setting. Pros spend years working on their form before they push any serious weight. They are professional athletes and train like such. Joe who needs to lose 20 lbs. and has 2 kids at home does not need to clean to failure.  For a while, it was encouraged.

Rhabdomyolysis is a condition in which damaged skeletal muscle breaks down rapidly. Symptoms may include muscle pains, weakness, vomiting, and confusion.There may be tea-colored urine or an irregular heartbeat. Some of the muscle breakdown products, such as the protein myoglobin, are harmful to the kidneys and may lead to kidney failure.

The muscle damage is most often the result of a crush injury, strenuous exercise, medications, or drug abuse.Other causes include infections, electrical injury, heat stroke, prolonged immobilization, lack of blood flow to a limb.


Coach Kevin Kearns, BS FMS  CPT – Direct: 508 404 8503

Both of Coach Kearns’ books may be purchased on For more information about Coach Kevin Kearns, including scheduling speaking engagements and classes (both online and in person), please contact him at 508-404-8503 or

Author of “There’s Light In The Tunnel” How to Survive and Thrive with Depression  – “Always Picked Last“ A guide to navigating bullies on Amazon and Audible

Coach Kevin Kearns has been coaching in the world of fitness, nutrition, and tactical self defense for over 3 decades. As the former conditioning coach to 15 UFC Pro Fighters, and ranked in the Top 5 in the UFC , he is no stranger to the the importance of proper nutrition and proper mindset programming. He has long advocated to all his clients – athletes or the general population – about the importance of programming mind, body and spirit. 

Coach Kevin Kearns BS FMS CPT – Former conditioning coach to 15 UFC Pros Ranked in Top 5 by the UFC Personal Fitness Coach, Author, Columnist, Motivational Speaker, Corporate Wellness Consultant, Youth Wellness Program Provider, Certification Specialist, Personal Self Defense, and Law Enforcement Defensive Tactics Specialist

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