You’ve probably heard of CrossFit from your adrenaline-junkie officemate orreadabout it alongside gym selfies that greet you on social media. Your friends might even be talking about the newest “boxes” on the block, and your favorite sports store has opened a section dedicated solely to CrossFit apparel.
And these might have gotten you thinking, what is CrossFit, and why is everybody so obsessed with it?
The answer you normally get is that it’s a great workout class. It’s more than that, though. It’s a training program that conditions your body through various intense workouts. Not only does it build your strength, but it also makes you look and feel better.
The CrossFit Details
CrossFit is afitness regimen developed by Greg Glassman. Its main goal is to help people improve their fitness and health through different high-intensity and functional movements. Three characteristics set it apart from other training programs:
- Sessions enhance functional movements, which reflect the best aspects of sports likerunning, rowing, weightlifting, gymnastics, and more. CrossFit improves ten physical skills: balance, coordination, accuracy, speed, power, stamina, strength,agility, flexibility, and cardiovascular or respiratory endurance.The aim is to maximize the amount of work you do in the shortest time.
- It’s varied. Unlike specialized training programs, CrossFit is unfocused. It doesn’t train you to do one thing spectacularly, but itprimes the body to do anything. As such, it employs varied workouts (we’ll discuss the Workout of the Day later). As its website claims, CrossFit’s specialty is not specializing.
- It’s measurable. Your coach defines the standards of performance, sets time limits, and keeps score. He or she measures the amount of work you do, divided by the time. This way, you get observable results, which you use to track your progress.Your scores also motivate you to do better.
This training program is so effective that it’s used by police academies, military units, and professional athletes. At the same time, anyone—including those with no athletic background—can try it out.Glassman designed CrossFitfor universal scalability, after all. The coach can scale down the tasksto match the ability of the person. Thus, a professional athlete and abeginner perform the same routine, just in different degrees of intensity.
Because it can cater to people with a wide range of abilities, CrossFit has become one of the most popular fitness regimens in the world. In fact, it has morethan 13,000 affiliates worldwide.CrossFit gyms even have their own name—“boxes.”
Get to Know the Girls
In a CrossFit program, you perform the Workout of the Day(WOD). The fun thing is they’re named after girls. Why? The founder claimed that anything that leaves you laying on your back, gasping for air, and wondering what happened should be named after a girl.
Here are some of the most famous WODs.
Mary — You have to complete as many rounds as you can in 20 minutes:
- 5 handstand push-ups
- 10 one-legged squats
- 15 pull-ups
Angie — For a set period, you would do:
- 100 pull-ups
- 100 push-ups
- 100 sit-ups
- 100 squats
Barbara — Five rounds for a certain period, with 3-minute breaks in between:
- 20 pull-ups
- 30 push-ups
- 40 sit-ups
- 50 squats
We’ve discussed the things that CrossFit can do, and you’re probably thinking, what’s the catch?Well, like other fitness programs, CrossFit has its fair share of disadvantages.
- Not for Specialization – CrossFit entails many different exercises designed to improve overall fitness, not one specific area. If you want to be adept at a certain skill (say,weightlifting), you have to dedicate time for special training on top of CrossFit classes.
- Price – The fees in CrossFit boxes are more expensive than local gyms. After all, the program follows certain guidelines. Moreover, the coach scales the program depending on the needs of the class.
- Risk of Injury – Pushing oneself to the limit is not always healthy. Some people perform the WOD too fast at the expense of proper form, increasing the risk of injuries. The proper mindset is the key to a safe routine; try to score higher, but never at the expense of your form.
The Paleo Diet
Your CrossFit officemates might also rave about the Paleo diet, which many CrossFit experts recommend. It follows the way people ate during the Paleolithic period. This means no refined sugar, cereal grains, potatoes, dairy, legumes, refined vegetable oils, or processed foods. Instead, people eat meat, fish, seafood, eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.This diet facilitates weight lossand lowersyour risk of chronic diseases.
So, do you have to subscribe to the Paleo diet if you decide to get into CrossFit? No. You need to, however, follow the eating habits that could support intensive workouts. The CrossFit websiterecommends meat, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fruits. Limit starch intake and steer clear of sugar. Other eating plans that the site recommended includes the Zone Diet.
Finding a Good Box
Let’s say you want to give CrossFit a try. How do you find a good CrossFit box?
The first step is to do research.If the box’s programs just follow the CrossFit website, chances are it doesn’t have a solid experience in guiding box patrons.Moreover, check if there’s a beginner program (a.k.a.an on-ramp course). This shows that the gym considers individual capabilities, as the CrossFit philosophy prescribes.
Once you’ve earmarked certain boxes, get in touch with the coaches. Ask them to walk you through their program, WODs, goals, and concerns. Do they have a system for dealing with injuries?Do they prescribe a diet and clothing? Check the facilities, too. CrossFit boxes should be nothing less than clean and tidy.
Expectations on Your First Day
Let’s say you’ve signed up for CrossFit classes. How do you make the most of theprogram? Here are some tips:
- Follow the prescribed clothes. What you wear could limit your movement.
- Be competitive, but in a friendly way. The goal is to beat your personal best not to alienate your peers.
- Be open to suggestions. You might have been doing a routineincorrectly for years.Now is the time to correct it.
- Never sacrifice your form. Always do the workoutas prescribed, even if it means adding a few seconds to your time.
Lastly, have fun! Although CrossFit is extremely challenging, it doesn’t have to be a chore. Enjoy the workout, savor every high score you get, and always keep your goalsin mind.
Everyone I know who ventured into CrossFit loved it. Sure, they had to push their bodies and their resolve to the limit, but they said it was worth the work. So, give it a shot, and I’m sure you’ll love it, too.
Check our site for more challenging workouts.