Just What is CrossFit anyway?
Just what is this crazy, worldwide fitness trend called CrossFit? Is it a fad? Is it effective? Is it dangerous?
If you pay any attention at all to fitness trends and the latest scientific research, you’ll heave heard that doing the same exercises over and over is just not going to be as effective as a highly varied routine. The traditional 30 minutes of long resistance training followed by a quick, 30 minute bout of cardio on a bike or treadmill are simply the wrong way to go. Instead, high intensity, short duration exercise has been found to be significantly more effective at building muscle, losing weight, and overall fitness. This is where CrossFit and its crazy “WODs” come into play!
In a nut shell, CrossFit is a constantly changing series of targeted exercises, designed to work out your entire body at a medium to high intensity level over a short period – depending on your fitness level. Coaches are almost always close by to prevent injury and assist with your form. A “normal” (Is there such a thing?) CrossFit workout consists of a strength building component (generally either lifting or dragging), a gymnastic component (think push ups or chin ups) and an aerobic component (jumping jacks, sprints or rowing). Absolutely everything is measured to make sure you know what your progress is. Perhaps most surprising, is just how short a typical CrossFit session is, with it all being over in 20 – 30 minutes most of the time. A good 20 minute session will leave you gasping for breath and feeling that pain that only the best of workouts can bring on.
Sound fun so far? It is – I guarantee it! And if you’re worried about being either not fit enough, or perhaps too fit to see any benefit – think again, CrossFit is incredible in the way that it can be as easy or as hard as you like, regardless of your existing level of fitness. All CrossFit exercises are based on simple principles that anyone can master after a short time, but they will never get old! Whether your a beginner or an expert, a weed or a body builder, you’ll love CrossFit’s pace.
But what about a Gym, surely those large, complicated machines that fill thousands of square feet in your conventional gym must do a better job, right? How does a gym compare? To be honest – there isn’t really a comparison between a CrossFit program and what you’ll get at a conventional gym. You won’t find dozens, or even hundreds of machines inside a CrossFit gym at all – in fact, you’ll find it fairly empty of conventional machines. It’s closer to having a personal trainer, but the workout is far more effective – and more fun – than having a personal trainer yelling at you for an hour! Sure it costs a bit more than a regular old gym, but compared to having a personal trainer, CrossFit is a bargain!
But just how effective is a CrossFit workout compared to the gym? Well – as I’m sure you’ve gathered by now, I’m a firm believer in the effectiveness of the varied, high intensity, all body workout offered by a CrossFit institution. How many of you have spent months, or even years, sticking to a rigid gym routine, never cheating.. only to be sore and broken after doing a simple task like cleaning up the garden or going for a swim? You worked hard all that time at the gym, right? Why should you struggle with such simple activities? Ask any CrossFitter if they have the same trouble – you’ll hear a resounding “NO!” from them all. Being “gym fit” has nothing to do with being able to do real world tasks – CrossFit on the other hand prepares your body for the real world because all the exercises are based on real world stuff! So how effective is it? Try it for a month and then answer the question yourself – you’ll be glad you did.
Sold on the lifestyle yet? Perhaps you’re wondering about the social aspect. I don’t know about you – but when I used to go to the gym, everyone was just there on their own (or with a partner), listening to their iPods and doing their own thing. Sometimes – someone would impatiently wait for me to finish my reps, staring me down in hopes I would move on in a hurry! What a completely different world it is in a CrossFit gym – polar opposites! Everyone is your friend, everyone helps out, everyone is supportive. Friends bring their families, families bring their friends. I’ve lost count of the number of friends I’ve made during my workouts, it’s amazing how the shared experience of sweating out while dragging a tire around can bring everyone closer together. Forgetting about the amazing health benefits, the fun and the sense of accomplishment. The community alone is enough reason to switch to CrossFit and never look back.
Ready to try CrossFit yourself? Take a look around for the nearest CrossFit gym to you – you’re going to love it!