What is CrossFit?
You must have heard about it, but..what is it? Is it a name of a gym? Is it some new fancy movement to get your fitness done? What is that “box” where people go to? Is it even healthy for you?
CrossFit was founded by Greg Glassman back in 2000. It is a fitness regimen based on functional movements that combine weightlifting, gymnastics, and some cardio activities. CrossFit training is intense and short (WODs, or Workouts Of the Day last anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes). There is no laboring at the gym for hours. Instead, you meet your friends (trust me, you will make many friends there) at a “box” (= gym), and work out together. Some groovy music is often involved as well. The workouts are never the same, so day after day you will have your entire body worked out. There is no focusing on a specific group of muscles.
What is CrossFit training like?
- First of all, it is fun because you are surrounded by like-minded people with various goals in mind.
- There are camaraderie and competition at the same time, and usually, one or the other helps push you
- CrossFit training is measurable, systematic and strategically programmed.
- There are over 11,000 affiliates on this planet – you can find one in your town for sure.
- It is scalable. It is literally for people of all ages and abilities. Ask our sweet lady Mim from my gym, who is doing hand stands at the sweet age of 74.
- It is safe: you have a coach watching you at all times.
CrossFit training revolves around ten fitness hubs (or domains): Cardiovascular and Respiratory, Endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance, and Accuracy. Basically, the overall result of this training resides in making you stronger, leaner, better, and fit. Within one hour workout (and technically, only 10-30 minutes of training) you get to do activities aiming to improve your body: usually a mix of cardio, bodyweight/gymnastics, and weightlifting.
In addition, CrossFit training is primal. As I mentioned before, weightlifting, sprinting, and aerobic cardio exercises form the basis of the Primal blueprint exercise prescription. Most of the WOD’s fit in these categories. You know what that means, right? You will turn into a fat-burning machine pretty quickly.
Is CrossFit training for me?
The cool part is… CrossFit is for EVERYONE. There are even classes for kids! There is one workout a day posted on a whiteboard (WOD), and you can take it as prescribed (CrossFitters call it RX’ed – like a doctor’s prescription), scale it, modify it, intensify it, and so on. You can be any age, any fitness form and experience, any gender, weight, body type and such. Your heart rate will go up, so as long as you have one – you are good to go. There are people with disabilities doing CrossFit, and even competing in it. Check out this video to get inspired! (If this does not inspire you, I don’t know what will :))
CrossFit Training is also for you if you:
- Like doing weights at the gym but get easily bored.
- Hate working out alone.
- Are tired of looking for the best training plan for you
- Want to lose weight, gain muscle, and lean out.
- Love to pump your heart rate, and feel great after “the burn”.
- Have a desire to transform your body but not sure how.
- Could use some competition, and feel like a winner even there might be no prize.
- Strive to be a better version of yourself.
- Can’t wait to get stronger and stay like that for years.
It may not be for you:
- If you are scared to gain muscle and look good.
- You physically not be able to handle your increased heart rate.
- If you like going solo to burn calories.
- You can’t be around sweaty people. Just can’t stand them.
- You hate people cheering on you or encouraging you. Ouch.
- If you don’t ever want to change your “one group of muscles at a time” approach.
CrossFit training for the gals:
Sorry to cut you off but… No, you won’t get bulky! You absolutely don’t have to. You may feel weak and not capable of doing RX’ed workouts, to begin with, most likely. Please do not let this to discourage you. Personally, when I began training I was struggling with an empty weight bar (35 lbs). It was hard to lift it over my head! A year in (I was on and off due to my travels, and now I am hooked on CrossFit again), I can split jerk 80 lbs and more (fancy terms, huh? You will learn the lingo too!) . Also, I can back squat more than my own weight in pounds – I simply love it!
If you are a cardio queen, we need to talk right now! I promise: you can get your cardio done, shape up your beautiful body without 2 hours a day on a torturous Stairmaster. Remember, after all, chronic cardio is not good for you. On the opposite, aerobic workouts are great for you and fat burning.
For the gents:
Do you like to pump iron? That’s your place. Would you like to build your dream body? Definitely the place for you. Seems like sometimes guys get discouraged when they switch their routines to CrossFit from regular training based on muscle groups. It is different. You also may feel like you are out of shape for a while! Stick with it, it will pass soon. HIIT, or high-intensity interval training is really good for your body once in a while: it builds up your endurance. It is another essential component of primal living. Don’t skip those burpees!
Your energy and stamina will increase over time as well as your body strength. You can use it at your discretion to court the ladies, or save the world like a Superman 😉 I also think that CrossFit is a great mental exercise for males – it teaches to you stay humble yet use your body to the full potential.
Crossfit for beginners:
♥ Find a gym/box you like. Every CF gym offers a free class. Visit a few in your area, pick the one with the most knowledgeable coaches, and choose the one you feel comfortable with.
♥ Don’t listen to people who have never tried it, because there are going to be plenty of people telling you it is not safe, will make you big, etc. Go see for yourself. Experience is the best teacher.
♥ Food is still more important than exercise. You can’t out-exercise a poor diet.
♥ Compete with yourself to become a better YOU. Alright, sometimes it is okay to outpace a friend 😉
♥ If your coach does not teach you that – make sure to warm up before (dynamic warm-up), as well as to cool off and stretch afterward.
♥ Don’t be shy or afraid to ask questions. You don’t want to injure yourself doing something you are unsure of.
♥ Finally, don’t do too much too soon. Slow down, my dear. Learn the ropes first, and let your body to adjust to your new routines.
Have I convinced you yet? Now, my friend, go head, Forge Elite Fitness. And here is a little helper for you. Get these 5 Full Body Workouts to Get Your CrossFit on:
* All statements made in this article are personal preferences of the author. Check out my two favorite boxes: CrossFit Bovine in Richardson, TX ( I fell in love with CrossFit there), and CrossFit 4 Everyone in Augusta, GA (my current gym – say hi!).
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Author: Anya Perry
Anya Perry battled boring diets, low energy, and declining health for over 10 years before she found what works. Now, she helps women achieve their dream state of health, fitness, and vitality… without the struggles, battles of miserable diets and yo-yo results. She can’t live without coffee and challenges.