You probably have seen it on ESPN, or heard about it and it is called CROSSFIT. Is this to extreme in fitness, should you start it if not in shape, is it good for you or too much?
CrossFit is a program developed to offer a full-body workout that combines elements of cardio, weight lifting, gymnastics, core training and more to prepare the body for the unexpected.
According to the CrossFit website: “CrossFit is the principal strength and conditioning program for many police academies and tactical operations teams, military special operations units, champion martial artists, and hundreds of other elite and professional athletes worldwide.”
This high-intensity workout is extremely varied and all about getting the most bang for your workout buck. A Cross Fitter will likely never do the same routine twice in one week and each workout will usually last between 45 minutes to an hour.
CrossFit gyms are usually large warehouses (often referred to as the “box”) which offer group classes where an individual may choose to workout anywhere between three to five times a week. CrossFit coaches either develop their own daily workout or follow the “WOD” or Workout of the Day from the CrossFit website.
Is CrossFit Safe?
The potential for injury in a sport where you’re sometimes lifting lots of weight as fast as you can while trying to best your neighbor’s reps can’t be denied. Incidences of an overtraining condition, called rhabdomyolysis, have popped up enough for some people to dub it “the CrossFit disease,” although physicians and Cross Fitters alike are quick to point out that the condition — marked by extreme muscle soreness and tea-colored urine — happens regularly in any type of extreme sport, from marathon running to Olympic weight lifting. Some say the biggest misconception of CrossFit is that you get a ton of injuries, which simply isn’t true. Yes, you can get injured doing CrossFit, but the incidence is rather low.
The focus on high-intensity workouts means that it’s not uncommon for people to be sick during CrossFit workouts. This is treated like a ‘badge of honor’ with those being sick being given a ‘I met Pukey the Clown’ t-shirt to celebrate their dedication. In reality, no workout should be so intense as to make you sick, and apart from anything else it’s a waste of good protein.
‘Pukey’ is only one of CrossFit’s distasteful mascots. The other is ‘Rabdo’. Rabdo the clown is a character who represents the serious condition known as rhabdomyolysis. This occurs when you work out so much that the breakdown of muscle tissue poisons your blood leading to kidney damage. This is a serious and potentially lethal condition, but CrossFit seems happy to embrace its image to show off just how ‘hardcore’ their style of training is. And then they get defensive when people criticize them for being unsafe…
The Good of CrossFit
the focus on compound movements can be very good for building strength in the posterior chain leading to a good defense against injury as well as general performance in these Olympic lifts. CrossFit workouts are also very intensive which makes them challenging and fun. That, and they allow you to get in and out of the gym in no time at all which is very handy if you’re in a hurry or if you don’t fancy starting training.
Hybrid training in this manner is a very good approach for building a well-rounded body. And training with high intensity resistance work also happens to be a highly effective method for burning fat and toning muscle. This is called ‘resistance cardio’ and it might just be one of the best tools for getting a defined physique.
CrossFit should be applauded for getting more people in the gym, and it can also be credited with bringing a lot of very effective training tools into vogue. CrossFit introduced a lot of people to kettlebells, to hand balancing, to gymnastics rings, to battle ropes and to a range of other useful training tools. It also made the tabata protocol popular, and HIIT to an extent – both of which are highly effective for burning fat.
For those of you who are not familiar with CrossFit, here are a few terms you may need to know:
WOD – Workout of the Day. This is the combination of exercises, prescribed weights, and time or reps allowed for each exercise. This will control the entire workout each and every single day.
RX – Doing the WOD exactly as prescribed. If one RX’s the workout then they have done the weight, reps, and exercises exactly how they were prescribed.
Box – CrossFit centers are not called gyms, they are called “boxes.” They literally resemble a box made of cement walls that contain bars, weights, and ropes. No TVs, no mirrors, and no cute posters.
Things you will find when you start CrossFit
You will find out how out of shape you really are.
Your friends and family will begin doing research on “CrossFit” and tell you how bad it is for you.
You will be good at little.
It is OK to ask for clarification.
Don’t be afraid to scale down.
What you eat is more important than what you lift.
You will have more bruises, blisters, and scrapes than you can count.
You will form lasting friendships.
No two days are the same.
You are only competing against yourself.
Ages for CrossFit
Age is just a number, especially when it comes to fitness. The beauty of CrossFit is that it is universally scalable. All the movements can be modified so that anybody, regardless of age or ability or past injuries, can do them and get results.
Where to find where to do CrossFit