CrossFit is always a little tempting. You see people who just love CrossFit, who crush it, and constantly talk about it. So is it a workout phenomenon? Did it really just come out of nowhere? Understanding what CrossFit is, and what it attempts to do, and how it attempts to do it, is important in deciding whether you should do it or not.
What Is CrossFit?
CrossFit is a fitness exercise regimen that started in 2000. It is an actual company, and not just a “type of workout.” So CrossFit is a registered trademark of CrossFit Inc. CrossFit gyms pay fees to CrossFit Inc in order to use the name. Trainers also gets certifications from CrossFit. CrossFit gyms are informally referred to as, “boxes.” I’m just going to refer to them as gyms.
How Does It Work?
CrossFit crosses free weight training with intense cardio in a randomized way. It is believed that this high intensity, high resistance exercise really pushes the body a lot more effectively than just general cardio then strength training regimen. Accordingly, expect aerobic exercise coupled with Olympic weight training, hardcore calisthenics, and lots of equipment.
The entire idea is that a workout must be random, awkward, and hard, otherwise it’s ineffective.
What do they mean by random? They combine a bunch of different movements in order to “confuse” the body as much as possible. These different movements also have different intensities. They measure goals differently too. Instead of doing 10 reps, you do as many reps as possible in 1 minute.
That’s why you see people doing the tire flip. It’s slightly awkward and requires you to use more of your muscles than just lifting individual weights would. They also love using the dumbbell. If you’re considering CrossFit, get familiar with the dumbbell.
What Does It Attempt To Do?
CrossFit wants to make you a jack of all trades, or maybe a jacked up of all trades (bad pun, I know). But the concept is exercise, not really “training.” This is because you’re not training to run a marathon or climb a rope or complete a mile swim. There’s no larger goal in the training besides “gains.” There’s nothing wrong with that, since that’s exactly what exercise is. It works out every part of your body, but trains you for no task like training for a competition.
It is also a community building exercise. It specifically adds camaraderie to its regimen. Everyone does it together. That’s why there are very few individual sessions but a lot of classes. This keeps down the “boring” aspect of working out. The randomness, combined with the friendships, keeps you going a lot longer, and coming back more often, than you imagined.
Yeah, it’s a joke, but it’s slightly disingenuous. CrossFit works because of community. It emphasizes community. There’s no goal but your own gains, but you all do it together.
Why You Should Do It?
Determining whether or not you should do it comes down to these three things:
- Am I looking for a workout that is designed to be hard?
- Do I have any physical disabilities or injuries?
- Is what I’m currently doing inadequate, or am I suffering from “The Grass is Greener” syndrome?
I’ve been throwing around the word hard, so let me try and narrow it down. A regular workout should be physically tiring but not exhausting. It should be mentally taxing but not mentally struggling. CrossFit is not supposed to be these things. Its training methods are specifically awkward to make it more exhausting. It is the same mentally. Consider that honestly.
If you have any physical disabilities or injuries, I would seriously consider not doing CrossFit. Exercise is definitely good, but you must have structure in your workout routines to prevent re-injury or exacerbation. Though CrossFit is more or less safe, I would not recommend it for those with rotator-cuff or knee joint injuries.
Lastly, is your current workout good for you? If it’s going well, and you’re looking for some spice in your life, maybe just lookup some new techniques and try those. Change up your workout routine. Add randomness to your own workout routine by changing the rules on yourself. However, if you’re just sitting on the couch or your current spinning class is as boring as watching grass grow, give CrossFit a shot.
So that’s what CrossFit is. Assuming you don’t have a physical disability, I would recommend everyone try it at least once. Everything needs more dumbbell. Give it a shot. You never know.
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Have a good workout!