You’ve heard of it, right? and if you haven’t – where have you been? CrossFit is taking the fitness world by storm. Although seemingly, the first rule of CrossFit is you ONLY talk about CrossFit – it still feels like some big secret! So here’s the low down…
So… what is CrossFit?
CrossFit is a training programme that builds conditioning and strength through a variety of challenging workouts. Forget everything you thought you knew – swap the gym for the box and your normal workout for WOD (more on that later), and your solo workout for group fitness – in their own words ‘CrossFit contends that a person is as fit as they are proficient in each of ten general physical skills: cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, agility, balance, coordination, and accuracy’.
Who is CrossFit for?
Are you determined? Dedicated? CrossFit could be for you. Workouts are designed to be scaled up and down in terms of intensity, meaning each day you’ll all be doing the same workouts, the difference being a beginner may have fewer reps or lighter weights with the aim of building up to the ‘prescribed workout of the day or WOD’. If you’re looking to specialise in a certain discipline say powerlifting or sport such as running CrossFit might not be quite your bag, the key here is variety. Similarly, if you love working out alone, CrossFit is 100% group workouts so that alone time you cherish would become a thing of the past.
What’s the aim of the game?
To do as many reps in a certain amount of time, or a specific number of reps in the fastest time possible. Each person has their number or time written down at the end of the session which adds the competitive edge to CrossFit.
Surely that could be dangerous?
Simply put… yes, it could be. The key with CrossFit is receiving the right support when you start out in terms of form and consistency before increasing intensity and speed. For people who have never tried CrossFit before, there’s an Induction class which is followed by an On-ramp/Elements class which focuses on the 9 foundational movements of CrossFit.
The rare injury you might have heard batted around with CrossFit-er’s is rhabdomyolysis aka ‘the CrossFit disease’ which combines extreme muscle soreness with tea-coloured urine as a result of overtraining… nice! It’s most common with ex-athletes pushing themselves too far when thinking they’re still as fit as they once were. The key is to push yourself safely, building up is the key!
What kind of things are included in the workouts?
After your Induction class and On-ramp/Elements classes, you’ll start with regular classes. These take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and are split into about 3 or 4 sections.
Section 1 will incorporate a dynamic warm-up. Forget your usual 10 minutes of cardio on a machine and think jumps, skipping rope, lunges, pull ups, push ups, and squats. These movements and stretches will be catered to support whatever the workout of the day entails.
You’ll then work on skill or strength work depending on the particular focus for that day. Skill work focuses on improving form and reps of things like 1 legged squats, whereas strength work incorporates things like deadlifts.
WOD aka workout of the day will follow – this is the main feature of any CrossFit workout with a focus on completing a certain number of reps in the fastest time, or completing as many reps as possible in a set amount of time. Everyone does the same WOD but vary their intensity based on their individual fitness levels.
The final stage of any CrossFit workout incorporates a cool down and stretching. This is the only part you can do on your own (if you wish). Take your time with this, your body will thank you later!
At the end, you’ll add your rep score or time to the board to compare with the rest of your group with the aim of the game being to beat your previous score each time.
I’ve seen they release the WOD online for free… can’t I just do it at home or on my own?
You certainly can! But who’s checking your form? And who’s pushing you to keep on going? A huge part of CrossFit is the competitive support you receive – everyone is there to help each other, but also to beat each other. Take a look here for your WOD’s: https://www.crossfit.com/workout/
If you’d like to find your nearest box, take a look here. Remember, your first session is free, so there’s no harm in giving it a go… who knows – you might become ‘that guy’ who’s into CrossFit…
P.s. By the end… you’ll need some ProBalm. Get yours here.