One of the biggest things in fitness now is CrossFit. You probably have heard of it and wondered what exactly it is and who is it for. The aim of CrossFit is to build broad, general and inclusive fitness. The program prepares trainees for any physical contingency – not only for the unknown, but for the unknowable.
Fitness Enhancement is not a CrossFit place but our classes have many CrossFit characteristics that gets you great results in a safe small group environment. The specific CrossFit exercises have been around for many years before CrossFit became popular and we use many of them frequently in our sessions.
CrossFit is defined as that which optimizes fitness (constantly varied functional movements performed at a relatively high intensity). CrossFit encourages people to do the workouts together to form a community aspect. CrossFit workouts incorporate elements from high intensity interval training, plyometrics, Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, gymnastics, girevoy sport, calisthenics, strongman and other exercises. Individuals complete daily workouts known as workout of the day (WODs).
This is a strength and conditioning program that aims to improve cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy. WODs are a varied mix of aerobic exercise, gymnastics (body weight exercises) and weightlifting. These are described as constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensity with the stated goal of improving fitness.
Classes are typically held at affiliated gyms or “boxes” and include a warm-up, skill development segment, the high-intensity “WOD” (workout of the day) and a period of individual or group stretching. Performance at each WOD is often scored and/or ranked to encourage competition and to track individual progress.
While CrossFit workouts sound extreme, beginners can start with the very basic movements and progress upwards in complexity and load as your fitness level increases. There is a misconception that if you join a CrossFit gym you will immediately start doing the complex movements and heavy loads. This is not true. Most programs will start with a Foundations or On-Ramp program that teaches the basics in a controlled environment with an experienced coach. Once you graduate from the Foundation level, you start regular workouts on a scaled level and work upwards from there.
The right level
Scaling is very important in CrossFit because it allows new members at any fitness level to participate in any workout. For example: Don walks into his first class and the workout of the day is 45 kilo thrusters and chin-over-bar pull-ups. Don learned the basic thruster and pull-up movements from his Foundations class and he also learned several modified movements that are easier than the standard movement. So since Don is new, he does his thrusters at 20 kilos with just the bar and does jumping pull-ups instead. He is able to complete the WOD safely and still gets a great workout. After 3 months, Don is stronger and fitter.
The bottom line of CrossFit is that it is a fitness program that starts with the very basics and scales up in intensity, complexity, and load as your fitness level increases. Because it focuses on functional movements it’s relevant to everyday life, and therefore applicable to everyone. The most important qualities are that you have a desire to be functionally fit, enjoy working hard, and that you are not afraid to get started!