(What is Crossfit and why should you be doing it?)(As seen on The Chalkboard)
WHAT IS CROSSFIT? You’ve heard the term before from friends, health magazines or maybe have seen competitions on ESPN, but no one can ever really define what it is.
Crossfit is a dynamic way of working out that incorporates strength training, cardio, gymnastics and Olympic weight lifting. The reason it’s hard to define lies in the word “dynamic”. When you go to the gym, each workout of the day – WOD – is different and that provides a fresh energy to your body and workout every time. You don’t have to know exactly what it is to try it, you just have to know it works, and that’s why people are fanatical about it. The two key elements to seeing any improvement in your body are diet and exercise, and Crossfit solves those problems in a unique way. First, let’s address the fear surrounding Crossfit.
Crossfit gets a lot of negative publicity because it’s a major change in course from globo gyms and personal trainers. Paying a personal trainer to whip you in to shape can cost you roughly $25/hour. At five times a week, that’s $125/week – you can see how that easily adds up. A typical Crossfit membership may cost around $200 a month. Think of that as the diffused cost of a personal trainer, and you get perspective about how inexpensive that really is. If you pay $30 a month for your typical chain globo gym, then this may seem like a huge price delta, but what kind of results are you seeing from your current chain gym? You get what you pay for, so pay a little bit more and make an investment in yourself.
The second fear is that you will get injured doing all these new complex movements and weightlifting techniques. The fact is, you can get injured with anything in life, from walking to drinking too much water, but as with any new activity, you just need to be smart and know your limits. Weightlifting is actually proven to burn more fat than just cardio alone, but Crossfit takes care of both of those needs regardless. A year ago, I had never done any movements like the clean and jerk or overhead squats but now I’m doing them several times a week. Don’t be afraid to learn something new if it’s going to help you in the long run.
Exercise – your doctor has told you to do it hundreds of times and deep down you know the benefits of it, but you just don’t have the internal motivation to do it. That’s all it is, resistance. Your internal resistance is what’s preventing you from efficiently exercising and Crossfit solves that problem in a couple amazing ways. First, Crossfit classes are an hour long and are scheduled through out the day. You pick the class that fits your schedule and then go to it. When you schedule something, it becomes a reality, so no longer will you go to the gym “when I wake up and feel like it Saturday morning”. Once you’re there, you and the people in your class will have the workout of your life while you all sweat, grunt and bond together.
Over time, and with repeated contact these people start to become your friends. When you make friends, you start to coordinate workout schedules and then going to the gym doesn’t seem like such a chore anymore because ‘it’s just me working out with my friend”. This creates another layer of accountability; you’ll actually start to feel guilty when you don’t go. On top of these new relationships forged from sweat and effort, the Crossfit meet-ups and blogs start to form a community. This is why Crossfit people can talk for hours to other Crossfit people – it’s an unspoken bond like the Marines. Crossfit is the social media of gyms. We are animals and we prefer and need to function in a group, and a Crossfit gym executes that perfectly. Before you know it, with this dedication of consistently going to the gym and applying maximum effort, you will start to see results. And results are the most addicting thing about Crossfit.
The other aspect of body improvement is, of course, diet. You are what you eat. Your body shape, smell, energy, mood are all dictated by the fuel you burn to make it function. You know you need to eat better, so why aren’t you doing it? It’s just your internal resistance.The unofficial diet of the Crossfit community is the paleo diet. Paleo is basically the caveman diet where you only eat things that were around when the cavemen were around. So, meat and vegetables. No Oreos or bread or cupcakes. We have a very strong mental link to these foods cause we grew up with our parents feeding them to us. Make no mistake, any food that is made in a lab is not healthy. So how do you break this strong mental bond? With the results you start to see from your workouts. When you start to get results, and you start to see and feel your body changing, you’ll want to supplement and amplify these results by tightening up your diet. A Crossfit gym doesn’t force you to be paleo because it’s only a gym; they don’t stand over your shoulder while you are in front of your fridge making poor decisions. Crossfit teaches you, and gives you the tools to break these mental addictions to food, because they can’t change your diet, only you can.
You don’t need a book, fitness magazine or an article to tell you what it takes to make improvements in your body because you already know what it is – diet and exercise. That’s the bottom line, and those two things haven’t changed since the beginning of time. If you’ve been working out a certain way and haven’t seen results, then you need to change your methods. The definition of futility is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. If what you’re doing – or not doing – at the gym isn’t working for you, then try Crossfit. Crossfit is a cult because the people that go to these gym communities see results. It teaches you to change your diet and apply the dedication it takes to get a significant changes in your body. So get in shape the way you’ve always wanted to be, and the way that your body deserves to be in.
[Photo: Crossfit battle gear and asphalt]