We can’t be at the gym all day. Some of us go to college, like our KMF CrossFit member, Daniel Rodgriguez. For his English paper, he chose to report on CrossFit and explain it to his fellow classmates. Maybe we’ll see a few at the box soon!
What is CrossFit?
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. The program delivers a fitness that is, by design, broad, general, and inclusive.” CrossFit specialty is well, not specializing. It helps strengthen some physical skills such as cardio endurance, strength, stamina, etc. In simple words, every day you come in to workout, you will be tested on a different part of either your strength or conditioning. It will never just be based in one part of your body, the main goal of CrossFit is to prepare your body for anything and everything. CrossFit boxes (gyms) are very different from your typical 24 hour fitness or Crunch gym establishments, mainly because they don’t use machines to workout, the body is the only resource you need…and maybe some 45lb bars.
Who is CrossFit for?
Listed in the CrossFit website, this program “is designed for universal scalability making it the perfect application for any committed individual regardless of experience.” This means that whatever age, weight, or height you might be in, that doesn’t matter when it comes to CrossFit. Every workout comes in with a prescribed weight or movement, in CrossFit terms this is know as RX. Lets say you have to deadlift 240 pounds for one part of the workout but your max deadlift is 180 pounds, does that mean you can’t do the workout? Of course you can, CrossFit gyms are never going to force people to do the prescribed workout, they might encourage it, but will never oblige people to do so. You might not get that little RX symbol next to your name after a workout, but at least you get to keep your back for the remainder of your life. If for some reason you happened to be injured and can’t lift the bar, a similar movement will be implemented, that way you’re not losing the opportunity to participate in the workout. Even if the amount of repetitions seems too much for you, then that will be reduced as well. With time you will get to the prescribed weight and workout with a sense of relief and accomplishment. As you get stronger and more experienced, you’ll work your way towards eventually doing the workouts as prescribed. CrossFit is something that everybody can do, with that being said, it doesn’t mean it will appeal to everybody. People who are new to weight training, having no experience with 45lbs bars, I have found that they end up loving it. All you need is an open mentality and to strive for a certain goal, whatever that might be for you. It could be having that perfect beach body, to participate in a competition (that’s my goal), or just simply feel better. With a good coach in CrossFit, everything is possible.
Is it dangerous?
Plain and simple, yes it could be, there are many reasons for that, but every sport or active is dangerous in it’s own way, you just need the proper guidance. In any sport you have to push yourself, to be better, to be the best. Sometimes that push can take us places we could have never imagined, lifting 230lbs might seems ridiculous to some people, but for some it’s part of their daily workout. That push can also take you to some dark places, those times when you push yourself too hard. When you’re doing a CrossFit workout, whether it’s a strength or cardio movement, it usually tends to be more than just one set. That means that your losing energy, your first set might be perfectly done but by the time you’re in that third set, oh boy you’re losing it. Form is a key factor in any workout, it’s the one thing that gets you to keep your body healthy and strong, but when it comes to long workouts, proper form is probably one of the first things to go away. CrossFit is just as competitive as any activity, it makes people strive for the very best. Competition is good for everybody, it makes you push yourself a little bit harder when the motivation might just not be there. Unfortunately, people sometimes get too carried away and that’s when they start harming their body to a different level, a dangerous one. It’s not so much as a problem with the whole CrossFit system, but more of those certain individuals that are just a little too fierce.
What’s a CrossFit class like?
Every box located around the world is different in their own little ways, some might be more inclined to do cardiovascular workouts and others strength, it always varies. There are 6,991 CrossFit boxes around the U.S, and that’s just the United States. There’s plenty to choose from depending on your region, the majority of them offer free classes for a day or even up to a week! In those classes they introduce you to all the CrossFit movements that you’ll be seeing regularly, the good old fundamentals. These beginner classes are necessary and always good to take, even if you had previously been going to the gym nonstop, coaches will give you their two cents on your form and technique. Regular classes are more intense than fundamentals, they have the warm-up, skill/strength, and WOD (Workout of the day). Warm-up includes simple drills such as push-ups, jogging, lunges, jump rope, etc. The strength part is working specifically on a strength movement such as front squats, or push-presses. If it’s a skill day, then you’ll work on those pesky double-unders or muscle ups. Last but not least, is the WOD, the most important of them all. This is the workout that every member has a love and hate relationship with, the workout that will leave doing sweat angels on the mats for about 10 minutes or so. A specific number of sets and repetitions for certain movements, will be done in this part of the hour, you’ll either have to complete it as fast as you can or do as many sets as you can for a certain amount of time. These WOD’s can be something that looks so simple on the board, but end up taking every bit of your energy as the times goes by.
Give it a try!
Honestly, the hardest thing that people don’t often say about CrossFit is finding that right box. Finding that one box that makes you feel at home, where you know pretty much everybody and they know you. When you don’t show up, they’ll notice and call you out on it, mostly because they care…and like to mess with you. To the coaches you’re not just a payment, you’re somebody that appreciates fitness and they acknowledge that. By the first day, I assure you that they will know your name and remember it every time they are pushing you on the WOD. CrossFit can be excruciating on certain days, but that pain can make your body and mind stronger than ever. There’s a quote that describes CrossFit perfectly in just one sentence, “CrossFit never gets easier, it just sucks a little less everyday”. While this may be the case, that doesn’t meant you shouldn’t enjoy it, always have fun! If it’s not fun for you, then what’s the point in doing it? The support and feeling of accomplishment that I get at KMF (my box), is a feeling like no other. I love it and I’ve only been doing it for about a year, there’s so much more to learn. Just try it out and see what the big deal is with the so-called “CrossFit”, worst case scenario is you end up loving it.