If you’re looking for a new workout routine to get in shape and stay fit, you’ve probably heard of CrossFit. It’s gaining popularity in the fitness world at a tremendous rate. But is Crossfit the real deal? Read on to learn more about this new exercise program that’s getting Olympic athletes and housewives alike.
What is CrossFit?
CrossFit aims to offer an approach to fitness that is all-encompassing: the regimen covers athletics, combat, and survival. What makes it unique is that the same program is offered to individuals regardless of their walk in life; only load and intensity are adjusted for safety.
CrossFit is the core training program for many elite groups, including police academies, military special ops units, and professional athletes all over the world.
The philosophy behind this approach to fitness is that everyone – from hardcore athletes to your average Joe – has the same fitness needs that differ only in degree of intensity. On the official CrossFit website, a core statement is offered; “The needs of Olympic athletes and our grandparents differ by degree not kind. Our terrorist hunters, skiers, mountain bike riders and housewives have found their best fitness from the same regimen.“
CrossFit conducts seminars and courses to teach practitioners the exercises and work on form. In some areas, CrossFit is even opening gyms dedicated to this regimen.
- Jump Rope
- Kettlebell exercises
- Olympic lifts
- Power lifts
CrossFit also advocates those who are familiar with the exercises working out on their own. The program offers a Workout of the Day (WOD) to simplify the process of independently working out.
Athletes of all ages can benefit from CrossFit. If you’re wondering if CrossFit is right for you, the answer is almost certainly yes if you want to get fit and healthy.
It can be difficult to know where to begin, however. Important to consider is the three part charter of CrossFit: the components are mechanics, consistency, and intensity.
- Mechanics refers to technique. CrossFit endorses exercises which mimic the movements of life – running, jumping, squatting, reaching, and the like.
- Consistency refers to both the mechanics used as you do the exercises and the frequency of working out!
- Intensity is what sets CrossFit apart – it’s the only thing that differs between subgroups.
The starting point for CrossFit exercise is the squat. According to coach Greg Glassman, “There is no better place to start an examination of functional exercise than by learning how to squat.”
You’ll also notice a lot of new terms as you get started as well. Some of the basic jargon of CrossFit includes:
- AMRAP: As Many Repetitions As Possible
- As Rx’d: As Prescribed
- PB: Personal Best
- PR: Personal Record
- Rep: A repetition
- Set: A group of repetitions
- WOD: Workout of the Day
It may be beneficial for those who are living a sedentary lifestyle who wish to jump into fitness with CrossFit to do some preparing at home for about a month before joining a gym. Short sprints once per week and basic moves like squats, planks, and push-ups are a good start.
That said, some proponents do recommend simply signing up for a gym and showing up. A CrossFit coach may be able to help you ease into the routine from a sedentary lifestyle. Which path you take toward getting started is a highly personal choice that only you can make. The answer is different for everyone. When you’re ready, find a CrossFit gym near you and get going!
Eating Primal for Optimal Nutrition
CrossFit encourages a “caveman” or “paleo” approach to nutrition, that is, a diet rich in nuts, seeds, vegetables, and lean meats. Carbohydrates on the glycemic are advised to be avoided.
Pretty much all shelf stable foods are deemed to be not the best choices for followers of the CrossFit program. The official CrossFit website advises focusing on the perimeter of the grocery store and avoiding the aisles. This advice is backed by the fact that the best is, and should be, perishable. Our ancestors did not have access to processed or preserved food, and so we should avoid them as well if we want to have the best health.
Foods to Eat on the Paleo Diet
- nuts and seeds – rich in healthy fatty acids and a good source of protein
- fresh vegetables, particularly leafy greens – provide a wide range of essential vitamins and nutrients
- lean meats like chicken and turkey – provide fat, protein and other nutrients
- bone broth – provides essential minerals humans need to survive
- olive oil and nut oils
Foods to Avoid on the Paleo Diet
High glycemic carbohydrates are to be avoided to do their link to insulin resistance. Caloric restriction is also encouraged – scientific research links lower calorie intake to longevity and for this reason CrossFit recommends a lower calorie diet which meets the nutritional needs of highly active athletes. No grains, No sugar, No processed foods.
A Different Approach to Fitness
CrossFit aims to offer an approach that covers all of our natural, primal needs for optimal health. Fitness blogger Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple describes his experience: “Crossfit is a type of physical training that blends power lifting, gymnastics and sprinting. Why do we like it? Because it fairly closely aligns with our Primal fitness philosophy in which variety, weight-bearing activity and anaerobic exercise is key.”
Another very unique aspect of CrossFit is the overarching theme of community – even those who begin working out independently will find themselves teaming up with their local CrossFit community to work together toward better fitness and health.
CrossFit coach and blogger Katie Hogan of Ignite the Fire states, “In Crossfit, the community is what drives us. Posting times, weights, rounds, and videos of our workouts we share in each others’ accomplishments and push each other to do more work faster. We have our own ever-growing list of internet sensations and ‘celebrities’ who have become recognizable for their achievements in the sport of fitness.”
CrossFit can be a great way to get in shape and ignite fitness passion that you may not have already. If you’re ready to get on track with a healthy lifestyle for the long haul, CrossFit may indeed be the real deal.