The truth about CrossFit may surprise you.
Here’s all you need to know about the workout trend that everyone can’t stop talking about.
You see people do it all the time. You see the hype. You see the before and after pictures. Still, you’re just not quite sure if CrossFit is for you. Maybe you already have a gym that you like and a workout that suits you.
Or, maybe you have your own social circle at the gym that you like and don’t want to leave. But there’s no harm in trying something else and meeting new people along the way. There is an abundance of benefits you can get from CrossFit.
Yes, it’s high intensity and will most likely leave you sore for the next couple days, but no pain no gain, right?
Whether you like running in the park, jumping rope at your house or lifting weights at the gym, CrossFit might just be for you.
Either way, if you’re happy where you are or want to kick up your gym routines, we’re here to help you decide if CrossFit is right for you.
What Is CrossFit?
One thing is for sure, it is not for the faint of heart. CrossFit is a high-intensity workout that combines all kinds of diverse workouts and has you do different workouts of the day that could include burpees, snatches, dips, push-up, cartwheels, deadlifts, scales, holds or sit-ups.
The workouts also are complete with different types of equipment like Olympic weights, rings, parallel bars, medicine balls, jump ropes or heavy ropes.
All of these different workouts and equipment are aimed to target areas such as cardio, strength, flexibility, speed, power, balance and stamina. It is also important to note that CrossFit is not just one workout that is repeated day after day.
Each day you are working an entirely different group of muscles so that every day you are strengthening different muscles.
That’s A Lot of Dough!
CrossFit definitely isn’t free and isn’t $10 a month like Planet Fitness would be. On average, joining a CrossFit gym costs around $125 to $200 a month. You could also drop in on classes that range from $15 to $25 dollars per session. But, if you look at the amount of equipment at the gym, the space itself, the benefits and the knowledge of the coach, if it is worth it or not all depends on your personal preferences.
If you are someone who is happy jogging around the park for free, maybe CrossFit isn’t for you. CrossFit classes are normally about an hour. That is one heck of a workout you’ll squeeze in just one hour.
Consider doing that instead of performing 45 minutes on the elliptical, 30 minutes of weights and another 10 minutes of stretching.
You’ll Look Good!
A 2013 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning examined the effects of a CrossFit-based high-intensity power training program on aerobic fitness and body composition.
This study took 23 adult males and 20 adult women who had completed 10 weeks of CrossFit, which consisted of deadlifts, squats and overhead presses in a circuit fashion and done as quickly as possible.
The participants varied when it came to fitness levels and body recomposition but at the end of a 10-week CrossFit workout, they showed noteworthy levels of decreased body fat percentages and increased aerobic capacity. It can be very difficult for people to figure out how to reduce body fat. Interestingly enough, regardless of gender, starting body composition, fitness level and changes in their fat and muscle percentages, they all lost the substantial amounts of body weight.
If you are a beginner, CrossFit will definitely be more of a challenge. But, if you are looking for workout routines for weight loss, then CrossFit might just be for you.
“I Just Don’t Have Time to Workout!”
We touched on the fact that doing CrossFit is definitely a time saver when it comes to working out and you can get a bodyweight workout in just an hour while a standard workout may take two hours and you only get half as much out of it. A study done by the Department of Kinesiology at Kansas State University in 2013 examined the different effects of a high-intensity workout compared to a moderate-intensity workout.
The results of this study showed that people who did high-intensity workouts, like CrossFit, were able to maintain exercise enjoyment, as well as spend much less time in the gym each week.
Most people claim they don’t enjoy working out because of the time commitment and how easily they get bored. So, if time management is an issue for you, then go ahead and try squeezing CrossFit into that busy schedule of yours.
You’ll end up saving yourself time in the long run and, at the end of the day, you’ll likely be much happier with your workout.
CrossFit Is A Group Thing
You may have your own group of friends, but you can never have too many friends, right? A major part of CrossFit is the sense of community it provides. You constantly have people supporting you and pushing you to be the best you that you can be.
There have been many studies done that prove that working out in a group will help you enjoy the class more, stick to the program and increase your own motivation. CrossFit isn’t easy. No doubt! But, having that extra support group keeps you on track and will push you to do it harder, faster and better with each and every workout.
The things people say about CrossFit communities are nothing short of amazing. They all talk about what a judgment free zone it is and how it encourages acceptance because you leave your title at the door. You are all there for the exact same reason.
It doesn’t matter who is a CEO and who mops floors.
There are even social networking apps that are based around different CrossFit gyms. If being social, making new friends and getting super toned is something that interests you, then we certainly think CrossFit might be for you.
You may have heard some scary rumors about CrossFit and how it has higher risks of injury than other workouts, especially rhabdomyolysis. Rhabdomyolysis is a condition caused by overworked muscles in which the muscles explode. It can cause muscle soreness and weakness.
It could even lead to kidney failure and, in extreme cases, even death. Well, those stories are false.
A study done in 2013 discovered that there is no evidence that shows that CrossFit injuries are more common than other forms of high-intensity exercise. Yes, CrossFit is hard. And, yes, CrossFit will make you muscles sore.
But, it is all about how you handle the workout. When you run around the park there are risks. You could fall and break an ankle. Or, you could trip and break an arm.
The CrossFit community, the members and the coaches aim to teach anyone that participates in CrossFit about the right and wrong kind of pain and other health risks linked with CrossFit (or other workouts). Just like with any form of strength training workouts, you need to make sure you aren’t overtraining.
You also need to stretch after every workout and, though it is important to push yourself, you have to make sure you know your limits.
This is one of our favorites. A lot of the CrossFit community chooses to follow the Paleo diet. The Paleo diet, also known as the caveman diet or hunter-gatherer diet, is a lot different than you think.
It consists of foods that can be hunted, fished or gathered. Well, years ago they were hunted, fished or gathered. Today, they are bought.
The Paleo diet includes foods such as eggs, fruits, veggies, mushrooms, nuts and seeds. When it comes to meat, according to Paleo diet experts, 60% of food energy should come from animals that you could catch in the wild like bison, fish, deer and turkey. But, here comes the tough part: No processed grains, beans, peanuts, raw dairy, salt or oils.
What does the Paleo diet have to do with CrossFit?
After that killer workout, your muscles need lots of glucose to repair them and this is where all those fruits, veggies and no processed foods come in – along with all that protein that helps with fat-burning.
Needless to say, this diet isn’t easy and not everyone in the CrossFit community follows it. But, it is really beneficial when it comes to doing CrossFit on a regular schedule.
At the end of the day, you need to find a healthy eating approach that you can follow and that fits your own specific lifestyle because what is the point of muscle building workouts if you don’t get to indulge and actually eat what you want?
Your Heart Loves CrossFit!
Who doesn’t love a healthy heart? Another awesome benefit of CrossFit is how much it improves your heart rate. If fasted cardio is one of your favorite parts of working out, then you will fall in love with CrossFit. Throughout the entire workout, your heart rate is elevated. This also helps to boost your endurance.
According to the American Council on Exercise, there was a study done that showed that participants’ heart rates were elevated to 90% of maximum heart rate.
Also, studies showed that during a CrossFit workout you average 80% of VO2max. That is the maximum amount of oxygen you can use during a high-intensity workout. Moreover, fitness guidelines suggest 40 to 85% of VO2max for cardio fitness improvement. Basically, you are getting one healthy heart and two healthy lungs after that CrossFit workout.
Skip the run in the park. If you truly love doing cardio, then head to the CrossFit gym.
Not So Fast!
Whether CrossFit is right for you or not, there are some precautions that any CrossFit beginner should take. First off, don’t go too hard, too fast. Pace yourself.
Simple, it isn’t worth the potential injury. It is also important to be consistent. You aren’t going to get in the shape you want in a week. Take your time. Let your body adjust and become accustomed to these much more difficult workouts.
Something else that goes along with that is focusing on short-term and long-term goals. If you go into CrossFit only thinking long-term, you might be a little disappointed because you should really be focusing on your short-term goals. Those are the goals that are achievable. Make short-term goals. Once you achieve them, make more. You’ll find accomplishing them is very fulfilling. And, they’ll help you get to your long-term goal.
There are a lot of factors involved when trying to figure out if CrossFit is right for you. It is a very high-intensity workout and it costs more than the average gym membership.
But, if a killer workout in less time and also joining a community that aims to better you in more ways than one sounds like fun, then go ahead and give CrossFit a try.
There are some hazards involved, like any workout, but just be sure to listen to your body. Always warm up, cool down and stretch like you would with any other workout. Being a beginner at CrossFit isn’t easy. It’s really hard. People will definitely welcome you with open arms and support you, but make sure to know your limits.
Give CrossFit a try. You might think it’s not for you at first, but once you build up your strength and endurance you might find yourself wondering why it took you so long to start.
– By Sarah Bayard