Is Crossfit Right for you?
by: Trio Fitness
Crossfit is going full speed ahead into the fitness industry. They are up to 7,000 affiliate gyms, from just 13 in 2005, 166% year-over-year growth rate of the CrossFit Games, and there is a 2% estimated failure rate of opening a CrossFit gym. With so many people joining in, does that mean its right for you?
How did it all begin?
The first Crossfit affiliated gym was opened by gymnast Greg Glassman in 1995. From its early days, CrossFit was made to simulate the feelings that athletes and fighters felt in competition. Greg thought that his high intensity workouts could also simulate the feelings of situations such as police officers in a chase, fighters during a match, and athletes during a competitive event.
What is the goal of Crossfit?
Crossfit is made to improve cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, power, speed, agility, and balance. This is done through power exercises such as a clean and press as well as plyometric exercises like box jumps, and high intensity cardio like the tire flips. Glassman has said that Crossfit not only improves your overall fitness level but that it also prepares you for more physical challenges in life.
What risks are involved?
A large number of ex-Crossfitters have complaints of joint injuries due to overly complex exercises that their bodies simply were not ready for. There is also a high rate of complaints regarding program structure and exercise instruction. Many ex-Crossfitters feel that the workouts were poorly structured and almost chaotic. They also did not feel like there was proper instruction given on how to correctly perform the exercises given to them.
Due to the high intensity and volume of exercise repetitions, along with dehydration, many Crossfitters have gotten Rhabdomyolysis. Rhabdomyolysis means that you can’t clear toxins from the body and your kidneys can’t filter the bi-product. This can lead to kidney failure. To open a Crossfit Box all you need is a level 1 certification. Crossfit level 1 trainers are certified after a 2-day seminar and 50 question multiple choice exam. This leads to a lack of highly qualified trainers that can give proper instruction and guidance.
Can you handle the intensity?
Crossfit has a reputation for being die-hard. The Crossfit mentality at many Boxes is to work as hard as you can no matter how you feel. Some Crossfit box owners will pride themselves on giving out t-shirts for anyone that throws up, or telling you good job when you scrape your shin on a box and bleed. For some people, this is awesome and just what they need. For others, this will end up being too intimidating and most likely scare them off.
Here is just a taste of what its like –
Monday WOD (workout of the day) –
Squat clean and jerk 165lbs (as many reps as possible in 5 minutes)
Tuesday WOD –
1000 meter row
Wednesday WOD –
115lbs Thruster (21 reps)
15ft. rope climb (12 ascents)
115lbs Thruster (15 reps)
15ft. rope climb (9 ascents)
115lbs Thrusters (9 reps)
15ft. rope climb (6 ascents)
The good, The Bad
Improves strength/endurance/overall fitness level
Helps lose weight/burn calories
Group training (if you prefer to exercise in a group rather than 1:1)
Increase mental toughness
Higher risk of injury compared to more traditional exercising
Lack of programming
Lack of scalability
Not suitable for the “average Joe”
Underqualified instructors (not all but some of them so do your research)
Could cause joint problems in the present and or future
Some tips –
1st. Research your instructors and make sure they are highly qualified and have a lot of experience.
2nd. Ask other people who have gone there what they thought of it.
3rd. Don’t feel pressured. If something is too much, feels painful (in a bad way), or you don’t think you are doing it right, then just stop. It’s not worth it. The goal is to progress, not to get injured.
I’ll let you decide –
All in all, I think Crossfit has its place. At this time it is more of a fad than anything which is what leads to the high volume of injuries and low-quality instructors that reviewers are talking about. It is great for people who are really trying to improve their power, endurance, strength, and overall fitness. But, for most people, their bodies are not ready for the high intensity, high repetition, and high volume that comes with Crossfit.
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