FIVE REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD BE DOING CROSSFIT
I’d like to think that almost two full decades after its inception, CrossFit has proven it’s no longer just a fitness trend or fad that people expect to disappear. As someone who’s done CrossFit regularly since 2013 but been a student of fitness since the beginning of time, I know the difference between a fad and a way of life. CrossFit has earned its place in the annals of fitness history. One of the major criticisms from the general weightlifting public is the theory behind CrossFit programming’s “jack of all trades, master of none” approach. This was coach Greg Glassman’s original theory when it came to defining the strategy that the sport uses to get you fit. He doesn’t see being a jack of all trades as a bad thing, and neither should you! Improving athletic performance can be defined as “greater work capacity across broad time and modal domains.” CrossFit doesn’t want you to succeed solely in specialized abilities that apply to one particular set of movements; it wants your general physical preparedness to increase across myriad different sports and movements, including, but not limited to, cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy.
1. It Works Different Muscles than You Would in the Gym
CrossFit doesn’t believe in “back and bi days” or even strictly powerlifting or Olympic lifting days; the sport believes in general physical preparedness, which includes full-body movements that attack your muscles from all angles and attack your energy systems from all sides. A simple bodybuilding or even powerlifting/strongman-type program is great as a singular goal, but there’s something to be said for being able to use the Olympic rings, the pull-up bar, a barbell, and handstand push-ups all in the same day.
2. It’s Addictive
Imagine getting a runner’s high combined with the awesome feeling you get when you achieve the bodybuilder’s pump! CrossFit is hard. Damn hard. It’s uncomfortable, challenging, and contains a number of elements, at a variety of speeds that you never thought you could hit. Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that CrossFit requires hard work. But once you’ve finished the workout, there’s nothing in the world like that bulletproof feeling. Once you’ve done Murph, you know there’s nothing else in any aspect of your life that you can’t do.
3. It’s a Community
According to a study at Oxford University’s Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology, working out in a group causes a greater release of endorphins than working out solo, even when the same amount of work is performed. In addition to the physical benefit, we shouldn’t ignore the emotional and psychological components of being part of a community. How cool would it be if you and two of your closest friends competed on a bikini or bodybuilding team together onstage? Both the competitive and the recreational aspects of the CrossFit community are perfect for anyone, any age, any level, or ability, and any type of athlete. Or, you can just come in on an active rest day, and mobilize your tired muscles and chat with friends.
4. It’s Varied and Functional
We’ve all been there, aimlessly searching the internet for another new program that’ll last four to six weeks until you plateau or get bored. Then you find another. Lather, rinse, repeat. With CrossFit, the workout changes every day. Each affiliate/gym/box posts its workout on its website the night before, and it’s always different, day to day, week to week, month to month. It’s diversified, but still uses micro, meso, and macrocycles to ensure you’re getting enough of everything, and progressing. Also, in terms of functional training, though the clean and jerk might sound dangerous, any time you pick an object off the ground, and put it overhead (for example, playing with a child, or moving pet food to a high shelf), you’re doing a clean and press. By practicing the movement, you’re wiring your body to perform the movement well in everyday lifting.
5. Repeatable Workouts Track Your Progress
CrossFit is famous for its girl-named WODs (Workout of the Day) and Hero WODs. These are benchmark workouts designed to measure improvement over short- and long-term time frames. According to Glassman, “CrossFit’s three most important and interdependent facets of any fitness program can be supported only by measurable, observable, repeatable facts—i.e., data.” So you repeat particular workouts every so often to see how much you’ve improved overall in physical fitness—there isn’t another sport like that!