To stay “fit”, a lot of people walk outdoors, and others use gym equipment, like an elliptical machine. Think about this for a moment. What is this training us to do? It is training us to walk at a steady state. Do you often see people reading magazines at the gym while they “exercise”? It’s likely that they aren’t really challenging themselves – or being challenged – by what they are doing. The point is that they won’t leave the gym prepared for anything but walking at a steady pace.
Prepared For Anything
As Coach Greg Glassman (Founder of CrossFit) often says, “life is unpredictable”. We need to be equipped and prepared for whatever we encounter. Whether that is lifting heavy grocery bags, lifting small children, or moving equipment at work, we need to be prepared. Fitness should be broad and overarching, not narrow and specialized. In fitness, we call this GPP, or General Physical Preparedness, and this is one of the enormous benefits of CrossFit. CrossFit will help you excel in all 10 General Physical Skills:
- Cardio-vascular endurance
Consistent Strength Conditioning
At its core, CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program designed to increase both strength and endurance. By definition, it is “constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement”. Constantly varying the movements not only prepares us for the unknown and unknowable, but has the added benefit of keeping boredom to an absolute minimum. Your workouts are different EVERY SINGLE DAY. CrossFit is high intensity exercise for a reason. Intensity leads to dramatic gains in fitness, as well as increased cardiovascular and metabolic outcomes. Functional movements are movements that occur naturally in every day life. CrossFit asks us to do the MOST amount of work in the SHORTEST amount of time, using functional movements.
CrossFit is a mixture of many elements. It includes weight lifting, body weight exercises, gymnastic movements, kettle bells, dumb bells, medicine balls, rowing, biking and running, rings, rope climbing, tire flipping, rope jumping, plyometrics, and more. Just from reading this list, you can get a flavor for how varied the individual workouts can be. You will NEVER be bored doing CrossFit, which is another benefit. Many people lose interest in the form of exercise they choose, and stop doing it. CrossFit will keep you coming back for more!
All workouts are timed. With some workouts, you have a fixed time in which to accomplish “As Many Rounds As Possible” (A.M.R.A.P.). With an AMRAP, each member of the class have a number of rounds that they accomplished. The number of rounds is recorded on a “whiteboard” after class. In other workouts, you have an unlimited amount of time to get a prescribed amount of work done. Each member of the class will have a different time, which gets recorded on the whiteboard. The recording of scores creates a healthy competition among members, helps push you a little harder, and also makes CrossFit measurable. All class members have a notebook where they record weights and times of workouts, and if a benchmark workout is repeated, they can see their progress in black and white.
CrossFit is universally scalable. Elite athletes workout along side 65 year-old grandmothers and 17 year-old high school boys. Everyone does the same prescribed WOD or Workout of the Day. The weight used may vary, or the number of repetitions performed may vary, but the actions are otherwise the same. The last person to finish the workout is usually cheered on louder than the first person to finish. CrossFit fosters a real community spirit, which also helps keep people coming back for more.
If you are looking for a form of exercise where you can make new friends, make enormous fitness gains, never be bored, and constantly learn new skills, CrossFit’s got it.