An Insight into CrossFit
Every day there is a new fitness fad. Social media influencers love to Instagram their exercises, filmed from the perfect angle and usually with a neatly-packaged product in the description. Instagramable exercises can be hit or miss but for many it tends to be the latter. CrossFit is the antithesis. In a superficial world, CrossFit takes old school principles and combines them with a cutting edge whole body-training methodology.
If that sounds complicated, don’t worry – it’s not! CrossFit is probably the most all-encompassing, broad-ranging and inclusive fitness method out there. Whether you are new to the gym or competing to be the fittest woman or man on the planet, CrossFit is a great place to start. It’s based on the simple idea that we should focus on many aspects of fitness: strength, cardiovascular, stamina, flexibility, speed, balance, etc. Interested in what CrossFit can do for you? Read on.
The Benefits of CrossFit
Invented in the 1990s but popularised in recent years, CrossFit mixes every kind of exercise method, therefore training your entire body. Demanding but rewarding, a CrossFit session is a full-body workout that gets the heart rate going, the muscles pumping and the blood flowing. From the outside, CrossFit can come across as being both mentally gruelling and physically draining and although this is true, the good news is that it’s actually very addictive for a whole variety of different reasons.
A Tool to Improve Mental Strength
One of the main benefits of CrossFit is that it’s as much a mental workout as it’s physical; you are training the mind to overcome the challenges placed in front of you. When winning a battle with your barbell, you’re in fact conditioning your brain’s ability to overcome adversity – an important skill that you can replicate in real-life scenarios.
One of the reasons people get addicted to CrossFit is the sense of accomplishment they feel straight after completing a workout, which also rewards them with the eagerness to come back for more, making the whole CrossFit experience a cyclical process. As well as helping to improve on your mental strength, CrossFit can help provide you with the holy grail of mental attributes: confidence and self-esteem. Eager to see how CrossFit can improve your confidence and self-esteem? Click here.
A Stress-Reliever Second to None
The single-mindedness you feel during a CrossFit workout is something that is widely appreciated within the CrossFit community. Why? Because nothing else in the world matters. Issues with your boss at work, feeling the strain of cracks appearing in your relationship or whatever else is going on in your head, they all become irrelevant when you’re taking on the challenge. The physical benefits will be impressive but what’s arguably even better is the mental buzz you get from your body achieving something that it’s never done before. When you finish the workout the endorphins will hang around and you’ll have a smile for the rest of the day.
Arguably, one of the most amazing things about CrossFit is how rapidly you can improve. Each session you feel fitter and stronger and that sense of improvement is addictive. Unlike drugs, alcohol or supermarket cheesecake, getting hooked on CrossFit makes you feel better about yourself in the long run.
By training your whole body, the muscles start to work in harmony and all exercise becomes easier. This cumulative effect is what makes you improve every time and avoid the muscle imbalances that lead to all kinds of tightness and injury. All that is required is consistency in your commitment, which will reward you very quickly.
Due to the high intensity of CrossFit workouts, the fat-burning effects can be quite remarkable. The dual benefit of feeling stronger whilst shedding pounds is a real selling point for the sport.
Is CrossFit For Everyone?
One of the most common misconceptions surrounding CrossFit is that you have to be an avid fitness lover to participate. CrossFit is for everyone, from first-time gym-goer to professional athlete, CrossFit is an all-inclusive activity that can benefit anyone. The only tools you need for CrossFit is a body and the positive attitude to get started and learn. If you do, then you may find yourself hooked on it sooner than expected.
CrossFit workouts are adaptable and scalable, hence the mass popularity of the sport. Whether you’re front squatting a 100kg barbell or a 2kg dumbbell, it’s not important. What is important is that you’re working at your most appropriate level and at the highest intensity you can. Establishing this level is where the coaches come in.
The Role of the Coaches
What makes CrossFit so appealing is that you’re training under the professional supervision of a trained coach. This is far better than going it alone. CrossFit coaches are a fountain of knowledge and are there to guide you through your mental and physical battle. They ensure correct technique and a safe weight, appropriate for your level. The intensity is down to you and you’ll be paid in results.
So What’s in a Typical Session?
Well, this is a difficult question to answer since one of the unique fundamentals of CrossFit is that the workouts tend to vary by nature – meaning that there’s actually very little structure to them. Therefore, it can be fair to say that there’s no such thing as a typical CrossFit workout since one of its central principles is mixing and matching all kinds of fitness. This means you’ll likely face some combination of weightlifting, bodyweight exercises, high-intensity cardio and endurance.
So at a ground level what can I expect when I walk into a CrossFit class?
Well, this often depends on what box you walk into. Different boxes like to specialise in different types of training – making things really dependent on what type of coaches are taking the class. Most the time there will be a range of different coaches incorporating their own CrossFit approach, thus providing you with a blend of different activities. You should expect both the muscular and cardiovascular systems to be tested, along with mental willingness to finish being pushed to its limits. Here is an example of what a CrossFit session would look like at Elysium Gym:
The Social Aspect
There’s a real social and community aspect of CrossFit that should be emphasised due to its ability to bring people together and work towards a common goal. When you walk into a box, you’ll be surrounded by like-minded people, all wanting to do their best and push themselves to their absolute limits.
As a result of this, CrossFit classes always foster a collective team spirit that encourages and pushes everyone to work to their greatest capacity. You can expect to make plenty of friends as well as integrating yourself into an interesting network of people that you may not have met otherwise.
How to Get Motivated
If you’re ever struggling for the motivation to do your Workout of the Day (WOD) then load up a video of the top CrossFit athletes. Two-time CrossFit Games Champion Katrín Davíðsdóttir is a common favourite but Men’s Champion Matt Fraser is something to behold, with his seemingly invincible dominance of the sport. Seeing the potential of the human body to achieve such physical and mental feats can be what’s required to get those last reps out when you’ve almost hit the wall.
Whether you want to commit your life to the eternal quest for athletic perfection or just want to set aside a couple of hours a week for a high-intensity workout that de-stresses and sheds a few pounds, both are fine. The universality of CrossFit means that whether you’re Matt Fraser or someone wanting to get a bit healthier after work, you can achieve your fitness goals under the roof of a CrossFit Box.
Want to know more? If so, we have a full article that will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the benefits, origins and myths of Crossfit. Click here to find it.