In the last few years CrossFit has continued to grow in popularity with participants, and The CrossFit Games has proved popular with TV viewers. So what is it about CrossFit that is attracting all of these people to join these gyms called “Boxes”? To find out, I decided to join myself and see what it’s all about.
What is CrossFit?
First, let’s clarify what CrossFit is. It’s a program developed to improve all parts of our fitness by having you perform functional movements that constantly change at high intensity levels. CrossFit seeks to improve cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, strength, power, speed, agility, accuracy, balance, and coordination. Wow, that was a mouthful! This type of fitness program sounds like it is geared for a gold medal winning Olympian, but it isn’t. All of the movements in the programming can be scaled to fit all fitness levels and all ages.
CrossFit Basic Classes
Participants start by learning the basic movements and fundamentals before being able to join the regular classes. I had to complete 7-10 basic classes before graduating into the regular classes. These classes are very important because they helped set the tone for what can be expected during a regular class. The coaches went through proper form and techniques, proper progressions of the movements, explanation of which muscle groups are being worked during a functional movement, the importance of flexibility or mobility exercises, and the community that forms with being a CrossFitter.
Regular CrossFit Class
The regular classes at first can be very intimidating. You have the CrossFit veterans performing the more technical movements, lifting heavier weights, and doing the workouts at an incredible pace. What I found helpful with these classes is the encouragement from everyone in the class. For example, one of the veterans told me that he couldn’t do a specific Olympic lift movement and has worked his way up the progressions to finally get where he is with his form. That was very encouraging because it shows that everyone starts somewhere and with continued practice you will get better. Another example of the encouragement found at CrossFit gyms are the support from the rest of the class with finishing the programmed workout of the day (WOD). It doesn’t matter who you are and what level you are in, the entire class will cheer each other on to finish a lift or complete the programmed workout. The support and encouragement became an added motivation to continue to work hard and push myself to improve my fitness level.
Pros and Cons of CrossFit
- Any of the movements can be modified to the participant’s fitness level.
- Very supportive community that will encourage you through the entire class.
- The workouts are programmed to be intense to help improve all parts of your fitness.
- The classes can only hold a certain amount of participants each time to ensure that everyone can get proper coaching throughout the class.
- Memberships can be costly.
- Classes have a cutoff for the number of participants. If you don’t sign up for a class and it’s full, you will have to try the next class.
How to pick a CrossFit gym
1. Do your research.
Investigate CrossFit gyms near you, checking their schedule of classes and what people are saying about them.
2. Try a free trial class.
Many CrossFit gyms offer a free trial class. This will allow you to see if this is something for you.
3. Talk to the coaches.
Talk to the coaches to see how knowledgeable they are in CrossFit. Having an awesome coach will help you achieve different goals that you had no idea were possible. The coach can also provide you valuable information and critiques to help you avoid injuries.
Those are the basics. Now get out there and try it yourself!