We Look Into CrossFit & Discover What It’s About
You’ve probably heard of CrossFit. From its inception in 2000 from California, it is now a global ‘fitness’ brand or sport, as in that people enter the CrossFit games which incorporates a number of different exercises.
What is CrossFit?
The guys are always topless (Why?!) and all of the contestants are loaded with gear from the little stalls that litter every arena whilst drinking super strong coffee. The teams come from far and wide to assert their dominance in the field.
So what makes CrossFit so appealing to many and what is to be expected when you join?
What’s it About?
CrossFit is a growing sport with workout routines that incorporate gymnastics, Olympic weightlifting, plyometrics, endurance training, and power training. It’s daunting thinking about it all but you will be shown the movements by an instructor before you are let loose throwing weights around willy nilly.
A foundation class allows each person to see how to use the bar efficiently and how not to injure yourself.
Moving on, you are introduced into a high-intensity routine offered by the instructor each day, many of which have a military background. Even the U.S Army is a CrossFit sponsor.
What to expect in their classes
CrossFit can be fairly unexpected.
As mentioned, there is a workout for the day which changes (daily) to avoid doing continuous routines. The workouts start with a 15-minute warm-up, which also changes every day, then stretching and rolling, and lastly, 30 to 40 minutes of either Olympic weight training or strength training.
It is easy to think that the clients/competitors/athletes may easily become overwhelmed by the intense workouts, and although they are encouraged to push themselves by the instructors, there’s plenty of opportunities should the need arise to take a seat and a sip of water.
Each prescribed movement and weights are dependent on their capabilities and capacity. This ensures that injuries are minimized and morale isn’t diminished, however, those who are more experienced are pushed harder – they know the techniques, the rest is a matter of strength development and desire.
Who owns the gym?
It works on an affiliate structure.
Therefore, the owner or the affiliate can open a gym and charge a monthly fee to the customers. The owner would get a percentage of this monthly fee and then they are supported by the CrossFit network.
Each customer can then go on the roster. This logs their individual performance.
Essentially they are on an open leaderboard where their position is tracked across other athletes (customers) across that particular region (country) and also across the world.
What this allows is healthy competition not only amongst that particular gym but the country and the rest of the world.
It also connects each athlete within that gym, it creates a camaraderie similar to that within the military. People want ‘their’ gym and their fellow athletes to chase the rankings.
Therefore, while the affiliate ‘owns’ the gym, the customers feel they are part of a tight-knit community and a team…which means it is harder for the customers to leave, why would they want to leave friendships built up over a common goal?
You may have heard of WOD.
This stands for Workout of the Day.
It is essentially a number of exercises that need to be performed in a certain time-frame.
You are then encouraged to post your own time on a leaderboard. Again, this creates healthy competition and camaraderie.
Interestingly, some of these WOD exercises can be done at home. They are open for everyone to see and participate in, whether or not you are a member of a CrossFit gym. You just need the equipment, which in some cases can be very little as bodyweight is a larger factor in CrossFit exercises.
CrossFit is a franchise business, as such, the more injuries sustained, the fewer the clients – fewer clients means less money.
Therefore, it is a shrewd idea to ensure all injuries are kept to a minimum, and rumors of torture camps don’t spread around the town like wildfire – there’s rugby for things like that!
To avoid this, coaches make sure that they supervise all the classes and make sure you’re in good form and doing the proper technique. And if not, they will scale down your weights to make sure you’re not overworking yourself.
Excess weight and fatigue prevent proper form.
CrossFit is essentially a multi-disciplinary fitness community. Unlike a regular gym where you may use the weights, pound the treadmill, or go for a HIIT class CrossFit has really captured the community aspect through regional and international competition.
No-one will care that you’ve hit a personal best in the squat rack at your local gym, but everyone in your CrossFit family is rooting for you, and you may get to see your name on a leaderboard.
The aspect of a fitness family encourages participation and success, which becomes the main driving force.