Image by: LocalFitness.com.au
By Tallulah Ray
I have always believed that working out with a friend is beneficial for two reasons: the camaraderie and now I have someone to call 911 when I pass out (and also to ridicule me for wanting to go to McDonald’s after a workout). That camaraderie is brought to a whole other level with the introduction of Crossfit.
When I did a little bit of research I realized that Crossfit was both interesting and extremely scary. Like, “murderous-clown-hiding-in-your-closet” scary. Like, “that-dumbbell-weighs-more-than-a-football-player” scary. Like, “you want me to lift what over my head?” scary. Like, well, you get the point.
Of course that was my first impression. When digging a little deeper I realized that there was more to it – and, yes, they still want you to lift it over your head. I talked to some participants (including Jen Brauer who has been in Crossfit for two years) and did some research online.
#1) First of All, What is Crossfit and Why is it So Popular?
According to the official website, Crossfit is a “broad and inclusive strength and conditioning program” which was first utilized by professionals. They focus on:
- movement (the proper way to move safely and effectively),
- fitness (what it means to be fit, how to achieve that personal goal), and
- nutrition (what to eat so that you’re not a big, lazy slob).
I paraphrased that… and added that last part in myself. When creating WOD’s (Workouts of the Day) they spotlight aerobic exercise, body weight exercise, gymnastics, and Olympic weight lifting. Yes, I said Olympic. Speaking of which…
#2) Push Yourself Further
Crossfit is a very difficult and intimidating program but everyone that I spoke to told me that they wouldn’t turn back if they had the chance. It is life-changing. You get to push yourself further than you’ve ever done before. And you get to do it safely and with friends. Speaking of friends…
#3) Extended Family
Your Crossfit family will be your extended family. They will cheer you on. They will worry about you when you don’t show up. When they hear that you’re okay they will berate you (in a loving way) about not showing up. They will care about your progress. They will be excited about your achievements. Which leads to…
#4) Confidence You’ve Never Had Before
“I’m now confident that I can be a positive role model to my three year old daughter about what healthy habits are.” – Jen
While in the program, participants are constantly noticing a difference in their overall appearance, stamina, and health which leads to a boost in their confidence. There is a sense of confidence, that everyone has inside, that can only be unleashed if hard work and determination break down the walls around it.
#5) My Grandma Can Lift More Than You
On the website, the officials claim that anyone is welcome (they even have a kiddie version). Although the motions are the same, the program is flexible enough to modify the weights and various other factors. Once in the program (after the required accredited training seminars), you do workouts with everybody. They are not separated by skill level. Everyone works in the same room to help motivate each other.
#6) Strong is the New Skinny
It’s a change that is being seen across the country. Instead of starving themselves in order to get to their desired weight, girls are working out. They are happier with their body image. Working hard will do that to you. You will be proud of your progress and you will love your body.
#7) Nothing without Its Doubts
Of course every program has its hiccups. Crossfit has been the target bad press because of its high intensity workouts. I ran across a few articles where people sued the gym that they attended because they got hurt.
But here is my advice: as with other things that have to do with your health and body, you must do your research. Meet with the coaches, ask them about the program, and ask other people who are in the program. Voice your concerns. Ask them about supervised coaching and breaks (the two main issues that I see popping up in all of the articles that I read).
Tell them your fitness and health goals and see if the program is for you.
Also keep in mind that this specific program is not meant to be a walk in the park. Don’t let yourself be surprised. Know what to expect.