Is CrossFit For You?

CrossFit has taken the fitness world by storm.  With boxes on nearly every corner and the CrossFit games on tv, CrossFit is hard to ignore.  Even The Biggest Loser has taken a page from this workout style, with Trainer Bob being a CrossFit instructor.  But is CrossFit for everyone?

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WHAT IS CROSSFIT?

If you've been living under a rock, then you may not know about CrossFit.  CrossFit is an intense workout which includes exercises from several disciplines, including olympic lifting, power lifting, strong man, and gymnastics.  Unlike sports training, body building or traditional weight room training, the WOD's (Workout of the Day) don't have specific work to rest ratios.  CrossFit WOD's try to get you to do AMRAPs (As Many Reps/Rounds As Possible) within a certain time frame, or they time how long it takes you to do a certain number of rounds.

THE CONTROVERSY

Because of the high intensity of these advanced lifts and moves, CrossFit has drawn much criticism.  Poor form and high repetitions can be cause for many injuries to "newbies".  In the workout world, olympic lifts and power lifts are advanced moves.  Not everyone can perform them due to poor movement patterns and lack of joint flexibility.  Also, performing these types of lifts as quickly as possible for time can lead to break in form in even the most experienced lifters.  

Another problem I see is with the instructors.  Some instructors are only CrossFit certified and do not have a background in training, body mechanics or movement.  One can pay the $1,000 to take the weekend long CrossFit Instructor course and become a CrossFit instructor.  Now this is also a problem in the personal training field, so my advice is to always do your due diligence before joining a CrossFit box or finding a personal trainer.

MY PERSONAL VIEW

So, is CrossFit for you?  I did a few CrossFit classes a couple of years ago and loved it FOR ME.  I love to be pushed and I love challenging my body.  I wasn't too impressed with the instructor, however.  The class was filled with middle aged, out of shape women and men.  The instructor spent more time with me talking shop and telling me my form was better than everyone else.  In my opinion, stop talking to me and start helping those who need it. 

If you are interested in trying CrossFit, do some research first.  I am sure there are many boxes near where you live.  Check to see if they offer classes to teach the basics of the lifts before you even step into the WOD's.  Check to see if the instructors have certifications and knowledge in training, body mechanics and movement.  Any instructor who has knowledge in body mechanics and movement can better help you improve form.

If you begin CrossFit, don't feel you have to go balls to the wall right away.  Make sure you do every movement correctly before you worry about how many reps/rounds you complete or how much weight you use.  Progressing slowly and safely trumps getting caught up in the competitive nature of CrossFit.  You might also save yourself an unwanted injury.