In the last two weeks I was able to attend two very different, yet very interesting and informative workshops. One was a two-day seminar in Vancouver on CrossFit.
What the heck is CrossFit? It’s high-intensity, functional movement, utilizing a variety of modals.
Really, it’s a combination of power lifting (think our own Jeane Lassen), gymnastics training (but no his and hers events), sports training. Then throw in some parkour training, all varied so each day is uniquely different in its training.
Now, it can be intense and if you YouTube it you’ll most likely find some stupid person injuring themselves in their basement.
Like any type of training, you will not start off with the most advanced exercises or the most amount of work in the first week. All training sessions in CrossFit are supposed to be led by a coach and scaled to individual ability.
CrossFit is a sport into itself. It was developed by coach Greg Glassman initially as a way to figure out who truly is the fittest individual in the world.
Glassman believes that in order to be fit we have to be powerful. Power, by definition, is the ability to move weight over a long distance quickly. He believes that none of the other sports by themselves could allow people to call themselves the “fittest” people on earth.
Marathon runners have amazing aerobic capacity, but very little strength. Sprinters are super fast and coordinated, but lack endurance and upper body strength.
Power lifters are strong but lack aerobic capacity; rowers have huge upper body ability but lack lower body strength.
So, out of these discussions came CrossFit: a combination of speed, strength, power, endurance, stamina, coordination, flexibility, agility, accuracy, balance.
Some will argue that CrossFit is dangerous because of its nature of being unplanned. It isn’t unplanned; as a matter of fact the workouts of day (WOD) are very well planned out, they are just varied. Meaning you, as a client, will never know what is coming up in your next workout.
That is the point. The CrossFit trainers put a lot of thought into the workouts to maximize efficiency of your workouts, give structure to the variety of your program, and give you benchmarks to maximize motivation and success.
I know if I planned my own workouts they would involve a lot of heavy lifting and very little running. But when a WOD comes out and there is running involved, I also know I have to do it – it must be what I need to work on to make me fitter.
The exercises in CrossFit are meant to be functional, meaning our bodies are meant to move like that.
Look at a two-year-old. How do they sit on the floor? In a beautiful squat. Chest up, knees in line with toes, butt to heels, no arch in spine, core engaged.
How do you sit? In a chair. Why? Because it hurts to sit in a squat. Why? Because you sit in a chair.
How about the kids at the park, what do they do? Climb monkey bars and trees. Why? Cause they can and it’s fun.
Why don’t you? Cause you can’t. Why? Cause you don’t. That is the only reason.
I know I have always wished I could race my kids across the monkey bars. I tried once or twice. I failed; it hurt. Now I am going to keep trying!
It’s going to suck, my hands will hurt, my ego will be bruised, but I will be fitter.
CrossFit is also open source, meaning we share, learn, and grow the program together.
Each workout is posted online. You are encouraged to post your results online as well. This way the community (or cult as my husband likes to call it) can view how you are improving, what is working, what is not, and then adapt and grow the training for most efficiency.
I also believe that for those inexperienced people, this may also be where the safety issue falls. You see, in a CrossFit gym it is mandatory that a coach be present when you train; that is why it is also expensive.
But because the workouts are posted online and it is so open source, garage gyms everywhere are having individuals lifting, jumping, pulling, and pushing themselves to beat Joe blow on the forum next to him. Pushing themselves too far and, as a result, injuring themselves.
Do I think CrossFit is the be-all and end-all training for everybody? Nope.
Do I think it will have a positive effect on my training? Yup.
Will I use it with clients? Absolutely.
Will I keep using other forms of training too? Heck yes.
That’s why I go out to learn more. Take the tools, add them to my toolbox, and share them with you, my friends.
This column is provided by Mrs. Lee Randell, independent fitness consultant, who is an ACE certified advanced health and fitness specialist and personal trainer. You can reach her at www.mrsleerandell.com.