Having seen the CrossFit video where the guy uses people as weights, by all means it looks very impressive, but too intimidating for most people to consider ever doing. To get a better understanding of what exactly CrossFit is as well as how to get started, I got in touch with Lucy a crossfit coach to tell us exactly what it is, why she got into it & what to expect.
What is CrossFit?
CrossFit is a mix of gymnastics, weightlifting, running and rowing. The concept was started by Greg Glassman who opened the first CrossFit gym in Santa Cruz, California. Since then over 11,000 affiliates all around the world have opened! It has become insanely popular. The workouts are completely different to what you are used to seeing at a standard gym. Not that there is anything wrong with a normal gym routine, but normally you would normally do the same workout over a period of time. However for most of us out there, when we join a gym and get a fitness programme, we leave it there and never progress beyond that programme. Unfortunately, this is one of the main reasons people get bored with exercise & quit! “With CrossFit, every workout you do can be different each time. In fact instead of doing a gym programme on your own, everyone will do a workout of the day or (WOD). This applies whether you are 60 years of age or 21. The difference is the adaption of the exercises for your ability. With CrossFit workouts you are against the clock. The goal is to complete the workout as fast as possible. In its essence it’s like a group fitness class that you are used to but instead you are in a competition each time. But only with yourself.
Lucy adds “The workouts are more like challenges. Instead of turning up to take part, you are coming each and every time to get better at the workouts. Each of the WOD’s have names, take Cindy for example, each time you do the workout you are trying to get a better time.
The equipment that you might use can range from Barbells, to kettlebells to even gymnastic rings. The kind of equipment you would have seen at the Olympics this year! Just like a fitness class at a gym, each workout is always accompanied by a coach. Dependent on your ability, the workout can be tailored. I used to work in a standard gym that has treadmills & a weights area. Most people would start because they would like to lose weight. Interestingly enough, what we find with the people who join us, they normally start exercising with us to lose weight. But, due to the nature of the workouts and the community, within no time, people focus on getting better at the workouts. W instead of purely turning up to lose weight. This is great for motivation, because if weight loss is all you focus on, sometimes it can blunt your efforts when you don’t see any changes in the mirror. What we like to say at our CrossFit gym in cork is that “Focus on getting better at the workouts, and let the scales take care of itself”. When our members shift this as their mentality, this is when we see them get the most amount of results.
What to expect with a CrossFit workout?
Most workouts are performed like a race, 3, 2, 1 and you’re off. Without knowing it you are against the clock performing high intensity interval training (HIIT). Instead of doing sprints on treadmill at the gym, you might go outside to complete the workout. You are working at your maximum effort for the entire workout. As a result you release what is known as lactic acid which helps you to burn fat. And as we touched on before, HIIT training is one of the best ways to burn belly fat. Not only do you burn more than if you were on a treadmill, you even continue to burn calories after the workout is over! Although that sounds great, it also sounds horrendous right? Why anyone would want to exercise that hard every single workout? Well the reason is simple, says Lucy. You look more at the workout as a race & because everyone else is doing it with you, you get through it and enjoy the challenge!
Why not try a WOD at home today!
There are lots of crossfit workouts that you can do at home. To help you get started we have chosen the most straight forward crossfit workout that anyone could try at home. If you feel motivated, Put the stop watch on and try the following workout.
10 rounds for as fast as you can of:
- 10 Air Squats
- 10 Push ups
- 10 Burpees
- Air Squat
- Keeping your chest up and arms out sit back into a chair
- On return push through your heels keeping your knees pointed out
- Push up
There are two type of push up variation you can do. The first is a push up off the floor.
- Explosively push yourself back up while keeping your elbows tight into your body.
There is also a modified version of this exercise where you can either do this on a box or a chair. When your body is elevated in this position there is only 30% your weight. A great place to start if you haven’t yet mastered the full push up.
Once again, keeping your elbows tucked into your body keeps your shoulders healthy & places more emphasis on the triceps of the back of the arms throughout the exercise
Finally the Burpee. The ultimate calorie & fat burner that we all hate but secretly love!
- Stand shoulder width apart
- At the base of the squat position jump to a push up position
- Absorb the weight on the ground
- From the base position jump to the base of a squat position
- At the top position jump as high as possible in the air
If 10 rounds is too much to start with, try 5 and each time you preform the workout add on another round. Remember, always perform this workout against the clock. The first time you preform it, it might even take you 30 mins, but the fitter and faster you get at it, you will see the time drop down to less than 10 minutes to complete!
Lucy is a Crossfit coach from www.crossfitreturn.ie a Crossfit Gym in Cork