If you’re a fitness fan, it’s highly likely that you’ve stumbled across Crossfit at some point. Even if you’ve never tried Crossfit before, you’ve probably heard people talking about it or seen Crossfit classes advertised at the gym. If you’re not a Crossfit convert just yet, you may be wondering what it’s all about, and why it’s so incredibly popular. This guide will tell you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Crossfit and the benefits it offers.
What is Crossfit?
Crossfit is a fitness regime, which was pioneered by CEO, Greg Glassman. The aim was to use what is known about exercise and health to design a programme which enables people to get the most out of varied, intensive sessions. Crossfit utilises a combination of movements and actions that are taken from all kinds of different sports and activities to create a high-intensity workout that is designed to push you hard and enable you to enjoy noticeable fitness gains. Crossfit takes elements from weightlifting, rowing, running, gymnastics and many other sports to produce sessions that are diverse, as well as challenging.
Crossfit isn’t just about working up a serious sweat. This form of exercise is different to any other gym workout because it focuses on community. Crossfit is all about strength in numbers and learning to better yourself by being around others. The Crossfit community is founded on a shared interest in supporting, encouraging, and challenging each other to achieve the best possible results.
Crossfit is results-driven, and you’ll notice that there are boards on the walls when you attend your first session. Instructors use data to improve performance, measuring progress and keeping track of times, reps, and scores.
The benefits: why choose Crossfit?
Crossfit offers a host of benefits for anyone who enjoys an active lifestyle, as well as those who are keen to push themselves to the limits in the gym or ‘box’. Here are some of the most appealing aspects of Crossfit:
Scalability and adaptability:
Crossfit was born out of a desire to design a scalable programme, which is suited to everyone. Although the classes are intensive, they are also adaptable. You can go at your own pace, and increase the intensity as you get fitter and become more accustomed to the format and the types of exercise.
When you step into the world of Crossfit, you don’t just gain access to a varied workout programme. You also become one of the team. Crossfit is designed for large groups, and it’s a great way to get fit at the same time as meeting new people, engaging in friendly competition and finding a new support system. People tend to work harder when there’s a competitive element, and it can also be really enjoyable to work out with others. If you’re used to team sports, or you prefer to be in a group setting rather than training alone, this could be an ideal option for you.
An introduction to lifting: many people, especially women, are scared to try lifting. They worry about becoming bulky or sustaining injuries. Crossfit provides an introduction to lifting for many, and it helps participants to see that lifting can be a really safe and effective way to gain fitness and increase strength and muscle tone.
Crossfit sessions are overseen by trained coaches who are there to encourage you to push harder, work on your form and get the best out of every workout.
We tend to focus on the physical benefits of exercise, but Crossfit training has incredible benefits for your mental wellbeing and strength. With a coach and a room full of people there to support and cheer you on, you may just surprise yourself when it comes to breaking down barriers and testing your mettle.
Crossfit is proven to achieve results. Crossfit combines different elements of cardio and strength training to produce amazing aesthetics.
Many of us find it difficult to stick to a training regime because we get bored. Crossfit is designed to provide variety. You should find that every session presents a different challenge.
The Crossfit community
One of the most significant differences between Crossfit and other forms of exercise is the community. Often, you can go to the gym every day without really getting to know anyone else in the room. Crossfit is different. Teamwork and camaraderie are actively encouraged, and large groups are commonplace. Many people enjoy working out with others, and competition can drive you to perform better.
Crossfit vs HIIT
HIIT, high-intensity interval training, has become incredibly popular in recent years. This form of training alternates strenuous activity with rest intervals and is designed to boost fitness quickly by increasing the heart rate, bringing it back down and then repeating the cycle. When compared to Crossfit, there are several differences. HIIT sessions tend to be shorter at around 20-30 minutes (most Crossfit sessions are at least 45 minutes long), and they involve interval-based exercises only. Crossfit includes elements of HIIT training, but sessions include many other types of activity and training methods. HIIT sessions are focused on cardio, and they tend to be a lot less varied than Crossfit. Crossfit training is based on constant change.
Crossfit vs Bodybuilding
Crossfit uses elements of weight training and bodybuilding, but it’s a lot more varied than lifting. The types of weights used may vary, as Crossfit ‘boxes’ tend to contain weights that may not be commonplace in a traditional gym. Bodybuilders focus on building muscle and often take part in targeted sessions, for example, leg day, while Crossfit adopts a full-body approach. There’s also a greater cardio component in Crossfit. Bodybuilding is a more specialised activity.
The downfall of Crossfit
Crossfit offers a wealth of benefits for those hoping to improve their fitness, but there are some downsides. Some of the disadvantages of Crossfit include:
Lack of specialisation:
Crossfit improves your fitness and your ability to do a number of tasks and actions well, but it’s not focused on specific goals.
Crossfit isn’t the cheapest activity to get involved in. You will usually pay per class and this can get expensive when you are going week after week
While many thrive on the social aspect of Crossfit, some people prefer to work out alone.
If you haven’t heard of Crossfit before, or you’ve never had the urge or the courage to get involved, why not give it a go and see if it works for you? You’ll never know until you try!