I first learned of CrossFit when I was training for the 2009 Miami Marathon. Looking for cross training ideas, it popped up on my Internet search. I didn’t start CrossFit myself until 2011. CrossFit is “constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity.” CrossFit builds endurance and strength through varied and challenging workouts. Each day is different, and the exercises are meant to create a body that is capable of practically anything. The program offers a full-body workout combining body-weight exercises like push-ups, dips, and pullups  with weightlifting such as squats, deadlifts, snatches, and clean and jerks, core training, and high intensity interval training. Many tactical operations teams, champion martial artists, military operations, and police academies use CrossFit programs.

You won’t find weight machines, treadmills, or elliptical machines at the typical CrossFit gym. This high-intensity workout is performed in gyms that are similar to large warehouses. A typical CrossFit workout lasts anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. Coaches can develop their own workout of the day or “WOD.” Since the movements are varied continuously, it’s impossible for you to get bored. One day you may be either rowing, running, box jumping, or swinging kettlebells. Coaches use a timer throughout the class to keep you in constant motion. Some of the WOD’s are named. There’s a series of them that all have women’s names like Cindy, Fran, and Helen. There are also exceptionally challenging WOD’s known as Hero WOD’s. These WOD’s are named in honor of a fallen soldier, sailor, airman or police or firefighter. The most famous is “Murph” which involves a mile run done twice sandwiching 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, and 300 squats. It’s done all over the country every Memorial Day.

What Are The Benefits Of CrossFit?

CrossFit has proven to provide results when it comes to improved triglycerides, increased muscle mass, stronger bones, and decreased body fat. It is adapted to suit any individual’s needs. “Infinitely scalable,” the founders preach. Any exercise can be simplified or done less intensely if you are a beginner. CrossFit can teach you to move safely and efficiently through regular practice that trains your body to perform the movement well. You might think, “why would I ever do a squat?” You do a squat every time you get up from the toilet. “Why would I ever do a deadlift?” Have you ever dropped your keys on the floor and needed to pick them up? That’s a deadlift. “What about a clean and jerk?” If you aren’t tall like I am, that is the movement it takes to get your suitcase into the overhead rack on an airplane. CrossFit creates mental toughness that is unlike any other training program. If you enjoy sports such as skiing, football, climbing, or triathlons, CrossFit can help you improve your stamina, endurance, strength, coordination, and speed for those sports. It is a great community experience as you can enter competitions, team events, join paleo potlucks, or learning workshops. My personal experience was that I dropped body fat, gained muscle mass and within 5 months of starting CrossFit I ran a 5 km race in the fastest time of my life.

CrossFit is affordable compared to many gym memberships and personal training. There are several CrossFit apps on the smartphone that can teach you how to train from home. CrossFit warm ups and cool downs do more than your typical stretching routines. To maximize performance and prevent injury, you need to build a combination of mobility and flexibility. CrossFit helps you develop both keeping you active for longer periods of time. If you’re looking to stay motivated when it comes to your overall health, CrossFit may be the right program for you. You’ll get a tough yet effective workout without having to train for hours on end. Not only that, you will become part of a community of others who share your interests and will support your goals.