A leading trend in the current fitness community is CrossFit. If you’ve never heard of it, CrossFit by the corporate definition is “constantly-varied, high intensity, functional movements.” That basically means that you’re never doing the same workout, the routine you do is done at an intensity that is challenging for you, and the exercises mimic movements needed in everyday life (for example, a squat is similar to sitting in a chair or picking a toddler up off the floor).
As a certified CrossFit coach, I well understand the benefits that come with the “sport of fitness.” I was also a someone who at one time had to pay the hefty tag to be a CrossFit member–upwards of $10o per month–and thus understand that CrossFit isn’t accessible to everyone, especially in a not-so strong economy. However, even if money isn’t on your side, you can still WOD (CrossFit for “workout of the day”) you bod without paying a penny. Here’s how:
Mix It Up: Variety might be the the spice of life, but it’s also the key to killer results. CrossFit was founded on the hopper model, where exercises were pulled at random like Bingo balls to create that day’s workout. If you’re pressing repeat on your fitness routine, you’re missing out on the constantly-varied component that makes CrossFit work. Changing what you do from day-to-day will help pluck you off that plateau.
Get a Lift: Skip the myth that you’ll bulk up if you touch a barbell. Strength training burns calories both during the lift and when you’re being lazy; cardio stops when you stop. If you’re new to weightlifting, some basic strength-training exercises are bodyweight squats, deadlifts, and medicine ball chest to overhead presses.
Clock It: CrossFit uses time in two ways for it’s workouts. The first is to beat the clock. A workout example would be to see how quickly you can complete three rounds of five exercise: 10 push ups, 20 situps, 30 jumping jacks, 40 jump rope spins, and 50 walking lunges. The second is to do a workout for a set amount of time. For the five exercises mentioned, an example of the workout would be to see how many rounds you can complete in 20 minutes. Put time on your side when planning your next workout.
Check Intensity: “Rx” or “as prescribed” are CrossFit terms for doing a routine exactly as it is laid out. However, if you’re just starting out or are simply new to a specific exercise, you might not be able to move as much weight or do something like a pull-up. If that’s the case, CrossFit has their members scale workouts versus simply not doing them. If the weight is too heavy, lower it. If you’re not able to do a pull-up yet, build up to it by using a band to help support your weight. Or start by doing an exercise such as angled-body pull-ups using a barbell and a stand. Your feet stay on the floor, eliminating a lot of body weight, but still helping to build up upper bodyweight. When you scale a workout, make sure that you don’t make it too easy. The idea is that it should be challenging–even hard–but still doable.
Be Social: What members love about CrossFit, is that it’s a community–and not a competitive one, despite being “the sport of fitness.” People cheer each other on, whether finishing in first or last. Finding friends to do workouts with you is similar to having box (CrossFit for “gym”) members by your side–but free and more fun. Look for a fitness buddy with a good attitude and who isn’t out to be better than you.
Finish It: Some CrossFit WODs will often include a “finisher.” This is essentially a second workout that is shorter in time and often more intense. One example is, do as many burpees in two minutes as fast as possible. The idea is to completely wipe yourself out in those remaining two minutes, essentially giving it your all. Finishers are perfect for when you’ve done a workout that was more focused on technique, or when you want to do add in something your workout was lacking. For example, if you were doing a WOD that focused on increasing your deadlift weight, you might do a finisher that is higher in cardio, such as sprinting a mile.
Whether CrossFit is here to stay or just a passing fitness fad, you can benefit from what the workouts have to offer without having to wipe out your wallet.
What are your thoughts on CrossFit? Share with us in the comments!