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The Truth about Crossfit

Crossfit, if you don't know someone that does it or have not seen something about it on-line or at least have heard it mentioned, that's OK.  For you and the rest of you that have heard of Crossfit this article will help clear up some of the mysteries or myths.

Firstly a disclaimer.  I am not affiliated with Crossfit in anyway nor am I a qualified Crossfit trainer.  I am however a "crosfitter" and have been for a number of years.  The last 18 months it has become a bigger part of my life.  My daughter is a full time coach (yes she teaches her Dad how to improve in all aspects of Crossfit) and I am a competitor in the Masters division (age 50 in case you were wondering).  Crossfit has done so much more for me than help keep me healthy and strong.  I have made some amazing friends, become part of an incredible community and learned a lot about myself.

So let's go ahead and answer a few questions (and maybe some critics!)

What is Crossfit? - No it's not some cult of crazy fit people..

Simply put, CrossFit is constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity. All CrossFit workouts are based on functional movements, and these movements reflect the best aspects of gymnastics, weightlifting, running, rowing and more.  That's the official definition.

Crossfit training is simply a form of exercise, all of the movements and exercises performed are designed to help you with normal daily activities.  A Crossfit gym is normally referred to as a "box".  They have functional equipment such as barbells, kettle bells, medicine balls, pull up bars, rowers, ropes and other stuff that is normally incorporated into what is known as the WOD (workout of the day).  The workouts are run in a class format with one or more trainer and normally between 5-15 people performing the same movements, all be it at different levels (more on this later).

"But it's only for really fit or young people" - Who is Crossfit really for?

Crossfit is for anyone that wants to improve their quality of life and ultimately push away the nursing home!  I have seen people of all ages, some even in their 60's & 70's start Crossfit.  People of all fitness levels, and people from all backgrounds.  I recall chatting to one of the members at my gym.  He is the same age as me and commenced Crossfit about 12 months ago.  He was typical of so many men that age.  Had let himself go, he was over weight, tired, could not move well and just felt like "shit" (his words).  A year later, he has lost some weight (more importantly lost fat), is fitter and stronger than he was 20 years ago, is sleeping well, enjoying work more and is able to keep up with his kids.  This is what Crossfit is about.

"The things I have seen people do would be too hard for me"

I have heard so many people say this. If you go and have a look at Crossfit on YouTube you are only really seeing a lot of top level athletes performing what may seem to be impossible movements and workouts.  Go to your local Crossfit box and it looks a lot different.  Every movement performed in a Crossfit workout is either scaled back to what you can perform or substituted, while still challenging you.

Over time you will be surprised what you will achieve.  From not being able to perform a push up to doing 10 unbroken, to going from someone that could hardly lift a fraction of their body weight off the floor to lifting 1.5X, struggling to run 400m to performing multiple 400m runs in a workout, being able to jump onto a box 20" high and do multiple repetitions of throwing a 6kg medicine ball to a 9' target....the list goes on.

One thing you can be assured of in Crossfit is that you will never be bored.  The workouts are different everyday and are designed so you can go daily without over doing it (3 times a week is recommended when you start).

"But I've heard so many people say it's no good or too many injuries"

The first thing you have to ask yourself, "on what authority does this person make that remark"  I find that those types of remarks are often based their opinion not on personal experience, with little understanding about Crossfit and without looking at the facts.  I have also found that they may be promoting another modality of fitness and see Crossfit as a threat.

The reality is that yes there are injuries, there are in any physical activity.  Your chance of  getting an injury I believe is less at Crossfit compared to a normal gym due to the high level of instruction and supervision.  Having been to several Crossfit gyms around the country I find this to be very consistent.  I had more injuries while training for triathlon than I have ever had at Crossfit.  You also have to understand the difference between injury and pain or soreness due to working the muscles.

"OK, so what will Crossfit do me?

Ultimately Crossfit will make you a better version of your self.  it is not the "silver bullet" to good health, nothing is.  It does however go a long way towards helping you improve your health and ultimately your quality of life.  We at iHealth love the Crossfit for this reason, that is our aim.  We know that with regular use along with an exercise regime, lots of water and clean food (more on this in future articles) you will enjoy life more because you can do more.

If you want to know more about Crossfit I suggest you find out where there is one close to you and go along and give it a try.  They normally have a beginners course which is the best way to establish if it's the right thing for you.

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