A Beginner’s Guide To CrossFit

Posted on 26-Feb-2016 by Kripa Jalan

Just like fashion, the fitness industry witnesses a multitude of trends every year. One year its Calisthenics, the next it could be Pilates. CrossFit could be shrugged off as just another fad. Some may be quick to question this “craze” and wonder why it seems to have taken over the world. Some may go as far as to call it a cult. Some may call it a call for injury. Everything said you’ve got to agree that it has revolutionized the world of fitness. Once upon a time, powerlifting was limited to bodybuilders, cardio was reserved for athletes and marathoners, stretching to the “yogis” and free-range movements to gymnasts. At this time CrossFit came in as the dark knight. Officially defined as “functional movements that are constantly varied at high intensity”, it offered fitness enthusiasts a means to condition their entire body, without falling into a routine and constantly taking up new challenges. In fact, its specialty lies in the fact that there is no specialization, no isolation. It combines all those previously thought isolated areas. Started as a simple idea; a means to measure the efficiency of workouts. Today, over a decade later its reach has spread to the military, the law enforcers, elite and competitive athletes, and fitness enthusiasts all across the globe. By portraying fitness as a sport, it has made the concept more competitive and more enjoyable.

Is it for you?

CrossFit is a tried and tested method. It has worked for a range of people, from the sedentary to retired sportsmen, from the youth to the old and so on. Many people have a misconception about CrossFit, fearing its intensity. One look at the elite athletes and their workouts and you’ll be biting your nails, both awe-struck and scared. No doubt, it is a gruelling workout and will push your body to extremes. However, you will learn to maximize your bodies potential. Mind over matter. Lastly, if your goal is to shed weight, the HIIT structure will ensure success the right way i.e. lose fat build lean muscle mass.

Is it really injurious?

Do birds really fly? You will obviously not be pushed into following the daily workouts from the very beginning. A well-structured monitored induction will take place over the course of a week, taking you over the 9 basic movements and correct forms. You will be eased into it gradually, once you master these. Even once you begin the WOD’s, they are scalable in terms of reps and weights. No one will force you to do something that you are unprepared for.

The Pros:

1. Sense of Community: Probably the reason why it’s often flaunted as a cult. You will meet some of the most like-minded and amazing people within the walls of the box. You don’t become stronger or faster in the presence of others, but you tend to exert more effort. Hence, more output. Cross Fitters are often a very tightly knit community, both inside and outside the box. There’s always a feeling of teamwork and camaraderie.

2. Healthy Competition: CrossFit has been beautifully called, the sport of fitness. Where there is sport there is competition. This isn’t limited to being the leader on the whiteboard. Not only are you contending with others, but also yourself. Even if you’re lifting 2 pounds heavier than you did previously, hitting a new PR (Personal Record) is an unparalleled feeling. You’re constantly leveling up.

3. Introduces Women To Weightlifting: Thousands of women have preconceived notions about weight lifting. However, CrossFit has engaged several such women and drastically altered their perceptions. It has shown them a way to stay lean, SEXY and STRONG, with mixing up fast paced movements, bodyweight training, weight lifting and gymnastics.

4. Diversity: Each day you will be subjected to a new WOD. They will test a different part of your functional strength or metabolic conditioning with the aim of structuring a body that’s capable of taking on practically anything and everything. If you find yourself snoozing between sets at a gym, or are looking for a dynamic and challenging workout, CrossFit’s for you.

5. Banging Weights: In conventional workout spaces, you may be warned against dropping weights. Not at a CrossFit Box. In fact, when you walk into one you’re likely to be greeted by the sound of barbells clashing against the floor. Truly, a no holds barred approach.

6. Advanced Fitness: The definition varies from person to person. The dictionary believes it’s the absence of disease, but while training it can be construed as turning your body into a machine. You fuel it with the right foods, service it with the right movements and regularly test it against different terrains to see its power.

The Cons:

1. Minimal Isolation Work: If you prefer a structured regimen with isolation on body parts, you should know CrossFit isn’t the best option for you. It’s relatively harder to keep track of your progress unless you are maintaining some kind of a record. Considering, you probably never repeat a routine.

2. Programming: You need to have a look at the programming (it differs from place to place) of a box, before you join it and figure out if it suits you. Bad programming, puts you at risk of injury.

3. Price & Timings: CrossFit memberships can be up to two or three times the monthly cost of a conventional gym for the group classes and you may not be able to use the amenities any time you want.

4. Requires A Good Coach: A bad coach can REALLY cause problems – You will be engaging in advanced moves (eventually) so learning to do right is essential to prevent a horrible injury.  Make sure you have a great coach who knows your body, your goals, and the limits till where he can push you.

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