Crossfit seems to mean something different to everyone you ask. To the uninitiated, those who Crossfit might as well be members of a cult. With an over-eager commitment to push their local “box,” (the term used to describe a Crossfit gym) it’s easy to feel like you’re on the outside looking in when your Crossfit friend unloads details about their most recent “WOD” (workout of the day). In many cases, the almost irrational exuberance is difficult to comprehend for those who consider their gym time a necessary evil; a place where one goes to extend their mortality by lifting heavy things and sweating profusely. For the committed Crossfitter, their local box is often a place where they cultivate friendships and start their day off with an intense, one-hour workout. There are exceptions to the rule since many Crossfit classes are in the afternoon or evening and for some, their social network doesn’t extend to their workout partner. But, chances are that if you’ve ever met a committed Crossfitter, odds are good that they were convinced Crossfit is God’s gift to mankind and that your exercise routine must be inferior to their cardio-heavy intensive routines. They wouldn’t, of course, come right out and say as much, but be patient, they mean well and are just wanting you to experience the same life changes they’ve experienced.
So, What is Crossfit?
According to Crossfit.com, Crossfit is a fitness regimen developed by Greg Glassman several decades ago. Crossfit is organized around movements performed at high intensity, otherwise known as high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Much about Crossfit makes sense once you try it. The HIIT typically starts with stretching, a focus on proper functional movement, a 10-15 minute high cardio activity and then some amount of weight training. As stated on the Crossfit.com site, “All CrossFit workouts are based on functional movements, and these movements reflect the best aspects of gymnastics, weightlifting, running, rowing and more. These are the core movements of life. They move the largest loads the longest distances, so they are ideal for maximizing the amount of work done in the shortest time. Intensity is essential for results and is measurable as work divided by time—or power. The more work you do in less time, or the higher the power output, the more intense the effort. By employing a constantly varied approach to training, functional movements and intensity lead to dramatic gains in fitness.”
From the perspective of someone who is athletic, but overweight, Crossfit was definitely a Godsend. For many—myself included—I enjoy getting my workout done early in the morning. Everyone is friendly, helpful and committed to a lifestyle of good health and nutrition. Many—maybe most—Crossfitters follow a Paleo diet, but I’ve been following a plant-based diet as I believe it is healthier and more appropriate for my long-term health goals.