If you’re interested in fitness, you’ll have probably heard the term CrossFit being bandied around. Originating from across the pond, this type of fitness regime is quickly catching on for those who want to reap the benefits of high-intensity exercise. But what is CrossFit exactly, and how can it help you get in shape?
CrossFit is a form of fast-paced, high-intensity power fitness that involves condensed, multi-joint movements. Activities focus on functional movements that are low-tech and combine Olympic weightlifting, gymnastics, weight training and metabolic conditioning. The activity also features a workout of the day, or WOD, which can be carried out on your own or as part of a group session.
Typical CrossFit classes tend to last for about an hour, with WOD activities ranging from around three to 20 minutes long. You’ll carry out a number of routines, aiming to complete as many rounds of each activity as you can manage.
Advocates of CrossFit enthuse about the myriad of body benefits this activity brings, so if you’d like to give it a go, here’s what you can expect.
Lifting weights is part and parcel of CrossFit exercising, so it’s an ideal activity for anyone looking to boost their muscle mass, strength and endurance. In fact, most of the exercises performed in CrossFit involve compound movements that will get all muscles in the body into gear. If you find the activities too easy, you can challenge your muscles that bit further by adding extra weight to your workouts.
For those looking to burn calories fast and lose weight, CrossFit boasts a pretty impressive track record. Experts claim that the average person can burn between 13-18 calories per minute when performing CrossFit exercises, compared to 9-11 calories per minute for standard weightlifting programmes. Studies also show that you can continue to burn calories even after the CrossFit session has ended.
The beauty of CrossFit workouts is that many of the exercises performed are designed to replicate movements that we frequently make on a day-to-day basis. By using overhead presses, kettlebell swings and performing squats, these functional exercises go a long way to boost flexibility, coordination and balance, whilst reducing your risk of getting an injury. Researchers have also concluded that CrossFit scores particularly highly with regards to improving mobility.
As a high-intensity activity that gets your heart rate pumping, CrossFit workouts are a top-notch way to get some cardio training into your life. While some of the activities, especially the WOD sessions can be as little as three minutes long, studies confirm that this amount is often enough to give your heart rate a boost if performed at high intensity every week.
Although CrossFit is high impact, exercises can be adapted to suit those who are new to the activity and those who are more experienced. This makes it accessible to a wide range of people who want to get fit. By varying the activities, it also keeps workouts dynamic, interesting and challenging.
Fun and sociable
CrossFit might sound like hard work, but the buzz you get from each element makes it all worthwhile. Fans of CrossFit remark that it’s a fun activity and working in a group can also make it a sociable one.
Since CrossFit is high intensity, it’s not an activity that may be suitable for everyone, especially those who suffer from joint problems or have a higher risk of experiencing injuries. If you’re new to CrossFit, it’s recommended that you start slowly, especially with lifting weights and increase the intensity gradually. Look for a local CrossFit class near you to gain the benefits from a trained instructor.