“I cannot believe how much this experience has changed my life! I feel so proud when telling people how much my quality of life has improved since starting CrossFit. I would tell my story a million times over so that others can see the true value in CrossFit.”
The most well-known aspect of CrossFit is the exercise. CrossFit workouts are characterized by combining elements of monostructural movements, gymnastics, and weightlifting into circuits of high intensity exercise. Monostructural movements are those that cycle the same movement pattern quickly and for many repetitions – think running, rowing, riding a bike, and jumping rope. Gymnastics exercises train your ability to control your own body in space, and they include pushups, pullups, unweighted squats, handstands, and muscle-ups. Weightlifting exercises train your ability to move external objects through space, and they include weighted squats, deadlifts, shoulder presses, kettlebell swings, and cleans.
What do these movements all have in common? They are as natural as breathing and sleeping. An unweighted squat is the movement we use to get off the toilet. A deadlift is nothing more than picking something up off the ground. And our species has been running ever since Grok was first chased by the wooly mammoth.
Yet CrossFit is more than just exercise – it’s a well-rounded program for improving health. And what you put in your mouth (aka “nutrition”) provides the foundation on which everything is built. The CrossFit prescription for nutrition is “Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.” This approach to feeding yourself has helped many CrossFitters shed body fat and improve biomarkers of health – blood pressure, triglycerides, cholesterol, and especially insulin resistance. It’s not a fad diet – it’s a common sense approach to eating that emphasizes real, whole foods in appropriate quantities.
As first-class as CrossFit is in improving your physical well-being, its most profound impact may be in what happens between your ears. You will be pushed. You will work hard. You will do things that you didn’t think you could do. You will become mentally tough. The benefit of this cannot be overstated – it extends to any endeavor, and it’s often the difference between being good and being great. It also helps you cope when life gets tough.
So yes, the workouts are hard… but they’re also accessible to everyone. The beauty of CrossFit is its scalability to all ability levels. You can’t do a pushup? No problem, we’ll have you start with wall pushups your first week, progress you to a pushup on a 30-inch box your second week, and knee pushups in your third week. You’ll have that full pushup from the floor before you know it. Oh, you can’t run because it hurts your knees? We got you covered – today you’ll get on the rower instead, which is much lower impact. In the meantime, we’ll work on your strength and flexibility until that 400-meter run doesn’t hurt at all.
And finally – the social aspect of CrossFit is perhaps its greatest strength. Participating in group classes with a bunch of friends is just plain fun. You will be awed and inspired by someone else in the gym, whether that person is an advanced athlete lifting an unbelievable weight, or it’s a newer athlete getting their first pullup after four months of dedicated effort or the momma balancing a kid on her hip or growing a new one while lifting. If you’re a competitive person, you’ll push yourself a little harder to “beat” a friend in a workout. If you’re not competitive, you may find yourself willing to try things you previously thought impossible. The combination of hard work, laughter, pushing beyond your limits, and social support result in something that is truly magical.
So yeah… why CrossFit? You tell me.