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What the hell is CrossFit, and Who is CrossFit for?

CrossFit is a training program that builds strength and conditioning through extremely varied and challenging workouts.  Each day the workout will test a different part of your functional strength or conditioning, not specializing in one particular thing, but rather with the goal of building a body that’s capable of practically anything and everything.

CrossFit is extremely different from a commercial gym…and not just because you won’t find any ellipticals, weight machines (gross), or weird aerobic classes.  I’ll explain what makes CrossFit different later.

Rather than having one workout for older women and another for hardcore athletes – there’s ONE workout each day that is completely scalable based on your skill.  For example, if the workout calls for squats with 135 pounds but you can only do squats with the bar (45 pounds), then that’s where you’ll start. If you’re injured and can’t do squats at all, a similar movement will be substituted, and if the number of reps is too many for your current ability, that will be reduced. As you get stronger and more experienced you’ll work your way towards eventually doing the workouts with higher reps and even more weight.

CrossFit is not for the Solo trainers – Some people love to work out alone.  CrossFit is group training, which means you won’t have that opportunity to get your stuff done on your own. But if you have NEVER weight trained before (or trained only on machines), CrossFit is a great place for you to start (provided you have a great coach).  You’ll learn how to do all of the important lifts in a super supportive and nonjudgmental environment.  You might even find that…GASP…you love strength training!

This is the appeal to CrossFit…every CrossFit gym has a really tight knit community feel to it.  You’re not just a membership payment to them…you’re a person that needs help.

Is it dangerous?

In the wrong situations, with the wrong coaches, and a person with the wrong attitude, CrossFit can absolutely be very dangerous.

So…like with any activity, you can have people that like to push themselves too far, too hard, too fast, and too often.  Unfortunately, due to the nature of CrossFit (where this behavior is encouraged and endorsed), you can end up in some serious danger if you don’t know when to stop or have a coach that will tell you when to stop. Personally, I find these issues to be more with individual people.

What’s a CrossFit class like?

A regular class looks something like this:

  1. Dynamic warm up – not jogging on a treadmill for 5 minutes, but jumps, jumping jacks, jump rope, squats, push ups, lunges, pull ups.  Functional movements, stretches, and mobility work that compliment the movements you’ll be doing in the workout that day.
  2. Skill/Strength work: If it’s a strength day, then you’ll work on a pure strength movement (like squats or deadlifts).  If it’s not a strength day, then you’ll work on a skill and try to improve, like one-legged squats or muscle ups.
  3. 
WOD: the workout of the day.   This is where you’ll be told to do a certain number of reps of particular exercises as quickly as possible, or you’ll have a set time limit to do as many of a certain exercise as possible.
  4. Cool down and stretching.  Either as a group, or you’re allowed to stretch out on your own.  This would also be the time for people who pushed too hard to go puke in a trash can and stretch their stomach muscles.

We do also offer:

Introduction class – For people who have never tried CrossFit before. Usually there’s a quick overview, and then a basic body weight movement workout, and then they talk to you about joining.  These are usually free.

On ramp or private sessions– If you’re interested in joining the regular CrossFit workout, you’ll most likely be required to go through the On ramp/Elements course. The purpose of these is to teach you the nine foundational movements of CrossFit and all about proper form.  No matter how experienced you are, these are valuable and worth the time and money.  Even if you think you have perfect form on your squats, deadlifts and/or overhead presses, it’s amazing what can be fixed when you have a trained set of eyes watching you do them.

Final Thoughts

Does it work? Well, what’s your goal? If it’s to get in better shape or to lose weight, then yes, it works. However, it’s not some cure all magic pill – as with any other training program, you will get out of it what you put into it.

So do I think you should try it? Of course, if you want to and aren’t afraid of putting in a little work to get what you want.

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