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CrossFit 101

Some of you may have already heard of the workout phenomenon, "CrossFit".  For those who haven't it's essentially a format of workouts based around Olympic-style power lifts (power cleans, dead lift, overhead squats, etc) and Military-style functional endurance drills (sand bag carries, hill runs, pull ups, etc).  These are NOT beginner-level workouts by any means. 

I found myself putting so much energy into my fitness group's workouts that my own training was getting complacent and stagnant.  So far...CrossFit has been the answer.


I refer to CrossFit as a phenomenon since there are individual gyms and facilities throughout the nation, and the globe.  You can literally find one in almost any major city around the world.  In-fact, it's worth noting that I was originally hooked on CrossFit earlier this summer thanks to my college friend Meghan who  discovered CrossFit while she's getting her PhD in Glasgow, Scotland. (Further evidence that thanks to the internet and Twitter, the world is getting smaller.)

Most CrossFit workouts have specific names, some with girl names like "Angie" and "Fran", the group referred to as "The Nasty Girls of CrossFit".  Others are named for fallen men and women from the Armed Forces, known as "The Hero Workouts".  This helps keep track of each session, since you could literally do a different Workout of the Day or "WOD" each day indefinitely. "Fight Gone Bad" is a workout circuit fashioned after the 5:00 rounds of an MMA fight, and I've borrowed parts of this workout for a few of my fitness classes recently.

Most of the workouts are also done against the stopwatch for time as well, which aids in the competition aspect (more on this later).  It's a great way to chart your progress and improvement.

Another cool thing (this is directed at YOU ladies) is that the workouts are scalable.  This isn't just for the intense guys, the ladies can get just as competitive and hardcore with CrossFit as the guys can.

Another brilliant aspect of CrossFit-style training is that the adaptability allows for variety when equipment access is limited.  Earlier today I got an empty squat rack and knocked out a WOD of Kipping Pull Ups, Hang Cleans, Dead Lifts, and Box Jumps before I headed to an indoor track for some 400's with Burpees after each round.  A week ago, I went through a body weight WOD when all I had access to was a grass field and a nearby kids' jungle gym (though the 103-degree heat index helped).

Regarding the competition aspect of CrossFit, they actually hold championship-level Cross Fit Games each year, where the best of the best qualify to vie for the number one spot.  I'd love to make it one day, but realistically I think I'm a ways off for now.

As I mentioned, there's a littany of information available online about CrossFit chapters (both domestically and internationally).  Here are a few of the many videos available online - and if you're anything like me, good luck watching these and not feeling motivated to get off the couch and head over to the gym minutes later.