CrossFit: Is It Good Or Bad For You?

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If you’re someone that takes their workout seriously, you might have heard of CrossFit in one way or the other. It is considered one of the fastest growing fitness regimens in the world, as its influence has spread out to every continent on the planet (minus Antarctica). So much so that celebrities like Brad Pitt, Jessica Biel, Cameron Diaz, Jason Statham, Vanessa Hudgens, and Malin Akerman have been reported to take part in the robust activity. So far, a global network of over 13,000 affiliated CrossFit gyms (or boxes) have been established, and this number is trending to increase.

Founded in 2000 by CEO Greg Glassman, CrossFit is intended to give fitness enthusiasts the complete workout experience, stressing on improving core fitness elements such as speed, strength, balance, and agility through a series of greatly intense exercises in a relatively short period of time.

“Typically the worlds best athletes are minimalists when it comes to their training,” Glassman said. “They work hard and fast with few exercises. They master the fundamentals and work with them for years. This is the secret that no one wants to hear.”

Despite the influx of CrossFit boxes that are continuously rising, a widening debate exists about the potential advantages and conceivable problems that correlate with CrossFit, and that’s why I’m here to set the record straight-to separate fact from fiction. 

In general, CrossFit is a combination of highly vigorous interval training exercises that include Olympic weight lifting, running, gymnastics, rowing, cycling, and many other physical activities. As evident from the enormous interest, CrossFit appeals to many people for a variety of reasons: the structured workouts, the efficient usage of time, the sense of camaraderie and community. However, do these benefits outweigh the risks? Let’s find out.

Structure

For anybody that likes things to be organized and analytical, CrossFit might be up your alley. Prior to every workout, the participant must register through an online app that reserves an individual slot for a certain time slotted class. Shortly before your class begins, you will be able to see the listed “Workout of the Day” (otherwise known as a WOD) on the app itself, which can help someone gather a sense on the upcoming exercise. In an everyday working life that can seem chaotic and unpredictable, this coordinated setup can provide a sense of calmness and framework that greatly attracts loyal customers. Also, everything associated with the daily routine is cultivated and quantified. One major focus of CrossFit is to define fitness in a productive and measurable fashion, calculating scores by recording the duration of time that it takes to complete the interval course. Through this data-centric model, the ultimate goal for the athlete is to gradually improve your personal record over time. CrossFit’s dedicated mixture of organization and analytics can be persuasive tool for those looking for something new and exciting, at least when compared to another standard gym. 

Efficiency

Another tempting quality about CrossFit is the succinct usage of time that coincides with a conventional workout. Typically, these WODs only last approximately 30 to 45 minutes per session, which is a desirable amount of time for a lot of people. Instead of standing around a packed gym for an hour and a half, patiently waiting for workout machines or weight lifting areas to open up and therefore killing the potency of your workout, someone can go all-out on an extremely strenuous workout for only less than an hour with CrossFit. This high-level of proficiency is aspired for a lot of hard-working, employed people that want to squeeze in a workout, without having to spend too much time than necessary. 

Community

Similar to the levels of camaraderie and brotherhood displayed on a closely bonded sports team, the neighborhood aspect of CrossFit is an enticing feature. Motivating factors like group reinforcement are a powerful incentive for people to boost their physical prowess through exercise, striving for that collective approval. This team dynamic is especially alluring for those looking to find their social niche, as CrossFit can fulfill distinct social needs while promoting a healthy lifestyle in the process.

Injury

This is the number one concern that most fitness experts reference when questioning the virtues of CrossFit. In a workout that commonly emphasizes speed over lifting technique, multiple injuries can arise due to simple human complacency. Shoulder and achilles tendon injuries are quite common. Although in severe cases, rhabdomyolysis is a worse-case scenario. This medical condition occurs when damaged muscle tissue begins to rapidly deteriorate.

If you’re planning to sign up with CrossFit, it is integral to join an affiliate with an on-ramp program, which is a 10 to 12 week program that strictly teaches someone the proper lifting form for various exercises. Two to three times a week prior to joining experienced class, learning the correct bio-mechanics behind your form will significantly decrease your chances of injury by taking this course.

Conclusion

When properly implemented, the positive attributes of CrossFit can surely outweigh the negative ones. Despite this layout, other external factors need to be considered. Lurking variables such as nutrition and biology can become critical facets to the decision on whether or not CrossFit is right for you. Depending on the individual, diet and genetics can affect CrossFit’s conclusive effectiveness. If someone has good genetics, eats relatively healthily, and has the right body type for the activity, CrossFit can have significantly progressive results. However, if one or more of those factors are not opportune for the regimen, maybe a slower lifting exercise might be preferred. It just highly relies upon this person’s status from a health perspective. Additionally, the philosophy of CrossFit as a whole maybe is something to consider. CrossFit only requires adequate performance in the numerous competitive elements, rather than distinguished excellence.

“There is no single sport or activity that trains for perfect fitness,” Glassman said. “True fitness requires a compromise in adaptation broader than the demands of most every sport.”

Overall though, it is incredibly important to stay on top of your research because there is definitely much more to CrossFit than meets the eye.