Let’s face it - the world of fitness is full of fads. Fitness fanatics are a group with an active interest in the next great breakthrough, the next advantage and the next technique. Over the decades that’s meant that countless fitness crazes have come and gone with only bargain bucket training DVDs left behind.
There has, however, been one movement that’s consistently grown in popularity and renown over its 20 year existence – CrossFit.
You’ve probably heard about CrossFit before from some of your fitness-minded friends, but it’s a training system that defies easy explanation and those who practice it often spout a myriad of confusing terminology. So, what is CrossFit about?
A total body training philosophy…
Much of what we achieve in the modern gym is based on speciality. If we want to achieve greater stamina, we work on our cardiovascular, if we want to work on our muscle grouping, we utilise weight systems, and so the list goes on. This leads to positive results in specific areas, but it doesn’t address total body fitness.
CrossFit, on the other hand, is advertised a “the sport of fitness”, and that’s quite an apt descriptor. The regime is made up of extremely varied, high intensity functional movement that coaches people of all shapes, sizes and fitness levels to improve their physical and cardiovascular health.
This is done in dedicated CrossFit gyms, of which there are tens of thousands around the world. Inside, they tend to look sparse, but they’re a hard-core training environment – no looking at Twitter in between reps here!
Perhaps the best description of the CrossFit ideology comes from the company themselves, who say:
“CrossFit contends that a person is as fit as they are proficient in each of ten general physical skills: cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, agility, balance, coordination, and accuracy”
And hard-core workout for all fitness levels…
CrossFit is, unashamedly, a hard-core workout. It’s designed to build high levels of functional fitness into every aspect of your health, and for those reasons, it’s found fans inside police academies, tactical operations unites, martial arts schools and even tactical military groups.
All of that might make it seem like it’s designed only for those with high levels of pre-existing fitness, but that couldn’t be further from the case. In fact, often CrossFit trainers prefer to train those who are taking their first real steps into the world of fitness. Body builders who come to CrossFit quickly find that their specialist aesthetic training has left them functionally and practically weak in many areas, and have to start from the bottom.
Perhaps best of all though is the support and community you get as a member of the CrossFit family. Unlike many gyms, you’re more than just a paying member at a CrossFit gym, you’re a person that needs help and support. You’ll find that the members of your local CrossFit gym help, support and offer invaluable advice, helping you get through the tough times.
That isn’t for everyone.
Though CrossFit presents an excellent fitness programme for a great many people, there are groups which it won’t suit. They are:
- Specialists: CrossFit is all about creating high levels of fitness across the body, which doesn’t suit specialist trainers. If you’re specialising in a certain type of fitness, CrossFit simply won’t be targeted enough for you to achieve your goals.
- Solo trainers: Some of us like to train alone, and for those, CrossFit is a poor choice. The incredibly motivational and group minded fitness activities might begin to grate if you’re the sort who prefers to work alone.
- Sport-specific athletes: If you’re an athlete training for success in a particular sport, you’re much better off going with a dedicated coach who knows how to get the best results for your particular sport. CrossFit might make you fitter in certain areas, but it certainly won’t make you better at your sport (unless that sport happens to be CrossFit).
If you have a keen interest in fitness, or thinking of becoming a fitness instructor or personal trainer, check out our fitness apprenticeships.