Exercise trends tend to come and go. In the U.S. the exercise and nutrition market generates billions of dollars per year with ‘new’ and ‘better’ diets, exercise routines, and supplements. But most of these new and improved products don’t last. CrossFit is attempting to break that mold.
What is CrossFit?
For those that don’t know, CrossFit focuses on creating a group environment that provides support and motivation to it’s participants. This helps them to not only achieve new goals and PBs (personal bests), but creates a structure of motivation that keeps people coming back week after week, and year after year.
CrossFit was developed and founded by Greg Glassman in 2000. Since then it has exploded in popularity across the country and around the world.
Rather than referring to it as the gym, each training facility is called a ‘box’. But it doesn’t look anything like what you’re used to seeing in a standard gym. Gone are the rows and rows of isolation machines that have you focus on individual muscle groups. You won’t see stair climbers or elliptical machines either.
Instead you’ll see rows of pull-up bars, olympic rings, boxes, and weight bars. These weight bars are used for exercises such as the snatch, the jerk, and deadlifts. The boxes are used for box jumps and other plyometric exercises. Rings are used for muscle ups.
Each daily routine, or WOD (workout of the day) is predetermined. Many are named after women or soldiers that have been killed in foreign wars. They combine heavy strength training and endurance. The idea is to push your body to new levels of performance each and every day.
Benefits of CrossFit
The benefits of CrossFit are many. Training our bodies as groups of muscles rather than as individual muscles is a much more efficient and effective way of training. Here are a few of the most notable benefits.
1. Confidence – group workouts are a powerful source of motivation. Participants often site a dramatic increase in confidence due not only to enhanced performance, but in physical well-being. Training develops the body symmetrically causing improved performance in everyday tasks and life in general.
2. Strength – because CrossFit focuses on increasing strength rather than toning, participants commonly become stronger than they have ever been. WODs are designed to improve the whole body, not just individual parts. This is the most effective way to achieve strength gains.
3. Posture – the exercises that form the backbone of CrossFit are the core muscle groups. This includes the back, the glutes, hamstrings, chest and arms. Training all of these muscles together causes them to work together. This has a great effect on posture. Walk into any CrossFit facility and you will immediately notice that participants have extremely good posture.
4. Diet & Nutrition – the Paleo Diet goes hand in hand with many CrossFit boxes. This particular diet gets it’s name from the foods humans ate during the Paleolithic era. It focuses on meats, vegetables, fats, and a small amount of fruits. It can have huge benefits for those that choose to follow it. There are even some enterprising young companies such as Gourmet Paleo, that are developing treats and cookies for those that follow the diet. You can also find their paleo cookies on Amazon.com
These are just a few of the benefits of CrossFit. For more information on CrossFit including exercises, diet, and gear including finding the best shoes for CrossFit training, check out efficientgains.com. Here you can find more information to help you determine if this exercise regimen is for you. You’ll most likely want to invest in some supplements to aid in muscle recovery such as deer antler velvet or other growth promoting substances. Here is a great article on how to take deer antler velvet spray.