What are the benefits of CrossFit?
TeamCSN member Scott Ablett outlines the benefits of CrossFit. If you are a regular gym goer you have probably heard of the exercise regime that is ‘CrossFit’. Many of you probably have friends or work colleagues who themselves have now joined their local CrossFit gym and are constantly talking about their ‘WOD’ times and PB’s at the ‘box’. As crazy as these people may seem, CrossFit could be the key to a longer, healthier life, and to achieving the best shape you’ve ever been in. This may seem a superficial goal, but I bet it is one thing we all strive for when we initially set foot in a gym.
Firstly what is CrossFit?
For those of you that don’t know, CrossFit is defined as constantly varied, functional movements performed at high intensity. It is these factors that make CrossFit workouts some of the hardest that you’ll ever endure, which produce real improvements in fitness levels, strength, and body composition. CrossFit is not a specialised fitness programme. Rather it is a core strength and conditioning programme that develops physical competency in all of 10 recognised fitness domains. These are: cardiovascular and respiratory endurance; stamina; strength; flexibility; power; speed; coordination; agility; balance; and accuracy. CrossFit training is comprised of three types of movement – weightlifting, gymnastics, and metabolic conditioning, or cardio. These elements are then mixed together in different combinations to produce workouts or ‘WODs’ (workout of the day).
- Weightlifting elements include the Olympic lifts: clean & jerk and the snatch; as well as powerlifting movements such as the squat, deadlift and shoulder presses.
- Gymnastics elements include pull-ups, dips, and work on the rings, and cardio training includes running, biking, swimming and skipping etc.
A constantly varied approach is applied to the programming of workouts, leading to dramatic gains in fitness. Intensity is essential for results and is measurable by your workload over the time it takes – the more you do in the less time, the more intense the effort.
CrossFit will dramatically improve your fitness
In CrossFit the clock is key. For example, you would either perform a workout for time or for a certain amount of time, completing as many reps in a particular circuit in that time frame. These time frames vary from as fast as 90 seconds to as long as 30-40 minutes (and occasionally even longer). This ensures that athletes train to be proficient over all three metabolic pathways. CrossFit is essentially known as ‘The Sport of Fitness’ and by implementing the natural camaraderie, competition and fun that a sport provides it produces an intensity that cannot be matched by other means. Men will die for points (as will women) and by using a clock and a whiteboard to measure results.
CrossFit training brings out unprecedented workout performances. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean you’re going to walk into a CrossFit gym and find a bunch of egotistical douchebags who are all so desperate to win the workout that they will sacrifice form and reps. In CrossFit the mantra is to ‘leave your ego at the door’ and that form and function is paramount. If you follow these steps and do the work as it’s written, your fitness gains will be greater.
Intensity = results!
Functional movements found in CrossFit are the core movements of life; they’re everywhere and built into our DNA. A deadlift is picking any load off the ground; a squat is standing from a seated position. Functional movements move the largest load the furthest distances, thereby maximising the amount of work that’s done in the shortest time. This is intensity. Intensity = results, it’s as simple as that. Functional movements are mechanically sound and therefore safe, and they are also proven to elicit the highest neuroendocrine response. It is this high neuroendocrine response that is achieved from highly intense functional movements that lead to dramatic changes in body composition. Neuroendocrine adaptation has been linked to increased levels of testosterone and human growth hormone, leading to greater strength and muscle gains.
CrossFit Pyramid of Fitness
CrossFit methodology also includes training and diet. Food is fuel, and this is why nutrition is placed at the bottom of the CrossFit Pyramid of Fitness. Without a good nutritional base, the other aspects of fitness fall short. If you’ve reached a plateau with your fitness goals, or find your current gym routine is getting stale, it may be worth giving CrossFit a go. If you’re looking for a programme that is enjoyable, always different and brings unquestionable results in physique and fitness, then CrossFit is for you. Find your nearest affiliate here: http://map.crossfit.com. Just remember, CrossFit is difficult, the key is in the definition: intensity. Make sure you work to your level and rest afterwards.
As always, Team CSN are here to help, call or email us today and we can give you professional, unbiased advice on all your nutrition and supplement needs.